Progress report on liberating America's video archives

You'll remember that I've been urging people to go watch the public domain videos that rogue archivist Carl Malamud has been liberating from the US government and putting on YouTube, so that he could demonstrate the pent-up desire to watch these things and get the Feds to stop sitting on them. Now Carl has given his testimony and he reports:

Thanks to everybody for viewing the public domain videos I posted from the National Archives. NARA officials informed me that total revenue from the Amazon deal back to NARA over the last two years has been $3,273.66. I read their contract (link to pdf) and my back-of-the-envelope calculations say total DVD says can't be more than 11,000 units and are more likely well under 5,000 units.

In less than a week, we did 14,664 views on just 46 videos, and I'm pretty sure if we put all 1,899 videos on-line for a while, the number of views would go up by a couple of decimal places!

For those interested in the background on this as well as other NARA issues (like the $531 million computer system they're buying that the vendor has 15 patents on!!), I've posted my testimony on the subject.

Congress's official page for the hearing is here.

My testimony in pdf and on scribd.

Perhaps relevant to the National Archives was Monday's announcement by the President of France that of his $50 billion stimulus package, he is devoting $1.1 billion to scanning the French National Library. My oral remarks to the Committee will suggest that we face a unique opportunity, in the midst of a great depression, to use Recovery.Gov to create enduring public works for the digital age.

National Archives and Record Administration

(Thanks, Carl!)