by Leigh Beadon

Filed Under:
copyright, plankhead, public domain

Plankhead Discovers The Most Effective Anti-Piracy Technique: Public Domain Dedications

from the normally-we-ignore-press-releases,-but... dept

We're a little late for the April Fools target date, but we wanted to pass along this pitch-perfect press release from reader Zacqary Adam Green about his media organization Plankhead and their success with a highly effective anti-piracy solution:
Plankhead Experiences 0% Piracy Rate Thanks To CC0 Anti-Piracy Technology

Syosset, New York — April 1, 2012 — Plankhead announced today that their animated series, Your Face is a Saxophone, has sustained a 0% rate of illegal downloads since its debut last year. The group attributes this astronomical success to their use of CC0, an anti-piracy technology produced by the San Francisco, California-based organization Creative Commons (CC).

In an internal audit, the group determined that no consumer has ever obtained an episode of Your Face is a Saxophone through piracy. “We were stunned by these numbers,” said Zacqary Adam Green, founder and Chief Executive Plankhead of Plankhead. “Independent and well-established media companies alike have been reporting massive losses to pirated content, and yet every single person who has downloaded our series has done so legally. We have eliminated the problem of online piracy.”

Many anti-piracy technologies have been controversial due to their employment of a Digital Rights Management (DRM) system. CC0 works differently, by removing all copyright on a digital media file without modifying or locking the data within. This has the effect of severely limiting a consumer’s ability to do anything illegal with the content.

Plankhead was unable to track all downloads of Your Face is a Saxophone, but the CC0 technology makes this a non-issue. “It gives us peace of mind,” said David Lanz, Chief Operating Plankhead of Plankhead. “With CC0, we don’t have to account for every single download to be sure that none of them are illegal. We’ve consulted dozens of security experts, electrical engineers, and quantum physicists, and they’ve all agreed that it’s physically impossible to pirate our show. So we can be certain that nobody has ever done it.”

The group switched to CC0 technology in October of last year after Mr. Green voiced concerns with their previous choice of anti-piracy technology, Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY). “CC-BY is still much stronger than a DRM-based anti-piracy technology,” said Green, “but I was still able to conceive of a way that someone, somewhere might be able to infringe on our copyright with a CC-BY-protected product. CC0, on the other hand, is rock-solid.”

Green also believes that the technology has been a tremendous financial boon to the group. CC0 generates gratitude from informed consumers and digital activists, which differs from competing disdain- and hatred-based technology. “If we hadn’t used CC0, our revenue probably would have been halved,” said Green. “The goodwill it generates has been wonderful for our business.”

Plankhead is an organization devoted to the production, promotion, and proliferation of public media. In less pretentious terms, they make stuff, donate it to the world, and scream loudly about its existence. Your Face is a Saxophone is their first major release. For more information about Plankhead and Your Face is a Saxophone, please visit and

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Greevar (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:05pm


    It's funny that this actually would put an end to infringement. If only the MPAA, ESA, and the RIAA would just take this path, then there would be no more digital "piracy".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Irony

    It would also put an end to their revenue stream. DUH!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Irony

    Same is true for illegal drugs, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Irony

    Only for those creators that put all their eggs in the "direct sales" basket. For those that know how to monetize alternative revenue streams, money will come and it will be good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Irony

    Indeed. Making drugs less illegal by lowering penalties, and even legalizing some of them completely, reduces crime, price (and hence incentive for criminals), and the number of addictions and drug-related deaths.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Rich, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Irony

    Tell that to Red Hat. They make a billion dollars a year off of free software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Irony

    >>It would also put an end to their revenue stream. DUH!

    Not necessarily. Just to cite one example, sometimes the best selling works on iTunes are legally available for free from other sources. People will pay reasonable prices for convenience and work that is guaranteed to be malware free. So you can still have a revenue stream on "CCO" works if revenue streams is all you care about. There are also the other avenues for revenue that EZ Knight referenced.

    What the CCO does for you is to free the producer of the direct costs of DRM and the indirect costs of DRM such as tech support, angry customers, and a product with restricted utility and value. CCO also does a better job of getting your artistic work out there in the public which lets you capitalize on other potential revenue streams.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. Fact: I offered to translate YFIAS to Spanish

    As a matter of fact, I offered to translate Your Face Is A Saxophone to Spanish. The subs are ready and the dubs (yes, the dubs!) are in casting phase. If this series weren't free to translate, who knows whether someone would have tried to subtitle it, let alone dub it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Richard (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Irony

    It would also put an end to their revenue stream.DUH!

    Actually the facts are against you here - so DUH squared

    Look at the 911 report - as studied in Boldrin and Levine's work "Against Intellectual Monopoly"

    The publishers of the report made plenty of money even though the work (as a work of the US government) was in the public domain from day one!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Overcast (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Tell that to Red Hat. They make a billion dollars a year off of free software.

    And to VMWare.

