Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nina Paley pimps herself out to pay the publishers

Well, I gotta hand it to Nina Paley, the filmmaker whose animated Sita Sings the Blues is sitting in "copyright jail," unable to find distribution, because Paley can't afford to license some music she considers crucial to the film. I've been critical of Paley's views of (actually, contempt for) copyright, and for the way she made her film first, and only then turned to clearing the music. But I must admit her latest scheme to raise money to pay for the necessary synch licenses is pretty ingenious. Paley is selling herself on eBay. Technically, she's only selling a chance to sit next to her at the Feb. 21 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica. Bids (none as of yet) start at $1,000; Paley explains the details:
The lucky winner will get to prance down the Red Carpet with me (photographers! paparazzi! none of whom will know who the hell we are because they all want photos of movie stars), eat whatever they serve for lunch, drink the booze that inevitably flows freely and at film events (I personally don't drink, so if you're sober at least you'll have me to talk to), clap politely, and listen to me yak on and on about copyright reform and freedom of speech. Optional: pick me up from my friends' house in Glendale (because I don't drive - I'm a New Yorker!) and enjoy VIP valet parking!
I doubt Paley will raise the $50,000 she says the publishers are demanding for use of their songs. But at least she now seems to recognize that if she wants to use others' music in her film, she has to earn an honest buck, and take out her checkbook. Good for her, and good luck.

(h/t Wired)

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