The Open Video Landscape: 90+ Web Sources You Might Have Missed

Update 2012/01/24 Vimeo adds CC-search functionality. Update 2011/01/10: TED Downloader added.

The web is full of moving images. History has befitted us with brilliant films, television broadcasts and art videos that are becoming increasingly accessible – at an unpredictable pace. With seas of wisdom surrounding us and mountaintops of information to delve in, where do you start your search when you’re in need of material – to teach, to show, to tell, to use? Where do you find video’s to freely (re)distribute? As copyright is being challenged in all domains (see our expanding list on IPR issues), how is online video earmarked (or not) for reuse? Giant steps have been made  this year for the Creative Commons movement, as video giants YouTube and Vimeo give producers the ability to attach CC licenses to the content they upload. But while search giants Google and Yahoo do allow you to search for CC-licensed materials on the web and in image searches, finding CC video is still a bit harder. EUscreen is exploring how archive content can be made accessible broadly, whilst recognising the intellectual property rights of that content. To this end, we’re hosting events such as License to REMIX!, a video remix and IPR workshop, and the 2011 EUscreen conference on ‘Use and Creativity’. Also, we have started to maintain a list of open, freely available and sometimes freely usable video sources for all your remixing, researching and leisurely searches.. Do let us know in the comments what we missed out on – and poke around on the wonderful resources that exist to go and create new, wonderful things.

Open Content + Open Source + Open Data = Open Video?

As all listings of “free” content, we would like to open with a brief note about what “free” means, especially with regard to “openness”. Some makers decided their work should be as open as possible, and use open technologies such as open source production materials for viewing and editing for the creation of their works. Other works are becoming available in the public domain or have been made available under a free-to-share license.  While every work on this list is yours to see, not everything is therefore automatically “open” – or yours to pick up.

Where to find CC video


CCsearch is your diving board into the wondrous world of online CC sources, all of which can be searched separately on their own digital turf – such as SpinXPress GetMedia and the Public Domain video’s on Europeana, the European digital library, museum and archive. Creative Commons moreover regularly spotlights new CC events and users on their website and curate a full list of materials using Creative Commons licenses:

Open video has taken a great flight with the advent of Creative Commons licenses, which has brought a judicial way of showing internet videos and allowing you to tell people how they can or cannot your material. Flickr was of course an early adopter, and offers zillions of user-generated photo and video materias with quick CC access. Flickr Creative Commons videos is an assortment of CC licensed videos and on Flickr The Commons you can find a variety of videos licensed freely by GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums, that is).

YouTube and Vimeo have recently followed in its footsteps. In the YouTube editor you can easily look for ánd edit on the spot reusable materials to blend in your video. Vimeo shows you the license of each video, but does not (yet?) offer the possibility to perform filtered search and lets you browse videos with Creative Commons licensesWhat Vimeo did recently roll out is its The platform also offers a music store, where editors can look for music to use in their video materials and a beautiful interface was installed to show users exactly what the license and usability is. In the field of music, openness has been in place for a longer time (due to fewer creators it’s often easier to decide on a licensing model) and beautifully curated sites such as the Free Music Archive and CCmixter often dozens of free music sources. For a full list of CC music platforms, see and

Open Video Repositories

  • Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons Repository stems from the broadcast realm, just like EUscreen, but this repository holds broadcast quality footage that Al Jazeera has released specifically under various Creative Commons licenses.
  • Internet Archive’s Community Video Open Source Video’s on the wide and wondrous world of the Internet Archive – where there’s tons more of moving images to discover and explore, a good starting point of which is written about on their blog.
  • Open Images is an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse. An initiative from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
  • Open Video Project The Open Video Project is a shared digital video repository and test collection intended to meet the needs of researchers in a wide variety of areas related to digital video. The Open Video collection currently contains video or metadata for 1865 digitised video segments.
  • The Media Burn Archive is a video archive that holds a collection of over 6,000 independent, non-corporate tapes that reflect cultural, political and social reality as seen by independent producers, from 1969 to the present.
  • Wikimedia Commons is a repository originally intended for for media to use in Wikipedia articles, which is now a source that hosts 4,400 video items under GNU or CC licenses or that are in the public domain.
  • World Digital Library: This digital library, supported by UNESCO, “makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.” Its video content, however, is minimal.

