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gbulmash's Journal: Open Source Art: Put Up Or Shut Up 15

Journal by gbulmash
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 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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Open Source Art: Put Up Or Shut Up

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  • by nizo (81281) *
    Depending on his voice talents, maybe people could pay Linus not to sing?
  • 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 syst
    • by gbulmash (688770) *
      "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 livi
      • 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 espe

  • by Skreems (598317)

    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.
    • by gbulmash (688770) *
      "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.
      • by Skreems (598317)
        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.
  • 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 bl
    • by gbulmash (688770) *
      "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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