GEMA censorship in Germany.

Any German speakers out there want to subtitle this short video by Nina Paley? In it, she tells, in English, how her film Sita Sings the Blues is currently being censored on YouTube Germany by GEMA, the German copyright collection agency (the ominous underworld connotations are unfortunately rather too appropriate in this case...).

EDIT July 15, 2011: Big Thank You to Cristobal for these subtitles!

We'd like to get this message wider circulation in Germany. We'd also appreciate it if GEMA and YouTube Germany would fix whatever misunderstanding caused them to censor the film in the first place! But since this surely isn't the only film that this has happened to, it's still important to spread the message that copyright restrictions inevitably result in censorship.

Note that we have already tried the official YouTube takedown counternotice procedure. It has resulted in exactly zero change: the film remains censored on YouTube Germany.

EDIT July 18, 2011: Hurray! Sita Sings The Blues is now, once again, viewable on German Youtube! Thanks to everyone who spread the word and got the story covered in outlets such as Der Spiegel. To learn more about the film, click on the Sita Distribution button at the top of this page.



Adapted from a talk and slide show I presented at the Open Knowledge Conference in Berlin on July 1, 2011. --NP
Crossposted from

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program's users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

-- The Free Software Definition

These are the Four Freedoms of Free Software. They are foundational principles, and they are exactly right. They have served and continue to serve the Free Software Movement very well. They place the user's freedom ahead of all other concerns. Free Software is a principled movement, but Free Culture is not – at least not so far. Why?


Credit is Due (The Attribution Song)

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"Credit Is Due (The Attribution Song)" is one of the many memes in our Minute Memes series and was supported by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Animation, lyrics, and tune by Nina Paley. Music performed by Evanescent (Vocals & Ukelele: Bliss Blood, Guitar: Al Street). Sound Effects Design by Greg Sextro. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

High-res versions, song, and stills available for download at (The direct YouTube page is here.)

Always give credit where credit is due
if you didn't write it, don't say it's by you
just copy the credit along with the work
or else you'll come off as an arrogant jerk

Always give credit where credit belongs
we know that you didn't write Beethoven's songs
pretending you did makes you look like a fool
unless you're Beethoven - in that case, it's cool

A transparent system makes cheating unwise
the simplest web search exposes your lies
no one wants their reputation besmirched
which happens to liars when they are web-searched

Proper citation will make you a star
it shows that you know that we know who you are
Plagiarization will only harm you
so always give credit where credit is due!

Mimi makes a copy of a Beethoven Symphony with a giant copy machine. Trouble starts when Eunice erases Beethoven's name and writes in her own. This makes Eunice look like an ass. Searching the Internet (itself a giant copy machine) confirms that Eunice is a liar. Eunice realizes her mistake and corrects it, but by then everyone's moved on - her plagiarism is barely a blip in the spread of correctly-attributed cultural works through copying.Mimi makes a copy 



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