No, People Who Choose To Write On The Internet For Free Are Not 'Slaves'

from the swing-low,-sweet-chariot dept

For the sake of humor, I am generally a big fan of hyperbole. Miley Cyrus is cheaper than a half-off sale at the flea market. The Chicago Cubs are more futile than a company that builds igloos in Hell. See? When you're trying to be funny, hyperbole just works. However, when you're trying to make an actual point, comparing people who have agreed to write for free on the internet to slaves doesn't work, isn't funny, and deserves an argumentative kick in the rocks. We saw this previously in a ridiculous lawsuit by writers of The Huffington Post who somehow thought that their previous agreement to write for free entitled them to untold amounts of cash.

Yet, despite the stupidity of that lawsuit, we're back on the topic again thanks to a New York Times piece that somehow conflates asking for a free written work with slavery, not calling people after you have sex with them, and the nuclear bomb (and, no, I'm not kidding about any of those three). Here are some highlights from Tim Kreider's screed against the world.

People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost will ask you, with a straight face and a clear conscience, whether you wouldn’t be willing to write an essay or draw an illustration for them for nothing. They often start by telling you how much they admire your work, although not enough, evidently, to pay one cent for it.
Aaaaand we're off, and on shaky ground, no less. I have received numerous cans of soda and even haircuts for free in my life, but I understand what he's saying. If something has value, thou must pay for it. Which would be all fine and good if the concept of writing on the internet were a one-way street, a la a soda can. If Mike Masnick comes up to me, says he's thirsty, and asks me to simply give him my soda can so that he might drink the sugary goodness of it, I am left without my soda can and have gained nothing in return, economically speaking. However, if Mike Masnick asks me to write for Techdirt for free (which he did), and I agree (which I did) with the idea being that I'd get some pleasure from it, build up some reputation that might lead to future paid work (which it did, for Techdirt, actually), and so that I can include that work when I send out query letters to literary agents in the future (which I did), then the transaction works both ways. We both attain something of value and the price tag on my writing is only one part of the equation. In other words, this analogy sucks.

But Kreider takes this on directly.
A familiar figure in one’s 20s is the club owner or event promoter who explains to your band that they won’t be paying you in money, man, because you’re getting paid in the far more valuable currency of exposure. This same figure reappears over the years, like the devil, in different guises — with shorter hair, a better suit — as the editor of a Web site or magazine, dismissing the issue of payment as an irrelevant quibble and impressing upon you how many hits they get per day, how many eyeballs, what great exposure it’ll offer.
Well, you know what, chief, not all of us are willing, capable, or privileged enough to write silly op-eds for the New York Times. Many of us actually do value that exposure that Satan is offering us, which is why we, you know, agree to do this stuff. It seems to me to be the height of arrogance for someone who has done well for himself attempting to unite a population against what they themselves had agreed to do, on the notion that he knows better for the masses. Now for some of the fun stuff:
-This is partly a side effect of our information economy, in which “paying for things” is a quaint, discredited old 20th-century custom, like calling people after having sex with them.

-Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again.
-Here, for public use, is my very own template for a response to people who offer to let me write something for them for nothing...
I have to admit, that last one is my favorite. The simple irony of completing an op-ed about how you should never give away your writing for free by then giving away something you wrote for free is the kind of thing I couldn't think up. At some point when the idea formed inside my head, the synapses would all shut down, angrily insisting that something so stupid should never be put into print.

That's why this former slave is thankful that he had the opportunity to write for free, which became writing for pay, all while avoiding writing an entire op-ed with a culminating line that negates the entire thing.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    I have yet to know someone that is in any job that hasn't worked for free at some point. In the consulting company I used to work we often gave stuff for free that would almost inevitably lead to the customer paying for a more complete, elaborated work on that front. I recall once we GAVE a $20k work for 3-4 customers (personalized for each of them) and ended with 3 contracts for $500k works. Sounds like a good deal, no? Or did he forget his younger days?

    Old man yells at the cloud?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    "...the Internet seems like capitalismís ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again."

    Isn't this economics 101? The whole something is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it and people don't do stuff unless they think it's worth it? Aka supply and demand and market value and all that jazz?

    (sorry I almost paid attention in economics... obviously sleeping through it got me more information than others...)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    I commented, and therefore added value to your article. Now give me a dollar.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    The whole something is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it


    In terms of pricing, this is true.

