Ed at Gin & Tacos has an incredibly relevant post up about the current intellectual property crisis facing creators. By creators I mean musicians, songwriters, artists, graphic designers, photographers and the like. And folks like your humble scribe, moi.
Anyone remember back in the’90s when Garth Brooks railed against used CD stores? I remember attending a press conference where he talked about his copyrights being violated and loss of revenue and all that. I look back on that and laugh. I mean, duuuuuude! If he’d only known what was coming. He’d have shut his trap right quick.
Of course no one cares about a multi-platinum mega star losing out on a tiny revenue stream from file sharing and all that. And I’m not going to weigh in on the Amanda Palmer thing at Ed’s post, as I know nothing about her situation. But people forget about the thousands and thousands of little people who really are affected by this. I really do appreciate Ed pointing out the changing expectations in the marketplace:
Today, however, people who generate creative output for a living – this problem isn’t limited to writing, of course – face the additional obstacle of changing expectations. Namely that they are expected to work for free or close to it. If you think all those writers on big name sites (Slate, HuffPo, Gawker, etc.) are being paid more than a pittance or at all for the content they generate, you are mistaken. Consumers now expect to be provided with content for free; behold the wailing and gnashing of teeth across the internet when something is put “behind a paywall” at Harper’s or the NY Times. Can you believe that they actually expect us to pay for information and entertainment? That’s so 20th Century.
This is definitely true. And I get that — hey, I want my shit for free, too. I want to link to non-paywalled stories (as I did in the last post) so everyone can read it. I would hope that The Tennessean paid Bob Smietana a decent salary to write it and the fact that it ended up at StatesmanJournal.com isn’t taking food out of the mouths of Bob’s children. People steal my shit all the time. I’ve found my bylined pieces on blogs all over the internet. Sometimes they keep the byline, sometimes they don’t.
On the other hand, I really do object to big companies like Gannett, or Demand Studios, or other outlets wanting their stuff for free or nearly free. Just go over to Craigslist and read a few of the writing/editing help wanted ads and you’ll see how pervasive this attitude is. It’s all part of the brave new world known as the Internet Age. It’s going to shake down eventually, it has to, I firmly believe that. I just don’t know how or when. I imagine it will be driven by some piece of hardware: there will be some kind of device, maybe it’s the tablets we have now, I don’t know, but it will provide a mechanism for content to be monetized and thus valued again.
I’m not a really tech-y person by any means. But this got me wondering: is there an app or device which hasn’t been invented yet that you would like? Anything that would make your world better in some way? Or just be cool to have? Let me know in comments.
Oh, and the first person who says “jet packs” gets poo flung at him/her.