An article examining the historical, political and technological implications of the open source movement for cinematic production.
February 24, 2004. Also known as Grey Tuesday. Over 100,000 copies of DJ Danger Mouse’s Grey Album are downloaded from hundreds of sites across the Internet. An estimated million copies of this celebrated remix of the Beatles’ White Album with Jay-Z’s Black Album are traded over peer-to-peer networks within 24 hours. A symbolic gesture perhaps, but the electronic civil disobedience of Grey Tuesday eloquently speaks to both consumer frustrations with increasingly restrictive copyright laws and the growing power of peer networks to subvert the enforcement of those laws. Clearly the battle lines have been drawn for the culture wars of the 21st century. At stake is the continued existence of a meaningful sphere of free culture called the public domain. The battle promises to be epic, bringing cherished American ideals of originality, creativity and the ability to profit from one’s labor into seeming conflict with equally powerful desires for freedom of speech and expression. And what happens when the movie industry finally has its own Grey Tuesday? In spite of its demonstrated ineffectiveness, the MPAA appears determined to follow the music industry’s shock-and-awe strategy of indiscriminate prosecutions. All of which means more lawsuits, more bitterness, and ultimately, more effective tactics of resistance.
Published in Res Magazine Jan/Feb 2005publication, reviews and advocacy on Jun 30th, 2009