    But that is not to say that things are without value unless they have a price tag attached. Lots of incredibly valuable things don't cost cash money.

    This is one of the most corrosive effects of making a society All About Capitalism: the idea that the only way to value things is through money. That kind of thinking is what lets corporations get away with doing abominable things, as everything just boils down to a cost/benefit equation.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Okay, Timmy! Now you get to slave away on a collective farm.

    Foxconn said its internships promised students a chance at practical experience and training, but began its investigation when a "few instances" of interns working nights and overtime surfaced.

    http://www.universityherald.com/articles/4886/20131010/students-chinas-xi-institute-technol ogy-working-unpaid-interns-foxconn-allegedly.htm


    US industry has been hollowed out. The nice life you have now has been mortgaged, and will be collected on by international bankers. Pension plans and Social Security are being looted. "Bail-ins" are planned to take money directly out of your bank accounts. By any measure, right now YOU owe the bankers hundreds of thousands, Timmy. You're going to live in debt slavery.

    But you play FPS games and think you're literally a big shot. Sheesh.

    I could go on, of course, but why write for free defending dolts who oppose me?

    Because YOU enjoy smirking and giggling while race to the bottom. Hail the plutocrats and bow low when they approach.

    You are refusing to defend the economic rights that our grandfathers fought and died for -- and I mean literally against corporations right in the US of A. Your generation believes that The Rich are generous benefactors, when in fact they're always as tyrannical as can get away with.

    Phooey on you. Deserve what you get, then.

    In ten years, as corporatism advances and takes away the rest of your future, you won't find yourself funny.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    I have to disagree

    Blue is a complete slave to his inner moron.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    "People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost"

    I wouldn't consider it a breach of conduct for either of these to happen, any more than the people who consistently ask me for free PC technical support or movie information consider it to be a breach of conduct to ask for those.

    Of course, I would consider it rude for someone to ask me for either of those for *literally* nothing, but then I'm not a money-obsessed sociopath unable to see the value in anything without a dollar amount involved. Sometimes, the value is merely in helping someone out, practising your own skills or in some other intangible benefit.

    I suspect the real message here is "people don't want to pay me for my uninformed opinions as much as they used to and that fact scares me".

     

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    PaulT (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re: Okay, Timmy! Now you get to slave away on a collective farm.

    "I could go on, of course, but why write for free defending dolts who oppose me?"

    Well, I had always hoped you were doing this for free. I'd dread to think that someone was actually throwing money at your worthless daily hate fests.

    The question then becomes, why do you do it? You add nothing of value, constantly lie, don't even address the same ball park as the opinions you're trying to refute. Yet, here you are, day after day.

    If you care so much, why do you spend your time writing fiction on the internet and get out and do something about the corporations that scare you so much (when you're not busy defending them if you can use them to attack the object of your obsession, of course)?

     

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    madasahatter (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Free Work

    I can understand many writers, musicians need exposure and often giving a piece or short gig away for free makes long term sense. As Timothy pointed out it is often a one-off situation where the professional exposure is more valuable in the long term.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    What Tim Kreider seems to fail to understand is that if at some point exposure is no longer sufficient payment for someone producing content, it falls to them to ask for more tangible forms of payment. If the request for more tangible payment is declined, then the person simply ceases to produce content for the person who refused their request, and offer their services to people elsewhere.

    To use his devil analogy, the Devil is merely a tempter. He cannot force you to do anything, all he can do is make offers and suggestions. It is always within your power to reject him. So much like the devil, if someone asks you to continue working for free when you wish tangible payment, you can always tell them to go to hell instead of giving them what they want.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:38am

    Re: Okay, Timmy! Now you get to slave away on a collective farm.

    "I could go on, of course, but why write for free defending dolts who oppose me?"

    ***follows this up by going on anyway, apparently trying to mimic the final graf of the article in question***

    My life is now complete....

     

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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Not the best example

    When you're refuting someone's argument that they should get paid for writing for free...

    perhaps saying your wrote for free for TechDirt and now get paid by *Techdirt* to write, is not the best example to explain to them their wrongness ;)

     

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    Call me Al, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Everyone does it, not just musicians / writers etc

    My firm often put on seminars on various tax and accountancy issues (we're accountants). The majority of these seminars are free and the firm invites current clients, various contacts and also advertises them on the website.

