Culture

by Mike Masnick




People Will Create Stuff For Free? Impossible!

from the okay,-maybe-not dept

It's always fun to hear people say that without intellectual property rules creative works would disappear. This is wrong on any number of levels, as we've discussed in great detail. However, Justin Levine points us to an an amusing analysis of George Lucas' plans to let fans post their own video mashups on the Star Wars website. Lucasfilm and a company named Eyespot will run ads alongside these mashups, keeping all the money for themselves. They also won't let the people who create the mashups profit from them directly. If ever there were a case of digital exploitation, this should be it, right? Or, as the tongue-in-cheek analysis from Randy Barnett notes:
"But the laugh is really going to be on Lucasfilm because, as we all know, people won't invest scarce time producing creative works that others want to watch without the financial incentives provided by intellectual "property" rights granted for "limited times" (i.e. in perpetuity). So it is safe to predict that no one will contribute any mashups to the new Starwars.com website. Boy, will that be embarrassing for them!"
Indeed. Yet, somehow, people are still going to tell us that without intellectual property there would be no incentives to create content?

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  • identicon
    DittoBox, 25 May 2007 @ 4:09pm

    Art

    One creates and morphs true art without compensation. 999/1000 artists would tell you that art suffers when you bring money into the mix.

    Money corrupts what it touches. Art is not immune. Some of the greatest artistic works in human history come about by poor artists. These people and their works are not famous nor are they popular until they have long since passed.

    I can say this, I am one. I've been payed for work, I've been commissioned for work, and I've done work out of my own free creative will completely without pay. The latter by far being the better work.

    When I really give a crap about my free work all I'll ask is that credit is given where credit is due and that you not destroy my original work by building on it unnecessarily. (IE, no ugly derivative works)

    Then again I can't stop it, and if someone really wants to make something ugly...well, at least have the good sense to leave only your name on it. Haha...

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

  • identicon
    Joshua, 25 May 2007 @ 4:10pm

    Stop!

    Stop digitally exploiting me and my posts! I refuse to give you content without compensation!

    Are economists and diehard capitalists so isolated from reality that they really think being creative and contributing to the world via your expression really needs a price tag for people?

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

  • identicon
    Flix, 25 May 2007 @ 4:52pm

    YouTube

    Of course, that quote takes into account only the people who absolutely need to spend their time elsewhere. If you can't afford to use your time making Star Wars Mashups and you don't get anything out of it, then you won't do it.

    However, for those people who do have a bit of time to spare, this rule does not apply. Like me, for example. I have a bit of time to spare. I definitely would make a Star Wars Mashup if I had a good idea. And I'm not getting anything out of it. Or am I?

    The comment also whittles "gain" down to financial gain or no financial gain. But there are other types of gain. For example, fame or a sense of accomplishment.

    Why do you think people post things on YouTube? There's no financial gain from posting your video on YouTube. People do it because they had a fun time making the video, and they want to show other people their creation. They gain a sense of accomplishment and, if their video is popular, a bit of e-fame. With the Star Wars website, it's the exact same situation, only it's focused on a different population - namely Star Wars Fans.

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

    • identicon
      Flix, 25 May 2007 @ 4:55pm

      Re: YouTube

      Yikes!

      That might have actually been said in the link "discussed in great detail." Sorry if it was - I didn't read into it yet.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 25 May 2007 @ 5:24pm

      Re: YouTube


      The comment also whittles "gain" down to financial gain or no financial gain. But there are other types of gain. For example, fame or a sense of accomplishment.


      That's why the quote is tongue-in-cheek...

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

  • identicon
    GoblinJuice, 25 May 2007 @ 5:32pm

    Yeah, people create stuff for free.... You're, uh, kinda... sorta... preaching to the choir. :-P Now, go tell some suits!

    ....

    Star Wars is over-rated!

    TREK RULES!!!

    *runs, hides and prays to St. Janeway*

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

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 25 May 2007 @ 5:57pm

    OK, how about this, top notch good quality content (the kind that other people will really want to watch) won't be created without IP rights. Does that work?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2007 @ 6:14pm

      Re:

      OK, how about this, top notch good quality content (the kind that other people will really want to watch) won't be created without IP rights.
      You must be talking about rubbish like Mozart, Shakespeare and so on.

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

  • identicon
    Michael Long, 25 May 2007 @ 6:18pm

    Pros

    Yes, some people will do stuff for free in whatever spare time they have. Wow, what a news flash.

