When faced with copyright lemons, Sita Sings the Blues creator Nina Paley made some delicious lemonade. Since Sita uses songs in the film by Annette Hanshaw that are copyrighted, and as an indie filmmaker she can't afford to purchase the rights to them, her hands were tied when it came to distribution. So she came up with a plan that worked with (and around) the copyright issues so the movie's admirers could see the lovely film for themselves. Read a more detailed explanation of the issue here at Question Copyright. [Edited to add: Nina explains on her blog and in the comment section below: "Sita Sings the Blues is 100% legal. I am free to release it commercially, which is why the film is gaining a number of commercial distributors in addition to its free sharing/audience distribution, which is also legal, and wonderful." Read the full explanation here.]

Not only is her beautiful film available to watch online for free, it was also briefly available on PBS last March in for lucky viewers in NYC.

But now Paley has gone a step further with it comes to using the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license that is really cool for creative types -- you can download her source files for free to make your own mashups, add Sita-tweaks to your own creative ventures, and do whatever else online arty folks do with Flash files.

object width="425" height="344">The details over at her blog are as follows:

All the Flash authoring (.fla) files I used to make Sita Sings the Blues have just been posted on archive.org, under a Creative Commons Share Alike license. Want to know how I got a certain animated effect in Sita Sings the Blues? Open up the .fla files and find out. Want to remix from the source? Now you can. Want to make a Sita Sings the Blues video game using all the assets? Go for it. (But I strongly suggest you negotiate my endorsement if you want to actually market the end product.)

You may use these files any way you wish, as long as you

1. attribute the source to Nina Paley / Sita Sings the Blues;
2. properly attribute any modifications so it's clear those are NOT by Nina Paley;
3. Release any resulting work under the same Creative Commons Share Alike license.

You can enjoy one such example of a Sita remix after the jump: Sita Sings Hava Naglia! And buy some adorable merch to support Nina's efforts here. The image up there is from one of the T-shirts, Sita and her Momz. "Behind every great woman stands another great woman. This shirt is dedicated to my own Momz, Sita Sings the Blues' Festival Relations Manager, print tracker, master of spreadsheets, and life-saver."

categories Movies, Cinematical