    The idea is that we draw in a group of people for the seminar and some of them may choose to give us more business. It also means that more people know who we are and what we do and also that we do helpful things for free on occasion... these people tell their friends / contacts / clients.

    People should use free to try and generate not free.

    I will admit though that there are certainly those who will take advantage of free offerings. All the time we get calls from "prospective" clients who are really just trying to get some free advice from us over the phone when we are trying to explain what we know and what we do.

    The important thing is for people to stand up for themselves and say "no" if they do not think it is fair in that situation. If they can't do that then they should reconsider their choice of work. If they can't find a way to get paid for it then they shouldn't work at it.

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    According to my weaselspeak to English dictionary this appears to be the proper translation of Mike Rogers' latest gem:

    "Violating the Fourthteenth Amendment cancels out our violations of the Fourth Amendment."

    Talk about your new legal standards!

     

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Re:

    Damn - managed to reply in the wrong tab again - I'm so smart!

     

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    OOTB Parody, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    mike you make me into a slave because you owe me millions of dollars for all my stupid comments because they attract attention to your blog making you rich, everyone comes to read my comments and laugh and refute it and have long discussions and that brings more people to the blog and more advertising money and influence to you you thief. all this free labor is not even appreciated by anyone. now pay me up ok.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    Old man yells at cloud server, insisting that the best way to move data is uphill, both ways, in the snow, by hand.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Okay, Timmy! Now you get to slave away on a collective farm.

    I have missed you, DH

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    You missed using an abacus whilst breakdancing on a sunlit dial.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Unpaid work

    There's nothing wrong with working for free if that's what you want, but the fact remains that companies do take advantage of those who are willing to work for free. Internships are often abused: they're supposed to be a learning experience, but employers often see it as free menial labor. This happens often enough that there are laws in many jurisdictions regulating internships.

    This case is obviously quite different from unpaid internships, but it seems at least morally questionable for a publisher to request specific work without payment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Something something tubes something paywall.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re:

    the idea that the only way to value things is through money


    That's not what capitalism is nor is it an effect of basing an economy on capitalism.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    Re: Okay, Timmy! Now you get to slave away on a collective farm.

    And what's your solution? Concentrating all the wealth in power in a slightly different although largely the same group of people aka giving it to the government. Some solution.

     

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  24.  
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    MrWilson, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re:

    "...If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Did I miss the bit where the writers were not allowed to channel their inner Nancy and Just Say No?

     

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    Rocco Maglio (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Did he get paid for his NYT Op Ed?

    I doubt he was paid for his NYT Op Ed. This is delicious writing about how writing for free makes you a slave and not getting paid for it.

     

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    Rocco Maglio (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:14am

    Re: Did he get paid for his NYT Op Ed?

    Here is the link to the rules for NYT Op Eds http://www.nytimes.com/content/help/site/editorial/op-ed/op-ed.html. There is no mention of payment, so he wrote it for free. Slave to the NYT much.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    I hear the dolphins at sea world are slaves to. Some animal rights group filed a lawsuit over it.

    Only problem is, the lady who was leading them was... a slave owner who 'enslaved' her 'pet' dog!

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Okay, Timmy! Now you get to slave away on a collective farm.

    I'd be able to comment more if Mike wasn't constantly cracking the whip to make me write posts....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Re: Unpaid work

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    I know this will be unpopular, but there's something to be said for being able to eat and house yourself while producing content.

    Too many outlets will choose to use "not too shitty" content produced by amateurs in return for EXPOSURE, DAMMIT, thereby reducing the market for good content that is compensated .... Because "Our competition doesn't pay, we're not gonna hamstring ourself by paying."

    This leaves us all with unending amounts of of mediocre content and very few sources of quality content because, hey, when a producer is working a normal gig to eat and house himself, he doesn't exactly have the time required to hone his craft to rise above amateur level.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Kreider's problem is that he wants to be paid for putting out high quality work. Compensation goes to writers who produce crap that appeals to the lowest common denominator. Marc Cherry had the right idea when he wrote the scripts for 'Desperate Housewives'. Millions of fat women went 5 years never missing an episode while devouring billions of pints of ice cream as they watched.

