Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

This morning’s Observer column.

The first thought to strike anyone stumbling upon the now-infamous Innocence of Muslims video on YouTube without knowing anything about it would probably be that it makes Monty Python’s The Life of Brian look like the work of Merchant Ivory. It’s daft, amateurish beyond belief and, well, totally weird. So the notion that such a fatuous production might provoke carnage in distant parts of the world seems preposterous.

And yet it did. In the process, the video created numerous headaches for a US administration struggling to deal with the most turbulent part of the world. But it also raised some tricky questions about the role that commercial companies play in regulating free speech in a networked world – questions that will remain long after Innocence of Muslims has been forgotten…

Guess Who?

Amazing the gems one finds on YouTube. Thanks to Brian for this one. The intro is baffling, but the rest of it is a hoot (or an hoot, as Alan Bennett might say).

Why YouTube’s adoption of Creative Commons licensing is a Big Deal

GigaOM explains.

Making legal YouTube mashups just got a whole lot easier. The site’s video editor is now allowing its users to remix existing YouTube videos without violating anyone’s copyright. This is made possible by YouTube adopting Creative Commons licenses, offering users the chance to publish any video under the liberal CC-BY license. It’s a big step forward for YouTube, and a giant leap for Creative Commons, which previously hasn’t played a big role in the web video world.

Obama’s Arizona speech

Best speech he’s given — better even than the Philadelphia speech. It’s long (over 33 mins) but worth watching in full. Echoes of Martin Luther King and JFK, but marvellously controlled.

It’s interesting also to see how little of this came over in conventional news media reporting of the speech. Just a couple of soundbytes topped and tailed by the perfunctory analysis of tired and cynical reporters. Long live YouTube.