Uncopyrighting ourselves: The Informations wants to be free

Creative Commons License

Just a little announcement here. We’re formally embracing Creative Commons licensing and “uncopyrighting” all of our work (with one caveat, see below). So you can consider everything we’ve done so far in video or even written on this blog to be fair game for you to do whatever you like with. You can incorporate parts of our videos into yours, you can screen them, put them on a dvd like we did and sell them on your own. You can even put any of our catch-phrases on a t-shirt which you could then sell to the friends of the IC’s on facebook if you like. That would be totally cool and you’d have our blessing.

If you want to give us attribution with a link back to us that’s appreciated. If our work helps you make money somehow and you want to kick some back to us that’s extra appreciated. But neither of these are required for you to have permission to take any of the videos and do what you like with them.

Caveat: We still submit our new videos to film festivals from time to time, and some of them have funny preferences about screening exclusivity so this Creative Commons license will go into effect one year after each video premieres on YouTube unless we specifically state otherwise or put the videos in the copyleft directory before this one year period is up.

If you are unsure whether a video is free to use, or you don’t see what you’re looking for in the copyleft directory, just ask.

Why we’re doing this

In 2007 when MySpace still “mattered”, our video Ghetto Big Mac went up on the social network’s homepage. This caught us off guard because we hadn’t uploaded the video there. Some fan of the GBM had grabbed it, presumably from YouTube but possibly from somewhere else, and posted it to their account. Were we mad that this guy had uploaded the video to MySpace without our permission? Hell no. We were overjoyed that a few hundred thousand people were seeing our work.

Now the flipside of that tale. About six months after that MySpace thing we were again surprised, this time to be contacted by some nice people from the Mayor’s office here in NYC. They wanted to use our video Bodega as part of their “Healthy Bodega Initiative” to educate and advocate for those in the low-income areas our video focused on. They were hoping to license the video and wanted us to do some edits to it first to clean up some of the language and especially some of the political trash-talking at the end. They asked us to name our price, warning us that they were on a limited budget. We deliberated and came back to them with a number we thought was fair. We waited for them to hear back from whoever they had to hear from for budget approval. Eventually, a while later we heard that they wouldn’t be using Bodega.

In hindsight, I still kick myself for that. It would have been great for our video to have been part of that program. A little bit of money from the city wouldn’t have done all that much for us but being part of something that actually changed policy or reached out to people in the community is priceless. I don’t think we were being greedy either, particularly since they had asked for a new edit of the video. But it’s just that money causes friction. Even having to contact people causes friction.

Imagine if instead of having to reach out to us for the rights to the video, the video was just available for them to grab and they could have edited it themselves. Now imagine it’s not just the mayor’s office but anyone who could do that. There’s three of us (but we’re not the beatles) and we can only do so much on our own. So we’re opening up our videos to you and we view anything you do with them – especially if you profit from it – as helping us out.

I’ve written about my problems with copyright double standards in the past. At the same time, I’ve been upset on several occasions when people have appropriated my work or my friends’ work as their own. I’m not saying those people were in the right but I am feeling more Zen about the whole thing. And yes after this announcement anyone who takes IC material from the copyleft folder to do whatever they want with will be in the right.

We have no idea whether any of you are inclined to use our material. Maybe not. But we wanted it out there that you can if you want to and we’re more than happy to offer it for that purpose.

Peace Internets.

The High Cost Of A Dollar…

dollar wine

The whole point of the Internets Celebrities FIT Club is for you to change your nutritional lifestyle. Losing weight will be the by product of that change. If I simply wanted to lose weight I would just get liposuction or a kilogram of cocaine.

Since I am a former athlete I understand the things my body needs in order to operate at a high cardio rate. Sadly tho’ my wallet operates thru recurring deficits (shouts to Pierre Bennu) and the only fuel I can afford is frequently on a $1 menuboard.

