Boy, it seems I'm speaking a lot about "Free" lately. My article on how to make money in a world where everything is increasingly free was in Screen International and while I don't see many comments online, I got a few via email. Next up, I've been invited by Warrington Hudlin to participate in a debate called "Steal this Film: Is the Only Place Indie Film Can Find Justice Outside the Law?" with Neil Sieling. The description:
Content holders are suing their consumers, creating an environment where media users are are pitted against the content rights holders. The digital appropriation enabled by new technologies could be seen as a new era of media abundance rather than theft. But is this justice?
Neil is a great guy I've worked with before, and he thinks a lot about new directions in media, so I doubt this will be a heated debate, but it should be an interesting way to explore the topic further. I'm glad that Warrington actually set the panel up this way - it's less about two opposing views than two people trying to think smartly about how content creators might fare in the current media/economic climate. I'm especially glad because I've not been trying to be such a supporter of "Free" as espoused by Chris Anderson. Rather, my argument is that given that many things are increasingly available for free or cheap to consumers via advertising supported models, Redbox, Hulu, Pirate Bay, etc (even if the content costs money to make, host, deliver) then we should at least think about how we can still create value and possibly make a living. I also think the knee-jerk reactions of the MPAA, UK government and others aren't going to help matters. Anyway, you can learn more about all of this if you join us at the debate.
The panel also features a session on journalism:
Journalism faces fundamental challenges in the digital era. From the economic viability of print media to its status as a "trusted source" , this debate is whether journalism, as we have known it, is doomed and whether or not we should care.
Ty Ahmad-Taylor (Founder of FanFeedr and digital media veteran of MTV Networks, Comcast, and @Home)
Errol Louis (Columnist, New York Daily News and radio talk show host WWRL 1600 AM)
The two panels are moderated by Omar Wasow of Black Planet, and should be great.
A couple weeks later, I'll be back at Power to the Pixel, speaking about this topic again. Luckily, I have a workshop as well where I'll get to elaborate not just on free, but how to use new tools to better build a fan base, find an audience and raise funds for your film/media projects. Looking forward to the events.