Kickstarter-Funded Movie Wins Oscar For Best Documentary

from the crowdfunding-coming-of-age dept

Earlier this year, in noting just how many movies were getting funded by Kickstarter, we also mentioned that two films that had been funded via the site had been nominated for Oscars in the past -- and that there were quite a few documentaries that were "shortlisted" to be nominated this year, including Inocente. And now it turns out that, not only was Inocente nominated, it won for best documentary, making it the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar, though I doubt it will be the last. Hopefully this means we can kill off the line we've heard too many times from some industry folks about how Kickstarter isn't for "real" content creators.


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    Christopher Best (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Oh don't worry, they'll just point out it's a documentary, might as well be some film student's art house flick. It's not a real movie. Real movies have to lose the studio MILLIONS of dollars to be taken seriously!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 4:12pm

    What was the budget?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 4:27pm

    And now it turns out that, not only was Inocente nominated, it won for best documentary, making it the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar, though I doubt it will be the last.

    Kickstarter's great. Let's you beg for money on a grand scale. Sweet stuff. But let's not forget to thank copyright too. Available for only $7.99 on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/inocente/id602411134?ls=1 Thanks, copyright! You rock!

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 4:48pm

      Re:

      Available for only $7.99 on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/inocente/id602411134?ls=1 Thanks, copyright! You rock!

      What does that have to do with anything? You can buy lots of stuff that's out of copyright too.

      Selling something is not a reason to "thank" copyright.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

        Re: Re:

        What are you talking about, Masnick? Before copyright existed 222 years ago nobody could sell anything, LOL. Why won't you debate me?

        [/sarc]

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

        Re: Re:

        What does that have to do with anything? You can buy lots of stuff that's out of copyright too.

        Selling something is not a reason to "thank" copyright.


        I thought the point was rather obvious. They aren't giving away copies for free, so your point about stuff that's out of copyright misses the mark. The point is that they are relying on copyright for their business model. Kickstarter didn't supplant the copyright business model. You can thank copyright for this project because its incentives are clearly working here.

         

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          AB, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are implying that they made the film purely for the sake of profit. Personally I do not believe that _any_ worthwhile art was _ever_ motivated by profit. Profit may (or may not) fund art, but it never motivates it.

          I don't mean that there aren't people who pretend to be artists for profit. Quite the opposite, there are so many of these crass commercialists out there that they create a thicket of junk we must wade through if we hope to find competent and original creations. Production companies spend a lot of money constructing and promoting puppet artists (when they aren't stealing directly from the real artists). The sad thing is that the true artists create the demand while these leeches get to cash in on it, using copyright to keep the profits from the real creators who are left starving in the gutter.

          Not that my opinion or the opinion of any other artist will ever matter to shortsighted self-centered profiteers. In fact I expect it to be either ignored or belittled because if too many people realized the truth and learned to appreciate the difference between real and imitation art they might stop supporting those whose profits are built on the backs of said artists. Which is funny in a sad way, because nothing is likely to ever stop the 'walmart people' from spending their money on artificially created fads and imitation art. Certainly the truth won't.

          Sorry for the rant. What can I say, successful troll is successful. ;)

           

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          G Thompson (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 8:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What did copyright have to do with any of this whole article that was instead stating that Kickstarter is not just a viable option to the standard begging currently done by Mainstream movie/doco producers.

          Oh that's right NOTHING! Though you being totally blinkered in your approach to anything Techdirt has can not distinguish the reality from your warped sense of insane ramblings.

          Oh and a point of fact.. Copyright has NOTHING to do with whether it sells well or not, Marketing and whether it is any good or not is the only criteria for if it sells well. Copyright which has been proven over and over is NOT about 'sales'

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 9:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I thought the point was rather obvious. They aren't giving away copies for free, so your point about stuff that's out of copyright misses the mark.

          Again, what does giving it away for free have to do with anything? I never said that you had to give stuff away for free. Again, as I pointed out in the comment you are responding to, plenty of people are SELLING public domain materials. And that's cool. There's nothing wrong with asking people to pay for what you have.

          I don't see what that has to do with copyright, though.

          The point is that they are relying on copyright for their business model.

          No, they're relying on selling a good. You seem to think that means copyright. It does not.

          Even so, I'm still not sure of your point. I'm sure that the filmmaker did, in fact, copyright the work. So what? Nothing in the story had to do with copyright anyway. It was about business models.

          Kickstarter didn't supplant the copyright business model.

          "Copyright" isn't a business model, so I'm not sure your point. Nor did anyone ever suggest that Kickstarter "supplanted" any other business model.

          As per usual, you seem to think I've said something I have not.

          You can thank copyright for this project because its incentives are clearly working here.

          How do you figure?

           

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            Gnudist, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 1:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Don't bother mike. These idiots don't understand half of the concepts talked about on techdirt so of course he's going to confuse the issues.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 4:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Did they use Kickstarter to raise the money they need to make the film so they can then turn around, dedicate it to the public domain, and give it away for free? No. They have the film locked up with copyright, exercising their exclusionary rights, charging $9.99 for the HD download. This is a copyright success story. I don't buy your reasoning that they are locking it up with copyright and profiting from the marketable exclusive right that copyright gives them, yet somehow they are not motivated by copyright in the least. Once that Oscar got handed to them, those copyright rights became even more valuable. Good for them. I just bought a copy.

             

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              PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 4:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, we know you love fantasies and strawmen. That's all you do - create a stupid set of criteria that bears no relation to what anyone else is claiming, then declare victory the criteria that you and you alone are using wasn't met.

              Why do you insist on lies and fantasy? Is it because the reality of what people are saying is too complicated, or because you know it's true?

              "I just bought a copy."

              So did the people funding it through Kickstarter, which enabled it to get the distribution required for Academy consideration, which I would guess is the only reason you heard about it in the first place. Did you buy the other Oscar winners/nominees, or is this just a childish attempt at proving a "point"?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 5:03am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes, we know you love fantasies and strawmen.

                It's not a straw man. Their own Kickstarter page ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1131717127/inocente-homeless-creative-unstoppable ) mentions how they plan to market the film to the educational market. Not give it away for free, but market it using their exclusionary rights. Thank goodness for copyright! It's amazing to me how you guys live in such denial.

                Did you buy the other Oscar winners/nominees, or is this just a childish attempt at proving a "point"?

                I just ordered the "Argo" DVD as well. Ultraviolet edition. Can't wait to see it. I buy tons of stuff. Over a thousand DVDs in my collection. Probably close to two thousand.

                 

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                  PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 5:49am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Not give it away for free, but market it using their exclusionary rights."

                  Who said it had to be given away for free? That's the strawman. Alternative business models do not require anything to be given away for free, although they may may the rabid fear of piracy unnecessary. Got it?

                  "Thank goodness for copyright!"

                  That has nothing to do with copyright unless I'm hallucinating those copies of public domain DVDs on sale in many stores, and the copyrighted work I'm prevented from buying. Choose a different strawman - this one's ridiculous.

                  "It's amazing to me how you guys live in such denial."

                  It's amazing that you've been here so long without understanding the most basic arguments being discussed.

                  "I just ordered the "Argo" DVD as well. Ultraviolet edition. Can't wait to see it. I buy tons of stuff. Over a thousand DVDs in my collection. Probably close to two thousand."

                  Any short films? It just strikes me as being an unusual thing to boast about unless you're sticking to a particularly stupid "I bought so there" argument.

                  Fair play to you - I have similar numbers of DVDs, paid for over nearly 2 decades, which is why I get so annoyed when idiots either accused me of piracy or support atrocious business models that makes my continued support of the industry so difficult.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 5:59am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    That has nothing to do with copyright unless I'm hallucinating those copies of public domain DVDs on sale in many stores, and the copyrighted work I'm prevented from buying. Choose a different strawman - this one's ridiculous.

                    Yes, public domain works can be sold on DVD. This is not a public domain work. Email them and ask if it's OK to put the whole film on YouTube. I suspect the answer will be "no" as they themselves have not done this. They instead are choosing to market the work, exercising their exclusionary rights. This isn't difficult to understand.

                     

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                      PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:20am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      *sigh* again, shifting the goalposts... You're incapable of addressing the actual arguments, aren't you?

                      "Yes, public domain works can be sold on DVD."

                      So, you admit that the presence of copyright is irrelevant as to whether or not a work is available on DVD. Why are you trying to argue that it is necessary?

                      "Email them and ask if it's OK to put the whole film on YouTube"

                      No, I'd rather buy the DVD or a digital copy if and when it's available to me, or perhaps watch it on TV/Netflix if and when it appears. Or maybe pay money to another project on Kickstarter that hasn't made its funding target yet. Is that a problem?

                      I don't know who you think you're arguing with, but you're agreeing with everything except the relevance of your assertions.

                      "This isn't difficult to understand."

                      Except for why you're blathering on about it as it's irrelevant to the discussion everybody else is having.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 7:00am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        So, you admit that the presence of copyright is irrelevant as to whether or not a work is available on DVD.

                        Huh? Just because a public domain movie can be sold on DVD, it doesn't follow that copyright is irrelevant to all movies sold on DVD. Many, many, many movies are sold on DVD where copyright is very relevant and integral to the business model.

                        Why are you trying to argue that it is necessary?

                        I didn't say it was necessary. I admitted the obvious fact that public domain movies can be sold on DVD. What I am saying is that in this particular case, the movie is being sold AND the owners are not allowing others to give it away or sell it. In other words, they are exercising their exclusionary rights under copyright as part of their business model. They could have chosen to forgo their copyright rights, but they didn't. Copyright is part of their business model. Another success story for copyright!

                         

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                          PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 7:34am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "Many, many, many movies are sold on DVD where copyright is very relevant and integral to the business model."

                          So, as has been stated here repeatedly over the last decade and proven with case studies, perhaps the problem is the business model? Not with whether copyright is being enforced in the infinite and draconian ways that some are insisting, but that the basic foundation is shaky due to due business realities?

                          You're actually almost getting the arguments when you don't insist on attacking people and cherry picking quotes. Perhaps if you started addressing these instead of going off on to irrelevant tangents, these arguments might get somewhere.

                          "What I am saying is that in this particular case, the movie is being sold AND the owners are not allowing others to give it away or sell it."

                          Which, yet again has sod all to do with its Kickstarter funded - the element of the production being discussed. It's your insistence on attacking things that people aren't claiming nor discussing that's a major problem here. Why are you incapable of joining the discussion everyone else is participating in? Could it be that you can't fault the actual words people are saying and so have to construct your own target?

                          If I get a free legal download of a movie, does that make the DVD side of their business irrelevant? Does that invalidate any funding model they had? What if free copies are available with or without their permission? Of course not. Why then are you bringing this stupid deflection into the conversation?

                          "Another success story for copyright!"

                          Sigh... You think that if you want. It's a lie, but whatever helps you avoid admitting that the argument actually being made is correct.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 7:49am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I honestly don't understand what you're saying. What point am I not addressing directly? How are they not exercising their exclusionary rights?

                             

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                              Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:19am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              No one is saying that they can't exercize their exclusionary rights.

                              Of course there is copyright on the bloody movie, it's after all published in this day and age, where everything is copyrighted by default.

                              And of course are the makers allowed to ask money for the sale of the discs and the digital goods, they are and people are paying to see the movie.
                              No one (absolutely no one) has said that the makers can't ask money for their product.

                              You keep insisting that the point of Techdirt is that stuff be available for free all the time, which is blatantly false, and a complete strawman of your own devising. Free stuff can be used for promotional goals, but it doesn't have to be.

                               

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                              PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:21am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              "What point am I not addressing directly?"

                              Wow, really? This should be obvious:

                              The point of the article and the following discussion is tha - despite repeated claims that Kickstarter funding is either not mainstream enough to be useful or will never result in quality product - a film partially funded in such a way has just won an Oscar. It's a further proof that such funding is an interesting growing market that due to part of its nature - the parts of the works funded are already recouped before the product is released - opens up a lot of interesting and exciting possibilities. It blows another hole into the fallacy that only the legacy industry models can produce worthwhile product, even partially.

                              Your derailing of the thread concentrates on some tangential bullshit about how this doesn't matter because they've retained their copyrights and haven't just given everything away blindly - something NEVER suggested either in this article or any other. You started with some crap about how Kickstarter is "begging", then you moved the goalposts when challenged.

                              It's not just that you're not addressing a point directly. It's that you're addressing points nobody is making, and completely avoiding the ones that are actually being made.

                              "How are they not exercising their exclusionary rights?"

                              Where did I claim they weren't?

                               

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                                PaulT (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:58am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Hmmm... no response to me, but the same logical fallacies and strawmen are being punted against other posters by an AC with the same snowflake. I believe that's all we need to know about the intellectual honesty involved here.

                                 

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                                Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:28am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Wow, really? This should be obvious:

                                The point of the article and the following discussion is tha - despite repeated claims that Kickstarter funding is either not mainstream enough to be useful or will never result in quality product - a film partially funded in such a way has just won an Oscar. It's a further proof that such funding is an interesting growing market that due to part of its nature - the parts of the works funded are already recouped before the product is released - opens up a lot of interesting and exciting possibilities. It blows another hole into the fallacy that only the legacy industry models can produce worthwhile product, even partially.


                                Kickstarter is great, as I said above. I have never heard anyone say that it's "not mainstream enough to be useful or will never result in quality product," so to me that sounds like a straw man. Kickstarter has had remarkable growth and reach, and it's helping fund some great projects. Not sure why you're asking me about this since I've never said otherwise.

                                Your derailing of the thread concentrates on some tangential bullshit about how this doesn't matter because they've retained their copyrights and haven't just given everything away blindly - something NEVER suggested either in this article or any other. You started with some crap about how Kickstarter is "begging", then you moved the goalposts when challenged.

                                I'm just reminding people that Kickstarter is not a replacement for copyright, as I believe many people think it to be.

                                It's not just that you're not addressing a point directly. It's that you're addressing points nobody is making, and completely avoiding the ones that are actually being made.

                                I'm just adding to the discussion. I think it's correct to credit Kickstarter for this successful short film, but I also think it's worth noting that copyright should be thanked as well. One thing I've noticed about TD is that there is no recognition whatsoever that copyright actually incentivizes people to invest time, effort, and skill into creating works. Just look at how Mike tries to deny it above. It's ridiculous.

                                Where did I claim they weren't?

                                Just above you said it was a "lie" to thank copyright. I think it's a lie to pretend like they aren't motivated by their exclusionary rights. The evidence is that they aren't letting other people market and profit from the work.

                                 

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                                  PaulT (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 10:47am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  "Kickstarter is great, as I said above."

                                  No, what you said above was it "Let's (sic) you beg for money on a grand scale.". Implying that the "great" comment before was sarcasm. Then you derailed the conversation away from Kickstarter.

                                  Either you're a poor writer and you're implying things you're not saying, or you think that "begging" is great - which suggests you need to find a different descriptive word for it.

                                  "I have never heard anyone say that it's "not mainstream enough to be useful or will never result in quality product," so to me that sounds like a straw man."

                                  I've read many, both here and elsewhere. i can link to them later if you wish as I haven't time to search for them now. Believe me, I've seen many such comments - usually from the same people who attack every new business model. However:

                                  "I'm just reminding people that Kickstarter is not a replacement for copyright, as I believe many people think it to be."

                                  Got a citation for that? If not, it's funny how you attack my perception above then immediately follow it up with an unfounded assertion of your own. That's where the strawmen come in - you're attacking your assumptions about people rather than their actual positions.

                                  Either way, the words in this article and thread had sod all to do with copyright till you brought it up. I certainly don't believe that Kickstarter replaces copyright. In fact, I believe that the funding model and copyright have nothing directly to do with one another. For example, not long ago there was a Kickstarter project specifically to bring a work into the public domain if the target was met. Conflating the two is at best an attempt to pretend that Kickstarter supporters and piracy advocates are the same - a trick strangely usually tried by anonymous cowards on this forum.

                                  "I think it's correct to credit Kickstarter for this successful short film, but I also think it's worth noting that copyright should be thanked as well."

                                  Except, everything you're "thanking" copyright for would be equally possible whatever copyright model was used. Public domain movies can be sold for $7.99 on iTunes just as readily as those locked up by restrictive copyright and other blocks. Your assertions that they can only sell copies due to copyright is ridiculous.

                                  "One thing I've noticed about TD is that there is no recognition whatsoever that copyright actually incentivizes people to invest time, effort, and skill into creating works."

                                  Another lie, or a tendency to read into things whatever you assume beforehand.

                                  "Just look at how Mike tries to deny it above. It's ridiculous."

                                  Deny what? That your stupid assertion that sales are only possible due to copyright is incorrect, or the flat out ridiculous idea that the work would only be created if copyright existed? What particular part of his reply are you reading saying what you're claiming, because I don't see it.

                                  Note that I'm not against copyright personally - in fact I think it has its place. But the current system is broken, gamed toward legacy players, negative impacts consumers in many cases and the current enforcement tactics actively harms both consumers and artists alike. That's not to say copyright is fundamentally bad, but it's not the cure-all you seem to think it is, nor is it always positive.

                                  We can discuss this if you like, but it's very much off topic for this thread.

                                  "Just above you said it was a "lie" to thank copyright."

                                  How does that state that they're not claiming their rights, which is what you asserted I said? Stop distorting, address the arguments presented.

                                  "The evidence is that they aren't letting other people market and profit from the work."

                                  Which, again has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the article nor whether or not they would be successful

                                  All we have here is that makers of a movie have been successful by using new outlets to fund part of their movie while retaining some legacy models. If it works for them - fine, I don't fault them and they can do what they wish. But don't pretend this proves anything just because you want it to.

                                   

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                  PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 5:51am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Ultraviolet edition"

                  Oh, case in point - Ultraviolet's so ridiculous, so restrictive and such a bad move for the industry that I choose not to support it. Boasting that you buy into that crap - which only exists to try and justify removing your first sale rights - is not a good thing.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:00am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I think Ultraviolet is great. I wish they'd started that sooner.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:08am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      That explains so, so much...

                       

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                      PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:23am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Great"?

                      Well, each to their own, I suppose. I fail to see why you're so accepting of something that only exists to erode your rights and offers nothing that being able to rip your own movie and store it on a cloud service wouldn't offer. But, then I suppose you haven't come across the many unnecessary problems that it causes. Most people buying DRMed music files were also OK with it until they tried moving to a different device or has the DRM servers turned off.

                      Your opinion is your opinion - but the same service you love makes me actively avoid DVDs and Blu Rays from certain labels. That's OK - they have competitors.

                       

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                      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:48am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      DVDFab is great, too...in fact much greater. And was started way sooner than Ultraviolet.

                       

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                  Karl (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 7:31am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Their own Kickstarter page ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1131717127/inocente-homeless-creative-unstoppable ) mentions how they plan to market the film to the educational market. Not give it away for free, but market it using their exclusionary rights.

                  Yeah, except here's the actual text of that package:
                  Finally, we are also writing free, downloadable companion curricula for teachers and creating an arts workshop template for community organizations that will incorporate the arts into core subjects and explore the themes and issues of the film to make it more attractive to the educational market.

                  So, yeah, they are "giving stuff away for free," not "locking it up with copyright."

                  Not to mention that the whole thing was produced by Shine Global, "a 501(c)3 non-profit film production company." So, obviously, making a profit is not the primary incentive.

                  Plus - and this has been pointed out to you many times already - they would be able to market, and sell, the film to the educational market even if copyright didn't exist. Just as they would be able to sell downloads if copyright didn't exist.

                  As you look at the details, it becomes more and more obvious that this is anything but a "copyright success story."

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 7:46am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yeah, except here's the actual text of that package:

                    Finally, we are also writing free, downloadable companion curricula for teachers and creating an arts workshop template for community organizations that will incorporate the arts into core subjects and explore the themes and issues of the film to make it more attractive to the educational market.

                    So, yeah, they are "giving stuff away for free," not "locking it up with copyright."


                    Yes, Karl, the materials are free. But not the movie. That's locked up with copyright.

                    Not to mention that the whole thing was produced by Shine Global, "a 501(c)3 non-profit film production company." So, obviously, making a profit is not the primary incentive.

                    Yes, Shine Global gives away profits. What about the rest of the people involved?

                    Plus - and this has been pointed out to you many times already - they would be able to market, and sell, the film to the educational market even if copyright didn't exist. Just as they would be able to sell downloads if copyright didn't exist.

                    Yes, they could sell it while allowing others to sell it or give it away for free. This they are not doing. They are selling it and excluding others from doing so, i.e., they are exercising their copyright rights.

                     

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                      Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:21am

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                      Who cares if it's locked up in copyright. The makers will still be able to make money even if there was no copyright to be had at all!

                      They can sell stuff that's not covered by copyright. But you're too stupid to accept that.

                       

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                      Karl (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 4:40pm

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                      Yes, Karl, the materials are free. But not the movie. That's locked up with copyright.

                      I'm betting that they hold the copyright on the free educational materials, too. And that's kind of my point. I't just as nonsensical to say "Thanks, copyright" for selling the movie, as it is to say "Thanks, copyright" for the educational materials being free. Both are possible without copyright protections. Copyright does not equal "selling a good."

                      Yes, Shine Global gives away profits. What about the rest of the people involved?

                      Non-profits don't "give away" profits. They still use money. It's simply that they're not driven by the profit motive. Their incentive is something other than simply to make money. Just as it appears it was with the production of this documentary.

                      And I've known tons of people who work for non-profits. They all get paid.

                      Yes, they could sell it while allowing others to sell it or give it away for free. This they are not doing. They are selling it and excluding others from doing so, i.e., they are exercising their copyright rights.

                      The fact that they are doing it, does not make it their primary (or even secondary) incentive to create the movie. Moreover, the usual justification for that monopoly don't apply: a monopoly on post-publication copies could not fund the creation of the film. If it could, they wouldn't have needed to go to Kickstarter in the first place.

                      It is quite obviously an example (of many) where reliance on a post-publication monopoly as their primary business model would have totally failed. There is no reason to view this as a "copyright success story." It's a story on the how ineffectual copyright is.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 5:02pm

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                        I'm betting that they hold the copyright on the free educational materials, too. And that's kind of my point. I't just as nonsensical to say "Thanks, copyright" for selling the movie, as it is to say "Thanks, copyright" for the educational materials being free. Both are possible without copyright protections. Copyright does not equal "selling a good."

                        It means selling or giving away the good while preventing others from doing the same. Are the Inocente people allowing others to sell or give away their movie? I see no evidence that they are. Their business model incorporates copyright.

                        Non-profits don't "give away" profits. They still use money. It's simply that they're not driven by the profit motive. Their incentive is something other than simply to make money. Just as it appears it was with the production of this documentary.

                        And I've known tons of people who work for non-profits. They all get paid.


                        They like to get paid and care about how much money their investments bring in, nonprofit or not. The fact that they are selling a download for $9.99 while preventing others from selling it or giving it away shows that they are trying to make money.

                        The fact that they are doing it, does not make it their primary (or even secondary) incentive to create the movie. Moreover, the usual justification for that monopoly don't apply: a monopoly on post-publication copies could not fund the creation of the film. If it could, they wouldn't have needed to go to Kickstarter in the first place.

                        Huh? Clearly, their business plan is to sell the film while excluding others from doing the same. Copyright incentivized their creation of this work. They are in this for the money. If they chose to give it away or let others market it or give it away, that would demonstrate that they are not motivated by exclusionary rights. But they aren't doing that.

                        It is quite obviously an example (of many) where reliance on a post-publication monopoly as their primary business model would have totally failed. There is no reason to view this as a "copyright success story." It's a story on the how ineffectual copyright is.

                        They wanted to make a movie and profit from it to the exclusion of others giving it away or profiting from it. And they appear to be doing quite well at it.

                         

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                    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 7:48am

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                    From IMDB:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2123210/companycredits?ref_=tt_dt_co

                    Production Companies:

                    Salty Features
                    Shine Global
                    Fine Films (II)
                    Unison Films
                    Screen Pass Pictures
                    Gold Glove Productions

                    Shine Global is but one of many.

                     

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                  Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

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                  Not give it away for free

                  Simple question: why do you keep insisting that this point matters? You seem to think we advocate giving everything away for free. That's simply not true.

                  You also seem to think that you need copyright to charge. Also not true.

                  This is why we keep asking you to stop debating with the STRAWMEN in your head. We never said you had to give stuff away for free.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

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                    Simple question: why do you keep insisting that this point matters? You seem to think we advocate giving everything away for free. That's simply not true.

                    You also seem to think that you need copyright to charge. Also not true.

                    This is why we keep asking you to stop debating with the STRAWMEN in your head. We never said you had to give stuff away for free.


                    I know you don't care if people sell their works. It's the exclusivity, where they exercise their rights to prevent others from giving it away or selling it, that bothers you. Why does that exclusivity bother you so? Why won't you talk about fundamental issues, like unfair competition and unjust enrichment, directly?

                     

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                      Gwiz (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 3:49pm

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                      Why won't you talk about fundamental issues, like unfair competition...

                      What exactly is "unfair competition" to you and who gets to define the "unfair" part? Just curious.


                      ...and unjust enrichment, directly?

                      That is bizarre wording there. Almost an oxymoron. The word "enrich" is usually used with positive undertones, as in "enrich one's experience by traveling" or "enrich soil". That you can see such things as "unjust" somehow is interesting.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 4:11pm

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                        What exactly is "unfair competition" to you and who gets to define the "unfair" part? Just curious.

                        Unfair competition means lots of things, and it covers all sorts of tortious behavior. It encompasses all of trademark law, and usually refers to palming off or reverse palming off, but it's also broader than that. In general it means conducting one's business in a way that is dishonest. It's a body of common law centuries old, so that's where you'd look for the definitions and examples.

                        That is bizarre wording there. Almost an oxymoron. The word "enrich" is usually used with positive undertones, as in "enrich one's experience by traveling" or "enrich soil". That you can see such things as "unjust" somehow is interesting.

                        Unjust enrichment is another centuries old concept that has been a part of the common law, yet Mike is unable, he claims, to state an opinion on it. It basically means obtaining a benefit unjustly. It's when one party is enriched to the unjust detriment of another. I understand that Mike has no problem with people selling their works. It's that he has no problem with everyone else being able to do so as well, in direct competition with the owner and to the owner's detriment, that I'm questioning.

                         

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                          Karl (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

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                          It's when one party is enriched to the unjust detriment of another.

                          This is an incredibly broad definition. It would mean that trashing your competition in an advertisement would be "unjust enrichment."

                          The fact is, copyright law presupposes, without evidence, that the mere use of someone else's work is "unjust," and that it "enriches" the infringers "to the detriment" of the copyright holders.

                          That's often not true at all. The infringement may "enrich" the infringer in some way. But if the copyright holder is better off because of it, how is that "to the detriment" of the copyright holder? Why, in this case, should it be considered "unjust?"

                          For that matter, copyright's entire purpose is to "enrich" the general public - not commercially, but through increased access to artworks. Thus, if the public is getting enriched in this way, it's not "unjust" at all, it's copyright serving its intended purpose. How does that square with the current view of "piracy," which is the non-commercial access to works by the general public?

                          The answer is: it doesn't - and copyright is no longer about "unjust enrichment."

                          And it never was, really. The copyright monopoly was not granted to prevent "unjust enrichment," but to provide an incentive to create. The only thing that was ever "unjust" about infringement, even commercial infringement, was that it might be detrimental to the public's supply of artworks.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 5:42pm

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                            This is an incredibly broad definition. It would mean that trashing your competition in an advertisement would be "unjust enrichment."

                            It's a very broad concept. Trashing your competition could unjustly enrich you, I suppose, but that would probably fall under unfair competition if it were actionable at all. Not everything that can possibly be described as unjust enrichment is actionable.

                            The fact is, copyright law presupposes, without evidence, that the mere use of someone else's work is "unjust," and that it "enriches" the infringers "to the detriment" of the copyright holders.

                            That's often not true at all. The infringement may "enrich" the infringer in some way. But if the copyright holder is better off because of it, how is that "to the detriment" of the copyright holder? Why, in this case, should it be considered "unjust?"


                            Infringement creates liability because it's a violation of someone's proprietary rights. If that infringement benefits the copyright holder, that fact would go to damages, not liability. If I break into your house and clean your messy kitchen, I'm still a trespasser. The fact that I caused no harm and in fact only did good would go to the issue of how much money I owed you. I have violated your rights regardless of that number.

                            For that matter, copyright's entire purpose is to "enrich" the general public - not commercially, but through increased access to artworks.

                            That's not the entire purpose of copyright.

                            Thus, if the public is getting enriched in this way, it's not "unjust" at all, it's copyright serving its intended purpose. How does that square with the current view of "piracy," which is the non-commercial access to works by the general public?

                            It's unjust to allow an infringer to keep the profits of their infringement because they expended no time, effort, or money creating the work that they are profiting from. The public interest is better served by disallowing this injustice, otherwise the exclusionary rights of copyright and the incentives they provide are meaningless. Copyright is not just about enriching the public. It's also about authors' rights. It's the recognition that giving authors exclusive rights in turn benefits the public.

                            The copyright monopoly was not granted to prevent "unjust enrichment," but to provide an incentive to create. The only thing that was ever "unjust" about infringement, even commercial infringement, was that it might be detrimental to the public's supply of artworks.

                            Even before the 1909 Act, courts would, in equity, disgorge an infringer's profits and give them to the copyright holder because otherwise the infringer was unjustly enriched. This has been a part of copyright law, and the law in general, for centuries.

                             

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                              Karl (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:38pm

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                              Trashing your competition could unjustly enrich you, I suppose, but that would probably fall under unfair competition if it were actionable at all.

                              I hope you realise that everyone who ever wrote a negative review of anything probably wants to beat you up for this. Just sayin'.

                              If I break into your house and clean your messy kitchen, I'm still a trespasser.

                              I know you want to believe copyright infringement is the same thing as trespassing, but it just ain't so.

                              Also, if you broke into my house and cleaned my kitchen, then nobody would consider that "unjust enrichment." Tresspassing laws have absolutely nothing to do with unjust enrichment.

                              That's not the entire purpose of copyright.

                              It absolutely is, and you know it. Stop being a lying, hypocricical scumbag who's afraid to debate m... oh, sorry, for a moment there I reverted to your normal mode of discourse.

                              It's unjust to allow an infringer to keep the profits of their infringement because they expended no time, effort, or money creating the work that they are profiting from.

                              This is a "sweat of the brow" argument, which we both know does not apply to copyright. If this is your definition of "unjust enrichment," then you're just proving my point that copyright infringement is not unjust enrichment.

                              Copyright is not just about enriching the public. It's also about authors' rights.

                              Absolutely false, which you know.

                              giving authors exclusive rights in turn benefits the public

                              ...full stop. And how do those rights benefit the public? They "must ultimately serve the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts." (Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken.)

                              So, exactly what I said.

                              This has been a part of copyright law, and the law in general, for centuries.

                              No, it has not. For one thing, copyright law did not exist for "centuries" before the 1909 Act. The first fedeeral copyright law was in 1790 (the purpose of which was "encouragement of learning" - not a word was spoken about "authors' rights"), which was not "centuries" before the 1909 Act. The first general copyright law, enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly, was in 1783. Before that, copyright did not exist at all in the United States. Not a whit, none of it. The Statute of Anne didn't apply in the Colonies, and publishers everywhere put out anything they liked, without ever once being convicted of "unjust enrichment" off of the works of other publishers.

                              For another thing, copyright did not base its statutes on "unjust enrichment" laws. Those had been around in England since the early 1600's - more than a century before copyright existed in any part of the world - but did not really take hold in the U.S. until the 1930'S, with the American Law Institute's Restatement of Restitution in 1937.

                              So, no. Different histories, different objectives, and entirely different timelines. None of this "has been a part of copyright law" at all, much less "for centuries."

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:55am

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                                I hope you realise that everyone who ever wrote a negative review of anything probably wants to beat you up for this. Just sayin'.

                                And such a review is probably not actionable under either an unjust enrichment or unfair competition claim.

                                Also, if you broke into my house and cleaned my kitchen, then nobody would consider that "unjust enrichment." Tresspassing laws have absolutely nothing to do with unjust enrichment.

                                You were saying that infringement can make the victim better off. I was explaining that, even if that could be proved, there would still be liability for the infringement. The issue you're referring to is damages, not liability.

                                It absolutely is, and you know it. Stop being a lying, hypocricical scumbag who's afraid to debate m... oh, sorry, for a moment there I reverted to your normal mode of discourse.

                                It has never been the case that copyright is ONLY about the public good. Never. I debate you all the time, at length.

                                This is a "sweat of the brow" argument, which we both know does not apply to copyright. If this is your definition of "unjust enrichment," then you're just proving my point that copyright infringement is not unjust enrichment.

                                Sweat of the brow, without creativity, is not protected. Copyright = sweat of the brow + creativity.
                                The economic philosophy behind the clause empowering Congress to grant patents and copyrights is the conviction that encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors in "Science and useful Arts." Sacrificial days devoted to such creative activities deserve rewards commensurate with the services rendered.
                                Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201 (1954).

                                Absolutely false, which you know.

                                Your claim is just idiotic. It's always been about authors' rights to. What does the Constitution say to do? Give authors exclusive rights.

                                ...full stop. And how do those rights benefit the public? They "must ultimately serve the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts." (Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken.)

                                So, exactly what I said.


                                Yes, authors' rights and the public good are complimentary.

                                No, it has not. For one thing, copyright law did not exist for "centuries" before the 1909 Act. The first fedeeral copyright law was in 1790 (the purpose of which was "encouragement of learning" - not a word was spoken about "authors' rights"), which was not "centuries" before the 1909 Act. The first general copyright law, enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly, was in 1783. Before that, copyright did not exist at all in the United States. Not a whit, none of it. The Statute of Anne didn't apply in the Colonies, and publishers everywhere put out anything they liked, without ever once being convicted of "unjust enrichment" off of the works of other publishers.

                                For another thing, copyright did not base its statutes on "unjust enrichment" laws. Those had been around in England since the early 1600's - more than a century before copyright existed in any part of the world - but did not really take hold in the U.S. until the 1930'S, with the American Law Institute's Restatement of Restitution in 1937.

                                So, no. Different histories, different objectives, and entirely different timelines. None of this "has been a part of copyright law" at all, much less "for centuries."


                                Infringers were disgorged of profits under the common law, and then later, under statutory law. Why? Unjust enrichment. The principle of unjust enrichment appears in all areas of law.

                                 

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                                  Karl (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:24am

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                                  And such a review is probably not actionable under either an unjust enrichment or unfair competition claim.

                                  But by your standards, there's no reason it shouldn't be.

                                  You were saying that infringement can make the victim better off. I was explaining that, even if that could be proved, there would still be liability for the infringement.

                                  And, again, "liability for the infringement" is not the same as "unjust enrichment." If the rights holder is better off, then there is no "unjust enrichment," even though there is liability for infringement.

                                  It has never been the case that copyright is ONLY about the public good. Never. I debate you all the time, at length.

                                  Yeah, and you've always been wrong.

                                  Sweat of the brow, without creativity, is not protected. Copyright = sweat of the brow + creativity.

                                  What is protected by copyright is creativity. "Sweat of the brow" has nothing to do with it. Copyright protects a doodle I did on a napkin exactly as much as a $200 million movie.

                                  Mazer v. Stein

                                  ...agrees with me, not you. It is the "encouragement" (not "protection") "of individual effort by personal gain", as a method "to advance public welfare."

                                  Congress agrees: "the limited monopoly [...] should be granted to authors or to inventors in order to give the public appropriate access to their work product."

                                  You are conflating copyright's purpose with its method. Yet again.

                                  What does the Constitution say to do? Give authors exclusive rights.

                                  The Constitution doesn't "say to do" this. It gives Congress the option of granting authors exclusive rights, if it "promotes the progress of Science."

                                  Yes, authors' rights and the public good are complimentary.

                                  Not exactly. If the copyright statutes are written properly, then authors' rights and the public good are complimentary. The copyright statutes we have now are not written properly, and as a result, authors' rights damage the public good.

                                  Thus, you have ignorant author Terry Deary claiming that "libraries are cutting [authors'] throats and slashing their purses", or the UK Publisher's Association saying that the British Library supports "tawdry theft." Sounds like they've been listening to you.

                                   

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                                    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 11:47am

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                                    But by your standards, there's no reason it shouldn't be.

                                    Wow. My "standard" was a one sentence explanation of a legal principle that has been developed for centuries in both common law and continental law systems. It comes up in every branch of the law and covers many diverse situations. Obviously there's a LOT more nuance to it than my one sentence could possibly capture. This is just beyond stupid, Karl. I wasn't saying that my one sentence captured centuries of complexity. Give me a break with this stupidity. As I said, not everything that can conceivably described as unjust enrichment or unfair competition is so actionable. There are literally centuries of nuance to consider.

                                    And, again, "liability for the infringement" is not the same as "unjust enrichment." If the rights holder is better off, then there is no "unjust enrichment," even though there is liability for infringement.

                                    I never said that liability for infringement is the same as unjust enrichment. I said that the principle of unjust enrichment operates in copyright law just like operates in every area of law. It's unjust to profit from someone else's copyrighted work since you didn't put any time, energy, money, or skill into creating it. This is why infringers are not allowed to keep their ill gotten gains.

                                    What is protected by copyright is creativity. "Sweat of the brow" has nothing to do with it. Copyright protects a doodle I did on a napkin exactly as much as a $200 million movie.

                                    If there is no sweat of the brow, then how could there possibly be an original work of authorship? Sweat of the brow is necessary, but not sufficient, for copyright protection. Copyright incentivizes, via exclusionary rights, new works by rewarding those who commit time, energy, money, and skill into the creation of new works. Without that time, energy, money, and skill, there'd be no new work to protect.

                                    ...agrees with me, not you. It is the "encouragement" (not "protection") "of individual effort by personal gain", as a method "to advance public welfare."

                                    You are purposefully ignoring the Lockean overtones the Court used there, just as they use many other times. "Sacrificial days devoted to such creative activities deserve rewards commensurate with the services rendered." Don't skip the parts that you don't like.

                                    Congress agrees: "the limited monopoly [...] should be granted to authors or to inventors in order to give the public appropriate access to their work product."

                                    Yes, it rewards authors which in turn rewards the public. The two are complementary.

                                    You are conflating copyright's purpose with its method. Yet again.

                                    No, I'm acknowledging that the two are intertwined. Said the Court:
                                    Justice STEVENS' characterization of reward to the author as “a secondary consideration” of copyright law, post, at 793, n. 4 (internal quotation marks omitted), understates the relationship between such rewards and the “Progress of Science.” As we have explained, “[t]he economic philosophy behind the [Copyright] [C]lause ... is the conviction that encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors.” Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 219, 74 S.Ct. 460, 98 L.Ed. 630 (1954). Accordingly, “copyright law celebrates the profit motive, recognizing that the incentive to profit from the exploitation of copyrights will redound to the public benefit by resulting in the proliferation of knowledge.... The profit motive is the engine that ensures the progress of science.” American Geophysical Union v. Texaco Inc., 802 F.Supp. 1, 27 (S.D.N.Y.1992), aff'd, 60 F.3d 913 (C.A.2 1994). Rewarding authors for their creative labor and “promot[ing] ... Progress” are thus complementary; as James Madison observed, in copyright “[t]he public good fully coincides ... with the claims of individuals.” The Federalist No. 43, p. 272 (C. Rossiter ed.1961). Justice BREYER's assertion that “copyright statutes must serve public, not private, ends,” post, at 803, similarly misses the mark. The two ends are not mutually exclusive; copyright law serves public ends by providing individuals with an incentive to pursue private ones.
                                    Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186, 212 n.18 (2003). I guess you think that 7/9 Supreme Court Justices are wrong too.

                                    The Constitution doesn't "say to do" this. It gives Congress the option of granting authors exclusive rights, if it "promotes the progress of Science."

                                    Yep, the Constitution gives Congress the power to create copyright laws. It's an enumerated power. As to how best interpret the "promote the progress" preamble, I'm sure we disagree. I know of four interpretations. I don't think any view is conclusively the correct one. But I think it's a minor point since, as the Supreme Court says, Congress gets to decide what it means to promote the progress. It's not some secret economic function like Mike wants it to be. It's simply whatever Congress says it is. And because it's an enumerated power, the Court gives great deference to whatever Congress decides. This is why copyright laws get mere rational basis scrutiny.

                                    Not exactly. If the copyright statutes are written properly, then authors' rights and the public good are complimentary. The copyright statutes we have now are not written properly, and as a result, authors' rights damage the public good.

                                    Says you. Congress says otherwise, and they're the ones who get to decide what promotes the progress. I think copyright does a great job of promoting the progress. Just look at this short film that won the Oscar. Thanks again, copyright! I know you and Mike and the rest of the TD crew can give copyright no credit, but I think it's obvious that it incentivizes lots of wonderful works.

                                     

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                                      Karl (profile), Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:27pm

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                                      One final comment from me, and then I'm going to stop. Because the other commenters (including Mike) are right: this is a story about the success of Kickstarter, not about the relative merits of copyright law.

                                      I never said that liability for infringement is the same as unjust enrichment.

                                      Here's exactly what you asked: "Why won't you talk about fundamental issues, like unfair competition and unjust enrichment, directly?"

                                      And you have your answer: copyright infringement is fundamentally not about "unfair competition" or "unjust enrichment." Something can be "unjust enrichment" (under your one-sentence definition) without being copyright infringement; something can be copyright infringement without being "unjust enrichment;" and many cases of "unjust enrichment" are not (and should not be) unlawful at all.

                                      Personally, I would love it if copyright infringement was limited to just "unjust enrichment." But that would mean a total revision of copyright statutes: decriminalization of non-commercial infringement, elimination of statutory damages, placing the burden of proof upon the rights holder to show actual economic harm, and so forth. But that's not how it works.

                                      Sweat of the brow is necessary, but not sufficient, for copyright protection. Copyright incentivizes, via exclusionary rights, new works by rewarding those who commit time, energy, money, and skill into the creation of new works.

                                      No, it rewards anyone who authorizes a creative work. It matters not one whit how much time, energy, money, and skill went into that creation.

                                      I could invest years of time, and many thousands of dollars, to go to college for music theory, write a symphony, hire musicians to perform it on a recording, and release it. Or, I could release a recording of me throwing my roommate's guitar down the stairs. And copyright protects both works equally.

                                      If this were not true, then damage awards would be different depending upon the sunk costs that went into each recording. They are not.

                                      You are purposefully ignoring the Lockean overtones the Court used there

                                      And "overtones" they must remain, for if they meant it as anything other than dicta, they would be at odds with hundreds of years of Supreme Court copyright rulings (including the very first) and Congressional opinions that say the opposite. I've already quoted dozens to you, I don't see the point in doing it again.

                                      They would also be going against the copyright statutes. If copyright really was designed primarily to reward "sacrificial days devoted to such creative activities," then the amount of "sacrificial days" would affect a work's copyright status. It does not, in any way, shape, or form.

                                      No, I'm acknowledging that the two are intertwined.

                                      Of course the method is intertwined with the purpose of that method. It would hardly be a method if it didn't. That doesn't mean we should confuse the two, or put them on equal standing.

                                      I guess you think that 7/9 Supreme Court Justices are wrong too.

                                      No, because nothing in that passage contradicts anything I've been saying. Pay attention to the wording. The purpose - the goal - is "to advance public welfare," "the proliferation of knowledge," and "the progress of science," and to "serve public ends." Copyright is the "encouragement," "the incentive," or "the engine" - that is, the method by which that purpose is achieved. The Supreme Court said merely that the method is effective in achieving its purpose, nothing more. Justice Stevens' quote from U.S. v. Paramount may have been considered "overstated," but it is not false.

                                      They are not saying, as you seem to be, that authors' rights are synonymous with the public good - that granting authors more rights will automatically benefit the public. That idea is absurd.

                                      As to how best interpret the "promote the progress" preamble, I'm sure we disagree.

                                      But the Supreme Court doesn't. It is "the proliferation of knowledge," "the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts," "to induce release to the public of the products of his creative genius."

                                      Or - as I phrased it - to "enrich" the general public through increased access to artworks. Unless this is the ultimate result, rewarding authors does not "promote the progress."

                                      Congress gets to decide what it means to promote the progress. It's not some secret economic function like Mike wants it to be. It's simply whatever Congress says it is.

                                      And since Congress represents the general public, it is the general public who is supposed to decide what it means to promote the progress. Not publishers, labels, studios, or artists' unions. Pity that Congress has totally ignored this fact.

                                      Also, Mike has never said it is "some secret economic function." By design, copyright statutes are a set of government regulations granting monopoly rights to certain producers. There are standard economic theories that deal with those, none of which are a secret to anyone.

                                      Says you. Congress says otherwise, and they're the ones who get to decide what promotes the progress.

                                      As far as my first sentence goes, Congress says exactly what I said:
                                      In enacting a copyright law, Congress must consider [...] two questions: first, how much will the legislation stimulate the producer and so benefit the public; and, second, how much will the monopoly granted be detrimental to the public? The granting of such exclusive rights, under the proper terms and conditions, confers a benefit upon the public that outweighs the evils of the temporary monopoly.

                                      So, I guess you're referring to my second sentence - that current copyright statutes decrease the "broad public availability" of copyrighted works. I don't think this is even debatable. Especially since current "anti-piracy" efforts focus almost exclusively on non-profit sharing of works among the general public.

                                      Our contemporary Congressional leaders have written bad laws that run counter to copyright's purpose. It's not the first time Congress has put the desires of wealthy special interest groups ahead of the public welfare, and it won't be the last.

                                       

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        •  
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          Karl (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 9:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They aren't giving away copies for free, so your point about stuff that's out of copyright misses the mark.

          When Dover sells an edition of Shakespeare's works, they aren't "giving away copies for free" either. And, historically, many works were sold without copyright protections at all (especially prior to 1976, when registration was mandatory).

          For example, these guys aren't "giving away copies for free" either:
          https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/night-of-the-living-dead-1968/id295364111

          In fact, if no copyright on this film existed, the filmmakers would have exactly the same right to sell copies that they do right now.

          Furthermore, the goal of copyright is not to provide a business model for copyright holders. It's to provide an incentive to create new works, and make them more widely available to the public.

          You know what utterly failed to do that in this case? The "copyright business model" you're espousing. If the initial funding came from a post-publication monopoly on selling copies for their business model, the film would never have been produced.

          So, your entire point misses the mark.

           

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

      Re:

      You call $50k a "grand scale"? Directors have been begging Hollywood execs for millions of dollars for decades.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:47pm

        Re: Re:

        You call $50k a "grand scale"? Directors have been begging Hollywood execs for millions of dollars for decades.

        Kickstarter allows people to beg from lots of people at once. Hence, grand scale. You're referring to the amount this project brought in. I'm referring to the platform's reach.

         

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          G Thompson (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 8:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And?

          Let me introduce you to an amazing new platform that is all about begging (and gambling) for money. It started under a tree a few centuries ago so its not really that new but anyway.. The STOCK EXCHANGE!

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 8:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What do you think any "business model" is exactly?

          All business models are begging for consumers to give them money, some beg in different forms but all at the end of they are equal in one point, they all are asking people to give them money.

          Copyright doesn't change that, it only allows some people to exclude others from begging with you.

          Copyright only protects you from other beggers it doesn't stop you from having to beg LoL

           

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          PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 12:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I'm referring to the platform's reach."

          No, you're not. You brought up some irrelevant bullshit about it being sold on iTunes (as if that meant something), and dismiss Kickstarter as "begging" (guess what going to traditional investors is?). The reach of the platform was its audience, which managed to fund the movie without having to sign over creative control, which in turn led to an Oscar. Sales as a result of that Oscar are the icing on the cake, but are irrelevant to the discussion about production finance and production quality.

          It's typical, really. You people can't admit that new business models have a future, so you deflect. First it was "nobody's using Kickstarter", then it was "nobody will pre-pay before the content's produced", then it was "they can't raise enough money to make a decent product". Now, we're down to "well it's just begging and people still sell copies afterwards". The goalposts are moving so quickly, you're forgetting which game you're playing.

          How many times do you need to deflect before you can admit that the people you constantly attack here may have actually been right about something? Face it, even if the corporations you love aren't going to be financing Transformers 6 through Kickstarter, many quality movies will. Those films have an audience, and they're willing to pay, and pay to the point where those movies are financially profitable without ever having to beg for money from the studios for production or distribution. Deal with that.

