correction again, again

I’m reposting this (originally posted July 2009) for a third time, because misinformation continues to spread all over the interwebs. I should post it more often.

correction

Dear Journalists Dear Journalists, bloggers, commenters, etc.,

Some of you are writing that I was forced to choose the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license because the film is violating copyright. That is completely untrue, but has become the dominant motif of stories I read about the project. The confusion is understandable, so I attempt to sort it out below.

Sita Sings the Blues is 100% legal. I am free to release it commercially, which is why the film is gaining a number of commercial distributors in addition to its free sharing/audience distribution, which is also legal, and wonderful.

Sita Sings the Blues is in complete compliance with copyright regulations. I was forced to pay $50,000 in license fees and another $20,000 in legal costs to make it so. That is why I am in debt.  My compliance with copyright law is by no means an endorsement of it. Being $70,000 in the hole reminds me daily what an ass the law is. The film is legal, and that legality gives me a higher moral ground to stamp my feet upon as I denounce the failure that is copyright.

Having paid these extortionate fees, I could have gone with conventional distribution, and was invited to. I chose to free the film because I could see that would be most beneficial to me, my film, and culture at large. A CC-SA license does not absolve a creator of compliance with copyright law. The law could have sent me to prison for non-commercial copyright infringement. I was forced to borrow $70,000 to decriminalize my film, regardless of how I chose to release it.

Note that in some ways the film is not, and never will be free. For each disc sold, distributors must pay $1.65 to these faceless money sinks.  Transaction costs raise that amount to about $2.00 per disc. That is why my own Artist’s Edition is limited to 4,999 copies. I’ve already bled $50,000 into their vampiric maws; I have no intention of paying more.

Thank you for your attention.

Love,

–Nina

San Franciscans: support the Red Vic Movie House!

I loves me a good local cinema that plays arty independent animation. When I lived in San Francisco, I loved the Red Vic, and I still love them all the way from New York.  Like most small art institutions, they need help paying the rent, which is why I and Shadow Distribution are donating all our proceeds from these Sita Sings the Blues screenings to the Red Vic.

Thursday December 23 at 7:15p & 9:15pm
Sunday December 26 at 2:00, 4:00, 7:15 & 9:15 pm

There’s nothing like seeing a movie on real film, in a real theater with other people. If you’re in San Francisco this week, go!

Linear Growth

Above are the Feedburner stats for Mimi & Eunice. The green line represents subscribers; the blue represents “reach” (“the total number of people who have taken action — viewed or clicked — on the content in your feed”). The lines represent an overall trend of linear growth. Not exponential growth. Which is fine, but makes me wonder: is “viral” (exponential) sharing becoming a thing of the past, as quality content on the internet becomes more ubiquitous?

A few years ago, if you put anything halfway decent online it would spread like a virus. The online memosphere was less colonized than it is today. Of course there will still be “viral” content, but it has a lot more to compete with today: all the other viral content. Imagine if you released something of today’s quality online 10 years ago. It would have spread further and faster back then, because attention wasn’t already consumed by vast amounts of other quality content. On the other hand, the internet itself was much smaller 10 years ago – fewer people had access to it – so overall reach of a viral success could have been lower in absolute terms.

I’ve noticed the linear trend in most of my works now (sitasingstheblues.com, having enjoyed exponential growth followed by a plateau, is now on a linear decline). Maybe this means my work sucks, but I don’t think so. I’m happy with linear growth. But I am revising my ideas about “viral content,” and I wonder if others are, too. Twitter’s “Trending: Worldwide” lists indicate some things spread virally – suddenly they’re everywhere – but then they’re gone the next day, and forgotten in a week.

What does this all mean? Does it mean anything? As an artist, should I care?

For Sale: Fuji FinePix W1 3D Camera

Fuji FinePix W1 Dual 10MP Real 3D Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.8 inch LCD

I bought one of these this Spring. Hardly ever used it and it is now gathering dust. It is exactly this camera Amazon lists here. It has a very cool 3D viewer built in. Comes with all parts, box, and manual which is in Japanese. $300 O.B.O. Amazon lists it for $999; I paid about $650. Now there’s a newer model that’s only $369, which is heartbreaking from my perspective, but oh well. If you’re in New York, come and get it – no shipping! Leave a comment if you’re interested.