"Money was maliciously introduced in ancient times as a tool of enslavement" -
Michael Tellinger

"The present belongs to the future and future generations, and all old laws, religious and other, should be abrogated immediately. Free us!" - Vinay Gupta on Twitter

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller

"You find the strangest ways to be positive!" - Diane Duane, Wizards Abroad

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Redesigning "Copyright" to serve artists and public

"How bad is the current copyright system? Should we push for abolition, or just radical reform? Both..." (from Going on the Offensive). Our current copyright laws are rooted in a sixteenth century power struggle, and let's face it, some things have changed since then. Whatever opinion you might currently hold, and however fiercely some people fight to keep the status quo, the reality is that culture is moving beyond current law. One of my brothers just reminded me to take another look at what's happening over at the Sita Sings the Blues and Question Copyright pages. If you aren't familiar with these projects concerning copyright, they offer, in a highly engaging and entertaining style (see vid below for example), everything a thoughtful citizen needs to get properly oriented on this fascinating area of cultural activism and buzzing humanity at its best.

I thought I might just do a quick post on this now since I still can't type much (wait wait wait for results of MRI and finding out what the next step is) so meanwhile here are just a few things to check out:

Question Copyright dot org: A clearinghouse for new ideas about copyright. "Our mission: to highlight the economic, artistic, and social harm caused by distribution monopolies, and to demonstrate how freedom-based distribution is better for artists and audiences." Click here for FAQs.

Sita Distribution Project: "what happens when an award-winning filmmaker releases her film on the internet for free? Everybody wins."

The Book Liberator: An affordable way to create a digital archive (and share your own work as you choose; not for use with material others own, of course!).

Public Knowledge: In Washington, DC, this public interest group works to defend our rights in the emerging digital culture.

Paley's Minute Memes: here's my favorite, "All Creative Work is Derivative" (and at the Minute Memes link, there's some more information on how she made this video). Music by Todd Michaelson.


I've had these issues in mind since starting this blog; Nina Paley's Sitayama is thenamesake for the Sita of the "on the road with" reference in my banner. It was through my fascination with Nina Paley's project, and following her struggle to get her  movie made, and then my adoration of the movie itself, that I began to understand copyright issues better. I don't claim to be an expert, and never will be, but at least I know more now -- and know where to go for information. From what I can see, a great many otherwise well informed people still don't see the big picture - the one beyond the well-defined boundaries of the past (and of entrenched interests; we all know who writes history, right?). It's hard to do that with any issue until something jogs you and your perspective shifts, and Paley did that for me.

I've been adding links to this matter in the right hand side of this blog all along; look for the Sita Sings the Blues poster and the links below it. It's probably easy to overlook them there. Please take a look - lots more good stuff there!