Francis Ford Coppola On Art, Copying And File Sharing: We Want You To Take From Us

from the first-step dept

Paul Tamm points us to a really wonderful interview with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, which touches on a whole variety of different topics, but a couple of quotes are likely to be interesting to folks around here. For example, he's asked about copying works of other filmmakers and whether or not he tries to "veer away" from the masters of the craft to create his own style, and he responds brilliantly:
I once found a little excerpt from Balzac. He speaks about a young writer who stole some of his prose. The thing that almost made me weep, he said, "I was so happy when this young person took from me." Because that's what we want. We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can't steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that's how you will find your voice.

And that's how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you. And Balzac said that in his book: It makes me so happy because it makes me immortal because I know that 200 years from now there will be people doing things that somehow I am part of. So the answer to your question is: Don't worry about whether it's appropriate to borrow or to take or do something like someone you admire because that's only the first step and you have to take the first step.
While (of course), I always dislike the incorrect use of the term "stealing," I found this to be quite an insightful answer from someone who is certainly in a position to pretend otherwise. However, throughout history we've heard similar (if much less eloquent) claims from others. Ray Charles famously made similar points about copying his music (shamelessly) from others to create his own unique sound (and invent soul music in the process).

Immediately after this, he's asked about business models, and he notes:
This idea of Metallica or some rock n' roll singer being rich, that's not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I'm going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?

In the old days, 200 years ago, if you were a composer, the only way you could make money was to travel with the orchestra and be the conductor, because then you'd be paid as a musician. There was no recording. There were no record royalties. So I would say, "Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money." Because there are ways around it.
While some will misinterpret this to mean that artists shouldn't make money, that's not what he's saying at all. He's saying it shouldn't be presumed that they automatically must make money -- or that if they are to make money, that it needs to come from the film directly.

Filed Under: art, copying, francis ford coppola, free, sharing


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2011 @ 5:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    P2P DNS is like anything else: It does nothing, because the traffic still goes over the same networks and goes through the same IPs, and the same infrastructure, and the traffic will still have the same profile and will still easily be blockable by even simple systems. Better, the entire DNS system will be easily hijacked and turned against people. It's a fail all around.


    Copytardo, stay away from tech talk you are not good at it.

    People can create their own secure channels over the infra-structure that exists and the traffic will be indistinguishible from any other traffic except in the amount that is being send, there is no patterns to search for in those instances, a million dollar deep packet solution can be defeated by simple doing 2 things at the same time like streaming audio or video and using another software, how will you separate the two if you don't have the ability to know what it is inside the packets?

    Further there are already solutions to DNS hijacking(i.e. government seizures), try looking at TOR hidden services and Osiris Serverless Portal System, not to mention complete solutions for network protocols that are decentralized, encrypted and anonymous like Netsukuku.

    The Pirate Parties are single issue, narrowly focuses special interest groups that will never have enough of a wide appeal to get anything done. They may elect a few members, but that is more to do with proportional representation rules rather than any real victories. Another fail.


    I can cite the Prime Minister of Japan who elected some people to just pass the legislation he needed as proof of your inability to understand how things work. Try searching for Kozumi Children.

    If ever the Pirate Party do a search to see the things people want and promise to change the laws accordingly, they probably become the most powerfull party on earth, the tools are here, you just need a forum where people propose laws and vote on those laws using encrypted keys to assure only one vote for person recording they physical location to plot a graphic on a map of how things are welcome or not.

    So saying they will never be able to do something is not a risky proposition is just stupid, have more respect for something that could rock your world hard.

    Operation payback are a bunch of DDoS'ing kids. Giving them a shout out sort of gives me an indication of your age (and grade level in school, which is about 10)


    Yep their are mostly kids, no argument there, kids are impatient and don't know they have other options, still that is just a sign that there is feroucious opposition to your kind and that is not going away anytime soon either LoL

    What you should learn from Torrent freak is that every time a big site is taken down, another site comes up in a country they think they can hide out in. The list of countries tolerating the crap is getting smaller and smaller, and soon everyone will find themselves hosting in Sweden and Turkey and trying hard not to get arrested. That isn't exactly progress.


    Or people just start using anonymous networks overlays, that are today impossible to probe. Retroshare is a good example of one, Omemo is another, StealthNet is yet another and next generations could embed audio and video inside other videos and that would by pass any filters based on fingerprinting in existence today, is not progress beautiful?

    The reality is that governments are more and more aware of the economic impacts of piracy, and even countries like China are showing that they understand the value of IP. What you see today short run (the all you can eat buffet) isn't what you will see in the long run.


    Governments care about other aspects of IP laws, those laws are perfect for censorship.
    But it doesn't matter that much the all eat buffet is just getting started I can post here a mile long(no kidding) list of free content that is free to share and distribute legally, like it or not you will need to compete with free or board the free train if you want to stay on the market, no government is going to pass laws forbiding people from creating content and saying others can give it away for free. Also the open source philosophy values cooperation and stimulates a better market, where production is local but creation is a global affair, everyone can make money not just the choosen few.

    Your daddy(i.e. goverment) can't help you and it won't be able to do anything about it. Your days are numbered.

    Can we talk IPv6? It's coming. More and more companies are getting converted, more and more of the network infrastructure can handle it, and it will only be a matter of time before it comes out. IPv6 will do away with much of the need for shared or ever changing IP addresses, and will make it easier to identify an individual user based on IP address. The same IP address can be offered back to the same MAC address all the time, etc. There will be less and less legal need for proxies, and over time traffic from known proxies is likely to be denied by networks, making it even harder to hide out.


    I think you don't appreciate fully the economic incentives companies and others will have to keep doing the same things that IPv4 did. People won't buy a whole bunch of IP addresses for every device inside their companies when they can just buy a small number and use NAT's to multiply that, ISP's will not buy one IP address for every customers they have dude.

    The wild west didn't stay the wild west for long. There are reasons. Learn and understand what is really going on, and by the time you actually make it to university, you might be ahead rather than behind.


    That is right at some point order will come to the chaos and your invasion of the public space will not be tolerated anymore.

    You are invading the public space in the name of profits, you are trying to force the vast majority to conform to something they were not consulted about it and will fight back.

    Just for clarification it must be noted that piracy have been going on for at least 40 years since the 70's and you are saying that somehow it will stop? and even if stopped miraculously what makes you think people would go and give you any money? do they not have alternatives?

    God knows I have found legal free and good alternatives and don't give money to people like you. You are not the center of the universe and you will never see my money, that I can promise.

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