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Open Source Art: Put Up Or Shut Up

gbulmash (688770) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 15

One of the arguments that go back and forth in the fight over abolishing copyright is that if copyright is abolished, the financial incentive to create is removed and the supply of quality work is diminished. The abolishionists counter that this is not the case, but that new business models will evolve to work with the new system. But the only ones they point to as currently working are all based around software. I don't see it any currently working for other art forms on any sort of large scOne of the arguments that go back and forth in the fight over abolishing copyright is that if copyright is abolished, the financial incentive to create is removed and the supply of quality work is diminished. The abolishionists counter that this is not the case, but that new business models will evolve to work with the new system. But the only ones they point to as currently working are all based around software. I don't see it any currently working for other art forms on any sort of large scale.

So I say "prove it". I have posed a challenge to the open source activists who want to abolish copyright. Nothing legally prevents artists from licensing their *original* work under open source licenses and using open source business models. So let's see these evolved business models at work. Let's see them create the levels of fame and fortune that inspire people to "suffer for their art". Or, if the concepts of fame and fortune are so antithetical to the cause, let's see them produce a significant community of artists in varied mediums who are making a decent middle class living solely from open source business models and open source licensing their art.

I'm sick of hypothetical examples. If Open Source models work for all forms of copyrighted intellectual property and this warrants abolishing copyright, then show me the money. Prove this is a workable real-world idea, and not just some utopian ideal that will never stand up in real practice.

The open source art world is a cool niche and occasionally produces some interesting stuff, but it's not producing the kind of quantity or success that proves it can be a substitute for copyright. It's time for those who advocate open source art to step up to the plate and swing for the fences instead of chattering from the dugout. It's time for them to prove their ideas are real and workable, not just nice dreams that would work in a perfect world where we were all altruists and willing to create art for art's sake.

So I challenge you to prove your claims on a large scale, prove your ideas and ideals work, and show the world that open source art is a viable alternative to copyrighting your art. By July 4 of this year, establish a central web site where this experiment/initiative will be publicized.

On July 4 of next year, declare your independence from copyright by documenting at that web site the successful open source art initiatives that have either produced comparable levels of stardom and wealth to copyright-driven models or have produced large communities of artists who are deriving a solid middle-class income from open source licensing their art.

If you can provide this proof, the quantity and quality of artists moving to open source models will increase significantly. If not, then perhaps some of you will start applying some of that formidable brain power to thinking about how to fix copyright and make it work better instead of abolishing it.

In the end, regardless of the outcome, society benefits. Either they learn a new, workable way that makes things better, or they get a new cadre of copyright reformers who will work within the system to make things better. But either way, once these models are proved or disproved, all the energy spent on debating hypothetical points can be refocused into creating real and beneficial change.

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15 comments

Or (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19214423)

Depending on his voice talents, maybe people could pay Linus not to sing?

Already done (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19214689)

For my part, I sing. I sing in the Church choir for which I receive no direct compensation. I give my vocal talents freely for the appreciation of everyone in the church.

Most open source art ends up in the trash--not because it's bad art, but because it's too expensive to archive it, store it, index it, and bring it to the attention of people who might be interested in it for the amount of time it takes to bring it to their attention. This is not the fault of open source art but, again, a fault of a system which requires one to have a stable income even to be involved.

There were plenty of street performing artists when I was younger. They've disappeared now as the financial screws have been ratcheted down over the entire nation in the last twenty years.

There was plenty of open source art for communities. Most people called it graffiti and now open source art of that type leads to criminal charges.

What exactly are you looking for?

documenting at that web site the successful open source art initiatives that have either produced comparable levels of stardom and wealth
That would be called folk legend and is technically impossible to replicate when the people who control copyright have a vested interest in ensuring that open source artists do not, will not, and can not ever profit from their work. It's not a singular problem.

If you can provide this proof
Maybe you're too young to remember the time when this proof was everywhere around us. The business of an exploitative profiteer requires that they actively work to snuff out open source artists before they ever have a chance.

Re:Already done (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19216459)

"There was plenty of open source art for communities. Most people called it graffiti and now open source art of that type leads to criminal charges."

Are you high????

It's called graffiti because, artistic or not, it's painted on structures without the permission of their owners. If the artist gets the permission of the owner, it's a mural.

But we're not talking about public art like singing in church choirs or murals. We're talking about art people normally get paid for and do full time for a living. Are you doing two choral concerts a day five days a week and giving up a "real" job to do it?

"That would be called folk legend and is technically impossible to replicate when the people who control copyright have a vested interest in ensuring that open source artists do not, will not, and can not ever profit from their work. It's not a singular problem."

Really? How can they stop an open source artist from profiting from his own work? What laws can they invoke against him distributing it over the internet or selling it from a storefront so long as he pays his taxes on any income it generates? Where have the corporate interests actually used the law (or better yet, some sort of mafia style intimidation) to stop an artist from distributing and profiting from original open source art? Give me an example.

- Greg

Re:Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19216727)

Homeless here has long been known to be a troll. It boggles my mind why people continue to feed him (pun most certaintly intended).

