“Shiva” shirts

Now at the Merch Empire:

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New Merch at the Merch Empire!

Sita_Bag_magenta_640Handmade silk bags by Ubuntu@Work!
yhst-20024741711964_2100_6906620Laxmi Pins and Necklaces!

Laxmi_shirt_currantWomen’s Laxmi shirts in “currant”

yhst-20024741711964_2103_290972Stainless steel water bottles!

And lots of other men’s and women’s shirts, DVDs and CDs, and accessories for your scarce-goods-consuming pleasure.

Sita PAL

My/QuestionCopyright.org’s Sita PAL DVD is finally available at the Sita Merch Empire!

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The PAL format is for European, African, Australian, and many Asian DVD players. (If you’re in North America, stick with NTSC.) Other new PAL distributions are also coming soon in France and Switzerland/Germany via Sita’s distributors in those countries. Stay tuned!

What’s stopping you?

sita_ad_160x600“What’s stopping ME from selling ‘Sita’ DVDs and merch?” I usually get this question from slightly shocked artists and filmmakers after Sita Sings the Blues talks. I’m not stopping them, and the law isn’t stopping them. Yet for some reason, they don’t go out and sell Sita merch once they know this. Why?

I can guess the answer, of course:
expensive
big hassle
DVDs & merch already exist & are available
insufficient incentive to compete
have other, more important things to do

When one artist-filmmaker I know well asked the question, I boldly answered, “nothing – but you won’t.” I know she won’t because she has enough trouble merchandising and promoting her own work; and she’s a good artist, so I know she’ll remain more devoted to her own work than to mine.

That said, a few people (other than me and my Endorsed distributors) are selling Sita merch. One such is Drakar, who also distributed Sita on youtube and elsewhere online. He recently created a small CafePress online shop.

He didn’t ask for my permission or Endorsement*, but states, “This shop is not run by Nina but I will be giving her a significant portion of any profits I might make here (…if and when).” I actually prefer that to negotiating an Endorsement for small-scale projects, because it requires no lawyers or signed contracts. For small amounts of money, who wants to waste any of it on transaction costs?

*Full disclosure: he did email me for some design artwork he couldn’t find online, which I supplied, so the store wasn’t a complete surprise.

In general, I would much prefer you bought Sita merch from the Sita Merch Empire than from a CafePress store. Reasons include: I know the Merch Empire merch is high quality, I personally designed and like all the products there, and a much higher % of the money goes to me. CafePress merch tends to be overpriced for the quality, and CafePress takes almost all the profits unless the seller sets prices absurdly high.sita_ad_120x240

That said, Drakar’s store offers Sita merch that doesn’t exist at the Merch Empire. If I offered mugs, mousepads and stickers, he wouldn’t have needed to make a Cafe Press store in the first place. If he actually sells any, it will demonstrate there is demand for such products. Then I can offer the same or similar products at my store. Drakar is essentially providing free market research, as are any other “competitors.” If any of them do exceptionally well, I’ll know what merch I should be selling.

This is why old-school economists say competition is good for businesses. It is. Too bad there’s so little real competition in our supposedly “free market democracy”.

What’s stopping you from selling ‘Sita’ merch? Not me, and not the law. Yet almost no one’s doing it. Why? What really is stopping you?

Coming soon: Charms/Pendants

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Since we’re running low on pins at the Merch Empire, I ordered another batch. But this time I got some pendant/charms in the mix.
Continue reading Coming soon: Charms/Pendants

New Merch at the Merch Empire!

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Finally, the new Laxmi and Lexi T-shirts are here! In both men’s/unisex, and wymmyn’s “girly tee” styles. Also new: prints for just $15 (unsigned)!

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Nina Speaks!

I can now be rented for talks, workshops and consulting.

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Above: saying something inspiring, like “Culture is Free!”

Writing down rates for myself reminded me of this old Nina’s Adventures cartoon.

Sponsor-A-Shirt!

Sponsor a Shirt or other Sita Merch:

“Where’s the ‘Lexi’ shirt?” “I want kids’ sizes!” “I want a shirt with the male ‘Shadow Puppet #1’!” “Can we have other colors please?”

Our shirts are silk screen printed, yielding much higher quality products than “on-demand” shirts. But that quality comes at a cost. Unlike on-demand shirts, we must pay for shirts in advance, investing in color separations, screens, films, inks, and blank shirts, and committing to a minimum run of 36 pieces.

However YOU, dear reader, can SPONSOR-A-SHIRT! Want us to offer “Ravana” in kids’ sizes? A donation of $400 to questioncopyright.org will allow it to exist in up to 3 kid’s sizes OF YOUR CHOICE. Want “Lexi” to go into production? A $500 donation makes it happen in your choice of one style (Men’s, Women’s, Camisole, or Kids’), color, and up to 3 sizes….

When the product becomes available, its product page at the Sita Sings the Blues Merchandise Empire will say “This shirt sponsored by _________________,” with a link. You can sponsor a shirt in your name, or on behalf of a friend, loved one or organization. You’ll know exactly how your donation is being invested, making our organization more sustainable. It’s not going to consumables like food or rent – it’s starting a new revenue stream…

Read the rest here.

SITA SINGS THE BLUES MERCHANDISE EMPIRE

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THE STORE IS LIVE AND OPEN FOR BUSINESS! Finally you can buy DVDs and T-Shirts. Hooray!

