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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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  • Feb 6 2012: The nature of internet is spreading of information. It is impossible to prevent. We have to adjust to that, not put users in jail. Creativity and spread of ideas is not going to be killed by internet. It will multiply it.

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