cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Jim recently lamented the loss of media from citing maybe the most insanely great presentation ever done in Second Life with flamethrowers and zombies– a presentation Jim , Tom Woodward, and Brian Lamb crafted for the 2008 NMC Virtual Symposia on Rock the Academy: Radical Teaching, Unbounded Learning. The presentation, “Revolution Will Be Syndicated” is still highly relevant to the work we do today.

The loss of the NMC archive is most my fault not theirs — the account I made made for NMC had my email address and I never look at that account (it is still on vacation response 2+ years after I left), so any notice was ignored. I cannot even remember why I had used blip- most likely to embed the media; I always put the Quicktime videos on the nmc media server.

I was pretty sure I had copies of the original video that disappeared from but while fishing around my pile of backup hard drives, I wondered if I could find them via the magic of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. If you have never used this site, Peabody, then it is time to learn more. The Wayback Machine is indispensable (and a freaking treasure, someone should knight Brewster Kahle) for finding not only web sites who have disappeared, but for find in previous versions of sites that have changed/deleted content.

It has over 300 snapshots of this site going back to 2005 and can find iterations of crawlable sites back to 1996.

So while the NMC site has been revamped from the time I last worked on it in early 2011, I was able to find a snapshot of the session page for this presentation (which is a dead URL on the main site)

nmc wayback

Now the thing about the Wayback Machine is that it captures the HTML of the page, any media, CSS you get is there only if the original files still exist. So it’s not a visual snapshot per se. Now the links all point to a URL from the same time period, so the one to UMW BLogs goes to the archived version of that site.

The links to the NMC Media server fail with WayBack links (likely because the server is set to disallow robots), but also because the WayBack Machine does not archive media files. But if we just deoconstruct the WayBack URL for say the video of the session from

to a original URL

I was able to download the video. So not only are these available, but if Jim wants to he can reclaim the other media from this session

Revolution Will Be Syndicated (Archive Video)

Revolution Will Be Syndicated (Slides)

EdTech Survivalist Video

Fishing With Tom Video

Changing Expectations Video (by Tony Hirst)

Later in poking around the NMC web site, I did find they have done a nice job of archiving the version of the web site I worked on while there, so the original conference site for this event is at I can find all of my NMC content by searching the main archive.

Just For grins I uploaded the session archive to YouTube, where I got a quick and cold copyright slap for the use of an Oasis Song in Tony’s video, and the fade out of Pink Floyd’s Comfortable Numb at the end of the session:

(click for the full sized copyright notice)

(click for the full sized copyright notice)

Out of curiosity, I tried the offending music removal, so those sections are now silent, but the presentation exists

Of course putting the video on YouTube does not really in any way count as reclaiming. In fact, it’s the opposite. I do it to show how messed up this is.

But if you need to find content that has been removed, changed, very often the WayBack machine is a good first resort to see what you can grab and take back. I have gotten immeasurable use by being able to find web sites no longer there.

On my last trip I came across a few instances (in person and reading) of just how stupidly hard it is for people to find and re-use the media of our culture. Even if we can convey the ideas of creative commons, public domain, wading through various search narrow channels, deciphering licenses– is frankly just too damn complicated especially in an education context. And Congress is actually thinking of stretching the Sonny Bonehead legacy even farther and the UK seems to be following this route.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

The whole problem is the entire framing of this act as COPYright. I have zero interest in copying any movie or song for distribution. I have infinite interest in remixing, creating something new from existing media for purposes of expression, teaching, and never for commerce. I do not want COPYright, I want REUSEright.

And frankly, we keep rolling over (as I did above) to the copyright holders and their lawyers and dogs and YouTube content matching. There is little sign of a significant number of people rising up to say it’s wrong.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

So let’s reclaim or domains, but maybe it’s time for Massive Acts of Remix that assert a right to create from the old, as has always been done.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Or we just call Jim and Tom back from Second Life, to bring out the flamethrowers on all the numbed copyright zombies.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Awesome detective work. I appreciate it. You never know what you’ll miss until it’s gone. I’m doing quite a bit of wandering through my old media and piecing things back together. I hadn’t though to hit up the archive for those videos though. I did use it to find chunks of my original blog hosted on way back in the day.

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