Innovation,Dissent,Intellectual Property,and the Internet

This morning I moved the Barriers to Innovation video to the private section of you tube so most folks can’t watch it.  I really intended to delete it but can’t figure out how; so making the video private is the next best thing.  Some folks may wonder why I did that . . . and its a long story, so buckle in if you are up for it.

About two years ago, Mike Coats who is the director of Johnson Space Center started a forward looking initiative to improve creativity and innovation within NASA.  This is a critical goal.  Great leaders have great vision and this was the start of a process to make us over as a more effective, innovative, inclusive, creative agency.  Last spring, seven teams were formed to examine ways in which JSC or NASA could be improved:  recruiting, mentoring, communications, work/life fit, communications, IT, and a team to examine the barriers to innovation.  Everybody reported out in January; several groups made videos, all the groups both identified problems and proposed solutions.  By the way, this was an officially sanctioned part time activity with appropriate charge codes — just for you folks that care about that sort of thing.  And it was very intentional to include contractor representation on each team.

But the barriers team video hit a chord with me and also with a lot of folks when we posted it on you tube.  Lots of comments, lots of views, lots of discussion.  I will say that NASA senior management took the video and its message very well.  Absolutely nobody has told me that posting that video was a problem.  (I wonder if the dissenters to that opinion feel stifled?)  Anyway, the barriers team wanted to also post their “solutions”.  Originally this was a power point chart presentation.  I am not a big fan of powerpoint chart presentations although the team had some good ideas.  So the team decided to stick together and make a video of the solutions — not just a power point, but use the same actors (themselves) and the same themes and show proposed solutions.

So they have been working on that for the last couple of weeks.  As they got the video ready to post, somebody asked if we should get permission to use the TV theme music.  Silly me, I hadn’t thought of that.  Of course TV theme music is intellectual property and is protected by numerous laws.

Even though most folks on the internet don’t seem to worry too much about those laws, we should set a good example.  So we asked permission to make and post a couple of videos with the TV theme music.  The response from those who hold the intellectual property rights for that was OK — but only for internal use — no you tube.


So, we have done the right thing and removed the old video — while we continue to negotiate with the music property owners.

At the very least, we should be able to repost the original and new video without the music in a few days. 

In the meantime, I hope we can post all the video reports from all the teams.  Even though these are all made by video amateurs, there are lots of great lessons and proposals which could make our organization — and perhaps any organization — more creative and innovative.  JSC is already moving out to implement some of the best recommendations.

More to come!


4 thoughts on “Innovation,Dissent,Intellectual Property,and the Internet”

  1. Hello Sir!,
    It may be possible that Google/Youtube already pays royalties/licences this music for use on youtube. They pay/have deals with a lot of TV networks and record labels to cover this sort of thing.

    Just a thought!

    Peter Joseph

  2. I don’t pretend to know better than the NASA lawyers. But it seems to me that you’d be covered by the “fair use” doctrine on your videos.( Of course, I am sure additional restrictions apply because its the government and all. But you weren’t using it for commercial purposes, it was a small portion of the overall video, you were using the song for satire and education, you weren’t exerting your own copyright over the video but making it available for pubic domain, etc etc. But hopefully the Law and Order won’t throw their muscle around too much, because I can’t imagine they have much of a leg to stand on, and you’ll get it back on YouTube.

  3. The situation with intellectual property (IP) is a silly one, really. Current laws are pretty much designed to make money out of IP and it hinders the very innovation and creation that made it. Especially theme music and the insignificant things. We could probably find 780611147 more reasons why IP laws are ‘evil’.

    Still I support your decision to remove the videos from public. It’s one thing when an individual violates IP laws, but for an organisation such as NASA it could prove a considerable reputation hit.

    I believe you can find some music licensed under Creative Commons.

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