Remember the days before digital copying? Every copy introduced small errors; a copy was always a degraded, inferior version of its parent. But entropy has a beauty of its own, as in this beautiful film By Alexander Stewart (it’s not embeddable, so you have to follow this link):
Errata is an animation made by photocopying copies of copies. Starting with a blank sheet of paper, each successive copy becomes a frame of animation, meaning that each on-screen image is a copy of the last. All movements, pans and zooms in the film were accomplished using standard zoom and shrink features on copy machines; the animation camera used to shoot the copies onto 16mm film was not used to manipulate or direct the film’s motion. Comprising thousands of copies made on a dozen copiers, the resulting imagery is a moving Rorschach test of analog textures, bleeding ink spots and pareidolic cloud formations.
In contrast, digital copies are perfect – indistinguishable from their “originals.” Compression, however, retains that exciting element of entropy, as artist hadto demonstrates:
Granted he intentionally increased the compression from frame to frame; the discussion on the video page is enlightening (and led me to Errata in the first place).
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 â€” because it is in fact free. That is GOOD.
Think of “content” â€” culture â€” as water. Where water flows, life flourishes.
Containers â€” objects like books, DVDs, hard drives, apparel, action figures, and prints â€” are not free. They are a limited resource. No one expects these objects to be free, and people voluntarily pay good money for them.
Think of “containers” â€” books, discs, hard drives â€” 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 â€” that doesn’t reduce the value of vessels. Quite the contrary: when rivers flow, the utility and value of water vessels increases.
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 videointerviews 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:
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.
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!