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Internet Archive web-based upload


The Internet Archive has been the most important repository of Creative Commons licensed media since Creative Commons launched over 4 1/2 years ago. However, their ftp-based upload was a barrier to those unfamiliar with that pre-web technology and the Internet Archive’s upload workflow. A small price to pay for otherwise free access to the repository most likely to make your work available forever–that’s the point. And using ftp made sense, as the Internet Archive wants to keep the highest quality files possible — that means huge files, and web-based upload was not up to that task.

CC wanted to make the Internet Archive more accessible to artists, so we created ccPublisher, which hid ftp and most of the workflow complexity, making upload a drag and drop operation. This was imperfect, as it required artists to install a desktop application and Creative Commons to maintain a cross platform desktop application requiring network access, which takes a lot of work to do well across the many versions and configurations of Windows, Mac, and Linux in widespread use — and the developer (Nathan Yergler, now our CTO) could only dedicate a fraction of his time to the project.

Through some combination of factors–perhaps more robust file upload code in browsers, on the server side, and wider deployment of broadband — web-based upload for fairly large files now works well. So the Internet Archive has rolled out a web-based uploader at It doesn’t look all that interesting, but actually is very important — it dramatically lowers the barrier for artists who want their work to be part of the permanent record of free culture. Of course choosing a Creative Commons license is a built-in part of the uploader.

So upload away! The Internet Archive still recommends ftp or ccPublisher for files over 100MB, but that barrier will fall eventually as well.

Posted 30 August 2007