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.

The Creator-Endorsed Mark

Creator-Endorsed Mark

(See also this article at PBS MediaShift about the Creator Endorsed Mark, and this example of the mark being used in commerce.)

The Creator-Endorsed Mark is a logo developed by and first used in June 2009 that a distributor can use to indicate that a work is distributed in a way that its creator endorses — typically, by the distributor sharing some of the profits with the creator.  The mark is not an alternative to a free license; rather, it's meant to be used in conjunction with free licensing.  You release your work under a free license, and then grant or withhold permission to use the CE Mark based on how distributors behave.

As more and more creators freely circulate their works on the Internet, the mark provides a reliable way for non-exclusive publishers to signal to their customers that they are supporting the artist.  The mark enables consumers to distinguish distributors based on how supportive of the artist they are, and to allow creators to encourage — not necessarily require, but encourage — particular methods of distribution for their freely-licensed work. Our experience is that given a choice, audiences will often prefer sources that support the artist, when they have a reliable way of recognizing such sources.

Help Wanted: Can Your Servers Host a Feature Film?

Distributing 'Sita Sings The Blues' Worldwide

Film-maker Nina Paley is close to having her award-winning feature film Sita Sings The Blues out of copyright jail and onto the Internet for free, decentralized distribution.

Our goal is to have the entire film available online by Saturday, March 7th.

We'll need some "seed" sites to host it: Internet servers with the capacity to offer around 10 GB of data for public download (so we can make the film available at various resolutions). If you or your institution has the bandwidth and storage for that, please contact us. We'll work out a way to get the data to you.


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