Video Footage for Remix and Reuse

  • Creative Commons list of CC-available films
  • Open Footage is a small repository of Creative Commons licensed 3d materials from an Austrian designer.
  • PixnMix Candy Jar: The Candy Jar is a collection of video clips produced mainly by VJs for VJs. The clips are licensed for non-commercial use – you’ll have to read and agree to the licence when you download.
  • Public Videos(alpha) is a large collection of free stock footage. Video clips are released to the public domain using the CC0 waiver.
  • StockFootageForFree is a website dedicated to providing completely free stock footage from around the world that can be downloaded instantly and incorporated into any type of video editing project-personal or commercial. You have to create an account but it’s worth the time.
  • Xiph Test Media: a collection of test sequences and clips for evaluating compression technology. Over at theri Theora Videos list, you can find an overview of video’s encoded with Theora, that are thus open source by nature (the content however, isn’t always, necessarily).
  • XStockvideo holds free HD Stock Video and Footage with a royalty free license granting full use in all types of projects.

Open-Source Films and Projects

Public Domain and Free-to-Share Film Listings

Public Domain Movies

Legal Torrent Distribution sites

Watch Excellent Films for Free

  • Open Film is an revenue sharing site for filmmakers and is set up for discovering, distributing and financing independent films online. Through its various third-party distribution platforms, Openfilm offers independent filmmakers the opportunity to gain exposure and earn revenue for their work.
  • Open Culture has a marvelous list of 420 movies of you to see – don’t forget to scroll down the list of titles to discover another big list of sources to watch films online.
  • NFB: documentaries, animations, alternative dramas and interactive productions on the web. The site also holds trailers, playlists and upcoming online releases. Free for personal use and on a subscription basis for schools and institutions.
  • Movies Found Online
  • Popcornflix: independently owned film library available for free online viewing.
  • SnagFilms: a distribution platform with 2500 independent films to watch for free.

Documentaries Free (and Less Free) to Share

Open Education Video Resources

Open Courseware and OER Video Projects

Online Educational Video Projects (or projects making prominent use of video)

Community projects

  • Engage Media gathers CC-licensed social justice and environmental video’s from the Asia Pacific
  • Isuma TV was launched as an updated social networking platform in April 2009 with over a thousand films in thirty different Indigenous languages free for users.
  • Open Voice Project
  • OurMedia is a media resource for people to upload and share their works that is run by the Internet Archive. Ourmedia’s community of over 150,000 members is seeking to use social media to advocate for the causes that improve people’s lives.
  • an online archive of densely text-annotated video material, primarily footage and not finished films. The entire collection is searchable and viewable online, and is free to download for non- commercial use.

Sources Used for This List:

Digital Agenda: awards for creative reuse of open data

Press release from the European Commission

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes awarded prizes to the winners of the Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions at the Digital Agenda Assembly being held in Brussels on 16th and 17th June 2011. Companies, designers, programmers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public from across Europe participated in the two open data competitions, trying out their ideas for creative reuse of information held by the public sector and open cultural data. European public bodies produce thousands of datasets every year – from how our tax money is spent to the quality of the air we breathe. This data can be reused in products such as car navigation systems, weather forecasts, and travel information apps.

Open data re-use is a key element of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). To make public data widely accessible and available in Europe, the Commission intends to revise the Public Service Information (PSI) Directive in 2011 to fully unlock the economic potential of re-using PSI.Ms Kroes said: “I am amazed by the creative ways I have seen today for public data collected by public administrations, the collections digitised by our cultural Institutions (libraries, archives, museums) to be put to good use. Public data at large is a valuable source for innovation, as today’s winners clearly show.”

The Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions were organised in support of the Commission’s policy to facilitate the wider deployment and more effective use of digital technologies. The re-use of public sector information (PSI) and open data will be a key driver to develop content markets in Europe, which not only generate new business opportunities and jobs but also provide consumers with more choice and more value for money. The market turnover of public data that is reused (for free or for a fee) is estimated at least €27 billion in the EU every year.

The Open Data Challenge

Organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Forum Academy under the auspices of the Share-PSI initiative, the Open Data Challenge invited designers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public to come up with useful, valuable or interesting uses for open public data. It attracted 430 entries from across the EU. Entries were invited in four categories for prize money totalling €20 000. The categories were fully blown apps, ideas, visualisations and liberated public sector datasets. The winners were selected by open data experts, including the inventor of the worldwide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Winners of the Open Data Challenge

Applications: Eva Vozarova of the Fair-play Alliance, Slovakia has developed an app to add transparency to the public procurement process of government contracts

Ideas: Jonas Gebhardt of the University of Potsdam, Germany has developed a mobile application which can help citizens learn more about urban planning in their area

Visualisations: Oliver O’Brien of University College London, UK has developed an app to visualise the current state of bike-share systems in over 30 cities around the world

Public sector datasets: Codrina Maria Ilie of the National Institute for Research and Development in Environmental Protection, Romania has developed an app that collects thousands of old historical geo-referenced maps.


Hack4Europe! was organised by the Europeana Foundation and its partners Collections Trust, Museu Picasso, Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre and Swedish National Heritage Board as a series of hack days in London, Barcelona, Poznan and Stockholm running from 6 to12 June. It provided the opportunity to explore the potential of open cultural data for social and economic growth in Europe in an exciting environment. There were 60 participants from the creative industries. These included mainly SMEs like web design agencies, applications developers, software firms and other digital businesses. They were joined not only by developers from the cultural heritage sector, keen to create new ways to engage people with online cultural resources, but also by some larger players like the Google Technical Group and the Yahoo Research group in Spain.

Winners of Hack4Europe! 

UK: Michael Selway of System Simulation Ltd. who developed an app to obtain improved search results from Europeana using an Android touch screen. 

Spain: Eduardo Graells and Luca Chiarandini of Universitat Pompeu Fabra/Yahoo! Research Barcelona who created a “Timebook” for historical figures. The app integrates content from Europeana and DBpedia and presents it in an easy to use format with, for instance, posts for famous quotes, friends status for influential persons and photos of paintings. 

Poland: Jakub Jurkiewicz of iTraff Technology. Using Europeana dataset, this winner developed an app that processes a photo taken of any painting in a museum to give a description of the painting in a matter of seconds, translated into any EU language or even read out loud. 

Sweden: Martin Duveborg of the Swedish National Heritage Board who developed a fully functional geo-location aware search of Europeana for Android. Users can take photos and associate them with existing Europeana objects. Through an inbuilt function to overlay new pictures with Europeana pictures, a seamless “Then-Now” effect is created. The new photos are uploaded with the current GPS position so the app can also function as a geo-tagger tool for Europeana.What is the Commission doing to promote the use of Public Sector Information?

Promoting the re-use of Public Sector Information is a collective effort and the Commission itself is well aware it can do more to put its own data online. Recently, the European Commission published a Digital Scoreboard (see IP/11/663) to show the progress of the EU and Member States in delivering on the agreed targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe after the first year of its existence. In line with its commitment to an open data strategy the Commission has made its data sets and statistics in the Scoreboard publicly available online enabling anyone to carry out their own analysis and come to their own conclusions.

In a near future, the Commission will also put forward proposals for a pan-European portal to give a single access point to the data which is being put online by the Member States.