    Why is VMWare the virtualization leader? Because there's a free version out there - that's why. The other software that does the same: Hyper-V, XenServer, etc - are free now, sure - but they realized they HAD to be, because VMWare's 'free' stance on their product was impossible to compete with. So now, years later after the geeks got 'hooked' on VMWare Server that was and still is free - multiple companies rely on it.

    Give it away to the geeks for free, and make MASSIVE profits once they push management with the 'awesome' software they found.

    The companies pay for the ESX hosts, support, and the enterprise versions of the software. I daresay if VMWare server wasn't free, they wouldn't be the leader in this field. Many companies are now not only virtualizing their data centers with VMWare, but also their smaller sites. My company is doing just that and paying VMWare hand over fist for it, because it does offer a good ROI.

    Music can do just the same, albeit the model needs to be different.

    I was looking at concert tickets, but like a CD - they are just too much in terms of cost. I mean, for the $120.00 I would pay for my wife and I to go to a concert, I could spend all day at the Zoo or an Amusement park. They need to COMPETE, they forget about 'other things to do', they focus entirely on 'sales per song'. That's just not going to work now.

    They need to look at the whole scope of musical interest.

    So ok - give out the music.

    Then drop ticket prices at the concert - if needed. If you are filling the venue, then you are pricing it right, maybe I'm just cheap.

    Start up a 'clearing house' of sorts - the RIAA could drive this. A web site where you can pay for a yearly subscription with 100 downloads a month, offer more downloads for a higher yearly fee.

    Make the fee reasonable - not $49.99 a month, make it $29.95 a year for the basic and go up from there.

    This web site could not only offer downloads, but it could offer a user with an account - so that they could track their downloads, re-download anytime anywhere.

    The limits would keep people from just giving out the login info to friends. But there's one more thing that could majorly limit 'giving out' the accounts... Prizes.

    That's right - glittering prizes with some compromises :P

    So a user is downloading MP3's - oh my, a window pops up and says they just won 4 concert tickets and a t-shirt, click here to respond within 15 minutes! People wouldn't want to risk missing that chance because a friend was logged in I'm willing to bet.

    You know - remember how radio did it? Free prizes, back stage passes, t-shirts.

    But here's the last part that's the biggest part...

    It HAS to be linked to social media as a "OMG, Brett Musician just posted on my Facebook, I LOVE THIS SITE!!"

    See - the lure of being 'special' is what will sell, no?

    The lure of extra 'goodies' you can't get anywhere else will also sell.

    The yearly fees - would cover 2+ CD's bought by a person each year.

    The revenue stream would lessen PER SONG, but overall I bet it would spike up big time. Because... you offer a good that's... scarce.

    Special Tickets or Passes/Prizes/Unique Items/Social Media with the band.

    See? Someone could make a mint off of that if done right. Maybe I should have patented that, huh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Irony

    Yeah, sure, but on the other hand, you know, money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Silvermistshadow, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Irony

    Does that mean if, say, a video game company decided to get into the secondhand game market rather than eliminating it, they would increase their profits by some non-zero percentage?

    I like the sound of that math better than MAFIAA math.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Calgon Anon, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 2:24pm

    Music Industry

    Has the music industry ever consider putting 15 sec ad in a mp3 sound file before the music starts? They could then generate ad revenue and release the music for download. Musicians will still get royalties for each copy downloaded from them. Also, they can sell ad free mp3 files, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    hmm (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 2:46pm


    cue universal music issuing "automated" takedowns in 5..4..3..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    hmm (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 2:48pm


    The best thing the RIAA / MPAA could offer would be someone who doesn't screw up every single business they touch...because by christ they've proven thats the most scarce thing in their entire organization....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    PRMan, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Irony

    There are many free games which are making a ton of money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Music Industry

    15 seconds later, someone would remove the ad, and push it out on the torrents without it, ending the issue.

    It's a fail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Greevar (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Music Industry

    That would be defeated faster than you can say "Adobe Audition". What would be better is that artists ask their biggest fans to put up the money needed to produce the music they love. If an artist is worth their mettle, he/she would have a core fan base willing to throw their money at them for all sorts of nice perks (autographed deluxe albums, limited edition art, etc.) that would go towards paying the costs of production. With the fans paying the cost of making the music, there would be no need to sell the digital copies at all. Quite the contrary, it would be to their advantage to give it away in order to build a larger core fan base.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Irony

    Like open source?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Paul, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Music Industry

    They come very close to what your proposing

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Calgon Anon, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Music Industry

    I'm aware it's easy to remove the ads, but a majority of users out there are not very computer literate; and they would download the music from the source if it was available. Hell, a lot of my clients barely know how to turn on a computer.

    Also, it would be beneficial to find a happy medium of the length of the ad to where it wouldn't be worth removing it. Something as short as "Drink milk" at the beginning would be sufficient as an ad and wouldn't annoy the listener.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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