Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Ethics and Political Philosophy | Film and Media Studies | Other Film and Media Studies
Free Culture is a documentary short that aims to promote user-autonomy in the digital age, with a focus on culture proliferations. The film takes a look a critical stance against the Digital Millennium Copyright act, arguing it is unenforceable through either legislative or technical means. To support this viewpoint, interviews with Yochai Benkler of the Harvard Law School and Fred von Lohmann, Senior Copyright Council to Google, are provided. While threats to the DMCA, such as piracy, are often seen as illegal criminal action, they signify a changing environment. One man taking advantage of this is Benn Jordan, a.k.a. The Flashbulb, an established musician who has toured around the world and also composes tracks for film and television. Benn’s story is unique. In 2008, he discovered his music online, unaware and unpaid. After contacting Apple multiple times and sending them Cease and Desist letters, Benn pirated his own album. The response was overwhelming and his story went viral. Divorced from the industry, Benn harnessed the power of the internet to start his own label. In our conversation he mentioned that he makes more money now selling 3,000 albums than most artists make selling 25,000. Key to his success was free access to information. To explore the effects of this, I traveled to the Wilson Park community center in Syracuse, NY to see how a tech center in a poor community is changing the lives of children. This film created from found footage, interviews, and animations I created.
Heifetz, Ian, "Free Culture" (2011). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 223.
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