A group of fans of the science-fiction television show Firefly, who pushed and supported the cast through the making of the (rather good) movie Serenity, have just released a documentary that basically shows the involvement of the fans and how their work kept the show alive and led to the movie.
Interestingly, they’ve released the entire documentary as a freely downloadable movie. This isn’t some back-room hack pasted together in iMovie– it’s a professional-quality full-length movie. Perhaps the best thing I’ve seen about it is their statement regarding why they released it for free:
In our opinion, the modern state of copyright is counter productive to creativity and free culture. It puts unnatural restraints on “fair use”, hinders the creative process, and has fundamentally destroyed an entire industry before it was even born.
Amen. Although I respect the intent of copyright, the current practices engaged by such organizations as the RIAA, MPAA, U.S. Congress, Disney, and a hundred other corporations interested more in profits than in serving their customers are deplorable. They’ve turned copyright into a system whose sole goal is profit, with no regard for the actual protection of ideas, as the original framers of copyright law intended.
I hope more groups follow the lead of the Firefly crowd. We’re already seeing it in the music industry, as more and more artists release their songs and albums in Creative Commons format– allowing free download, distribution, and remixing. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s a start.