The cartoonist and filmmaker Nina Paley became a vociferous opponent of proprietary control of creative work under U.S. copyright law following her experiences in making her award-winning Sita Sings the Blues (2009), an animated feature film based largely on the ancient Indian epic story of the Ramayana set to music from the 1920s, whose rights are owned by media corporations. Paley released her film, and all subsequent work, under a Creative Commons license, which not only made it freely available to anyone who wished to view, share, and add to her creative work but also legally protected her work as part of the cultural commons in perpetuity. In this interview with Amy Chazkel, Paley explains her travails as she tried to “free” her work, the artistic and creative benefit of doing so, and the rationale behind her political conviction. She also probes the connections between the enclosure of the cultural and the material commons.

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