Gilgamesh and Open Source FilmmakingThe Tube Open Movie is inspired by the expiration poem of Gilgamesh, and is an experiment in distributed collaboration. Furthermore, it also is a continuation in thought of the open movie. This includes, above all, crowdsourcing to help the project off the ground.

The tale of a king seeking immortality is one that has been told since the olden days. It is 5,000 years old, more or less. A groundbreaking Kickstarter project seeks to transform the ancient poem into an searing animation film. This in itself may not be so extraordinary, but what is pushing the envelope is its open source approach. Bidders who support the project with a certain amount gain access to the 3D data used in the making.

This data is distributed with a common creative license, allowing further reproduction and use in other projects. In Hollywood, a practice like this would be unheard of. How cool would it be if we could play around with models from Star Wars or the Avengers? Answer: very cool! Forget it, though. It will never happen as long as large corporations own the leading film studios. Yet there is a possibility that this new interactive type of filmmaking can become a trend.

Today we are all trapped in an old-fashioned perception of copyright. This is, of course, very thin ice to walk on. As soon as anyone mentions copyright issues, a heated discussion is sure to ensue. The Tube Open Movie project, which is animated using the free open source software Blender, invites many intriguing questions about how intellectual property should be treated online. Cory Doctorow takes a deep and fascinating look into this matter in his blog post, It’s Time to Stop Talking About Copyright. His piece argues as follows: “But a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century: copyright policy ceased to exist. Because every copyright policy that we make has a seismic effect on the Internet, and because you can’t regulate copying without regulating the Internet.”

As you read more about this ultimately beautiful animation film, also bear in mind the moral ramifications it could have. Still fresh in our memory is, of course, the “Protect-IP” controversy, which is not yet over. Fighting piracy is a noble aim, and surely one that I would support. However, this is not the right way to go about it. Start censoring one part of the Internet, and there is no stopping there. It is human nature never to stop, but continue onwards to excess. That is how we behave, especially when chocolate is involved. What happens when one eats too much chocolate? It results in a stomachache.

Effectively speaking, big Hollywood productions are already crowdsourced. They are an enterprise comprised of sometimes hundreds of people who lend their talents to any particular project. The only real innovation with the Tube Open Movie is the readiness to pass on the artistic body so that others may build on it and create their own artistic visions. It makes you wonder because, by evolution, this is not how humans behave naturally. We all want to protect our interests and possessions. Even those who download music and movies for free would probably object to thievery if they found their property being stolen.

So I would like to applaud the minds behind this project for their vision of a productive and truly free Internet. Should it not be a space where there are no copyright policies, but simply pure human interaction that results in wonderful and beautiful projects like this one?

More information: The Tube Open Movie Kickstarter project page