Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The Atlantic Launches a Video Aggregator With a Twist

The Atlantic, which added a photo section to its brainy Web site earlier this year, has taken the next logical step: A digital nook dedicated to moving pictures.

The site’s new section joins many other sites’ video verticals which bring you clips from around the Web. But unlike some competitors — see: Gawker, Mediaite and others — the Atlantic is taking a relatively old-fashioned approach to aggregation: It’s asking permission from copyright owners to run their stuff. edit boss Bob Cohn says his site will get a signed licensing agreement from every owner whose stuff gets featured on’s proprietary video player. (The Atlantic will also feature clips from other sites using their own embeddable players — in those cases, it won’t need to ask for permission.)

That doesn’t mean video makers will get paid — compensation will come in the form of links — but the olde-timey practice highlights the different tack the site is taking here. If you want clips of TV news readers saying embarrassing things, or media magnates getting a pie to the face, there are plenty of places to get those. The Atlantic will instead focus on higher-brow, higher-minded stuff that you probably haven’t seen.

Atlantic editor Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, a former producer at Current TV who Cohn describes as “an embed in the video-generating community,” is in charge of picking the stuff and will also interview some of the creators.

Here’s a sample of what she’s looking for: An excerpt from “California is a Place,” a slice-o-life documentary series:

Aquadettes from California is a place on Vimeo.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik