Tag Archives: free culture

Funding new Creative Commons films

I’m currently trying to find as many Creative Commons films as possible now, both non-commercial and share-alike. The non-commercially licensed films are interesting because one can have open screenings – but there’s a lot of confusion as to what “commercial” means, so there are always risks of legal battles. The free CC license “attribution share-alike” peaks my funding interest however, as it really liberates culture (to the extent possible whilst current copyright laws exist).

My latest support was for The Cosmonaut, from whom I bought the “New Kolibri Programme” present. This gave them a small contribution and I got a letter in my mailbox saying I’ve contributed (see below). Nice. And I know that the material will be freely distributed later on, giving me some comfort rather than the emptiness left behind after paying for a strictly copyrighted film.

Also I just found another free (short) movie project that hasn’t been shown much attention at all yet, even though being in post production. Vodo.net has it posted on their website, and there’s a Kickstarter project – but unfortunately they’ve only raised $5000 out of $15000 desired so far with a deadline of October 28th. The film is called A City to Make Me, an independent sci-fi noir film currently in post-production, and will be released under a Creative Commons by-sa license according to the FAQ on Kickstarter.

So the question is how much I am able to donate – and how many others who will notice it before the deadline. I’m writing about it here and now to gather support because it would be nice to see the film released and contribute to the ranks of free culture. Maybe it has to get up on The Pirate Bay to become successful? The Cosmonaut didn’t have to, but are there any other ways of quickly gathering the much needed support from pirates and other free culture supporters?

Jå hitt ‘n skiva i posthög’n

Jag vet inte riktigt varför eller från vem, men idag när jag kollade min posthög hittade jag en mycket trevlig överraskning! Paketet avslöjar dock att det är nummer 142 av 500 av en mycket speciell slags utgåva.

1 x EP 15×15/500 står det på paketet. Det vill säga Glesbygd’ns nya EP som de släppte tidigare i februari! Jag hade övervägt att köpa den faktiskt, mestadels pga deras helt underbara produktionssätt:

Som ni ser är självaste CD-fodralet i trä med brännmärkt logga och handsniden vad jag förstått! Oj vilken tid det måste ha tagit, då ryktena spreds redan för mer än ett år sedan. Tid verkar dock nästan vara ett huvudtema på skivan, så det kanske inte är helt fel.


Givetvis har jag rippat den och tillgängliggjort materialet. För att ladda hem behöver ni dock torrent-filen (från mig personligen, även om jag använder t.ex. trackern hos The Pirate Bay), vilket jag respektfullt hade tänkt erbjuda till bandet själva först att sprida. Tillsvidare har jag i alla fall uppdaterat Musicbrainz databas med skivans information, så om någon annan vill rippa skivan är det bara att använda något program som kopplar upp sig dit.

Materialet är inte fritt licensierat, vilket begränsar min vilja att sprida det (jag vill ju inte förespråka instängd kultur!). Dock handlar det om en begränsad upplaga i vilket fall, så när de sålt sina 500 exemplar bör det väl vara okej oavsett hur inbiten upphovsrättsfanatiker man än kan tänkas vara?

Annars får jag väl se till att jag överför torrent-filen på ett kassettband till vem som än vill ladda hem. Det vore coolast.

Who profits from online piracy?

“Who profits from online piracy?” (permalinked “Hello world”), this question is asked by Ellen Seidler, a young filmmaker who has co-produced the film And then came Lola. She also produced this film showing ad-filled pages being used to make profit from illegally sharing pirated films – people making money from her and others’ hard work:

[youtube xgh0wWHxF4k]
Please note that Ellen never downloads the film per se. She only looks at the pictures. She’s offered a download but does not verify it. It might as well be a fraud.

This is of course bad. Unfortunately I found no way whatsoever of contacting her through the blog. Neither comments nor a contact field. This is however common with antipiracy spokespeople, considering how everytime they say something the internet sets out to prove them wrong.

Had I been able to contact Ellen Seidler in any way (heck even YouTube comments are disabled), I would have told her about the benefits of sharing culture. That money cannot be made from “protecting” media and that the world is changing. And that this is a good thing. People who speak this issue much better than me are Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow, to name only two of the world’s plentitude of free culture promoters.

There are quick solutions to stop ad-infested websites from making money. This includes just-about-any-newspaper and film-distributing, as Ellen calls them, “cyberlocker sites”:

  • Solution #1: Adblock Plus for Firefox (or similar adblocking software). It’ll remove just about all annoying, invasive and illegal funding activity.
  • Solution #2: Distribute the film without “cyberlocker sites” – use The Pirate Bay (or any other BitTorrent tracker). This way you can distribute a torrent any way you like – and use the free, decentralised peer-to-peer backend.

Using either (or both) of these methods will distribute the film at the same time as making it harder for sites to make money from illegal downloads. Better yet, it also (given we have a free, neutral internet) makes it harder for illegal markets to sell pirate DVDs. This because fan-subbed material for those who want subtitling in “other” languages usually (as with anyone) prefer the internet rather than pieces of plastic (DVD/Blu-ray).

Sharing content makes sure only the original, credited film distributor has the rights, and chance, to make money from the produced film. While at the same time building a world-wide fanbase who gladly support future film-making! Might just be me, but this seems a lot better than suing and threatening fans…

By the way, here’s an ad-free, totally uncommercial BitTorrent file linking you to a huge swarm of dedicated fans who give up their broadband connections to distribute Ellen Seidler’s movie “And Then Came Lola”: And.Then.Came.Lola.2009.DVDRip.XviD-VoMiT.torrent

An e-mail to the maker of “Primer”

I wrote an e-mail just now to the maker of the film Primer, Shane Carruth. Shane is currently planning/producing the movie “A Topiary”, but that was not the immediate topic of my e-mail. My spark was an enquiry to his view on free culture.

Having found an old post on the Primer discussion board [archive], discussing the budget and production, I noticed his attitude towards expensive editing and production software:

Music: I did it on my computer using lots of samplers and sequencers (fruity loops, sound forge, sonar, etc.). I’d rather not say how I got that software, but if I ever make a living at this I know which ones to buy.

This of course inclined me to ponder whether he could ever produce that film without the help of filesharing. Thus, maybe he may see the possibilities of sharing his work too under a copyleft license? We’ll see if he answers me, assuming that e-mail address I found even works…

Hello Shane! I recently rewatched the movie Primer together with a couple of friends, together with whom I am planning the second year of a local “free culture festival” in Umeå, Sweden.

By free I mean the type of free which the Free Software Foundation promotes, that is “open source software”. When it comes to culture, you may know of the prominent license “Creative Commons”. If not, you may read more about it on http://creativecommons.org/ (or Wikipedia for that matter, where all content is licensed “CC by-sa”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:CC-BY-SA )

Our discussion after watching Primer was mostly related to the low budget of the production, and what great opportunities there are today for amateur film makers. My personal point of view is that amateur film makers are a much greater threat to the short-sighted, popularity contest Hollywood film market that’s the reality of today’s cinema.

The discussion encouraged me to write you this e-mail to ask whether you have given any thought about licensing the movie Primer as a “Creative Commons” work?

I am also passively collecting information to an essay on how contemporary culture is formed, produced and distributed which may benefit from an answer to that question.

Having seen the news about you also producing the new film “A Topiary”, would a free “copyleft” license be possible to apply to that material?

In either case it would be interesting to hear your quick thoughts, or elaborative if you please, on free culture and the Creative Commons.

Mikael Nordfeldth