    But I'd bet you practically anything you care to mention that the type of person we're talking about would create even MORE stuff if they could just afford to do so. Unfortunately, there are pesky things like rent and food and clothing and insurance and so on to worry about.

    If only there were some mechanism such that, if people enjoyed their creations, they could get paid to spend their time creating even more of them...... hmmm....

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 25 May 2007 @ 7:32pm

      Re: Pros


      But I'd bet you practically anything you care to mention that the type of person we're talking about would create even MORE stuff if they could just afford to do so. Unfortunately, there are pesky things like rent and food and clothing and insurance and so on to worry about.


      Once again, you seem to have missed out on the fact that there are many models to get paid that don't involve copyright. We've pointed them out before.

      If only there were some mechanism such that, if people enjoyed their creations, they could get paid to spend their time creating even more of them...... hmmm....

      Right. We've pointed out plenty of such mechanisms that don't limit what the market can do with content.

      The problem, though, is every time we do that people tell us that no one will ever create content without getting paid for it.

      So now we've shown that, yes they will, and there are ways to get paid for it. So what's the problem?

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

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 25 May 2007 @ 8:28pm

    Mike, one point. I know you have pointed out models where people will create content without getting paid. I know you have pointed out examples where free generates even more revenue. I don't have a problem with a content creater giving their stuff away. Why do you have a problem with someone who decides that isn't a good idea?

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 28 May 2007 @ 5:01pm

      Re:

      Mike, one point. I know you have pointed out models where people will create content without getting paid. I know you have pointed out examples where free generates even more revenue. I don't have a problem with a content creater giving their stuff away. Why do you have a problem with someone who decides that isn't a good idea?

      That's like asking me:

      (1) Store A can make a lot more money selling product B than product C.
      (2) Why are you suggesting that Store A sell product B?

      I'm not upset at Store A deciding to sell product C. I'm just saying that they're not making as much money as they can and are opening themselves up to competition. As I've said repeatedly, I'm trying to show them that they can do better. If they don't want to, that is their decision... but it doesn't mean I won't point out why it's a bad decision.

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

  • identicon
    Charles Griswold, 25 May 2007 @ 10:07pm

    Star Wars Mashups

    I wonder if Paramount feels the same way about things like this?

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

  • identicon
    ChurchHatesTucker, 25 May 2007 @ 10:39pm

    Meh.

    Whatever.

    Whenever we have a Star Wars itch that needs to be scrached, we rip it. Ditto Trek, Alien, and Full House. George deciding he can make money/keep control over it doesn't change anything. At least, anything outside of George's head.

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

  • identicon
    Paul, 25 May 2007 @ 10:49pm

    Typical

    Typical Mike-FUD(tm)

    1) If people were allowed to make money on their mash-ups then they would put more time, money, and effort into creating them.
    2) Money is not the only incentive in this case. The producers names will get a limited amount of exposure, which is enough "fame" for some.
    3) It is a decent opportunity to showcase ones ability in the field, and may get them noticed by people of importance in the industry, giving them opportunity to get a job to make money.


    Perhaps if Lucas took the videos, stripped the credits off of them and claimed them as his own then you would have a halfway decent article.
    But since this story has nothing to do with creating content without copyright protection, your FUD is baseless.

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 28 May 2007 @ 5:11pm

      Re: Typical

      Paul,

      1) If people were allowed to make money on their mash-ups then they would put more time, money, and effort into creating them.

      I never said people couldn't make money from their mashups. In fact, I suggest ways people can make more money.

      2) Money is not the only incentive in this case. The producers names will get a limited amount of exposure, which is enough "fame" for some.

      Indeed. I've said that repeatedly. In fact, I've used that argument over and over and over again every time people get upset with my points for why IP isn't needed to have people make content.

      3) It is a decent opportunity to showcase ones ability in the field, and may get them noticed by people of importance in the industry, giving them opportunity to get a job to make money.

      Same point I've made repeatedly.

      So, you agree with me entirely. So how come you claim my article is FUD? Oh, I know. Because you have to disagree with everything I say without coming up with a rational response.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2007 @ 11:01pm

    FWIW, Mozart died penniless. One of the reasons he wrote so much was to pay his bills.

    The reason it was all good was that he was a genius.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2007 @ 1:45pm

      Re:

      FWIW, Mozart died penniless.
      He was very bad at managing his finances.

