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Laura Boytz

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So how DO we balance the need for creative people to get paid for their work with the ideals of a creative, sharing culture?

I'm reading the debates on SOPA and the comments of some its defenders with great interest.

I am eager to protect the free exchange of information as necessary to democracy, and I also think that YouTube and similar sites are actually greatly enriching to our culture.

I'm also a part time musician. I understand the desire of musicians and performing artists to get paid for the time, energy, and creativity they put into their work. I know full time musicians, excellent performers, who are getting paid the same amount for club gigs today as they did in the 1980s. Their bills haven't stayed the same. I think the American Federation of Musicians is wrong to defend SOPA, but I agree with their commitment " to protecting our members' ability to create and to earn a living while doing so." How can we/they structure things so creative performance artists can earn a fair amount for their work?

Does the answer lie with those performers who have chosen a form of "online busking" -- "download what you want, pay what you see fit"?
Does it lie in fan-funding projects on sites like Kickstarter -- "hey fans, pay us now, get the recording later?"

What do you all think? How do we balance these two ideals to keep creativity flowing -- for the largest number of people?

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  • Jan 27 2012: Modern technology is allowing for direct contact between producer ( including the arts) and consumer, restricting the need for the middle men. Yet as a society we have not adapted to this and the middle men is fighting tooth and nail to hold on to their turf instead of adapting. This especially applies to the arts, as most of it can be digitally recorded and transferred all over the world in seconds. The consumer is no longer willing to pay the middle men, knowing that the artist only get a tiny amount of such payment, but rather invest in better computer systems and faster broadband connection. Most consumers would be more then willing to pay the artist if systems enabled them to do so. It is up to the artist however to make sure that such systems are developed.
    • Jan 30 2012: "Most consumers would be more then willing to pay the artist if systems enabled them to do so."

      I like to think this is true, though I know that it's only true if the price paid to the artist is low enough (for the consumer). If the price gets too high, even though the consumer appreciates the artist, he/she will find ways not to pay it.

      I'm neither a computer programmer nor a marketing expert (nor a copyright lawyer, for that matter) but if I had any of these areas of expertise, this is a problem I'd love to work on. I'd like to hear from those who are working on it!

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