Sean Francis' Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the change-takes-time dept

New Kickstarter Rules Make Sense In Principle, But Raise Big Questions In Practice
Having been involved in the creation and success of a few high-profile Kickstarter projects myself, I had a vested interest in this piece. I love the ideology behind crowd-funding, and I’ve been following the evolution of the Kickstarter platform for several years.

The site exploded in a very short time and is growing more culturally relevant by the second, but this piece reaffirmed my belief in a few core concepts that creators, backers, and the public at large MUST understand for continued maximum awesomeness:

  • With Amanda Palmer’s “Theatre Is Evil” campaign, we were fortunate in that we’d already run two successful projects. We’d been able to educate the fans and journey with them on both the MEANING of crowd-funding an album, but also the nuances and hiccups in the production of tangible rewards. But that is not something most projects are afforded. Kickstarter is interweaving itself in the public lexicon QUICKLY, but it is of the utmost importance that as it spiderwebs outside of the niche market (tabletop gamers, tech nerds, comic aficionados, music lovers, etc) into the world that people understand WHAT IT IS and HOW IT WORKS. They even highlight that information, but people seem to overlook it.
  • Despite the best intentions, human error will rear its ugly head at the least convenient moment. I received a backer update just today that apologized for things going astray. That’s fine, just remember to communicate with your backers (potential and otherwise) and keep them involved in the process their money went towards.
  • Kickstarter is not just for unknowns, nor are you “begging”…and while I’ve seen those stigmas falling away, I’ve seen another (potentially more detrimental one) take their place:
  • Backing a project is not a “donation” nor are you pledging towards a “charity”. A few months ago, a friend and I were discussing Cards Against Humanity and the common misconception amongst our peers that they’d been part of a pledge drive of some sort when they supported the Kickstarter.
  • The Kickstarter model will thrive on innovation, not those who use others as a blueprint and perpetuate stagnant and predictable projects. The rule changes most certainly could add hindrance to some project’s potential successes, but as Leigh pointed out, there are also some “loopholes and anomalies”. I think that might inadvertently be advantageous to success. By being forced to think outside the box and work out a reward system that is unique to the project, we’ll all benefit from the creativity that rises to the top.

Disney Chooses Netflix As Its Exclusive Distributor Beginning In 2016
In all honesty, I’d begun to grown weary of Netflix. Not inasmuch as that I didn’t believe in the product, but as time’s gone on, competition’s grown, and licensing deals have gotten stickier, I’ve feared for the service’s ability to continue to deliver something worth shelling out for month-to-month. I’m as excited as can be for the return of (NEW!!) “Arrested Development” but I’ve come to find I stopped visiting the site short of evening’s where I wanted to go on a bender with Gordon Ramsay.

And then Disney came back.

As anyone — especially those who’ve read Neal Gabler’s Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination or seen one of a slew of documentaries that litter cable TV at four in the morning — can attest, the company is founded on a series of principles that brew a brilliant stew of marketing, strategy, and execution. There are missteps, but there are also forward-thinking acquisitions and victories aplenty.

I don’t so much care that I can stream The Nightmare Before Christmas on Netflix Instant right now. This isn’t about that to me. To borrow an anecdote from Wayne Gretzky (recently co-opted by Kevin Smith), Disney sees where the puck is going. Or they’re at least going to damn-well try to make sure it heads that way. If they’re throwing themselves behind Netflix, it gives me a renewed faith in how things might unfold.

Why Copyright Shouldn’t Be Considered Property… And Why A Return To 1790 Copyright May Be Desirable
This article is worth digging into if only for the wealth of thoughtful (and amusing) discussion and debate taking place in the Reader Comments. I’m looking forward to reading Brito’s book, and though I expect I’ll disagree with some of it, the concept of “intellectual privilege” versus “intellectual property” captured my imagination. This article — and the response to it — have had me reevaluating quite a few of my core beliefs when it comes to copyright, law, and ways in which artistry could (should?) happen in years to come.

See Also:

BUT, to play devil’s advocate:

It’s almost 2013. I really hoped the sense of entitlement (and rally cries behind it) would be on a down slope. But alas, it hasn’t subsided, and likely will not for a long time to come. Maybe I shouldn’t feed the trolls, maybe I shouldn’t waste brain-space worrying about the people who just DON’T GET IT, but I feel like the negative impact is a real setback. There are thoughtful and forward-thinking people at HBO, and Apple, and [insert random major record label], and thousands of other businesses big and small… and sometimes, shit just takes time. Or doesn’t work out exactly how you and your friends might want it to.

I don’t disagree, there’s a LOT of evidence out there as to how people are consuming (and wish to consume) their media. It’s all changing by the second, and that is BEAUTIFUL. The future is exciting to me, that’s why I do what I do, but we collectively need to be patient and forgiving as it sometimes takes time to work itself out. Use your voice, but have a dialog. That means you’ve also got to listen, and understand that there are things that you aren’t privy to which comprise some of the choices you’re railing against. I don’t mean to get preachy, but I truly believe good things come through understanding and communication.

In short, don’t be a dick, and you never know what doors might open for you… whether that be in life, or in getting the new season of “Game of Thrones” the way you were hoping.

Every day, I find myself cringing at some stupid post I see online (and let’s all admit, it’s mostly on Facebook). Whether it be a BS rumor proliferated in a uroboros of misinformation or a friend sharing something potentially harmful to career/family/whatever, we’ve reached a point where people’s actions have greater real-world impact than ever. The lack of understanding of the mediums in which people share their exploits, as well as how devoid of fact-checking the world seems on some days, bums me the hell out. There were two pieces this week, which delved a bit into that concept:

Amusing. Scary. Sad. Shocking. However you look at the above, they’re prime examples of instances wherein I think it’s evident we owe it to our peers (and ourselves) to try and slow down the avalanche when and where we can. Maybe Hannah Sabata was doomed to make absurdly bad (and painfully stupid) choices… but I don’t think my mother or my friends are. When I see them share a falsehood, I try and point them to resources ( being one of my favorites) and hope they might think twice the next time. When they talk about privacy concerns, I do my best to fill them in on the true Orwellian monsters. It might just be raindrops in the ocean, but we have to start somewhere. In the very least, we won’t have to dig through so many nonsense lottery scams and factually-devoid memes about Obama when we have five minutes to use the internet for why it’s really here.

cue NBC theme

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Comments on “Sean Francis' Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week”

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Anonymous Coward says:

we collectively need to be patient and forgiving as it sometimes takes time to work itself out

We have been patient and forgiving since the days when these same music companies (who were then sheet music companies) launched smear campaigns against player pianos as “evil robots who conspire to atrophy America’s voice-boxes”.
Isn’t 100 YEARS enough time for them to get their act together?!

Wally (profile) says:

Disney and Netflix

It should be noted that the deal for 2016 may be that most all of the films in the Disney Vault will be on NetFlix by 2016. “The Fox and The Hound”, “Alice in Wonderland” (1951), “James and The Giant Peach”, “Pochahantas” and it’s sequel, various Tinkerbell titles, “The Rescuers: Down Under” (note it’s the first film that used a 100% digitally processed animation using the CAPS system)…just to name a few 🙂

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