      One of the reasons he wrote so much was to pay his bills.
      Oh the horror! He should have been able to retire forever rich after his first "hit"! But having to work on a continuing basis? Honestly, I don't see how some people do it.

      The reason it was all good was that he was a genius.
      Poor Mozart. He had to rely on talent because without copyright that was all he had. If only he had lived today he could have just cranked out "stuff" with much less thought and effort required. And that highlights another great way copyright benefits society: It turns mediocre authors into great ones, no genius required.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2007 @ 3:53am

        Re: Re:

        Poor Mozart. He had to rely on talent because without copyright that was all he had. If only he had lived today he could have just cranked out "stuff" with much less thought and effort required. And that highlights another great way copyright benefits society: It turns mediocre authors into great ones, no genius required. It's amazing how much contempt those of you who have no talent have for those of us who do.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2007 @ 5:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Post us a link to an example of your genius talent....or perhaps you expect us to take your word on that...

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2007 @ 2:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Post us a link to an example of your genius talent....or perhaps you expect us to take your word on that... Chances are good you've already used things I've built.

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

  • identicon
    Matthew, 26 May 2007 @ 11:45am

    Very confusing article. Lucas creates all this media for people to cut and edit in whatever way they deem fit, he offers the space and bandwidth for these third parties to post them, puts up some ads to pay for it all, and he's the bad guy?

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

  • identicon
    Buzz, 27 May 2007 @ 7:34am

    Star Wars

    Star Wars is actually one my prime examples of how removing copyright laws would not remove incentive to create. If you visit TheForce.net, you will find several Star Wars movies that are over 40 minutes long and took about 3 years to make (special effects and whatnot). They do these things knowing full well they will not receive a dime for their efforts. They put the movie on their web sites for free downloads. They do it because they love Star Wars and cinematography.

    It makes you wonder how different movies would be today if they were truly works of art instead of attempts to become rich. :(

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

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 27 May 2007 @ 8:23pm

    Buzz, those are called hobbies.

    How different movies would be today if they were truly works of art instead of attempts to become rich? Ummm, even worse than whats out there today?

    Look, I golf, I like to golf. I don't get paid to play golf, but I play anyway. Does that mean that works for Tiger Woods?

    All of you clamoring for free content, set everything free, hey, you are all free to do so. You can make all the movies you want, you can record all the songs you want and distribute it out for free. What is keeping you from doing that? Why do you all have a problem with others who don't wish to go that route?

    You want crappy content, go to YouTube and you will get your fill. You want professional production, it costs money.

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

    • identicon
      Buzz, 28 May 2007 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      RandomThoughts, hobbies are hobbies, but people still make good movies as hobbies. And yes, when someone gets good at something, they are eventually paid to do it, but today, there are large studios who have lots of money but no talent, so they put out professional crap.

      And where did I say production was free? The final result ended up being free, but my Star Wars movie examples cost the producers a great deal of money. They aren't just playing around.

      YouTube may host crappy content, but it's crappy content that was never available before. In contrast to the years of "professional productions" on TV, the crappy content is a welcome addition because it's actually very entertaining to see what people on "my level" can do.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2007 @ 9:56pm

      Re:

      All of you clamoring for free content, set everything free, hey, you are all free to do so. You can make all the movies you want, you can record all the songs you want and distribute it out for free. What is keeping you from doing that? Why do you all have a problem with others who don't wish to go that route?
      Who's clamoring for "everything free" here? You seem to be hallucinating. Again.

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

  • identicon
    James, 28 May 2007 @ 7:29am

    This is done all the time, isn't it?

    Isn't the ever popular YouTube.com a prime example of how people post their own creative works online for no profit? Sure some of them lack professional quality, but free they are non the less. I think that corporation laughs in the face of free content simply because they cannot fathom why anyone would want to produce anything of value for nothing, but I say that people like to create things simply for the sake of creating them. I personally don't care if you create art for money or not, but I think the world would be a little less stressed out if people weren't crazy about it (RIAA, MPAA, etc...).

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

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 28 May 2007 @ 3:38pm

    I agree Buzz, I have no problem putting a lot of effort into something that they enjoy, that is great and YouTube is a great way for those people to share their creation.

    I just have a problem with some of the thoughts here that think everything should be free.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 May 2007 @ 10:09pm

      Re:

      I just have a problem with some of the thoughts here that think everything should be free.
      You seem to be the only one here who keeps going on about everything being free. Thus, your "problem" seems to be what would be called "a personal problem".

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


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