Ahimsa: Sita Sings The Blues Now CC-0 'Public Domain'

from the the-law-is-an-ass-I-don't-want-to-ride dept

crossposted from ninapaley.com

flower power

I am hereby changing Sita Sings the Blues' CC-BY-SA (Share Alike) license to CC-0.

A few years ago I started thinking about taking a vow of non-violence: a commitment to never sue anyone over Knowledge (or Culture, Cultural Works, Art, Intellectual Pooperty, whatever you call it). Copyright law is hopelessly broken; indeed, the Law in the US is broken all over the place. Why would I resort to the same broken law to try to fix abuses that occur within it?

We live in a messed-up world. My choices, however principled, will not change that. People will continue to censor, suppress, and enclose Knowledge. Share-Alike- the legal requirement to keep Knowledge Free - has ironically resulted in the suppression of same.

"Not using knowledge is an offense to it," wrote Jeff Jarvis, reflecting on the death of Aaron Swartz.

I learned of Aaron's death on Sunday; on Monday, the National Film Board of Canada told me I had to fill out paperwork to "allow" filmmaker (and personal friend) Chris Landreth to refer to Sita Sings the Blues in his upcoming short, Subconscious Password, even though Fair Use already freed the NFB from any legitimate fear of Share-Alike's viral properties. I make compromises to my principles every day, but that Monday I just couldn't. The idiocy of NFB's lawyers was part of the same idiocy that Aaron fought in liberating documents from JSTOR. I couldn't bear to enable more bad lawyers, more bad decisions, more copyright bullshit, by doing unpaid paperwork for a corrupt and stupid system. I just couldn't.

So the NFB told Chris to remove all references to SSTB from his film.

There are consequences for taking a principled stance. People criticize you, fear you, and pity you. You get plenty of public condemnation. You lose money. Sometimes the law goes after you, and although that hasn't happened to me yet, it could as I do more civil disobedience in the future.

But the real victim of my principled stance isn't me, it's my work. When I took a principled stance against Netflix's DRM, the result was fewer people saw SSTB. When countless television stations asked for the "rights" to SSTB and I told them they already had them, the result was they didn't broadcast it. When publishers wanted to make a SSTB-based book, the Share-Alike license was a dealbreaker, so there are no SSTB books.

My punishment for opposing enclosure, restrictions, censorship, all the abuses of copyright, is that my work gets it.

Not using knowledge is an offense to it.

So, to the NFB, to Netflix, to all you publishers and broadcasters, to you legions of fucking lawyers: Sita Sings the Blues is now in the Public Domain. You have no excuse for suppressing it now.

Am I still fighting? Yes. BUT NOT WITH THE LAW. I still believe in all the reasons for BY-SA, but the reality is I would never, ever sue anyone over SSTB or any cultural work. I will still publicly condemn abuses like enclosure and willful misattribution, but why point a loaded gun at everyone when I'd never fire it? CC-0 is an acknowledgement I'll never go legal on anyone, no matter how abusive and evil they are.

CC-0 is as close as I can come to a public vow of legal nonviolence. The law is an ass I just don't want to ride.

I cannot abolish evil. The Law cannot abolish evil; indeed, it perpetuates and expands it. People will continue to censor, silence, threaten, and abuse Knowledge, and our broken disaster of a copyright regime will continue encouraging that. But in fighting monsters, I do not wish myself to become a monster, nor feed the monster I'm fighting.

Neither CC-BY-SA nor CC-0 will fix our terribly flawed world with its terribly broken copyright regime. What I can say is SSTB has been under CC-BY-SA for the last 4 years, so I know what that's like and can share results of that experiment. Going forward under CC-0 I will learn new things and have more results to share. That seems like a win even if some bad scenarios come into play. I honestly have not been able to determine which Free license is "better," and switching to CC-0 may help answer that question.

Filed Under: copyright, nina paley, public domain, sita sings the blues


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  1. identicon
    CAPT CANADA, 19 Jan 2013 @ 9:36am

    Thats MORE LIKE IT

    This is the start of the real revolution
    "m I still fighting? Yes. BUT NOT WITH THE LAW. I still believe in all the reasons for BY-SA, but the reality is I would never, ever sue anyone over SSTB or any cultural work. "

    and im into 3d special affects and animation and i endorse this totally.
    IN fact i am going forth to yes make a few bucks BUT i will do so in hte nicest way i can....i'm going ot give away a ton of stuff at the start of each project so fans , other artists and creators can enjoy. THINK like this.
    YOU write 5 seasons for a sci fi tv show.
    YOU then create all the meshes and models for said show or at least most of them.
    Give them away free and then the first season 100%
    ADD a donate button
    2.5 billion people on the net
    i currently get 12 grand a year on disability
    they take 50% of my net after expenses ( back to tax payers it goes )
    Also as incentive if i make 100$ a month above free and clear after the deductions they give me another 100$.

    Let me ask you how are you going to compete against people like me that actually enjoy doing what i do?
    That would not even care if i make a buck as i'm on disability and if i do make a buck then fine ....see the difference between myself and those that claim to be artists?

    This guy gets it....YOU DON'T SUE SOMEONE OVER CULTURE.
    YOU DON'T SUE THEM OVER KNOWLEDGE ( Aron swartz )
    now if i make something ya its nice to get recognized that's his point....its nt hard just take my models and meshes and put a credit in it ....i'll do same and if someone goes that's cool who did it they can find out.

    HOWEVER if you really don't again i'm not gonna sue you but i might yell at ya from afar LOL

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