    Want to get paid to write ? Give people what they want !

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    While the sentiment is understandable the reality of the world doesn't mesh.

    It's like trying to fly by running fast and denying the existance of gravity. It won't work unless you take the appropriate measures.

    Same thing with selling content, if you can build a brand, get the hype, get the exposure and demand, you can make the money you want. If you can't get that force behind it, no amount of complaining will get you off the ground.

     

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    Dirkmaster (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 11:38am

    Re:

    "Of course, I would consider it rude for someone to ask me for either of those for *literally* nothing, "

    yeah, me too. Usually just ask for beer.

     

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    cpt kangarooski, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Re: I have to disagree

    Inner?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 12:44pm

    Don't want to write for free? When asked say "No".

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Not the best example

    How so?

    Kreider is arguing basically, that writings must always be paid for with cash. Whereas Geigner is saying that there are times where writing for free can be advantageous for both parties, and proves his point by reminding everyone that he wrote for free for Techdirt at first, then they offered him a paid job, once he was able to prove he could write quality articles regularly.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Did he get paid for his NYT Op Ed?

    Someone should write a counter op-ed, a short one. Have a summary something like this
    "Tim Kreider says people should always be paid for articles...explained in an op-ed he wrote for free". That is all. Nothing more needed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Did he get paid for his NYT Op Ed?

    The difference is the NY Times op-ed was not solicited by the New York Times.

     

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  40.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    Re:

    I know this will be unpopular, but there's something to be said for being able to eat and house yourself while producing content


    I don't know why you think that would be unpopular. That's a Good Idea. However, that's a lot different than what the op-ed author was saying: that it's immoral to give the product of your effort away for free.

    reducing the market for good content that is compensated


    I don't think that's actually true to any appreciable degree, but let's say it is for the sake of argument. My response is: so what? Live by the "free market", die by the "free market".

    This leaves us all with unending amounts of of mediocre content and very few sources of quality content


    So, exactly like things have always been, then?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Okay, Timmy! Now you get to slave away on a collective farm.

    This is too fucking insane to be real.

     

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    saulgoode (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    "People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost"

    And yet that is invariably how members of our species spend the first 16-odd years of our lives (just ask your parents).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Re:

    So you're saying that a person who expects other people to give them free labor is behaving like a child?

    I think you're making the Kreider's point for him.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 3:02pm

    I find it ironic that Kreider compares free writing to an atom bomb, since Kreider himself writes for money and what he writes totally blows.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    And yet, not only have academics been giving away their writing for free in the form of journal articles in exchange for esteem (with minimal prospect of being paid for future writing), they even review others' articles anonymously. Ain't no exposure in that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    your writing for free

    You are writing for free to allow TD to profit from your work, if you have no issues with TD making money off your work and not sharing it with you. Go for it, it's not slavery, you might of agreed to do it, but it's NOT "not for profit" it is FOR PROFIT, just profit to Mr Masnick and NOT YOU.

    There is a 'price tag' on your 'free work' but that money is for TD and not you, if TD can get you to create works for them to allow them to profit from your work and are happy for TD to keep all that money, what does that say about you ?

    And what does that say about TD, who are happily profiting of your work, and not sharing that profit with you ?

    If you can get material that you don't have to pay for and make money off that, why would TD NOT do that.
    Taking advantage of other peoples efforts and works is a great deal of what TD is all about.

    Its a good scam, get gullible people to do work for you for no money, 'sell' that work (by paid advertising to see that work, thanks Google), and it's a win, win for TD they get free work and make money off it, and you are happy to give them that work everyone wins !!!!

    "keep em hungry, keep em keen"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:33pm

    Re:

    academics are paid, regardless of them writing journal articles or not.

    Just like fire fighters are paid, even when they are not actually fighting a fire.

    Yes, it's true, they actually get paid just to sit at the fire station waiting for the bells.

    When an article is posted on TD SOMEONE IS GETTING PAID, because TD is paid by Google for views, so if Tim generates "views" by posting an article, and he is not paid, because SOMEONE is being paid, it's still a payed work, it still makes money.

    Just the author gets none of it, TD keeps it all, so you are not doing 'unpaid' work, you are doing PAID work, you are just not being paid for it !! See the difference ?

