We got this submission from a performance artist who wishes to remain anonymous, for reasons that will be clear below (though we've verified that it is from a well-regarded performer). While we generally run attributed pieces, it's good to have a reminder once in a while that there are many artists who are impeded by copyright but who, for professional reasons, can't talk about it openly. When trying to measure the damage done by copyright restrictions, one must allow for the fact that creative repression is an underreported crime.

I have this one show which is kind of languishing, in part because I don't know what to do about the music. I developed the show over the course of a couple of years, playing around with different pieces of music as the show evolved. When I came to the point where the show was "finished" and I had found music, I was so overwhelmed at the prospect of licensing it all that I... just never did.

I showed the piece once, without doing any licensing, to a packed house and a very warm reception. I did, by the way, contact the artists who made the music in my show. They're local. And they were like, "Oh, hey, this sounds great. Yeah, go for it. But you know, it's not our permission you need."

"Sita Sings the Blues" on the big screen in New York City! HELD OVER AGAIN

Sita Sings the Blues

Sita Sings the Blues will have a week-long run in New York City's IFC Film Center, December 25th – 31st! January 5th! January 26

This is was a full theatrical run, with 7-8 screenings a day. The filmmaker, Nina Paley will be doing Q&A after the 8:25pm shows most nights. On Monday, Dec. 28th, the conversation will be about the film's free distribution model and the free culture movement.

It's kind of unbelieveable that this thing has been extended for 5 weeks. Granted, it's down to just one show a day now. But we only thought it would run one week, so this run has exceeded everyone's expectations.

Tickets are available online. Here's a show schedule (click on the time to purchase tickets for that show):

Woo! New showtimes - Click on the time to purchase tickets for a screening.

Nina says, "I'm doing Q and A's tonight and tomorrow after the 8:30ish shows, then Friday and Saturday after the 4:40pm shows. Then I might take a little break, who knows." no more Q and A's - they were fun for the first 3 weeks though!

IFC Film Center has beautiful screens and is located at 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street in the West Village, right at the W. 4th St. subway station (A, C, E, B, D, F, & V subway lines).

Sita Sings the Blues is a terrific film; it won all those awards for a reason. Please tell all your New York friends — let's pack the house!

Sita Sings the Blues

Redefining Property: Lessons from American History

Jack Valenti, former head of the MPAA E. N. Elliott

Jack Valenti: "We are facing a very new and a very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the video cassette recorder and its necessary companion called the blank tape." [1]

E. N. Elliott: "(W)itness...the existence of the 'underground railroad,' and of a party in the North organized for the express purpose of robbing the citizens of the Southern States of their property...." [2]

Why do discussions of Free Culture trigger such strong emotional response?

People hold very strongly to ideas about the meaning of property. Jill Lepore, in a New Yorker Article called "The Politics of Death" (Nov. 30, 2009, p. 62) writes:

life, liberty, and property are the rights that Americans talk about, and fight over....Taking a long view of American history, it's possible to argue that each of these rights has led to a fracture in the body politic, a dispute in which there seemed no room for compromise. ...a swirl of disputed ideas have gathered around each of these contested rights. But, from one era to the next, the ideas have been different.

Lepore's article concerns itself primarily with "life" politics: " the past half century, Americans have been fighting over the right to life." But immediately prior to that statement lies this rich, enlightening paragraph about historic changes in Americans' ideas about property:


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