License to Remix! – Experiences from the Video Remix Workshop and the IPR workshop

By Kati Hyyppä, Sanna Marttila and Wietske van den Heuvel 

The License to remix! video remix workshop was organized in the context of the EUscreen project and the Remix Helsinki initiative last November in Helsinki, Finland. The workshop promoted creative, legal re-use of audiovisual media, and archival content in particular. Eleven young adults participated in the one weekend event, creating remixes with video editing programs and VJing equipment. Sanna Marttila and Kati Hyyppä, researchers from the Aalto University’s School of Art and Design, who organized the workshop in collaboration with their colleague Andrew Gryf Paterson, also interviewed the participants in order to obtain insight to emerging remix practices and challenges in legal remixing.
The workshop was overall a positive experience and showed that people are interested in using archival audiovisual materials creatively. However, the interviews with the participants revealed that it is not currently easy to find legal, relevant video and audio content for creative works. Licenses and terms of use are also experienced as confusing, and it is hard to determine which materials can be mixed together. The findings of the workshop thus highlight the need for an easy access to archival videos as well as clearly expressed terms of use.
The outcomes of the workshop were presented along with a framework of creative re-use of audiovisual content by Sanna Marttila and Kati Hyyppä during the Remix Cinema Workshop at the University of Oxford (UK) on March 24th. The presentation during the latter event, titled ‘Practices and Challenges in Re-using Archival Video Materials’, was received positively, and will be published later as an article.

The results of the first workshop were also presented during the internal IPR workshop at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (NL) on March 16. During this workshop, partners from the EUscreen consortium discussed about the IPR limitations they face when providing access to audiovisual content. These limitations still causes difficulties for partners and it affects their content selection policy. One of the goals in EUscreen is to develop examples of how a less restrictive legislation like CC-licenses can create better and more meaningful access to audiovisual content. This is especially beneficial for students, teachers, researchers, media professionals and other users that need to be able to re-use audiovisual content. In order to facilitate this, EUscreen will provide access to a limited collection of CC-licensed material during the next two years of the project. The workshop also showed that all partners see the potential in offering this kind of access and that they would be happy to open up their content more, if only they could.

EUscreen has organised a workshop on IPR-issues

By Wietske van den Heuvel

Date: March 16
Place: Hilversum, the Netherlands

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) legislations are different in every European country. One of the major challenges for content providers in EUscreen is to make sure that they provide content which applies to all these different regulations. A lot of work has already been done in the consortium and partners have organised their own systems of clearing the rights. Still, there is a need for more elaboration on this subject and that is why EUscreen has organised a one day workshop for its members at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum on March 16. The workshop will contain discussions about the impact of IPR on a project like EUscreen and identifies potential challenges to support future access routes to audiovisual content. There will also be presentations about use cases elsewhere on education and open licences, which provide inspiration for the development of EUscreen.

Conference: Video Vortex #6

Date: 10-12 March 2011
Location: Amsterdam

The Video Vortex events come back to Amsterdam. Organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, and in a top cultural venue, Video Vortex 6 offers artist presentations (performances, screenings and talks),  hands-on workshops, the launch of the upcoming  Video Vortex Reader II, and a 2-day symposium:

Conference Themes

Friday, March 11
Online Video Aesthetics
Platforms, Standards and the Trouble with Translation Civil Rights
Online Video Art
Book launch: Web Aesthetics, by Vito Campanelli

Saturday, March 12
It’s Not a Dead Collection, it’s a Dynamic Database
The World of Online Video: Country Reports
In Conversation with artist Natalie Bookchin
Online Video as a Political Tool
Book launch: Video Vortex Reader 2

About Video Vortex

The Video Vortex project aims to contextualize these developments by tracing continuities and fault lines across recent decades in artistic, activist and mainstream activity. Contrary to the way online video is frequently understood and presented as something entirely new, it has long threads woven into the history of visual art, cinema and documentary production. The rise of the database as the dominant form of storing and accessing cultural artefacts also has a rich tradition that needs exploring. As a platform for artists, film and video professionals, and researchers, Video Vortex responds to this emerging field, and offers a crucial space for the exchange of knowledge and experiences.

Since 2007, Video Vortex events, conferences, workshops, and exhibitions have taken place throughout (and outside of) Europe, and includes the publication of the first Video Vortex Reader (2008), and the second one being published March 2011. With this program, the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam, and its project partners, have been initiating and facilitating a deep study of online video in its diverse forms and uses, and further, its impact both on, and within, the information society.