    So Tim not only are you giving away the article and the product of your work, you are giving away the money made from that work. Doubly stupid. But your choice.

    Of course it is to TD advantage, they get paid and have to do no work, nice scam though!!!

    Internships are totally different, as they profit from that work in that they gain experience and work experience, their 'profit' or payment is that experience and learning they gain from it.

    That is not the same as an "established" worker doing what they are experienced in for free. (not really for free, but for payment to go to someone else).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    Re:

    your assuming that there is a relationship between "quality and profit" that is a model in some places. But here at TD the relationship is "Quantity and profit" TD gets paid from "page hits" the more people view the Google adds the more money Masnick makes.

    So it is not in TD's interests to generate quality, but rather to generate page hits, therefore quantity.

    Neither is there are relationship between accuracy, true or quality, just quantity.

    So if saying lies, or not telling the truth, or inciting hate results in higher quantity, that is what they will do.

    This is why TD is what it is, and not something else.
    As it's quantity over accuracy, honesty and quality of course they will do their best to get that quantity for as cheaply as possible either by writing MANY, MANY articles, or copying others writings, or scamming people to write for them for free (not really free, just to keep the profits).

    Someone is always paid, its just often not the writer !!

     

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  49.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re:

    "So Tim not only are you giving away the article and the product of your work, you are giving away the money made from that work. Doubly stupid. But your choice."

    Except of course that I get paid to write articles, and I got that paid gig by first writing here for free. Does basic English escape you, or did you just not bother to read the post as per usual?

     

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  50.  
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    Matthew Cline (profile), Oct 30th, 2013 @ 5:01pm

    I wonder what he thinks of open source and Wikipedia...

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re:

    I was expecting it to be unpopular because after years of TD reading, I expected to be lambasted by commenters insistent that any content that isn't a moneymaker right out of the gate deserves to die. So many comments here seem to boil down to nothing other than fair marketability is important that I'm gunshy.

    Yes, the writer the post is about holds the position that its immoral to work for free. While I don't agree, I see how he got there.

    IMHO, while we have a ton of free content nowadays, most of it is of lesser quality than was available for free or small price in the not too distant past. The ability to be employed at subsistence level wages as a junior-anything content creationwise has pretty much evaporated in this era of New Media.

    As a result, we have more expensive paid-to-be-created content and "not-too-shitty" not-paid-for content published in return for exposure.

    Yes, it's certainly possible to transmute those supposedly-valuable eyeballs to a following to a paid job, but that requires the amatuer content producer also be a crazy-talented marketer. While its certainly possible for the amateur creator with a day job to also be an effective enough marketer to turn those eyeballs into a job, it's certainly extremely unlikely to be successful.

    As a result, this guy thinks that anyone producing content for free is cutting not only their own throat, but his, too. He also thinks that people who expect free content creation for their business enterprise, either from others or himself, are jerks. Not that I necessarily agree, but again, I see how he got there.

    I'm not bemoaning the buggy whip manufactures here.... I'm just saying that that there has been something lost in our greater culture when we lost the ability to have talented amateur content creators employed in junior positions in content creation situations while they better their craft.

    Nowadays all the content creation that would have been done by those lost juniors is done for free by the same types of people who would have BEEN those juniors not too long ago. Except today, they have to be a marketing savant AND work a day job to survive while producing loads of quality content, hoping that they will beat incomprehensible odds and turn pro. Even thinking about this gives me a huge sad.

    I think of it like outsourcing .... New Media outlets don't pay for their content, so they can operate (as far as the consumer is concerned) for free, paying the other bills from advertisements. A not insubstantial part of this business setup is predicated on the lowest possible cost for the content being re-sold (for eyeballs, not money) ... And when it comes to creative types, the lowest possible cost is $0.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 7:05pm

    Re: your writing for free

    darryl is a complete fuckwit.

    I've just appraised darryl with honesty and accuracy. He now owes me money.

     

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  53.  
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    MrWilson, Oct 30th, 2013 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In a theoretical, academic sense, you are correct. But in a practical sense, yes, that definitely is capitalism in action. In the same respect that the Soviet Union had nothing like the theoretical concept of Communism, but nonetheless is used as an example of Communism in action. The practical reality of theories and ideals in the real world is rarely like what they were dreamed to be. In the reality of capitalism, everything is available for money, including the laws that govern how free or regulated or protectionist your markets are. And when the wealthy only speak the language of money, it forces others to do the same, like a conquered people having to learn the language of their occupiers.