           

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:44pm

    Hopefully this means we can kill off the line we've heard too many times from some industry folks about how Kickstarter isn't for "real" content creators.

    That wasn't a REAL Oscar win! It didn't count! LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:54pm

      Re:

      Sure it won an Oscar. But it is rare for mainstream commercial motion pictures or tv shows be made for that relative pittance. Kickstarter will never be a mainstream financier of commercial productions until it raises $2+ million a pop.

       

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        G Thompson (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 8:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually its only rare for HOLLYWOOD STUDIO films to be made for that sort of budget, Independent films from both the USA and around the world are being made on a shoestring and a prayer all the times and actually do VERY VERY well, it's just no-one knows about them until the big studios and production companies take them up and then market them adding to the so called 'budget'.

        In fact a lot of films, doco's, animations etc are made for less than $500K and some even less than $100K. Especially documentaries that are normally also funded by Government Subsidies (bugger all money there) or Non-Profit Entities.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 9:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Have you watched Iron Sky?

        Quote:
        Production began in early 2006, and the production team took their teaser trailer of the film to the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, seeking co-financiers.[8] The team signed a co-production agreement with Oliver Damian's 27 Films Productions. Iron Sky is one of a new wave of productions, including Artemis Eternal, The Cosmonaut, A Swarm of Angels, and RiP!: A Remix Manifesto, produced in collaboration with an on-line community of film enthusiasts, creating participatory cinema. At Wreck-a-Movie, a collaborative film-making web site, the producers invited everyone interested in "chipping in" with their ideas and creativity to read the tasks given to the community and to take a shot (write an entry).

        Source: Wikipedia: Iron Sky

        The world is going crazy, participatory financing(i.e. Kickstarter), participatory film making(i.e. Wreck a Movie).

        Wow, that crowdsource shite really works!

         

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          PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 1:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The funny thing is, the anti-Kickstarter people are starting well behind the curve here. They're dismissing movies before they find their audience and they're dismissing anything that's not "mainstream" - which in these fools' minds means "$2 million+".

          The thing is, they're wrong on both things that this attitudes suggests - that low budget cinema can't be mainstream and that low budgets don't lead to anything important. We have the obvious examples - The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Napoleon Dynamite - that cost peanuts to make but found their audience to the tune of hundreds of millions.

          But, to me the interesting thing beyond that are the low budget movies that have launched great careers in the past. We all know the likes of Clerks, El Mariachi, Pi, The Evil Dead, Bad Taste, She's Gotta Have It, Reservoir Dogs etc. that launched successful careers on virtually nothing. Hell, I was playing around with an inflation calculator and noticed that Night Of The Living Dead, Mad Max and Eraserhead would cost less than $2 million *put together*, even without considering the cost savings that modern technology would allow. Why wouldn't the next major auteur fund his movies through Kickstarter rather than traditional investors, credit cards or other more extreme means (Robert Rodriguez checked himself into a medical research centre to fund El Mariachi, and made his movie on less money than Inocente).

          To ignore all of this just because the current system isn't churning out multiplex movies is folly. Kickstarter is still maturing, and audiences are still working out what they want from both movies and the platform. By the time a breakout hit occurs, the next generation of filmmakers will already be using it to create great works, and people will be more generally open to crowdfunding. Maybe some of those filmmakers will move to big budget studio pictures rather than remain independent - but maybe Kickstarter will already have started funding the multi-million dollar productions their critics crave.

          Time will tell, but it's ridiculous to dismiss them at this stage.

           

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        identicon
        AB, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:28am

        Re: Re:

        Sure it won an Oscar. But it is rare for mainstream commercial motion pictures or tv shows be made for that relative pittance. Kickstarter will never be a mainstream financier of commercial productions until it raises $2+ million a pop.

        Translation: "That wasn't a REAL Oscar win! It didn't count! LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU"

         

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    identicon
    RD, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

    Clearly, this is a lie

    Clearly, this is a lie. Everyone knows you can't have a successful movie unless you have $100 million in sunk costs into it, then create a shell movie company with to cook the books so it never makes any money so you never have to pay the people who ACTUALLY made the movie, and siphon all the profits to the execs of the studios who then funnel millions to the RIAA so they can "enforce" copyright upon single mothers (and many others of the general public, using laws specifically set up to prosecute *commercial level* copying and distribution) by spending millions more to prosecute to win a judgment that can and will never be even remotely paid.

    I mean, you CAN'T, you just can't. The system would fall apart.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

    searching for sugarman won best documentary

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

      Re:

      searching for sugarman won best documentary

      This one won best documentary SHORT, not documentary feature.

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:35pm

      Re:

      I hope Mike does a write up about that film. I think its amazing how the gatekeepers of copyright love to talk about artists rights being so sacred but made sure to screw him out of his royalties.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:56pm

        Re: Re:

        How was he screwed? Someone have a gun at his head? These days deals are done by lawyers. Unless this was an anomaly, the creator made a deal with a full understanding of what it was. How is anyone screwed if they make a fully informed agreement?

         

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        •  
          identicon
          AB, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Exactly. Lawyers are the new guns.

           

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        •  
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          PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "How was he screwed?"

          The entire premise of the documentary is that he sold a shit ton of albums in South Africa, yet he was completely unaware of that fact. That he was presumed dead by most of his fanbase there. How is an artist *not* screwed when people are profiting from his work but he's not even made aware of his fanbase?

          I haven't seen the documentary yet to see how all of this plays out, but the premise seems to be clear that he's been wronged.

          "These days deals are done by lawyers."

          Whatever deal was made, it was made in 1967-70, not "these days".

          "the creator made a deal with a full understanding of what it was."

          Do you honestly believe that musicians are fully aware of the truth of every legal aspect of the deals they sign? History would like a very long word with you if so. You can argue that they *should* know, but record contracts are intentionally complicated so that they take as little of the risk and as much of the reward as possible.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    zannennagara, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:08pm

    Not quite Kickstarter-funded

    Note, though, when you follow the link, that the $52k raised from Kickstarter appears essentially to be a promotional budget. I caught this film in a local cinema, and its high production values (well beyond the other Oscar contenders) were obviously (and, in the credits, explicitly) financed by large private backers, not least of which was MTV Films.

    I suspect (without much boldness) that large Kickstarter success stories are still dependent on a preexisting support structure of funding and promotion, and perhaps that rather than functioning as a kind of crutch or welfare system for starving artists the site is simply a way of outsourcing more of the costs of their chief financiers to the eventual consumers.

     

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      Samuel Abram (profile), Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:31pm

      Re: Not quite Kickstarter-funded

      I suspect (without much boldness) that large Kickstarter success stories are still dependent on a preexisting support structure of funding and promotion, and perhaps that rather than functioning as a kind of crutch or welfare system for starving artists the site is simply a way of outsourcing more of the costs of their chief financiers to the eventual consumers.


      That is, without a doubt, true. Still, it must be noted that I have backed some artists I never heard before because I liked their idea. Like this one and this one. Sometimes, the strength of one's ideas alone is enough to say "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:02pm

      Re: Not quite Kickstarter-funded

      Not sure you're right. According to: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2013/02/25/academy-awards-inocente-izucar-on-oscar-wi n-her-future/

      $52k was the budget, though they may have gotten it wrong.

       

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        identicon
        AB, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:24pm

        Re: Re: Not quite Kickstarter-funded

        Fox News get something wrong? Oo Impossible!! Like all large news agencies they meticulously fact check all their information before publishing it.

        Sarcasm aside, I don't mean to imply that you are wrong. At the very least I expect they had a lot of non-financial help in the form of equipment loans and consultation.

         

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        identicon
        zannennagara, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 9:18pm

        Re: Re: Not quite Kickstarter-funded

        I'm pretty sure they got it wrong. When you look at the section entitled "Why is Inocente on Kickstarter?" you read (my emphasis): "Thanks to the generosity of our producers and post house we have completed the film's production and editing but still need to pay deferred costs and to complete final deliverables (creating HDCam tapes, Digibeta tapes, Blu-rays, and DVDs in the correct formats) for TV and community film screenings." (Also, in the next paragraph, they need funds for a website, marketing and educational materials.)

