The webcomics blog about webcomics

Everybody See The Saturday Posting?

So — yeah. Gonna be huge. Let’s knock down a few things and call it a day.

  • On Saturday night in the Greater New York Mediasphere, Channel 13 broadcast Sita Sings the Blues, an ambitious piece of a feature-length animated movie made primarily by one person that’s stuck in it’s own version of copyright limbo. So why am I mentioning this on a webcomics blog? Because of the last bit of the end credits, which look like this, and because of the movie’s homepage, which reads (in its entirety) like this:

    Dear Audience,

    I hereby give Sita Sings the Blues to you. Like all culture, it belongs to you already, but I am making it explicit with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues. From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.

    You don’t need my permission to copy, share, publish, archive, show, sell, broadcast, or remix Sita Sings the Blues. Conventional wisdom urges me to demand payment for every use of the film, but then how would people without money get to see it? How widely would the film be disseminated if it were limited by permission and fees? Control offers a false sense of security. The only real security I have is trusting you, trusting culture, and trusting freedom.

    That said, my colleagues and I will enforce the Share Alike License. You are not free to copy-restrict (“copyright”) or attach “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) to Sita Sings the Blues or its derivative works.

    Some of the songs in Sita Sings the Blues are not free, and may never be; copyright law requires you to obey their respective licenses. This is not by my choice; please see our restrictions page for more.

    There is the question of how I’ll get money from all this. My personal experience confirms audiences are generous and want to support artists. Surely there’s a way for this to happen without centrally controlling every transaction. The old business model of coercion and extortion is failing. New models are emerging, and I’m happy to be part of that. But we’re still making this up as we go along. You are free to make money with the free content of Sita Sings the Blues, and you are free to share money with me. People have been making money in Free Software for years; it’s time for Free Culture to follow. I look forward to your innovations.

    If you have questions, please ask each other. If you have ideas, please implement them — you don’t need my permission or anyone else’s (except for the copyright-restricted songs, of course). If you see abuses, please address them, but don’t get bogged down in arcane details of copyright law. The copyright system wants you to think in terms of asking permission; I want you to think in terms of freedom. We’ve set up this Wiki to get things started. Feel free to improve it!

    I’ve got to get back to my life now, and make some new art. Thanks for your support! This film wouldn’t exist without you.


    –Nina Paley
    28 February, 2009 [block emphasis mine]

    Sounds … familiar. Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t seen Sita yet, you can catch a variety of download sites, or 13 is streaming it; you’re in for a treat. And after you’ve watched it, go thank creator Nina Paley, ’cause she’s one of us.

  • In other news, in case you hadn’t picked up on the drink recipes at Lore Brand Comics, today‘s establishes Lore Sjöberg as a drinker of the highest quality. You just don’t see the Dark ‘n’ Stormy very often, but damn it’s tasty.
  • Finally, Chris Crosby has his hands in so many different aspects of webcoimcs, he can’t help but trip over an anniversary just by going to the fridge to get himself a tasty beverage. Today, Sore Thumbs heads off to kindergarten, ’cause it’s five years old. At the risk of sounding redundant, Fleen congratulates Crosby, and illustrator co-creator Owen Gieni.

Lore’s dark n stormy recipe was nice, but it technically needs to be made a) with Gosling’s Black Seal rum, b) stronger than with just one shot.


Owen also co-writes and co-created SORE THUMBS, he’s not only the illustrator.

Cheerfully amended.

[…] Paley has been mentioned on this page before, most notably for the free-distribution model she adopted for Sita Sings The Blues. Her experiences with copyright (and copyleft) have prompted her to go […]

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