     

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  54.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 1:34am

    Re: your writing for free

    Its a good scam, get gullible people to do work for you for no money, 'sell' that work (by paid advertising to see that work, thanks Google), and it's a win, win for TD they get free work and make money off it, and you are happy to give them that work everyone wins !!!!

    Except (1) we pay Tim for his writing, as is clearly stated in the post and (2) we don't use Google ads and haven't in many years. Also, (3) ads pay shit, and barely cover our bandwidth bill. We're not making any profit off of ads.

    Other than being 100% wrong, you're... well, nope you're just 100% wrong.

     

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  55.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 31st, 2013 @ 2:43am

    Re: Re: your writing for free

    You know he'll ignore anything that goes against his own religious belief that Techdirt is a work of Satan, right?

     

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  56.  
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    Pragmatic, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re:

    This is one of the most corrosive effects of making a society All About Capitalism: the idea that the only way to value things is through money.


    Thank you, @ John Fenderson. That's the problem I have with the Large "L" Libertarians. They think slavery to money is freedom. No, it's Ferengi.

    Alien.

    And as you most correctly pointed out, corrosive. In a people-first society, nobody whines about the prospect of someone else profiting off your work and they don't demand that the govt. stops picking winners so they can do it themselves, by which I mean, "for-profit-only medical care via charity for the poor means that only the most appealing people get funded."

     

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  57.  
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    Call me Al, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "IMHO, while we have a ton of free content nowadays, most of it is of lesser quality than was available for free or small price in the not too distant past."

    In my own humble opinion this is nonsense. From the masses of films generated on a site like Vimeo, the wonderful artwork on sites like Deviantart and the many, many websites with all kinds of commentary on all kinds of topics, there is masses of excellent content which I don't have to pay for.

    The difficulty is the curation of it and finding the right channels which fit you.

     

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  58.  
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    anon, Oct 31st, 2013 @ 9:18am

    I think Tim missed reading part of the editorial

    I STILL remember how this felt: the first piece I ever got nationally published was in a scholarly journal that paid in contributorsí copies, but Iíve never had a happier moment in my career. And itís not strictly true that you never benefit from exposure ó being published in The New York Times helped get me an agent, who got me a book deal, which got me some dates. But let it be noted that The Times also pays in the form of money, albeit in very modest amounts.

     

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  59.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 1st, 2013 @ 1:23am

    Re: your writing for free

    "your writing for free"

    Oh dear, didn't this get debunked as a bunch of shit a few months ago? As in, it was shown that those who write articles regularly for TD are paid for the work on a freelance basis, forcing the morons who repeatedly claim otherwise to flee in embarrassment?

    Come on, if you're going to troll the site (for free, no less, unless you're admitting to be a paid shill), at least come up with a new lie.

     

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  60.  
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    Javier, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 10:00pm

    and what about capitalism?

    The problem with this is, even though your opinions are respectable, we lose the capitalism.

    The capitalism need consumers and consumers have to be workers first. If workers get no paid, apart from "exposure", "conversation", "engagement" and this kind of social media stuff people can not pay for products and services and the capitalism collapse.

    I understand the feelings to move people to work for free - and we graphic designers know a lot about this - but the reality is that social media success doesn't work when you have to consume (you need money for that) - and the economy can't work whitout consuming.

     

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  61.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 9th, 2013 @ 10:31pm

    Re: and what about capitalism?

    The problem with this is, even though your opinions are respectable, we lose the capitalism.

    The capitalism need consumers and consumers have to be workers first. If workers get no paid, apart from "exposure", "conversation", "engagement" and this kind of social media stuff people can not pay for products and services and the capitalism collapse.


    I think your understanding of capitalism may be a bit limited.

    A few key points: (1) capitalism is about the exchange of utility for utility where each party feels better off. Sometimes the utility is money, but not always. There are ways to get paid that aren't money. (2) You presume, incorrectly, that none of these actions then also lead to payment. That's wrong. Exposure, conversation and engagement can and often do lead to monetary compensation as well. You just have to figure out how to find the friction point where you can turn it into money...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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