Media & Learning Conference report online

By Sally Reynolds

The first Media & Learning conference took place on 25-26 November 2010 in the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training. Participants included policy makers, service providers, broadcasters and practitioners from all over Europe. They met to discuss and share their experiences in providing media-rich resources for learning, in building up the skills of teachers and trainers in media-based learning and in promoting and extending media literacy skills across the education and training sector. Over 230 people from 31 countries took part in this conference and a further 200 people followed the presentations which were streamed online. Several broadcasters took part including members of the EUscreen consortium and re-use of existing digital resources for educational purposes was one of the core discussion threads during the conference. You can read a full report about this conference here.  Media & Learning 2011 will be held in Brussels at the end of 2011, dates to be announced shortly.

License to remix! video remix workshop

Press release from TAIK/ Aalto University School of Art and Design

Date: 19-21 November
Place: Harju Youth Centre, Helsinki

The Remix Helsinki initiative supports legal creative reuse of audiovisual materials. Our first event, License to remix! video remix workshop, will be organized between 19 and 21 November at the Harju Youth Centre. The workshop promotes creative re-use, remixing and sharing of open audiovisual content. In addition to hands-on remixing, their will also be a discussion about intellectual property rights issues.

Public events are organized on Friday and Sunday. The languages used in the workshop are Finnish and English, while the presentations in the public events are in Finnish (with English summaries). On Friday, there will be short presentations related to remix culture, and on Sunday the videos created in the workshop will be presented.

The workshop is organized by Sanna Marttila, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Kati Hyyppä and Anne Luotonen from Aalto University School of Art and Design. VJ PHOQ (XPLOITEC) also provides his creative support for the workshop. If you have any questions or are interested in participating in the workshop please email to You are of course welcome to the public events without prior registration.

The workshop is done in collaboration with EUscreen, the City of Helsinki Youth Department and Pixelversity (Pixelache).

For more information and a detailed programme see:

Economies of the Commons 2: Paying the Costs of Making Things Free

Press release

Amsterdam & Hilversum
November 11 – 13, 2010

Economies of the Commons 2 is a critical examination of the economics of on-line public domain and open access resources of information, knowledge, and media (the ‘digital commons’). The past 10 years have seen the rise of a variety of such open content resources attracting millions of users, sometimes on a daily basis. The impact of projects such as Wikipedia, Images of the Future, and Europeana testify to the vibrancy of the new digital public domain. No longer left to the exclusive domains of digital ‘insiders’, open content resources are rapidly becoming widely used and highly popular.

While protagonists of open content praise its low-cost accessibility and collaborative structures, critics claim it undermines the established “gate keeping” functions of authors, the academy, and professional institutions while lacking a reliable business model of its own. Economies of the Commons 2 provides a timely and crucial analysis of sustainable economic models that can promote and safeguard the online public domain. We want to find out what the new hybrid solutions are for archiving, access and reuse of on-line content that can both create viable markets and serve the public interest in a competitive global 21st century information economy.

Economies of the Commons 2 consists of an international seminar on Open Video hosted by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision on November 11 in Hilversum, a two day international conference and two public evening programs on November 12 and 13 at De Balie, centre for culture and politics in Amsterdam. The event builds upon the successful Economies of the Commons conference organised in April 2008.

Confirmed speakers include:
Charlotte Hess (Syracuse University – Keynote), Ben Moskowitz (Open Video Alliance), Simona Levi (Free Culture Forum), Bas Savenije (KB National library of the Netherlands), Yann Moulier Boutang (Multitudes), Peter B. Kaufman (Intelligent Television), Harry Verwayen (Europeana), James Boyle (Duke University), Jeff Ubois (DTN), Sandra Fauconnier (NIMK), Dymitri Kleiner (Telekommunisten), Nathaniel Tkacz (University of Melbourne), a.o.

Images for the Future Consortium / Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision / De Balie / Institute of Network Cultures University of Amsterdam, Department of New Media

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