Understanding Free Content

Content is an unlimited resource. People can now make perfect copies of digital content for free. That's why they expect content to be free — because it is in fact free. That is GOOD.

Think of "content" — culture — as water. Where water flows, life flourishes.

content is free, like water in a river

Containers — objects like books, DVDs, hard drives, apparel, action figures, and prints — are not free. They are a limited resource. No one expects these objects to be free, and people voluntarily pay good money for them.

containers are not free

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Calling All Musicians: Can You Arrange This Song?

One of our upcoming projects is the Minute Memes video series (we're hunting down funding for that and other things right now — leads welcome). Nina Paley, award-winning animator of Sita Sings the Blues, wanted her next work after Sita to be about copyright restrictions and censorship, and hit on the idea of "Minute Memes": short, viral videos that use visual storytelling to spread truly revolutionary ideas. You know, radical stuff, like the notion that people should be able to share music without asking permission, or that making a derivative work is an act of homage not destruction. The sorts of ideas you're not likely to hear from the MPAA or the RIAA, who, of course, are busy making their own videos to convince you that culture should be owned.

The first Minute Meme will be a video called "Copying Isn't Theft". It's not ready yet, but Nina's written a song to go with it. Or at least the lyrics and the tune — the rest of the arrangement comes from you. Musicians out there, what can you do with this?

Go wild. Rearrange it, re-dub the vocals, do whatever you need to do. When you think you've got something good, post it somewhere and leave a comment here (or contact us). If it's close enough to what Nina was aiming for, we may be able to use it in the Minute Memes.

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