updated 3/23/2005 8:08:27 PM ET 2005-03-24T01:08:27

A new Web site backed by some of the Internet's leading thinkers promises to make it easier — and cheaper — for artists, scholars and other creative people to share their digital works.

Ourmedia.org seeks to become a central repository for such items.

"They are (now) all kind of scattered, a lot on people's computers (or) hidden away on the Web in faraway crevices," said J.D. Lasica, a veteran journalist who co-founded the project. "We thought it was important to gather a lot of this stuff under one roof."

The site also addresses a chief obstacle to posting video and other large files to the Internet: The more popular an item gets, the more its owner has to pay for Web hosting services.

Ourmedia will offer hosting services for free, and the site pledges to retain home movies, photos, cartoons, software and any other digital work forever. The only exceptions are porn and items under someone else's copyright. More than a dozen volunteers worldwide will monitor.

For each file posted to Ourmedia, the owner must specify what people can do with it, choosing from among a half dozen or so licensing packages. Owners can claim full copyright protections if they want, though the project encourages sharing, Lasica said.

The Internet Archive, a nonprofit online repository, and Bryght, a Canadian publisher of open-source materials, are donating storage and bandwidth services.

Ourmedia's advisory board includes Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle and Dan Gillmor, a pioneer in citizen journalism.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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