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If you didn’t notice this is a new year. It is also a new age. My resolution is to help all filmmakers and members of the film industry to understand it. Hopefully we can also all get started on adapting for this Age too.
This is The Age of Access & Surplus.
This is no longer the Age of Control & Shortages (that was last decade).
These times require New Rules & New Emphasis:
We need to conceive of both our creative and business practices in terms of how they incorporate these three elements.
When 45,000 films are made globally each year [...]
Thankfully, Taylor Hackford recognizes that the film industry needs to wise up and educate itself on piracy. He and I agree on that. And I think we agree on the goal of it all, but I suspect we have completely different approaches to solving the problem. And that is where I am really concerned. To solve it, Hackford seems willing to sacrifice greater principles in the service of business, and that is a shame. I hope I am wrong.
Mr. Hackford, president of the DGA, was recently speaking at the Content Protection Summit and Variety reported on it. Reading the article I remain unclear as to what Hackford’s point is about piracy beyond that it is bad and we need to make it a real concern of the industry. He seems to be saying that if we want to protect our content, we have to be willing to give up on a free and open internet. He claims groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press as enemies. Shutting down a free and open internet is not the path to solving the piracy problem; it is the path to a closed society that favors a class or capital over access and opportunity — and that is the antithesis of what we need to do.
We can not create a system that favors the powerful, the connected, or the well capitalized. [...]
Today’s guest post is by John S. Johnson. The Harmony Institute, a research group that John runs, is offering a free new guide to help combat the Telecom’s tales in their efforts to end net neutrality. Here he explains a bit of the why and wherefore you need to download it (for free!) and read it NOW.
In 2010 it’s easy to forget how profoundly the Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate, interact and access information. When you logged on this morning to check your email, bank statement, or local news you may not have noticed that there are very few limits placed on the sites and services you have access to. While some people must crash the couch of their best friend to catch the latest HBO release, since he’s subscribed to all premium cable channels while they’re still stuck with rabbit ears on their TV, no one has an edge over anyone else when it comes to what we can access on the Internet.
Yet this principle of net neutrality that allows all sites, services and applications on the Internet to have equal access to consumers, and vice versa, is being fundamentally threatened. Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to revise rules that have kept Internet Service Providers (ISPs) at bay for decades. These companies, like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon, would love to become the gatekeepers of the Internet, reserving preferential bandwidth for those sites and services that make them the most money.
And I can guarantee you HopeForFilm is not one of those sites. [...]
Media traditionally has gained its profits by owning distribution. Cable carriage, network airwaves, newsstand distribution and printing presses: all very expensive, so once you employ enough capital to gain them, it’s damn hard to get knocked out.
The web changed all that and promised that economics in the media business would be driven by content and intent: the best content will win, driven by the declared intent of consumers who find it and share it. Search+Social was the biggest wave to hit media since the printing press. And the open technology to make better and better experiences has been on a ten year tear: blogging software, Flash, Ajax, HTML 5, Android, and more and more coming.
Read the rest of the article here. I look forward to reading more of him in the days ahead.
We are in a battle where the hope and promise offered by a free and open internet is challenged by the traditional drive for total control by excessive capital.Tweet
The good folks over at Tribeca asked me to post on the NY State Film & TV Tax Credit debacle. So I did and surprisingly I was able to come up with a few more things to say…
Media Consolidation—The lack of an antitrust action has created an environment that is virtually impossible to compete in.
Labor Union Stability—The unrest of this year across the guilds has helped no one.
Copyright Law Revision—The rules are antiquated, protecting corporate interests over the creators, while limiting the audience’s access to new art forms.
Copyright Protection—The blatant disregard for artists’ rights across the Internet make a bad situation even worse.
Government Funding For The Arts (or lack thereof)—The only work artists can expect to be compensated for are the most blatantly commercial endeavors.
Social Network Rules—The Draconian control different networks exert over user content does not bode well for community hopes of sharing information and content.
Data Portability—Everyone’s right to the information their work generates is a necessary principle if artists are ever going to have a direct relationship with their audiences.
Demystification of Distribution and Exhibition Practices—The last twenty years were about demystifying the production process, but there will be no true independence unless the cycle is made complete.
Exhibition Booking Policies and Practices Revision—Distributors require exhibitors to book on full weeks, restricting their ability to become true community centers, providing their audiences with what they want, when they want it.
New Blood Recruitment for Distribution and Exhibition—Since virtually all of the specialized distribution and exhibition entities are run by people who came of age in the days of pure theatrical exhibition, they yearn for a return to those days and are resistant to new practices. Or are they?
Ratings Structure—The current system is not applicable to the diverse work being made today.
Loss of Film Critics’ Old Media Platforms—Our critics were our curators, letting audiences know what to see when, and now most have been fired. Where will our new curators be found? We’ve started HammerToNail to help audiences find the best in true indie American narrative work, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Filmmaker Re-education for this New Media Universe—Let’s face it, we are all a bunch of Luddites. Until we recognize what tools are available and how to use them, we are depriving both ourselves and our audiences from the quality of work we all deserve.
Creation of Indie Film Promotional Portals—How can we see good work when we don’t even know it exists?
Broadband Availability and Strength—America lags behind the rest of the developed world not just in terms of broadband penetration, but also in the quality and level of that broadband service.
Digital Film Archive—As more and more filmmakers move to a digital medium to both originate and finish that work, how will this work be preserved for future generations?
Indie Film History Archive—The history and process of how this work we are now creating will be remembered will be impossible without some joint effort to preserve it.