Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Sunday Herald
The activist, author and director told the Sunday Herald that, as long as pirated copies of his film were not being sold, he had no problem with it being downloaded. "I don't agree with the copyright laws and I don't have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it with people as long as they're not trying to make a profit off my labour. I would oppose that," he said. "I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I'm happy this is happening."
Interesting quote, but as Xeni points out, after the box office hit in the US, he can sort of afford to say that. If he felt this way, it would have been cool if he had put a Creative Commons license on it. Still, I think this is better than nothing. Xeni also points out the film's distributor is clearly against "sharing" of the film on the Internet.

via Xeni @ Boing Boing and Creative Commons Weblog


Hang on, he *is* saying that he is doing well enough already, so making a fuss about that is a bit moot. Even if you read his website, you'll find out that "Bowling" was such a success that enabled him to do 9/11 without worrying about profits. That it *is* very profitable is just an added bonus.

Oh, and possibly no one have told him about CC? Maybe someone could tell him about it instead of whining about it? :)

Alex, there is an old saying in Hollywood that you're "as good as your last film." The point is that it's much easier to act generous after you know you're "in the money." And, our point about CC is if it REALLY didn't matter, it would have been cool if he had said this before he released the film.

"It would have been cool if..." isn't whining and we will surely try to tell him about CC.

I don't know much about the film industry, but is it really his right to put the creative commons on the film? I would assume he doesn't actually "own" the film to give away in the first place. Whatever media company produced it does, right?

Ok, but I seem to recall that he did say that he was going to make his next film without worrying about critics or monies after his Oscar and the "Bowling" success. Of course, no link to back that up, going with memory here.

Besides, I did put a little smiley next to "whining" to let you know that I too think it would have been cool if you did tell him, as I haven't got the Oomph to do it myself. :)

It does seem like lip service, now that M. Moore's wallet is most assuredly greater than mine in girth and weight.

Criticizing him for that seems a little unfair, though. The guy who made "Van Helsing" didn't make his movie available for free, but we never thought to call him on that. The price of admission was 9.75 and I really didn't enjoy the film at all. At least M. Moore's latest was worth the price of admission to me.

Perhaps Moore simply has a heavier cross to bear since his message is political? I dunno.

Joe. You're right. I don't know details, but typically, a variety of people are promised different types of "points" or percentages of revenue. Also, the distribution company has a variety of rights. I would be possible to put a CC license on it if he had negotiated all of this in advance and explained it as part of the package.

Just a random trivia item: When someone is promised "points" in a movie which are most likely worth nothing, IE "X% of revenue, net producers fees, net distribution, P&A, net percentage going to actors, etc." they are called "monkey points." ;-)

Alex, yes, I remember his saying something like that too. Good point. So, all this is easy to say. It would be interesting to find out what rights he DOES have. Maybe the screen play? And see if he will license it under CC...

Ah, that's what that smiley meant. ;-)

Mike, true. He doesn't really deserve to be criticized. I guess I'm being a bit snarky because if I were him, considering the target of the movie, I'd say something like that and I'd realize it wasn't costing me anything to say it after the fact. We could give him the benefit of the doubt, but we also know he's quite a good showman. ;-)

Activists are often confused with Catholic priests, expected to take a vow of poverty and forego all worldly goods.

There's probably also an attempt at attacking his "street cred" here.

Michael Moore is adept at taking "positions" without penetrating deeply into "reality" or the implications of those positions. Like the "information" in Bowling for Columbine or F-911 it is highly skewed and suspect. Michael Moore saying that he doesn't care if people download his film and share it is, like his Academny award speech...noisy posturing.

Like his films, a little research will show that facts differ from those which he presents. Moore is like a three-card monte dealer. He shows you the same trick over and over and over and over and you are still fascinated and laying your money and your praise on the table and are getting swindled time after time.

Michael S. Copley

Michael Moore definitely is a good showman. He's the court jester come out to take aim at the king. Considering that circumstance, I think questioning his motives and method is a healthy thing.

My problem is that I can't play the devil's advocate any longer; I lost my soul that way as I watched Bush play with our soldiers' lives like toys he got for Christmas. So yeah, I probably am not looking at the showman with as critical an eye as I should.

Looters of the Right Wing like Bush, Cheyney and Co. Looters of the Left Wing like Michael Moore and Joi. All of you are second handers. The many always live off the genius of the few in arts and science and the intellectual property laws are designed to ensure that at least the few can become wealthy as a result of their service to society. We would all agree that Civil Liberties are important so why not intellectual property laws - well because they protect a different sort of minority - an intellectual elite - to whom the masses are both indebted to and jealous of. I have nothing against CC because it is the creator has the power to decide whether or not to make his works CC - but if this is used to attack the fundamental principle of intellectual propery from the back door - then I have a problem.

I'm not sure how CC is being used to attack the fundamental principle of intellectual property from the back door here. Can you please elaborate?

"The many always live off the genius of the few..." I would say that "The geniuses live off the labor of the many..."

I'm not against intellectual property. I'm against its abuse.

