Case Studies/Sita Sings The Blues
Sita Sings the Blues is an animated feature-length film from Nina Paley. It has achieved wide levels of success, both commercially and in press, without the help of traditional press methods or large studio backing. Released under a CC Attribution-Share Alike license, the film is a prime example of 'open-source cinema'.
You can read more about the film at the .
Sita Sings The Blues is released under a [CC Attribution-Share Alike license], a decision Paley came to after her experience trying to license Annette Hanshaw's music. Sita Sings The Blues FAQ
Paley describes her motivation for using a CC BY-SA license at length in her featured interview at creativecommons.org:
I want my film to reach the widest audience. It costs money to run a theater; it costs money to manufacture DVDs; it costs money to make and distribute 35mm film prints. It’s essential I allow people to make money distributing Sita these ways and others; otherwise, no one will do it. So I eschewed the “non commercial” license. Share Alike would “protect” the work from ever being locked up. It’s better than Public Domain; works are routinely removed from the Public Domain via privatized derivatives (just try making your own Pinocchio). I didn’t want some corporation locking up a play or TV show based on Sita. They are certainly welcome to make derivative works, and make money from them; in fact I encourage this. But they may not sue or punish anyone for sharing those works.
I looked to the Free Software movement as a model. The CC BY-SA license most closely resembles the GNU GPL, which is the foundation of Free Software. People make plenty of money in Free Software; there’s no reason they can’t do the same in Free Culture, except for those pernicious “non commercial” licenses. A Share Alike license eliminates the corporate abuse everyone’s so afraid of, while it encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. Everyone wins, especially the artist!
- Total donations from people who appreciate her giving out free content: $23,000
- Profits from her online store which sells merchandise and DVDs: $19,000
- Theatrical distribution revenues: $3,000 (out of total box office tally of $22,350)
- Additional DVD distribution: $3,000
- Broadcast television distribution: $3,000
- Revenue from Central Cinema in Seattle which showed the film: $4,000
- Grand total: $55,000