Non-Governmental Imagination

Interplast, Creative Commons and “A Story of Healing”
April 18, 2007, 3:05 am
Filed under: Imagination, Interplast, Media

For months and months I have been working on getting “A Story of Healing” re-released under a Creative Commons license (by-nc-nd). Today it’s official, and the film can be viewed on the Interplast website and blog.

I’ve wanted to do this in part because I thought the Oscar winning hook would give Interplast and CC some publicity, but mainly because I wanted to convince other nonprofit organizations to examine the licenses they give their media. We’re certainly not the first organization to use CC licenses, but if we can give the idea a little more credibility, then we’ll have done a good thing.

The film used to have legitimate commercial value. It ran on PBS stations across the country and we sold copies through Amazon. But the PBS stations lost interest and our Amazon orders dwindled to a trickle.

Then we gave it away to folks at open houses, salon events, etc. Steve Rhodes, a guy I met at a geek party a while back and only re-met last week, suggested I slap a CC license on it and host in online somewhere for free. I thought it was a great idea. After all, we were giving it away for free in person, we couldn’t we do the same online? I pushed the idea through with the hope that a few people who would have otherwise never heard of us might become interested in Interplast and spread the word. Or donate. Or both, preferably.

When I met with one of the Creative Commons guys, I asked if he thought that this was a big deal. After all, we chose the most restrictive license on a film that had lost all commercial value. It’s not exactly The Godfather. He said he thought that because it was an Oscar winner, it was a big deal, and maybe in a few years such a story would be un-newsworthy. Maybe in some small way this event will contribute to making CC licenses more commonplace. Or maybe it’s just two nonprofit organizations collaborating through mutual self-interest with the only real payoff being a couple of links from a few blogs within our respective echo chambers.

Either way, CC and Interplast could both use some more publicity, and hopefully this will allow our work and missions to reach a wider audience. In a few weeks I’ll analyze the results, and see if we got any bump in donations or page views.

If any of you work at or with NGOs who are interested in the ins and outs of convincing the powers that be that CC licenses do not open the floodgates of hell, drop me a line.

I’m show-and-tell-ing the film at the CC salon at Shine in SF tonight (Wed 4/18) from 7-9pm. If you want to see the film on the big screen and/or lob softball questions at me, come on by.

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