Re:Already done (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19223437)

Are you high????
No, but I'd like to be. How does that have anything to do with the truth of my analysis?

How can they stop an open source artist from profiting from his own work?
The same way anybody votes with their money--by refusing to buy it unless it comes through the route of copyright.

IT is the best industry to illustrate the problem because it is such a young industry. 20 years ago experience and capability were all that were needed to qualify for a fruitful and productive position in that industry. As the industry has evolved we now see that nearly every available position (and especially those which have any chance of upward mobility) requires formal schooling, a formal degree, formal training, formal certifications, and accredited paper trails to "prove" experience and capability.

In centuries past there were philanthropic supporters of the arts who provided infrastructure (food, housing, recreational inspiration) resources to "open source" artists. No longer. "Philanthropy" today does not exist. The distribution of wealth is such that the only people who have enough extra available resources to support the development of artists are the very same people who associate with those writing the legal framework for the business of copyright and intellectual property.

As I said--it's not the singular problem that you seem to think it is. It's a complex system of greed and exploitative profiteering.

Where have the corporate interests actually used the law (or better yet, some sort of mafia style intimidation)
In essence,"If they won't work for us then we'll starve them out." No need to use the law. No need to intimidate. Open source artists will eventually buckle and cave to the closed system in order to eat; that's the method.

Re:Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19224529)

No, but I'd like to be.
Drug addict.

"Philanthropy" today does not exist.
...says the man who lives off the charity of others and the scraps of productive society.

The distribution of wealth is such that the only people who have enough extra available resources to support the development of artists are the very same people who associate with those writing the legal framework for the business of copyright and intellectual property.
A homeless, penniless man talking about the distribution of wealth. Pathetic. This worthless excuse for a human being has no money for himself, and because he believes himself to be superior to everyone around him, he thinks the only rational explanation is that there must be a conspiracy to keep him from power, from wealth, from comfort. NEWS FLASH: not all organizations or people with money are evil, and not all wealth is obtained through corruption! There is no cabal! You don't need connections or a good-old-boy network to get a job or to get ahead, you just have to demonstrate that you really are worth it. I'd tell you to take a few Econ courses to learn the error of your ways, but the fact that you can not afford to do so is proof enough of your ignorance of the subject.

You're a Catholic, what do you think about the vast wealth in the Vatican? Now THERE'S an evil group that got their money through corruption!

Re:Already done (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19224963)

Now THERE'S an evil group that got their money through corruption!
In a world full of exploitative profiteers you're picking on the most tolerable and nicest ones in the bunch. Way to go.

Re:Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19225483)

So HomelessInLaJolla sides with the brain-washers and pedophiles, the people who would rather relocate their offending clergy within the organization and pay hush-money to the families straight from the tithe plate instead of let their own go to jail for the crimes they committed. These are the NICE ones? Good to know where you stand.

Regardless, you're wrong. The world isn't full of exploiters, it's mostly full of apathy. You've been living at the bottom of the barrel for a while so I can see why you might mistake the two - when you have nothing, receiving nothing can look a lot like malice instead of indifference.

Re:Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19225659)

Tolerable is a strong word to describe the organization responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition, and countless other atrocities that have killed millions (just Google "catholic atrocities"). If not the organization itself, then people committing acts under its authority, which is just as bad since they church did nothing to stop them.

Tolerable, no. Tolerant, even less so.

Re:Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19226129)

You got a job yet, Stevie?
Or can we still call you SmellyBumInLaJolla?
Hey I should register that account. I bet I can pretend to be a homeless man better than this liar can.

What? (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#19223077)

I have posed a challenge to the open source activists who want to abolish copyright.
What are you smoking? No open source activist wants to abolish copyright. Without copyright, the GPL can't be enforced.

At the most, a fair number of OSS people might agree with decreasing the copyright term to something reasonable, such as the original term of 14 years. But that's far from abolishing the concept altogether.

Re:What? (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19260717)

"What are you smoking? No open source activist wants to abolish copyright. Without copyright, the GPL can't be enforced."

That's been my argument all along. But if you look at the comments on my blog post [brainhandles.com] or the Slashdot [slashdot.org] response to it, you'll find there are a lot of open sourcers who believe that we'd be better off without copyright and the GPL is only necessary as an answer to the plague that is copyright.

Re:What? (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#19295955)

Interesting. I've never talked to someone who wants to abolish it completely. I always thought that the advantage of a limited copyright term was apparent.

Assumption (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19223615)

Doesn't all this assume that it's a rightly good thing to have people making a living and suffering for their art? I enjoy art as much as the next guy, but maybe it's time we as a society look at the things we're producing and see if they're really beneficial to society or just distracting people from more important things that need to be considered. Maybe - just maybe - there are more important things to worry about in the world than where that $1 a song goes or if we have the next $200 million summer blockbuster...

Re:Assumption (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19288207)

"I enjoy art as much as the next guy, but maybe it's time we as a society look at the things we're producing and see if they're really beneficial to society or just distracting people from more important things that need to be considered."

Life without art is like soy ice cream, non-fat cheese, and imitation bacon bits.

- Greg
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