Open Systems Projects - Simple Example
A simple example of a small scale Open Systems Project is as follows: A lyricist in Australia writes several lines for either a poem or a song - and posts this to the Superorganica site . An acoustic guitar player in Iceland sees the lyrics, becomes inspired, and records a song based on the lyrics, posting the music file to the site. A group of kids in Idaho then download the music file and become inspired to make an animated music video of the song, which they then post to the site. An experimental DJ in Philly downloads both the animated music video and sound file, and mashes the whole thing up, remixing both the sound and video, which she then posts to the site. The sound files are mastered by a final contributor in Hawaii, who has a sweet home studio and all of the latest compression and EQ gear. All of the contributors have posted their works along the same project thread, which interconnects their individual works in the context of a wider project thread or umbrella. All of the work is licensed under the Creative Commons sharing license (our current recommended license for all contributors), which enables all of the contributors to freely work in this collaborative manner. All of the work is available for free download (for non-commercial use) by anyone on the planet. In theory, the efforts of this small group could be easily passed on (through the web) to hundreds of millions of people. The inspired work of a few can resonate with a very large group of listeners/viewers - all of whom we eventually hope become contributors in their areas of talent (the co-producer culture). All of this can happen simply and organically through a collaborative network of peers working independently but also together. In the old model, for a several hundred million people to hear and see this fusion of songs and video would require and exchange of hundreds of millions of dollars. In the Superorganica Open Systems Projects (SOSP) model, the cost of distribution is internet downloads and/or peer to peer file exchanges. The cost of production is small and carried by the contributors, who created the work because they were inspired and they wanted to. Do those who download and enjoy this mini-body of work compensate the artists who created it? Maybe - maybe not. We want the artists to throw their bread into the water because they are creating because they have to and want to. Those who enjoy the work are free to take the work and pass it on to anyone they want. They are also free to give back to the artists, and they are also free to perhaps contribute their own pieces so that others may enjoy as well.
Open Systems Projects - Large Scale Example - Feature Film
One aspect of our vision is that the Superorganica Open Systems Projects model can scale to the point where we will be able to create full-length feature films. A major future milestone will be the acceptance of an Academy Award nomination for a film developed and worked on by hundreds (maybe thousands) of Superorganica contributors from all over the world - all working together in the a participatory, open, but coordinated manner. Large scale software projects have succeeded - and we see no reason why large scale media projects can not succeed and compete. The final film will be something that anyone would be able to download to watch on their media player, phone, or home theater (widescreen, DVD quality) - non-commercially. The distribution of the film through theaters is an open issue for us - as this would be a commercial distribution. This will be one of the discussion threads in the discussion forum.
The basic outline could be as follows:
- A single writer, or small group, develops a script, and posts this to a new project page (the script may be updated as required).
- A list of required people (director, producer, editors, actors, production assistants, animators, effects specialists) is posted to the project page, and a the wider Superorganica community is alerted to the new project proposal.
- A quality project will start to attract talented people because they want to be part of it - it's a momentum effect and requires some dedication by the originating group - but it is possible.
- A producer, or production team, may develop a list of assets (needed and available). They can also keep a timeline posted on the project webpage, so that all the participants are aware of what needs to happen when. There are mass communities of gamers who work in this way in massive multi-player online games.
- Where do the assets come from? In a large Superorganica community (say 50,000+ members - which is a small number relative to sites such as MySpace and FaceBook), it may be very likely to find 500-1000 people who have high-end workstations (for server farm processing), copies of editing software (audio, video), professional and/or prosumer camers, and an array of other needed items. A 1000 person collective could be more powerful than they typical team that develops a Pixar type film. There are also numerous free and great software packages available (such as Blender) that are becoming industry standard products. The coder army that produces these software packages may also be called up to assist in developing distributed server processing (for render farms) and other new software as needed. Merging the free and open software communities with the Superorganica Open Systems Projects community may become a critical and neccessary step for transorming the industry.
There are many methods and ways of working that need to be worked out - but the technical possibility clearly exists. The social aspect is what is missing. Coordinating several hundred to several thousand volunteers on a massive media project is not a simple task, but after it happens once, it will happen again and again. The equipment, people, and talent exist to not only create one feature film, but endless films and media. The talent and hardware and software is out there - on a massive scale. There is a method and way to make something like Wikipedia work - and many do not understand how and why it works. There is a method and way to make this work - and part of our mission is to figure that out and to make it happen.
Open Systems Projects - Will We Take Anything From Anyone?
The simple answer is, no. We are still working through what our criteria may be, but projects such as GNU/Linux, Mozilla, Wikipedia and Blender are succeeding because there is a large pool of talent and quality effort that is coming from a massive volunteer army of contributors. We are reserving the right to turn down material which may lack obvious effort, talent, etc. It may be that we really just don't like something - or it may be completely vile, racist, or hateful. We want to be as inclusive as possible, but we do not want to become a depository of everything and anything (ex: YouTube). We want to compete with Sony, Dreamworks, Universal Studios, Disney, Subpop, Geffen and others. We want to find great talent and dedicated artists who have the spirit and heart to work this way. There is another Kurt Cobain out there who can join us and not be tortured by feeling like a prostitute. We're sure that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of really cool musicians and artists in China, India, Africa, and South America who are not being heard. Perhaps there is a cool indie band in Brooklyn who have become tired of pretending that they don't want to sell out (but they spend all their time trying to sell out). How about - just not selling out?