Also, I should also point out that civil liberties are usually to protect the underprivileged, not the elite... and least of all not multi-national media companies.

I am just trying to clarify things. So many people in being anti Right Wing Looters like Bush, Cheyney and the gang turn themselves into Left Wing Looters. I agree with CC in all cases where the Creator has decided to make his property CC because this is his right. I am against the idea however that the "public" should demand or pressure the creator into making his work CC. It appears that we are in agreement about big multi-national media companies and indeed pharmaceutical companies. I feel that these organisations abuse the monopoly granting power of intellectual property laws to harm the very people that I beleive that intellectual property laws were designed to protect. The small individual inventor/artist. I think that we may be able to find a common position on that Joi. Civil Liberties are designed to protect the underpriviledged and this is very good. When I say that the intellectual property laws are designed to protect the intellectual elite I am not using the phrase "elite" to describe those with political, military or necessarily economic power. I am describing those few who by virtue of the excellent of their mind have provided the many with works of technology or art/culture that actually benefit society. Without intellectual property laws political, economic or military power could be used against these people to take their work without paying for it. That would not be good for creators and it would not ultimately good for society either because with no incentive to create, many of the creators would stop and society would no longer have the wonderful benefit of these works. So when I compare the intellectual property laws that protect a minority with the civil liberties that protect the underprivileged minority - this is what I mean. I say, "The many always live off the genius of the few..." you say "The geniuses live off the labor of the many" Joi, it is our brain, our rational, creative mind that makes us human and seperates us from other forms of life on earth. Without the works of the mind - the civilisation would not have taken its vast leap forward. It is not right when the designer does not pay those for who labour to make his/her vision a physical reality-but it is also not right when the society does not pay the designer the just reward for providing his vision because ultimately the quality of their life depends on it.

Only Michael S. Copley has commented about the fact that Moore is intellectually dishonest and has no problems with making incredibly biased films loaded with bogus hyperbole and wrapping the whole affair in the mantle of a "documentary". Dunno about you folks, but where I come from, that's called "propaganda".

Now, if the thrust here is that you'd like to see a lot more propaganda available under the Creative Commons license, well, you probably owe a debt of gratitude to Rick Prelinger. The Prelinger Archives was founded in 1983 to preserve ephemeral films, and there are hundred of titles available for download in your choice of formats at . Mixed in with industrial safety, health education, and newsreel footage is plenty of advertising propaganda and nation-state propaganda. The license is not "creative commons", but it's almost as good from a practical perspective and fungible as long as you're thinking of creating derivative works and not distributing the unmodified original.

One wonders if 50 years hence, our grandchildren will watch Michael Moore's works and react to them the same way we react to World War II propaganda, finding them transparent, quaintly offensive, and generally laughable that anyone believed them - just as we feel when we watch _My Japan_ ( ).

Only Michael S. Copley has commented about the fact that Moore is intellectually dishonest and has no problems with making incredibly biased films loaded with bogus hyperbole and wrapping the whole affair in the mantle of a "documentary". Dunno about you folks, but where I come from, that's called "propaganda".

Yeah, you're right. Damn Michael Moore for only telling 96 percent of the truth while the other guy blows smoke up your rear.

One wonders if 50 years hence, our grandchildren will watch Michael Moore's works and react to them the same way we react to World War II propaganda, finding them transparent, quaintly offensive, and generally laughable

Or, it could have the effect that Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had. It was a populist piece of "propaganda" that helped to usher in the end of slavery in the US. That was a very, very good thing. As of now, we are slaves to incompetence in our government.

My feeling is that if you expect infalibility from Moore and you feel that his viewpoint is illegitimate, you must also apply the same standard to those he criticizes. Otherwise, you are simply having a knee-jerk reaction to a showman's muckracking and you're missing the big picture. Knee-jerking wouldn't be so bad if those who were doing it weren't also kicking us in the shins at the same time.

Mike B, I think 46% would be more like reality, but what's a 100% margin of error between friends?

National Review had this salient observation today:


If the new Moore-standard says you can be a force for good even if you argue through half-truths, guilt-by-association and innuendo, then the case against Joe McCarthy evaporates entirely. He did, after all, have the larger truths on his side.

rs -

I see what you're saying, but I'm a little skeptical of the Moore bashing when there is no counter argument of any kind to go along with it. The sheer virulence of the criticism against Moore is itself suspicious.

Anyway, do you think M.Moore made it all up? Is everything actually just hunky-dory? If F911 were stripped of all of Moore's speculation, I think the administration would still have a lot to answer for considering the footage that was shown.

Thanks for the Jonah Goldberg snippet. My opinion is that Goldberg is a pretty fair writer even though he has a history of Clinton bashing. However, Goldberg does admit that he hasn't seen the film and that he doesn't plan to.

The Joe McCarthy statement has flimsy logic because Moore isn't a senator and does not have the political power to bully his opponents or to get them incarcerated. McCarthy had to be censured because of his outrageous abuses of power. Moore is exercising his right to free speech as a citizen. Also, Goldberg's definition of the "Moore-standard" is very conditional.