Public Resource's FedFlix digitizing hundreds of hours of gov video archives at no expense to tax payer

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,
You may remember the FedFlix program from Public.Resource.Org. We got the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to send a couple dozen videotapes every month. We digitized the tapes, and sent them back to the government with a DVD. No cost to .gov, and we got public domain data to post as high-res stock footage, plus great casual viewing on YouTube and the Internet Archive. The program went well for a year, the DC folks were happy, and I'm pleased to say we were able to renew the Joint Venture, but with a twist. They're now sending a minimum of 100 tapes a month and we have rights to all 6,000 masters in their warehouse.

The first batch of video arrived and the Public.Resource.Org Factory has been going full-tilt. We've put out an average of 11.5 hours of new video every day for the last 11 days, including some amazing previously unseen-on-the-Internet flicks featuring James Cagney, a bunch of Disney stuff, historical films by John Ford, and an amazingly clueless judicial film on "Special Needs Offender: Cyber Criminals." We put all our video in 3 places (some copies still updating or sorting):

1. YouTube (link)

2. Internet Archive (link)

3., available for FTP and rsync as well as http. (link)

Did I mention this whole thing was no cost to the government? And, no cost to anybody ... this is an unfunded project and we did it for about $350 in hardware costs.

My only question is why the government isn't cranking out 11.5 hours of new video per day. Enjoy.

YouTube - PublicResourceOrg's Channel (Thanks, Carl!)


  1. Much respect to the operation. Banal videos or not, they should be applauded for immortalizing the videos appropriately. And at no cost!

    “My only question is why the government isn’t cranking out 11.5 hours of new video per day.”
    Seriously. Civilians can do it with $350 hardware… Why not let the government spend $350/hr to do it, and hell, give them an extra $5m bonus* every time they complete a job before it’s a year late?
    *Bailouts would be needed. And about 17B USD startup. :)

  2. “Special Needs Offender: Cyber Criminals.” is great. I’m not ready to sit through 2 whole hours of it, but the opening is hilarious.

  3. Definitely lots of respect to the archivists, without whom we wouldn’t have history publications!

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