Digital Britain Minister Insists No One Is Creative If They Don't Earn Money

from the oh-really,-now? dept

Andrew Dubber does a nice job taking Digital Britain minister Stephen Timms to task for claiming that "If people can't be paid for their creativity, they're going to stop being creative."
On the face of it, that's an incredibly stupid thing to say, and is amazingly offensive to the vast majority of people in the world who are creative amateurs.

Note: I did not say "the vast amount of creative people in the world who are amateurs", though this would also be true. Most people in the world do creative things for no money. The vast majority of music in the world is made for cultural reasons that are not economic. To suggest that the only reason to be creative is with the expectation of payment is utterly offensive.

Beyond stupidity
But it's not just stupid and offensive -- it's corrupt. It's so manifestly and obviously false that it could not possibly be the considered belief of a rational human being.

The alternative (and indeed, the only plausible conclusion) is that it's a deliberate falsehood in order to support something that is utterly indefensible when examined with any intellectual honesty.

It's the direct result of corporate lobbying, it's entirely disingenuous, and it's a bald-faced lie echoed to support the interests of powerful and moneyed multinational organisations.
He goes on to suggest that a statement like that, so revealing in how Timms views the world, should get Timms fired, as he's basically admitting that he's only there to protect corporate interests, rather than actual creativity.
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Filed Under: amateurs, business models, copyright, creativity, money, music, professionals, stephen timms


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  1. icon
    Henry Emrich (profile), 15 Feb 2010 @ 1:43pm

    This is what happens when creativity is allowed to become a specialist "profession", separate from the culture surrounding it (and making it possible.)

    We've just gone through nearly a century where the model was:

    1. A small elite of super-rich "celebrities" about whom you couldn't help but know.

    2. A much larger non-elite of artists/creative folks who wwere not motivated *exclusively* by the financial or "fame" attendant to #1 above.

    3. A small sub-set of non-"Celebrities" who nonetheless aspired to/lusted after the "celebrity" lifestyle relentlessly pimped by the beneficiaries of #1 above.

    4. The rest of the populace, who were relegated to the status of mere "consumers" -- as opposed to PARTICIPANTS --- in the culture which surrounded them.
    The "consumer" was merely required to pay whatever the Elite could gouge price-wise, and passively accept any/all restrictions the Elite could manage to buy/bribe from their cronies -- whether they took the form of ever-longer copy"right" terms, more draconian abrogations of "fair use", etc.

    The *real* danger posed by the Internet, Creative commons, remix culture, etc. -- is that in an environment of ubiquitous creativity ("User-generated content", remixes, mashups, etc.) the specious distinction between "professional" artists and "amateurs" doesn't make any sense, and the only way they can retain such a specious dichotomy is by defining it all in terms of whether you get "paid" or not. (Can't really claim that "professional" musicians draw *all* of their income from music, either, since they sell T-shirts and fan memorabilia and such.)

    Interestingly, with the advent of micro-payment or any of the other business-models Masnick and others have been highlighting, it will become *much* easier to "get paid" for participating in culture -- with all that such mass participation implies. (The "new paradigm" won't really *have* the "big megaphone"-type celebrities, so the mindless levels of opulence -- the "celebrity lifestyle" -- probably won't be possible.

    But, personally, If 100 artists can manage to get 20,000/yr. where 1 "mega-star" got 2 million -- I'd consider the culture *and* creators -- to be far "richer".

    Awaiting TAM's predictable defense of the "celebrity lifestyle", or denunciation of "remix culture" as uncreative, or some other specious nonsense...

    (Maybe we'll be lucky, and find out he spilled his "morning coffee" on his computer....)

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