Always give credit where credit is due!

Nina Paley, author of Sita Sings the Blues, just released another animation called “Credit is Due (The Attribution Song)”; another in a series of Minute Memes. She’s released a few of these shorter animations and they’re all informative and fun.

According to the page for this video on, this video is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. According to the footer on our content is released to the public and can be considered to be in the public domain: you may copy, share, excerpt, modify, and distribute modified versions of this and other pages from It’s unclear precisely how this work is licensed to you or if this work is under copyright at all. I can only guess that you are free to share unaltered copies of the work, transcode the work in its entirety to make it playable for yourself and others, and distribute copies of the work in its entirety with some reasonable amount of attribution (the more restrictive of the two sets of permissions). Until the two pages above are in sync I cannot be sure.

Update (2011-06-30): User “camille” (whom I believe is’s own Camille E. Acey) replied to my post about the confusing licensing on’s blog post about this video. Ms. Acey said that there is no licensing confusion because it is impossible to actually *put* anything directly into the public domain unless it originates from a government agency. I believe that is untrue: I believe all American copyright holders may choose to place a copyrighted work into the Public Domain thereby forgoing all copyright power for that work. I also believe if this were not the case the many lawyers at the Creative Commons would not have worked on their public domain dedication (deprecated since 2010-10-11) and then later reworked their public domain dedication into CC0 in order to broaden the usefulness of the dedication. Given Ms. Acey’s belief about placing works into the PD, she continued our statement that everything on our site is public domain is just a stance, not a legal reality which I believe only further confuses the issue. In the interest of correcting my own misunderstanding, I asked for Ms. Acey to cite sources for her belief. She cited How can I put a work into the public domain? which says exactly nothing to defend the errant notion that it is impossible to actually *put* anything directly into the public domain unless it originates from a government agency. My latest contribution to the thread awaits moderation. Until corrected I maintain the licensing confusion I list above remains. A copyright reform organization should not be unclear about licensing.

Also see:


SintelSintel movie poster is out!


Sintel is the latest Blender Foundation movie. Previous movies were Elephant’s Dream and Big Buck Bunny. Every couple of years the Blender Foundation puts out a movie made with Blender, a free software renderer and sequencer program. The Blender Foundation improves Blender as they go and we all get a better Blender program after their efforts (it should be noted that theirs are not the only Blender improvements).

The Blender Foundation raises money for these movies (which function as both entertainment and technical demo for Blender) in part by asking people to buy a copy of the movie on home video well ahead of time. They accept donations all the time, you can still buy a copy of the 4-DVD Sintel set.

The Blender Foundation movies are unlike other independent movies in that these movies are licensed to share (even commercially), and distributed with all the parts that went into making the movie so you can make derivative works. I know of no major Hollywood studio that encourages you to work with the movie in this way, which is partly why I find it so hard to spend time or money on Hollywood movies; free culture movies set the bar so high Hollywood simply doesn’t compete.

You should demand better for your freedom’s sake and demand more for your money by helping free culture artists do their work.


Local Archive

Sintel is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

“Sintel” coming soon

The Blender Foundation, primary hackers of Blender, a free software non-linear video editor and 3D renderer, have been working on a new short movie called “Sintel”.

Visit their blog for more details (including licensing) or download other versions of the trailer:

This trailer is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

Patent Absurdity: A short movie on the problems of patents covering algorithms used in software

Patent Absurdity explores the case of software patents and the history of judicial activism that led to their rise, and the harm being done to software developers and the wider economy. The film is based on a series of interviews conducted during the Supreme Court’s review of in re Bilski — a case that could have profound implications for the patenting of software. The Court’s decision is due soon.

You can also download the movie from multiple sources (, The Internet Archive, or locally using the links below) and share it with others because this movie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


More in-depth

Richard Stallman, founder of the free software movement and one of the speakers in the movie, has been talking about the dangers of software patents for many years. Listen to or download his talk from 2002 or read the transcript of this talk which includes pointers to more information about various points in Stallman’s talk. This talk is interesting because Stallman systematically explains how software patents are harmful to all computer users (Paul Heckel’s threats to Apple and Apple’s response is quite instructive), 3 strategies for dealing with software patents, and the multiple perversites of the patent process.

Stop Software Patents is documenting the case against software patents worldwide.

Eben Moglen’s talk on Freedom in “The Cloud”

Prof. Eben Moglen, head of the Software Freedom Law Center, gives another must-not-miss talk on software freedom with hosted services (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and other third-party services run on behalf of their users), colloquially known as “the cloud” (a purposefully vague reference to hosting services somewhere else, a virtual place that contains your data). What are the social and civic consequences of letting these services watch as you place your information (email, calendaring, private chats, etc.) into these services? How do we in the free software movement rise to the challenge of services users don’t control?

This recording comes to us courtesy of the Internet Society New York chapter The recordings are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.


Download Audio: hosted at Punkcast, hosted at Columbia University, hosted locally

Download Video: hosted at Punkcast, hosted at Columbia University, hosted locally


Audio: hosted at Punkcast, hosted at Columbia University, hosted locally

Video: hosted at Punkcast, hosted at Columbia University, hosted locally

When Moglen talks about what your server should do, he talks about the kinds of services you should be free to host yourself. I’m reminded of how useful it might be to control your file sharing yourself without placing your faith in those who are untrustworthy by default.

Update 2010-02-10: The Software Freedom Law Center posted highlights from Eben Moglen’s talk.

