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April 14, 2005
Do You Know Where That Picture Has Been?
The Australian Actor's Union is, over the objections of the actors, blocking professional actors' participation in what is to be the first intentionally remixable film. The project, titled "Sanctuary," was to be released under a Creative Commons license that would have permitted reuse of images and elements of the film. The union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), has objected on nominal grounds that the actors could be placed in jeopardy of violating future commercial agreements. Actors are generally required to disclose past work they've done to avoid oddities like the same actor appearing in ads for two competing products. MEAA is concerned that actors' images could appear in material they're not aware of and thus cannot disclose.
In theory, the CC license is only for non-commercial works and the actors seem to be willing to take on the risks, so it's hard for me to understand MEAA's objection. Depressingly, this kind of thing is not unique to Australia - in the US, the Screen Actor's Guild and Equity (theater actor's guild) have imposed restrictions on what their members can do, sometimes over vehement protests from membership.
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