Re: Shirt Designs: We are taking pre-orders until Wednesday June 10, after which shirts go immediately into production. Shirts ordered before June 10 will ship June 17. To make sure the design you want comes into existence, please order it NOW.

BUY! BUY! BUY!

Love,

–Nina

P.S. Feel free to copy any of these standard-sized web ads here.

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Basic Sita T shirt design

By popular demand:

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This is similar to what’s on the cafe press store, but it’ll be silkscreened and much higher quality. The gold color will hopefully be metallic.

I’m also investigating making cloisonne pins. I’ve always wanted a cloisonne pin of my design.

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Sita DVD announcement list

We’re almost done authoring the Sita Sings the Blues DVD packaging and getting an order fulfillment service to ship it. Meanwhile, here’s something to do: sign up here with just your email address, and we’ll send you an mail with ordering information as soon as it’s ready.

Because the “content” is free – you can download it all online – what we’re actually selling is DVD packaging, not the film itself. This includes a nicely printed full color recycled cardstock “eco” case, and a silkscreened “pre-downloaded” DVD with the film and various features like subtitles, the trailer, and some video interviews of me ranting about copyright. The DVD is a nice package, a real object, and you can actually own it – it’ll still be there even if the internet (or your connection to it) disappears.

We’re planning two “Official” editions of the DVD packaging. The basic consumer version will be about $20:

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Then there’s the Artist’s Edition, which will be about $100. This will be a more elaborate package – 6 panels instead of 4 – numbered and signed by me. This edition will be limited to 4,999. Why 4,999? Because for every 5,000 DVDs sold, I have to make additional payments (beyond the $50,000 I have already paid) to the corporations that hold copyright monopolies on some of the music used in the film.  I don’t believe culture can be owned, and I’ve released my film under a free license to ensure that it can never be similarly trapped, but as long as the government enforces these monopolies, I must count DVDs.

Artist’s Edition

The cover art isn’t final but will be in a few days. I could use the “happy Sita” image on the artist’s edition, and the “artsy Sita” on the consumer version. Leave your suggestions now or forever hold your peace. Thanks!

I’ll be speaking Wednesday February 11 @TOC


O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2009

The Open-Source Coffee Table Book: Publishing Pop Culture in the Digital Age

Nina Paley (Nina Paley Productions, LLC)
5:25pm Wednesday, 02/11/2009
Keynote

Location: Broadway North (6th Floor)

New York Marriott Marquis Times Square
1535 Broadway

Official blurb:

Why should techies have all the fun? The few publishers to embrace open content focus primarily on technical books. But an increasing number of artists and pop culture creators are seeking alternatives to copy restricting their works. What works for Cory Doctorow’s science fiction can also work for graphic novels, art and coffee table books. Unfortunately, publishers that historically specialize in popular culture – many of which are subsidiaries of the same media conglomerates pushing DRM and extending copyright enforcement – are unwilling to pursue the open-source model. Will existing open-source publishers expand into pop culture to exploit this niche? Will new publishers emerge to serve both pop culture markets and artists?

 

I’m making a power point (excuse me, keynote) presentation and everything.

Win a Dream* Date with Nina(tm)

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above: at a different glamorous, star-studded award thing

I’ve been nominated for a Spirit Award, and I’m auctioning off a DREAM* DATE allowing the lucky winner to attend the glamorous**, star-studded*** Spirit Awards with me. Bidding closes Jan-29-09 19:42:45 PST.

Date: February 21, 2009
Arrivals: 11:30am
Lunch: 12:30 pm
Ceremony: 2:00pm-4:00pm

Location: Santa Monica Beach, Los Angeles

Age, race, caste, gender, orientation, marital status no bar. Getting in usually costs at least $2,500 per person.
This is part of a fundraising drive to get my award-winning feature film, Sita Sings the Blues, out of copyright jail.

The lucky winner will get to prance down the Red Carpet with me (photographers! paparazzi! none of whom will know who the hell we are because they all want photos of movie stars), eat whatever they serve for lunch, drink the booze that inevitably flows freely and at film events (I personally don’t drink, so if you’re sober at least you’ll have me to talk to), clap politely, and listen to me yak on and on about copyright reform and freedom of speech. Optional: pick me up from my friends’ house in Glendale (because I don’t drive – I’m a New Yorker!) and enjoy VIP valet parking!

Also you’ll get the satisfaction of supporting Free Speech.

BID HERE! You have until January 29.

*asexual dreams only
**ugh
***the joint’s gonna be crawling with celebrities

Merch in the lurch

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Someday Sita will have real nice silkscreened T-shirts and other quality merchandise. Until then, there’s this temporary on-demand cafepress store.
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Even the clock keeps tickin’, Daddy Won’t You Please Come Home?

Also, you can download free posters here.

“Depression Is Fun” Blowganza!*

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Update: all 10 copies are now sold or spoken for.

When I recently visited San Francisco, my best friend Ian picked up the last of my boxes stored at the old apartment I once shared with my ex-husband. Riffling through the contents I discovered a treasure-trove of still shrink-wrapped copies of my first book, Depression Is Fun. This has been out-of-print almost since its publication in 1992. But now I have 10 copies here in New York, and they’re on sale for $25 postpaid (and signed, if you want) each. These puppies are going for $30, $50, and – holy crap! – almost $90 online as “collectibles.” As always, my email address is at the bottom of the middle column, the one with the pictures linking to my movies and cartoons and stuff.

*”Blowganza” coined by Anne Altman