Awesome Stuff: Putting Nature In The Public Domain
from the doing-it-right dept
This week, we’ve got one standout project that seems worth highlighting here at Techdirt because of its commitment to things we all care about: cutting-edge media technology, the planet we all live on, and the public domain. Catalog.Earth is a project to use the first to capture the second and dedicate it to the third.
The project emerges from the simple fact that bunch of landscapes on earth are disappearing forever (and the fact that plenty already have). While many are fighting to stop or at least slow down that loss, the folks behind Catalog.Earth are filling in another gap: making sure that, no matter the outcome, the memory of these places won’t be completely lost. To that end, they want to use the best technology for 3D video and audio to capture immersive footage and sound from far-flung, highly threatened landscapes. And, most importantly, they want to put all that material in the public domain — the only real way to ensure it lasts forever and benefits everyone.
First on the list for this debut of the project is the Columbia Glacier in Alaska. They are working with specialists from the realm of geography and 3D video production to mount an expedition that will produce multiple 360-degree 4K video/audio recordings of the quickly-retreating glacier at different times of year. The footage will be released under a CC0 public domain license, ensuring nobody can ever try to claim ownership and clamp it down.
And that’s just the first step, to show the potential of the project. They’ll also be working on a set of guidelines and tools to help other people begin contributing to the catalog, with the goal of capturing endangered landscapes from around the world. Ultimately, the plan is to build an open-source platform to enable the creation and curation of this catalog, making it easy for anyone to contribute and everyone to enjoy. Sure, there’s a tiny cynical voice inside me that wonders if we’re just paying for someone’s Alaskan excursion — but in truth it seems like a fair and sincere exchange. These days, when so many photographers and videographers are protective and exclusive about the rare and difficult material they capture, nothing demonstrates a genuine concern for what you’re doing more than dedicating the content you produce to the public domain.