Monday, 13 January 2014

Everything is free now

For those who read French, here is a thought-provoking article by William van den Broek about how to go about remunerating intellectual activity in the digital age.  It is worth reading the comments at the bottom too which explore possible alternative solutions.

My worry about freely distributed intellectual production is that while it is free in the sense that no transaction takes place between the producer and the consumer of the art work it is nevertheless not genuinely free - the social medias by which we distribute and consume material freely are all used to gather information and sell advertising.  I've not necessarily got anything against that - the pros to me seem to outweigh the cons - but we should at least call a spade a spade and acknowledge that by consuming art "freely" we are (indirectly) paying.  And paying people who don't really need the money.

One solution I have always favored is to make the objects in which intellectual production is housed as beautiful as possible.  That way people will pay for the object even though they could theoretically get hold of its content for free and all the people who have participated in its creation will receive some remuneration.

If you want to take part in this alternative economy by buying a beautiful book AND getting hold of some free intellectual property then go and order one of the exquisite hand-made chapbooks that are put out by Greying Ghost Press in Salem, Massachusetts.  My poem "A week, a year, whatever" will be included as a free hand-out with every purchase.  And I promise you that neither I nor any multinationals will earn a penny.  Ora et Labora…

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