        Per IMDB there were sixteen producers for the film - one of whom is John Leguizamo - and six different production companies. There are five distributors, one of which is MTV Films. It's technically possible I suppose that all of these people and companies were "deferring costs" until the Kickstarter campaign but it seems extremely unlikely. There appears to have been a great deal of support and finances in place well before the fundraiser, enough to raise the question as to why the latter was really needed at all.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:43pm

    Was the last link a mistake? It points to an article that isn't about Kickstarter, or crowd-funding in general.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:18pm

    Back in 2006 after it became clear that Joss Whedon's movie Serenity hadn't made enough money to film the sequels, I actually proposed crowd-funding them. I didn't use that term as I don't think anyone had coined it yet, but the idea was the same; Have everyone who wanted to see more movies donate money to fund them.

    I was told that it would never work because anyone who donated would be considered a shareholder(?) and would want a say in how the movie is made.

    Fast forward seven years and the system I suggested is a reality which seems to be working well...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:43pm

    The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

    Yet another anomaly. Quirky subject that appealed to arty types but will certainly not recover its "sunk (or fixed) costs". -- Its page makes me doubt it's a real documentary, sounds more like an item for The Onion. BUT supposing there are unfortunate 15 year old girls who can afford a lot of facial makeup and have a nice large bright room in which to put life size plastic cow painted in psychedelic patterns and bright colors, I'm sure it's a fine work.

    First, as already noted above, that's just the promotional costs, doesn't seem to cover any of the normal production.

    2nd, it's minus the 5% Kickstarter rakes off. I find that too much for merely hosting a web site: it's definitely out of line with the low budgets for the actual content. I'd say Kickstarter is run by weenies who make out like bandits by preying on the aspirations of artists and get-rich-quick types: cheerleading both types is one of the most reliable methods of actually getting rich quick.

    3rd, WHO the heck contributed $178.66 average just to help promote this (already made) movie? That's a fairly well-heeled and dedicated crowd. -- And I'd wager there's just about exactly 294 of them in all the world.

    I must conclude that "crowd-funding" is not going to work as general means. It's just plain impractical, especially because when you get to release point, costs balloon as you're sucked into the normal channels.

    Nor is there anything new about Kickstarter for raising funds even though it's on the Internet. Ed Wood (of "Plan 9" fame) kept his costs down with the same techniques (and we're all amused by his results).

    Free products, free money, and free labor are essential to Mike's notions. -- As is free content for this site. Geez, he writes one short paragraph and expects others to fill out the page. -- I'd do more except even opposition benefits him, and he's not even a good cheerleader.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 8:41pm

      Re: The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

      Have you considered offering your brain to science?

       

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        Gwiz (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re: The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

        Have you considered offering your brain to science?

        It was labeled "Abby Normal" and rejected.

         

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      Jikap (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 12:15am

      Re: The real story: $34527/282 = 122.44 average contribution?

      I'm just wondering where they found 4 people to pay $2500 each, and another 8 people to pay $1000 each...

      Without those, the math would be: $34527/282 = 122.44 average contribution, not nearly enough for a successful funding...
      Wouldn't really surprise me if some of those 12 were a sponsor nudging this cheap marketing campaign to success,
      they barely made it to the goal as it is. :/

       

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      PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:09am

      Re: The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

      "First, as already noted above, that's just the promotional costs, doesn't seem to cover any of the normal production."

      So?

      "I find that too much for merely hosting a web site"

      So would I. Luckily, Kickstarter provide far more than that. Perhaps one time, you would like to read up on what they actually do before you criticise them. Well, at least you're one step above paywall bob I suppose...

      "3rd, WHO the heck contributed $178.66 average just to help promote this (already made) movie?"

      If you actually read more of these stories to work out what actually happens, you'd probably know already. Look at the Humble Bundle offerings.

      "I must conclude that "crowd-funding" is not going to work as general means"

      I conclude that you're an annoying dick, and I have far more evidence to back me up.

      "Ed Wood (of "Plan 9" fame) kept his costs down with the same techniques (and we're all amused by his results)."

      So did Sam Raimi, Martin Scorcese, John Carpenter, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, the Coen brothers, Peter Jackson... I could go on. Sorry, are these not convenient to your self-chosen narrative?

      "Free products, free money, and free labor are essential to Mike's notions. -"

      Yet again, you have to lie. Why are you such a dishonest person?

      "As is free content for this site."

      Such as the idiotic attempts at responding to the articles that lead to hours of entertainment and increased traffic. Provided voluntarily by you for free. Ironic, isn't it?

       

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        PaulT (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:22am

        Re: Re: The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

        "Look at the Humble Bundle offerings. "

        I hit submit before I finished my thought here... The Humble Bundles usually consist of a large number of people paying an average amount (below $10 normally), bolstered by a select few paying a few grand each. That might skew the stats and the average price, but it means that some people are paying because they believe in more than just the end product (e.g. with the bundles, they're usually giving to charity). That's exactly what's happened here.

        In fact, if ootb wasn't so busy being such an abject moron, he'd see the exact breakdown on the link itself. 4 of the people paying paid $2500 or more each to get a signed print of a painting from the film and 8 paid $1,000 or more for another print. However, 145 backers paid less than $50 for other rewards. In other words, the average person was paying far less than the amount he tried to claim, and in many cases paid no more than they would have done if they'd have waited for the distribution to take place under traditional methods.

        If ootb wasn't so busy coming up with hypotheticals based on his predetermined conclusions, he'd notice that he was proven wrong by the very evidence he's criticising. It's sad that our regular detractors round here have to stoop to such blatant lies.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 4:19am

          Re: Re: Re: The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

          Copyright defenders typically have to lie to get any point across.

          Which is why their list of righteous defenders and heroes includes John Steele and the Internet Copyright Law Enforcement Agency.

           

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:03am

      Re: The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

      You are looking at 1 successful project and conclude that crowdsourcing has failed?

      Another thing, we don't say it's the be-all-end-all of funding anything in this world, it's ONE way of funding your project, another would be to go to angel investors, or raking up humongous credit card bills, or having a rich mommy and daddy, or going to a major movie studio and demand 10+million USD for your own project.
      And we also never said that it was *new*. It's just now becoming easier to do on a global scale.
      Kickstarter is nothing but a fancy ESCROW service.

      BTW, where are these free products? People paid to get the movie funded, and people who want to watch it are asked to pay to see it (either through a movie ticket or through itunes or some other distribution platform).

      Three strikes, Out_of_the_blue, I'm afraid you're out.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:06am

      Re: The real story: $52527 /294 = 178.66 average contribution...

      When are these 'anomalies' going to stop be anomalies to you? If we were to take you seriously (when the sun is a burned out husk and the Earth a dead ball of ice floating in the darkened skies) then these things shouldn't happen even half as regularly as they appear to. You keep bringing up the lies of 'free everything,' and wave off the success stories that are highlighted here. Dude, just give it up. You're not even interesting, anymore.

       

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    jameshogg (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 2:01am

    I'm loving the imagined anti-Copyright rhetoric people think is coming from this article, even although Mike did not mention the word "Copyright" even once.

    It's almost as if people are insecure.

    If you think this is good, just wait until a big band like Radiohead starts experimenting with all the profits they can get from something like this (as they've already proven themselves with experimenting with other things and very nearly approaching what they wanted). I promise you, people will stop sounding so cocky.

    Same goes with when somebody like Justin Bieber tries it. THAT will be hilarious to watch... millions of pledges, tens of millions of profits...

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 3:02am

    That's pretty epic. Crowdfunding is showing its powers! And I'm fairly sure it wasn't a 100 gazillion movie and I'm also sure they got a pretty decent amount of money in spite of piracy. Nice!

     

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    identicon
    suvo onee, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    callnotes

    You are implying them to created this motion picture solely with regard to revenue. In person I really do not necessarily believe that _any_ worth it art work seemed to be _ever_ determined by means of revenue. Revenue may possibly (or may possibly not) deposit art work, nevertheless it by no means drives it.

     

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    identicon
    Isaac the K, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    Poor, silly Mike...

    This is a documentary, so it's not "real" content creation! It's merely an expropriation of OTHER people's content!

    Everyone knows that there is no real artistry behind making a documentary. After all, how many Oscars go to films depicting historical events!

     

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