CreativeFuture, the Value of Creativity and Digital Piracy

by

Donald L. Vasicek

Creative Future Support Creativity Badge

“We’ll take your cameras and smash them to pieces! We will not allow you to come onto our reservation, video tape us and go sell the tapes for

your profit.” The Chief of the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council glared at me.       I was presenting my Sand Creek Massacre documentary film proposal to the tribal council for their approval, so I was stunned when this thin man with streaming white hair cascading down to his shoulders, with a weather beaten face and eyes so penetrating I felt as though they were going to burn holes in my eyes, put me down.

I was able to situate everyone at ease by explaining that I was making the film to inform, to educate and to expand awareness with respect to racism, and that it had nothing to do with profiting from it. The tribal council eventually approved my proposal to make the film. The fine point of this experience was that his unhappiness about his people being exploited by others for profit resonated with me because I am a writer/filmmaker, a creative person. Each time a creative person puts their work out in the public, they take a chance of being exploited by having their work pirated by someone who uses it for their own profit without permission from the person who created it.

CreativeFuture, founded by ten companies and organizations: the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, CBS, Warner Bros., NBCU, Disney, Fox, Sony, and Viacom, which has grown to an organization of over 450 companies and over 70,000 individual creatives, spanning film, television, music, book publishing, and photography, works to mobilize the creative community against the for-profit digital theft of individual creatives’ work. Ruth Vitale, CreativeFuture CEO, has refashioned the organization to bring together creative communities globally. Her focus is on the “value of creativity”. She said, “that was what was needed to be communicated: that creativity is the cultural fabric of the planet, and somehow, in this digital age, creativity has become undervalued, if not minimized.”

She went on to say, “We want to be part of the global conversation about the value of creativity, its place in society, and the harm that is caused by the for-profit theft of our creative works.”

Ms. Vitale measures CreativeFuture’s success by “how much conversation we can start about issues at hand.” She noted that its success is that CreativeFuture hasn’t completely stopped piracy, but “we have begun to make people aware about what’s at stake. Our creative community was sort of absent from the conversations about the value of creativity and the harm done by digital piracy. I’d like to think now that our voice in this conversation is being heard.”

According to Ms. Vitale, other successes CreativeFuture is experiencing is that it is actively involved in the discussions about Copyright Section 512, whether or not that section of the Copyright law is working for independent voices in film and television. Ms. Vitale said, “I’d like to think we’ve had some impact there, testifying at the Congressional Listening Sessions, and the subsequent Copyright Office Roundtables.”

CreativeFuture’s members have participated in voicing their opposition to the FCC Set-top box proposal. Producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, The Incredible Hulk, Armageddon) published an op-ed, placed by CreativeFuture on the online and in print editions of USA Today in addition to numerous blogs and news outlets.  You can find her piece here for reference:  http://usat.ly/!S7nr59.  Executive Producer Peter Lenkov (Demolition Man, Hawaii Five-O, CSI: NY) wrote and published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.  Here is the link:  http://www.wsj.comarticles/the-fcc-hoists-the-jolly-roger-on-your-cable-box-1465338921.

Ms. Vitale said that CreativeFuture members spend time on Capitol Hill with filmmakers who talk with members of Congress about the value of creativity, the time and care that goes into making entertainment. She emphasized her belief that CreativeFuture has had “solid success” in conveying the value of what they do, and that she measures CreativeFuture’s success in the “noise we can make with our members (artists all) and the awareness we bring to the value of creativity in our civilization.

A CreativeFuture membership is free. Join the conversation, sign up, and amplify CreativeFuture messages on social media at www.CreativeFuture.org.

 

 

 

 

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About Donald L. Vasicek

Award-winning writer/filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek studied producing, directing and line producing at the Hollywood Film Institute under the acclaimed Dov Simens and at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. He studied screenwriting at The Complete Screenplay, Inc., with Sally Merlin, daughter of the famed Hollywood Merlin family of screenwriters and writers, as his mentor. Don has taught, mentored, and is a script consultant for over 300 writers, directors, producers, actors and production companies. He has also acted in NBC’s “Mystery of Flight 1501”, ABC’s Father Dowling starring Thomas Bosley, and Red-Handed Productions’ “Summer Reunion.” These activities have resulted in his involvement in over 100 movies during the past 23 years, from major studios to independent films including MGM’s $56 million “Warriors of Virtue”, Paramount Classic’s “Racing Lucifer”, American Picture’s “The Lost Heart” and “Born To Kill” starring the Charles Bronson of Korea, Bobby Kim, and his internationally-known brother, Richard, who directed, Incline Productions, Inc.’s “Born To Win”, 20th Century Fox’s “Die Hard II” starring Bruce Willis with Rennie Harlan as director, and Joel Silver as producer, Olympus Films+, LLC’s “Haunted World” with Emmy-nominated PBS Producer Alison Hill, and Olympus Films+, LLC’s “Faces”, “Oh, The Places You Can Go” and the award-winning “The Sand Creek Massacre” documentary film. Don also has written and published over 500 books, short stories and articles. His books include “How To Write, Sell, And Get Your Screenplays Produced” and “The Write Focus.” He has been a guest screenwriting and filmmaking columnist for Hollywood Lit. Sales, Moondance International Film Festival’s e-zine, Screenwriter’s Forum, Screenplace, Screenplayers.Net, Screenwriters.Net, Screenwriters Utopia, Spraka & Kinsla (Swedish), Inkwell Watch, and Ink On the Brain. Writing recognition includes Houston’s WorldFest International Film Festival, Chesterfield’s Writer’s Film Project, Writer’s Digest, The Sundance Institute, The Writer’s Network, and the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Guild, Inc. Don completed producing “The Sand Creek Massacre”, a documentary film project that includes the completed and award-winning documentary short, a book, a classroom video, Interactive Media, a study guide, and a lesson plans. The film is being distributed by Films Media Group. Don is on the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston. He is the founder and owner of Olympus Films+, LLC, a global writing and filmmaking company and a screenwriting volunteer on AllExperts.com. Don’s screenwriting agent is Robin Kaver of the Robert Freedman Dramatic Agency, Inc., 1501 Broadway, Suite 2301 New York, NY 10036, 212-840-5751.

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