The Wall Street Journal

Lawrence Lessig’s WSJ Article on Bassel Khartabil

Elliot Harmon, January 8th, 2013

Bassel
Bassel / joi / CC BY

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig has a thoughtful piece about Bassel Khartabil, the longtime CC volunteer who has been detained by Syrian authorities since March.

In late 2012, Foreign Policy named Mr. Khartabil one of this year’s top 100 thinkers. The magazine singled him out for “fostering an open-source community in a country long on the margins of the Internet’s youth culture.”

But Mr. Khartabil wasn’t able to accept that honor. He was arrested in March by Syrian authorities because of his work and has been held — at times in utter isolation — ever since. His family fears the very worst.

Mr. Khartabil isn’t a partisan, aligned with one Syrian faction against another. He represents a future, aligned against a totalitarian past. The Syrian government is fearful of the potential threat to the totalizing control that defines the modern Syrian state. The government thus wants to shut the free-software, free-culture movement down, in a way that only a totalitarian regime can.

Please join us in urging Syrian authorities to release Bassel. Sign the letter of support and follow the most recent updates at freebassel.org.

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The Wall Street Journal on “Sita Sings The Blues” and Profit Numbers

Cameron Parkins, December 1st, 2009


RamSitaGods, Nina Paley | CC BY-SA

Last week, The Wall Street Journal posted a fascinating article on the profits made by Nina Paley for her film Sita Sings The Blues. Widely available for free online under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license, Sita has garnered $55,000 to date, an impressive amount for a film that has spent nothing on promotion or adverting.

While this amount only conveys part of the story – the article leaves out the cost to make the film as well as Paley’s cost-of-living – it is inspiring to see such fiscal success from a work of open-cinema. Aurelia Schultz, current CC legal research volunteer, digs deeper with the numbers on her blog, making the following observation:

A better tally of how [Paley] has done would include how the Sita copyright issue and subsequent CC licensing have increased Nina’s income from her other works by increasing her visibility; how much she makes from speaking engagements (which she say are her most lucrative work); and how much more she would have paid out under her settlement agreement had she released the film in a more traditional manner. Since all of these things only add to what she has already made, it’s clear that releasing Sita under a Creative Commons license was a good choice for Nina.

For more information on Sita Sings the Blues be sure to read our interview with Nina Paley as well as check out our case study on the film itself.

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