Sita Sings the Blues vs. Ink: How licensing treats us differently

Sita Sings the Blues” is an independently produced movie that is widely legally copied on the Internet. Writer/director/producer Nina Paley released “Sita” under a license that allows sharing (and far more, actually, but the details of how much more are beside the point of this article). Sita is also for sale on her store and anyone may download the movie from countless sources online (including locally—DVD ISO). The Internet Archive lists over 153,000 downloads from their site alone.

You can also download the soundtrack online and share it with anyone you choose (not all the tracks are sharable, but that’s not Nina Paley’s fault, the copyright holder for some music is not willing to share).

“Ink” is an independently produced movie that is widely illicitly copied on the Internet. Ink stands out because unlike chiefs of more famous movie studios, Ink’s writer/director Jamin Winans and producer Kiowa K. Winans wrote to TorrentFreak to thank them for promoting the movie and to say that the illicit sharing has made the movie far more popular, including increasing sales of home video copies.

But how do these movie makers treat you, the audience?
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Corporate power criticism needs to be more common

Today’s Democracy Now! has a very recommendable hour with Ralph Nader on corporate criticism and how paid off our elected officials are. Free software activism, potable water, clean air, launching wars of aggression (and the lack of punishment); every issue you can think of suffers as a result of corporate dominance in our culture and our collective lack of focus which would keep corporations subservient to the will of real people. Very much a part of this discussion is a movie I can’t recommend enough—The Corporation which you can also find online gratis distributed via BitTorrent at leading peer-to-peer websites (including OneBigTorrent formerly and The Pirate Bay).

Nader was also at the aforementioned Taming the Giant Corporation conference where he was interviewed by Amy Goodman (video, audio, high-quality audio, transcript).

GNU GPLv3 is released today

Today the GNU General Public License version 3, the preeminent free software license, and the GNU LGPL were released today at noon Eastern Daylight Time. Read the press release about the announcement events or go directly to the Free Software Foundation’s website for live streaming coverage of the events.

Here are the official recordings, most likely licensed to share under a simple verbatim copying and distribution license:

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire recording is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Read the press release about today’s GPLv3 launch and the new GPL (HTML, TeX, Text) and Lesser GNU GPL (HTML or Text).

Congratulations to the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen (or his Wikipedia entry which has many pointers to his talks), the Software Freedom Law Center, and the community who participated in GPLv3 revisions and critique. Our hard work will definitely benefit us all and continue to serve as a constitution of the free software movement.

Nothing so far beats HR676 for US health care

No health care proposal so far beats Rep. John Conyers’ (D-MI) HR676 for providing universal health care to Americans. HR676 is a single-payer health care plan also known as “Medicare for All”. HR676 has been Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) health care plan for both of his campaigns for president. Physicians for a National Health Program have endorsed HR676 for some years now.

The Democrats talk about health care in their debates but none of the most covered candidates offer a health care plan that covers everyone, makes it illegal to compete with the government-provided plan (thus removing HMOs from health care delivery), and is described in a bill you can tell your congressional representatives to co-sponsor today (sample letters 1 and 2 to inspire you to write your own).

Senators Edwards, Clinton, and Obama offer health care plans that all keep HMOs intact and in charge. This alone tells you not to take their health care plans seriously.

Today’s Democracy Now! (transcripts, audio, video) featured Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko” and some advocacy for a universal health care plan, although nobody mentioned HR676 by name.

Update (2007-06-18): Michael Moore discussed single-payer universal health care for the hour on today’s Democracy Now! (transcript, audio, video) and mentioned Kucinich’s health care plan with a mild approbation.

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More attention finally paid to coltan wars

Coltan is a metallic ore which is refined into a power that is used in computers. Coltan production doesn’t get much public attention, just the things it helps make possible. John Perkins touched on the subject in his interview on today’s Democracy Now! (losslessly compressed audio, audio, video, transcript). Here’s an excerpt of what Perkins said about the Congo and coltan miner exploitation.

The whole story of Africa and the Congo is such a devastating and sad one. And it’s the hidden story, really. We in the United States don’t even talk about Africa. We don’t think about Africa. You know, Congo has something called coltan, which probably most of your listeners may not have even heard of, but every cell phone and laptop computer has coltan in it. And several million people in the last few years in the Congo have been killed over coltan, because you and I and all of us in the G8 countries demand low — or at least we want to see our computers inexpensive and our cell phones inexpensive. And, of course, the companies that make these sell them on that basis, that “Oh, here, mine’s $200 less than the other company.” But in order to do that, these people in the Congo are being enslaved. The miners, the people mining coltan, they’re being killed. There’s these vast wars going on to provide us with cheap coltan.

And I have to say, you know, if we want to live in a safe world, we need to be — we must be willing, and, in fact, we must demand that we pay higher prices for things like laptop computers and cell phones and that a good share of that money go back to the people who are mining the coltan. And that’s true of oil. It’s true of so many resources that we are not paying the true cost, and there’s millions of people around the world suffering from that. Roughly 50,000 people die every single day from hunger or hunger-related diseases and curable diseases that they don’t get the medicines for, simply because they’re part of a system that demands that they put in long hours, and they get very, very low pay, so we can have things cheaper in this country. And the Congo is an incredibly potent example of that.

It’s unusual for DN! to discuss topics of direct relevance to computer users, but any ethical computer movement will be compelled to more closely examine where we get the inexpensive computers we enjoy today and work to make sure the prices remain higher and the money goes to the workers.