Friday, November 02, 2007

Disney Discovers Creative Commons and Cool

Wow. I never thought I would type these words, but Disney has discovered Creative Commons and is doing something cool.

Awhile back I posted about Eric Faden's A Fair(y) Use Tale , mixing and sampling Disney footage to talk about copyright. Well, that same film found its way to Disney, and they started thinking, and they looked at the video comments where people said things like "Wow, now I want to re-watch that Disney movie" and they decided to try an experiment.

As announced online, they have partnered with the USC School of Cinema and Television and are having a Remix contest, encouraging students to sample and remix Disney and ABC content and make new creative visions. As they explain it on the site:

Our goal is to show off the creativity of USC students and to prove to executives at Disney-ABC that fans are able to make amazing things when allowed to remake, remix, mashup, cut-up (you get the idea) their original programming content.

Just a contest, big deal, you may be thinking, but remember - this is the company that has pretty much single-handedly forced some of the most draconian copyright extensions upon us. What's going on here?

I spoke with Eric Faden, in fact, he is the one who alerted me to this (but none of its confidential, as I've now found it on some scattered blogs), and apparently, Disney is starting to realize that maybe sampling isn't such a bad thing. Fans are using it, and its virally spreading their films, and guess what - many people who see the mash-ups are becoming consumers. So someone, apparently a new media person at Disney, decided to keep an open mind and do this experiment.

What's even crazier, and would be the most genius move of any old media company - they are apparently thinking of this as just a beginning. They may even consider opening up all of their content under Creative Commons licenses.


Joi Ito, the chairman of CC, actually met with them personally. According to Steve Anderson's blog:
Joi explained why Disney should view Creative Commons as neither communism nor anarchy, but a sound business model for engaging fan communities and the potentials of user generated content. He also offered to send lawyers and technologists from CC to meet with their counterparts at Disney to see what kind of partnership might be possible. An all-Creative Commons channel as part of the Disney-ABC network? Disney content released under CC licenses to encourage fan remixes? I'm sure stranger things have happened, but I can't think of any right now.

Agreed. And I can't think of any move that would automatically change the business more quickly than Disney embracing this. I doubt they will do it, but it would make the Radiohead news old-hat pretty quickly. This is exactly how media companies should be thinking - if it only leads to something half as cool as what could happen, that might be enough.


Pnut Films said...

wow! creative commons is great! finally something for the little guy like me:o)

Louise Jensen said...

Im trying to find out if it is okey to sample songs from disney into urban storytelling and I stumpled into your article. Does the CC only goes for the project with the school?

Brian Newman said...

Louise - this is an article from 2007, and yes it only applied to the school. But your question depends on the use - it could fall into Fair Use, but only under certain conditions and Disney is quite litigious. I recommend talking to a lawyer, or Google the Center for Social Media's works on fair use. Good luck