Everyone pays for my art.

They pay attention.

Attention being the most valuable, and most limited, resource there is for humans. It’s more limited than money; you can’t just print more. People don’t “consume” art, they attend to it.

Meanwhile, here’s a little thing on Sita’s distribution model in the Wall Street Journal.

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My Tax Dollars At Work

My Tax Dollars At Work

My Tax Dollars At Work

I know it’s bad timing that I made this on Veteran’s Day – I assure you it has nothing to do with veterans. It does have something to do with “the Law”. Click for full size.

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.

Sita Sings the Blues Free Distribution Report #1

http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/SitaReport1/SitaReport1.html

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This is a rather tardy “first-quarter” report about the Free Distribution of Sita Sings the Blues. It was hastily written July 31 for a conference the next day. Please read about our business model. As of this posting (August 5, 2009) numbers remain approximate and incomplete. The store has actually grossed $34,883.00 to date, but some of those sales are for QuestionCopyright.org merchandise; sales of QCO’s “standard edition” Sita DVD are split between me and QCO, and so aren’t fully reflected in this report. In other words, store income is reported conservatively, some numbers should be higher but Karl Fogel is busy right now so these will have to do. Also, I failed to include income from indie cinemas like Central Cinema in Seattle. Those probably add $3,000 to $5,000. Even the conservative numbers in the report reveal an important truth: I am making money with my “Free” content.

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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Help the University of Illinois Library Help “Nina’s Adventures”

They need $7,000 to scan, prep, and upload my entire comics oeuvre, including Nina’s Adventures and Fluff. Under a Creative Commons Share Alike license, of course, so everyone can see, share, use, and build on them.

The Library is looking for…

$7,000 for Digital Content Creation to digitize a collection of the original comic strip art boards of Nina Paley, an Urbana-born cartoonist and animated filmmaker, whose award-winning animated film Sita Sings the Blues was reviewed by Roger Ebert as “astonishingly original” and selected by him for screening at Ebertfest 2009 in Champaign.
Her cartoon series include Nina’s Adventures (self-syndicated) and Fluff (distributed internationally by Universal Press Syndicate).  Nina’s Adventures was a semi-autobiographical, often experimental, alternative weekly comic strip that delivered incisive commentary on consumerism, overpopulation, and other social issues.  Ms. Paley is interested in making her artwork openly and freely available for distribution and reuse.
If interested please call the Library: (217) 333-5683

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
Think of “containers” — books, discs, hard drives — as jugs and vessels. These containers add utility to and increase the value of the water. If you can get water for free in the public river, great — that doesn’t reduce the value of vessels. Quite the contrary: when rivers flow, the utility and value of water vessels increases.

free vs not free; use the unlimited resource to sell the limited resource
 
Read the rest of this article…
 

Night of the Living Dead Business Model

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NYT article about corporate zombies here.

Oh, and also here! (thanks Tom Quinn!)

Larger poster image here (please copy).

Lloyd Kaufman Defines Media Consolidation

Lloyd Kaufman, Chairman of the IFTA, delivers a speech on media consolidation and the dangers it poses to independent art.

Sita almost free!

Chris Carlson of Diamond Time sends this news:

“we are all approved across the boards with the exception of Memory
Lane Music, who only have a small piece of the song, Mean to Me.”

It will take many months to actually get the contracts from them, and I still need to raise about $45,000 to pay for this limited permission, but films are customarily released right after approvals; Sita Sings the Blues is more or less decriminalized at this point. So it’s time to release her! I have to update the credits and sound designer Greg Sextro is doing some final tweaking of the audio, but we’re hoping to have the film online and free under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License in about a month.

There’s a ton of work that needs to be done: web design, database set-ups, scanning documents, ideally having some ancillary products ready to go (who wants to make open-source merch? talk to us!),  an automated system to give credits to donors….much more work than I can do alone. We’re trying to build a new model for film distribution, one that respects the audience and rewards sharing and freedom. Want to help? Please come to QuestionCopyright.org’s open meeting this Monday February 2 at the Software Freedom Law Center in New York.

See also: Sita’s Distribution Plan.

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

Sita on WNET-Channel 13

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Sita Sings the Blues is going to be broadcast on New York PBS station WNET Channel 13 on They haven’t chosen the exact date yet, but it will be sometime in March Saturday March 7 at 10:45pm on the series Reel13.

PBS enjoys a special privilege among broadcasters: they can legally broadcast music without having to clear individual master or synchronization licenses. That means even while Sita is in copyright jail, she can still legally air on PBS. WNET is hoping to be the first of many PBS affiliates to air the film. You can write or call your local PBS affiliate and ask them to broadcast Sita too!