Soon Come The Skinny…

ic fit club

RafiK Shalom threw down the gauntlet(or so he says), but I’m throwing it down now for real.

The Internets Celebrities F.I.T. Club is now getting started. Even tho’ we haven’t completed our Ghetto Big Mac trilogy we are still moving forward with our plans to make ourselves healthier. Hopefully we can improve the lifestyles of our friends across the internets as well.

It’s simply about making better decisions on the daily. Consistency will be the key to the plan. I’m not going to get on a scale to weigh myself. I’m a lard ass. It’s fuxin’ obvious. What I am going to do is make a decision to not purchase a 24oz. $1 can of Arizona sugar water when I am thirsty and instead I will spend that same $1 on a 16oz. bottle of Poland Spring water. Sure I’m losing 8 fluid ounces in the trade off, but think about the money I’m actually saving in health related costs in the future?

Provided I live that long. That’s the other totally awesome thing about becoming health conscious, you start to get a God complex. Once you worry about living longer and doing things you think will give you access to longer life you are in effect biting the apple. Literally, and figuratively. Let’s get healthy internets so that we can live forever and tell God to go to hell.

Das Racist shout us out on new song

Once you are namechecked in a rap song, that can never be taken away from you. We have that now. And it feels good. If you’re ever near two of us when the 2:42 mark of the following song comes on, we will probably be high-fiving.

Who’s That Brown

If you don’t know Das Racist, Dallas summed them up nicely here. Mess with them. They defy the easy characterization. They are the rap. They are the funny. Their “Shut Up Dude” mixtape is coming to the internets very soon. For word on that, I say check them at the myspace or check them at their site.

Chea to lyrics like this: “This is panic attack rap. Eating 4 flapjacks. Trap raps. Let ’em free. They always come back to me. The internet told me that that’s called love. I’m on the internet cause I’m an internet thug.”

Brooklyn We Go Yards

Stadium Status is what’s good. We’re shooting. We’re brainstorming. We’re in the street doing our investigative thing. I feel like somehow we always end up shooting the outdoor movies in the heart of winter. We went to the site of the Atlantic Yards development this past Sunday and fought the cold to see where exactly they were going to put the East Rutherford Newark Brooklyn Nets and what kind of buildings would be going up to keep them company.

That’s Ian – our cinematographer – tracking after Dallas and Rafi in the distance. We ran a full lap around the entire project’s footprint just to try and understand how much land the development was going to wind up affecting. Answer: a lot.

We shot for about 4 hours and burned through 3 tapes. We’ve now shot 7 tapes for this project and probably have one more day left to go before we call it. We’re pretty determined to keep this movie under 10 minutes. So if we do end up shooting 9 hours of footage, that’ll make it a smooth 54 to 1 ratio. We usually employ a pretty insane shooting/editing ratio but this one is impressive even by our standards. The bloopers reel will melt your computer.

Cheers to Dallas and his new haircut and also cheers to Dallas for leading us on a post-shoot lunch expedition. We almost hit up a spot on Fulton but they were closed for a baby shower. We scolded the expecting mother for halting our lunch progress and tromped through the snow to 67 Burger near BAM where we did some work on their very excellent burgers and fries. It was a great lunch… but no mofungo

^ Mofungo was the post shoot lunch highlight from our previous shoot at Citifield. Dallas directed that lunch too. Rafi ate the Mofungo.

Our next shoot will take us back to the Bronx. We’ve got some people to see, some political corruption to chart and some important questions to answer – namely, where will we be having lunch that day?!?

Yankees Steakhouse is not an option.

The Ebony and Ivory Tower

Columbia University Subway Station - 116th and Broadway

Stadium Status is cool but what about Academia Status? That is truly the business.

We got called up from the minor leagues to the ivy leagues this week when we learned (via Google Alerts) that a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation was researching our methodology. The mysterious but obviously brilliant Jocelyn Oppenheim has taken a close look at three of our videos: Bodega, Vend Diagram and Urine Nation and analyzed the missions and common techniques.

