5 comments on “The Sita Distribution Project (from QuestionCopyright.org)

  1. Very interesting- had no idea that there was an organized movement such as this one debating copyright issues! Will be looking into this further. Thought-provoking , at least, though I certainly feel that researching the legal background on the topic is overwhelming. I quite enjoyed Sita Sings the Blues and its unusual animation style.

  2. Thank you, Minai. I felt that this topic was quite pertinent, and given your own personal experience, I know you can understand why. :)

    I liked Sita Sings the Blues for a few reasons, including its animation style. I confess, I wasn’t crazy about most of the music – I wished there were more Indian music. :) I liked that the voice of Sita was done by Reena Shah, who also “rotoscoped” some of the dancing (though I’m not sure what that means :). And Reena Shah has a place in this blog, because, according to her Web site:

    Reena graduated from the Padmini Institute of Fine Arts, where she studied Bharata Natyam, an Indian Classical Dance Form, under The Late Guru Padmini Ramachandran, a renowned Indian Actress & Dancer.

  3. There is also a bit of difference between “owning” something and “sharing” something with due credit given. I totally agree with Nina’s views in general, but I still find myself very annoyed when I see my words reproduced with no attribution—it’s like having my thoughts (because my writing is personal to me) hijacked. I don’t mind people USING my words, but I don’t like them appropriating them as their own.

  4. Memsaab, I’ve had that sort of thing done to me and it is annoying – not only because writing is personal to me, but also because writing is the only creative activity that I know I can do competently : ) , so if I work hard to craft a piece of writing, I guess I would like to retain credit for it, at least in the present society (more about that in a minute).

    But I don’t think QuestionCopyright.org is asking to abolish the demand/requirement for attribution. In fact, they talk a lot about how copyright never really was about giving credit to the artist but much more about how a work was distributed, especially when we depended on printing presses. They also kind of hedge with regard to whether they would even abolish copyright. A little after the lines I quoted, they say:

    We do advocate, at the very least, a drastic reduction in the scope and duration of copyright terms; we’ve found it hard to avoid that conclusion after looking closely at the effects of copyright in the Internet Age. But whether outright abolition is preferable to simply taming copyright is a more complex question, and one we don’t pretend to be able to answer with certainty.

    There is an anti-copyright – or copyright reform – movement that talks about alternative licenses focused on attribution without legal limitations on copying or monetary demands. There’s the Creative Commons group, which is part of that movement; they specifically have created an “attribution license.”

    Now, there is the utopian communist side of me :) that wonders if we could ever live in a society in which claiming ownership of a work, even in the creative sense, wouldn’t be so important. Certainly, many ancient civilizations gave us great works of art that were not attributed to anyone, and did people even care whether they would be? And even when work is attributed to someone – like Homer, for instance – it might have been embellished or changed through oral tradition by a lot of people who obviously didn’t care themselves whether they got famously known for the work that they did. (Actually, reading a little about this, I see that the prevalent hypothesis today is that there was no real poet named Homer; Homer is just a fictional character whom poems were attributed to, while the people who helped to create the works of Homer obviously didn’t care whether they got credit – I guess they much preferred working to make Homer an even better poet over the years. :)

    It also gets complicated when you think about how or what a byline should be. For instance, in this blog here, it means nothing to me if someone takes something, puts it somewhere else, and attributes it to “Richard S.”; the important thing is that they acknowledge they got it from Dances on the Footpath.

    Oh, well, all very complex stuff – which is why I’ve just written such a lengthy comment in response to yours. But, to basically paraphrase what QuestionCopyright.org said themselves, I don’t think it takes all that much thinking through to realize that the current copyright system at this point really has to go. :)

  5. Yes, I agree with you completely :) When I see my writing masquerading as someone else’s and get annoyed, I then do think to myself that honestly in the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter :) And I would rather be the one being copied than the one doing the copying :D

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