WNET is our first experiment with Sita’s copyleft plan. Although the film isn’t free under copyleft yet (because I still haven’t received the promised contracts from the rightsholders, let alone raised the money), we’re acting in accordance to those principles already. WNET is making a voluntary payment equivalent to what they normally offer programs on Reel13. That’s $3,000, a third of which will be spent updating the credits and having a new HD master made to their specifications. They understand Sita is non-exclusive, and that any derivative works they make (such as subtitles) must also be open-content. But as long as bad copyright laws prohibit everyone else from broadcasting Sita, PBS gets exclusive access by default.

We’re still looking for donors and underwriters. Want to see your name on PBS? Here’s the credit breakdown:

  • $250 or more – Donor (small but legible font in end crawl)
  • $1,000 or more – Production Angel (larger font, sub-credit of your choice)
  • $10,000 or more – Executive Producer (largest font, sub-credit of your choice)
  • $50,000 or more – Sponsor: same as Executive Producer, plus I will modify the “intermission” to include your image/message as long as it complies with PBS’s rules (no soliciting). I can animate you or your product walking out for popcorn along with the “cast”! Or whatever you want.

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The credits lock Friday February 13. That’s exactly four weeks from today. After then, you can still donate (we hope you will!) but the tape will be locked for WNET.

Please donate here. Donations under $250 still gratefully appreciated, and all donor names (even the smallest) will be acknowledged in a special credits section on the official DVD, as well as the upcoming official web site.

Donatin’ for Sita

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Want to donate to the Sita Distribution Project and help get Sita Sings the Blues out of “copyright jail”? Questioncopyright.org is the project’s new Fiscal Sponsor. Donate through them and get a 100% tax writeoff! And the project will get 100% of your donation (minus only what Google Checkout skims).

A word about credits in the film. I’d love to include the name of everyone who donates, and small donations help a lot and are most welcome. But I’m realizing that the names will have to be illegibly tiny to include all of them; or else the credits will go on and on and on and on, which means broadcasters will cut them out and then no one will get to see their names. Unfortunately I think I’m going to have to set some minimum donation amounts to get named in the credits, like $100 maybe. Donations of $1,000 or more get a larger credit under “Production Angels,” and $10,00 or more can be “Executive Producers,” or something like that….Once the film is released, we’ll also have a web site that maintains a list of all (even the smallest) donors (unless they choose to opt out) and that list can keep growing even after the release credits are “set.” Still I love small donations, and I want to encourage them. Any suggestions?

The Nina’s Adventures Copyleft Project

Update: Free Nina’s Adventures bulk archives at archive.org

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It’s time to copyleft ALL of my old Nina’s Adventures comics! But the thought of digging through all those old drawings, re-scanning them, cleaning them up in Photoshop and uploading them to archive.org, is more than I can bear. That’s why I’m looking for (a) smart, trustworthy, dedicated volunteer(s) in New York to do it for me. You will need:

  1. a high-resolution tabloid-sized flatbed scanner or a quality book scanner
  2. time
  3. Photoshop (or similar graphics editor) skillz
  4. a decent web connection
  5. an excellent reputation and/or references

You will get:

  1. my gratitude
  2. other peoples’ gratitude
  3. a good story to impress your friends
  4. college credit if you can arrange it

You’ll be handling 14″ x 11″ rare, original, one-of-a-kind Nina’s Adventures drawings, in various stages of decay. Some are turning yellow; some have faded ink; some have corrections and edits pasted on, the glue of which has ceased to adhere so now bits are falling off; some were drawn on “fade-out blue” graph paper which must be edited out of scans.

Once these puppies are scanned and uploaded, they’ll be free for anyone to copy and use. Publish them anywhere! Make buttons and t-shirts! Make that coffee-table book I’ve always wanted! Make derivative works! As long as you attribute the source to me, and license the derivative works under the same share-alike license, you can do whatever you want. But we have to get these scanned and uploaded first, or the revolution will never come.

“But Nina, how will you make money?” Hopefully by selling originals. The more freely the images circulate, the more valuable the originals will become. To this end, I could use another volunteer to help build a web site cataloging all the original strips, both available and sold. It would be nice to allow owners to add their contact information, and otherwise track the locations of all the originals as they go out into the world. Maybe you could manage online auctions or something. And shipping…boy do I need help with shipping.

Potential volunteers please comment below or send an email to nina underscore paley at yahoo dot com. Thank you!