Her summary:

Internets Celebrities probe the underlying intricacies of seemingly commonplace sites and occurences in New York City.

Internets Celebrities are especially interested in exposing the social injustice, race-based and political factors that contribute to policy-making and shape institutions that are often taken for granted.

Through their work, Internets Celebrities urge other New Yorkers to also ask questions, push the limits of policy and work within existing laws and frameworks in order to challenge them.

Hey, we sound pretty good! I can only assume we’re a few videos away from our first honorary degree.

ICs @ the KGB Bar later this month

The KGB used the spire of St. Olaf's Church as a radio tower from 1944-1991. This is not where we will be appearing on February 23.

On February 23, we’ll be appearing at KGB Bar on East 4th St in NYC. The theme of the evening is urban studies and we’ll be screening a couple of videos and talking about documentary filmmaking. Theater professor and performer Kyle DeCamp will be representing documentary theater.

It should be a fun event so come on through.

Doppelganger Week on Facebook

You probably already know that it’s Doppelganger Week on Facebook. That’s where people post celebrities they might kinda sorta look like but probably not so much.

We want to play too but first we have to figure out who makes the perfect doppelgangers for the Internets Celebrities:

Is it Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor?

48 Hours stars Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte?

Pulp Fiction stars Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames?

Last Boy Scout stars Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans?

Cop Out stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan?

West 3rd Street stars Rafi Kam and Tracy Morgan?

Chocolate and Vanilla?

Geniuses of rap, Das Racist?

The Yahooligans Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds?

Kanye West and Taylor Swift?

Jay and Silent Bob?

I don’t think we’ve found it yet… chime in if you have a good one.

The Inkonomy is F’d the F up

Two British designers put together an interesting project to show which fonts require the most ink to print. Their method was to write and fill in a sample word (“Sample”) on the wall with a ballpoint pen and then use the pen’s remaining ink to show each font’s mileage.

measuring ink efficiency on the wall

Of the eight fonts tested they found Garamond to be the most efficient, and Impact to be the most wasteful.

Pen Graph

Ink-guzzling Impact has been our chosen font for videos since Day 1 and we’ve also rocked it for our name on bootleg business cards and website headers. Now I feel some sort of remorse having learned that we’ve been recklessly promoting the most ink-wasting-est font in the universe.

Then I remember we make stuff for the post-literate Internets, not the printer-nets.

Besides I prefer to look at the ink-cartridge as being half full. Given our preference for white text on a black background, we’re actually using the font that creates the most white space. So please, let’s think of Impact as the most responsible and least wasteful font to use – when you’re already printing a big blob of black ink.

(link via Kottke)

R.I.P. Killa Sha – good rapper and good sport

We met Queensbridge rapper Killa Sha a few years back at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. He was talking about being down with Marley Marl and Tragedy and instead of giving him his due respect for years in the game, I heard myself asking him if he carried their weed.

At that point, 40 Diesel who’d brought Sha over to talk with us basically erupted in disbelief which was fantastic. Sha himself took the jab in stride and even closed his time with us with an answer: “And I don’t just hold the weed!”

You can catch our minute with Sha starting around 3:35 in the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival Lost Tapes video below.

After the video came out, Robbie kept vouching for Sha’s talent so I checked out his album and some other tracks and had to admit the guy we had picked on had skills. Robbie did his part to be our counter-balance and gave Sha a ton of respect at Unkut, culminating in an interview a few months ago.

Today the news hit twitter that Sha passed away of complications from diabetes. I just wanted to say Rest in Peace to a dope and dedicated artist, wish his family strength during their loss, and thank Sha for not smacking me silly that day.

In a strange coincidence, there’s an OkayPlayer event in New York this Wednesday to raise awareness for diabetes. Phife Dawg who suffers from the disease himself is hosting and Ghostface, Jay Electronica and Talib Kweli are on the bill. More info at OKP.

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