artist-in-residence

News on our artist(s) in residence.

Testing the Kickstarter waters: support Nina Paley's new booklet!

economics of artQCO Artist-in-Residence Nina Paley

Our artist-in-residence Nina Paley has started her first Kickstarter project -- help her make her goal!

The result will be great little booklets that you can pass out to friends and colleagues who have questions about copyright.  When ready, they'll be available from our store and, of course, they'll be freely-licensed.  We're planning to use Kickstarter for some other upcoming projects too; help us get started on the right foot, and help support Nina!

 

Here's her description of the project:

I want to print at least a thousand Mimi & Eunice's Intellectual Pooperty mini-books: Mimi & Eunice IP comics packaged into a 5.25" x 3.5" full-color 20-page booklet. The size is perfect for carrying in a wallet or purse, to conveniently produce whenever a conversation about art, culture and commerce starts going to crazy-town. How many times have you wanted to explain the problems of copyright simply and clearly? How many times have you longed to deflate pro-patent propaganda, but gotten into a convoluted abstract argument instead? Having these little books on hand can turn a heated debate into a friendly and entertaining conversation. I know, because I carry a prototype with me.

Tags: 

How Copyright Restrictions Suppress Art: An Interview With Nina Paley About "Sita Sings The Blues"

In this November 2008 interview, well-known cartoonist and animator Nina Paley tells how her award-winning, feature-length film Sita Sings The Blues landed in copyright jail. After this interview, Nina joined QuestionCopyright.org as Artist-in-Residence, and is now working on the Minute Memes project as well as on the free distribution model of her film.

(This interview is also available in annotated segments, in case you're looking f'or something specific or are not sure where to start.)

Full Interview

After pouring three years of her life into making the film, and having great success with audiences at festival screenings, she now can't distribute it, because of music licensing issues: the film uses songs recorded in the late 1920's by singer Annette Hanshaw, and although the recordings are out of copyright, the compositions themselves are still restricted. That means if you want to make a film using these songs from the 1920s, you have to pay money — a lot of money (around $50,000.00).

It's a classic example of how today's copyright system suppresses art, effectively forcing artists to make creative choices based on licensing concerns rather than on their artistic vision.

The music in Sita Sings The Blues is integral to the film: entire animation sequences were done around particular songs. As Nina says in the interview, incorporating those particular recordings was part of her inspiration. To tell her — as many people did — to simply use different music would have been like telling her not to do the film at all. And that's part of her point: artists "internalize the permission culture", which in turn affects the kinds of art they make.

Sita Sings The Blues has been nominated for a "One To Watch" Spirit award and won a Gotham "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You" award, as well as "Best American Feature" at the Avignon Film Festival, "Best Feature" at the Annency Animation Festival, and a Special Mention at the Berlinale. Famed film critic Roger Ebert has raved about it. But the film remains undistributable as of this writing; Nina is trying to work out an arrangement with the holders of the monopolies on the music that inspired her. If you'd like to donate to support Nina, you can do so here.

(2009-12-16: she eventually did pay them off, and then released the film under a free license. You can buy a DVD, or download it online. Buying a DVD directly supports Nina, as do donations obviously.)

Thanks to: Nina Paley for interviewing and for editing help; the Software Freedom Law Center for space and for logistical support; Light House Films for camera work, etc.

Interview Highlights (2:15):

Tags: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - artist-in-residence