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Posted on Techdirt - 5 July 2022 @ 07:53pm

What Exactly Is Plagiarism Online? And Does It Really Matter Anyway?

There’s a fascinating article by Rebecca Jennings on Vox which explores the vexed question of plagiarism. Its starting point is a post on TikTok, entitled “How to EASILY Produce Video Ideas for TikTok.” It gives the following advice:

Find somebody else’s TikTok that inspires you and then literally copy it. You don’t need to copy it completely, but you can get pretty close.

If it’s not “literally” copying it, then it’s more a matter of following a trend than plagiarism, which involves taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. Following a trend is universal, not just online, but in the analogue world too, for example in business. As soon as a new product or new category comes along that is highly successful, other companies pile in with their own variants, which may be quite close to the original. If they offer something more than the original – extra features, a new twist – they might even be more successful. However unfair that might seem to the person or company that came up with the idea in the first place, it’s really only survival of the fittest, where fit means popular.

More interesting than the TikTok advice is the example of Brendan I. Koerner, contributing editor at Wired and author of several books, also mentioned in the Vox article. It concerns a long and interesting story he wrote for The Atlantic last year. Jennings explains:

Someone published a podcast based exclusively on a story [Brendan I. Koerner]’d spent nine years reporting for The Atlantic, with zero credit or acknowledgment of the source material. “Situations like this have become all too common amid the podcast boom,” he wrote in a now-viral Twitter thread last month.

I’ve not listened to the podcast (life is too short), so I can’t comment on what exactly “based exclusively on” means in this context. If it means taking the information of Koerner’s article and repackaging it, well, you can’t copyright facts. Multiple verbatim extracts is a more complex situation, and might require a court case to decide whether under current copyright law it’s allowed.

I think there are more interesting questions here than what exactly is plagiarism, which arises from copyright’s obsessions with ownership. Things like: did Koerner get paid a fair price by The Atlantic for all his work? If he did, then the issue of re-use matters less. It’s true that others may be freeriding off his work, but in doing so, it’s unlikely they will improve on his original article. In a way, those pale imitations serve to validate the superior original.

If Koerner wasn’t paid a fair price, for whatever reason, that’s more of an issue. In general, journalists aren’t paid enough for the work they do (although, as a journalist, I may be biased). The key question is then: how can journalists – and indeed all artists – earn more from their work? The current structures based around copyright really don’t work well, as previous posts on Walled Culture have explored. One alternative is the “true fans” model, whereby the people who have enjoyed your past work become patrons who sponsor future work, because they want more of it.

For someone like Koerner, with a proven track record of good writing, and presumably many thousands of fans, this might be an option. It would certainly help to boost his circle of supporters if everyone that draws on his work gives attribution. That’s something that most people are willing to add, as his Twitter thread indicates, because it’s clearly the right thing to do. Better acknowledgement by those who use his work would always be welcome.

On the issue of drawing support from fans, it’s interesting to note that the Vox article mentioned at the start of this post has the following banner at the top of the page:

Financial support from our readers helps keep our unique explanatory journalism free. Make a gift today in support of our work.

This is becoming an increasingly popular approach. For what it’s worth, I now support a number of titles and individual journalists in precisely this way, because I enjoy their work and wish to see it flourish. The more other people do the same, the less the issue of plagiarism will matter. Once creators are earning a fair wage through wider financial support, they won’t need to worry about “losing” revenue to those who free ride on their work, and can simply view it as free marketing instead, at least if it includes proper attribution to the original. The main thing is that their fans will understand and value the difference between the original and lower quality derivatives.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Originally published to Walled Culture.

Posted on Techdirt - 29 June 2022 @ 07:29pm

Enjoy Digital Ownership And Public Libraries While You Still Can

Michael E. Karpeles, Program Lead on at the Internet Archive, spotted an interesting blog post by Michael Kozlowski, the editor-in-chief of Good e-Reader. It concerns Amazon and its audiobook division, Audible:

Amazon owned Audible ceased selling individual audiobooks through their Android app from Google Play a couple of weeks ago. This will prevent anyone from buying audio titles individually. However, Audible still sells subscriptions through the app (…)

Karpeles points out that this is yet another straw in the wind indicating that the ownership of digital goods is being replaced with a rental model. He wrote a post last year exploring the broader implications, using Netflix as an example:

What content landlords like Netflix are trying to do now is eliminate our “purchase” option entirely. Without it, renting become the only option and they are thus free to arbitrarily hike up rental fees , which we have to pay over and over again without us getting any of these aforementioned rights and freedoms. It’s a classic example of getting less for more.

He goes on to underline four extremely serious consequences of this shift. One is the end of “forever access”. If the company adopting the rental model goes out of business, customers lose access to everything they were paying for. With the ownership of goods, even if the supplier goes bankrupt, you still have the product they sold to you.

Secondly, the rental model effectively means the end of the public domain for material offered in that way. In theory, books, music, films and the rest that are under copyright should enter the public domain after a certain time – typically around a century after they first appeared. But when these digital goods are offered using the rental model, they usually come wrapped up in digital locks – digital rights management (DRM) – to prevent people exiting from the rental model by making a personal copy. That means that even if the company offering the digital goods is still around when the copyright expires, this content will remain locked-away even when it enters the public domain because it is illegal under copyright laws like the US DMCA and EU Information Society Directive to circumvent those locks.

Thirdly, Karpeles notes, the rental model means the end of personal digital freedom in this sphere. Since you access everything through the service provider, the latter knows what you are doing with the rented material and when. How much it chooses to spy on you will depend on the company, but you probably won’t know unless you live somewhere like the EU where you can make a request to the company for the personal data that it holds about you.

Finally, and perhaps least obviously, it means the end of the library model that has served us so well for hundreds of years. Increasingly, libraries are unable to buy copies of ebooks outright, but must rent them. This means that they must follow the strict licensing conditions imposed by publishers on how those ebooks are lent out by the library. For example, some publishers license ebooks for a set period of time – typically a year or two – with no guarantee that renewal will be possible at the end of that time. Others have adopted a metered approach that counts how many times an ebook is lent out, and blocks access after a preset number. Karpeles writes:

Looking to the future, as more books become only available for lease as eBooks, I see no clear option which allows libraries to sustainably serve their important roles as reliable, long-term public access repositories of cultural heritage and human knowledge. It used to be the case that a library would purchase a book once and it would serve the public for decades. Instead, now at the end of each year, a library’s eBooks simply vanish unless libraries are able to find enough quarters to re-feed the meter.

The option to own new digital goods or to access the digital holdings of public libraries may not be available much longer – enjoy them while you can.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Originally posted to Walled Culture.

Posted on Techdirt - 27 June 2022 @ 07:42pm

Copyright Has Failed For Game Streaming, So Alternatives Have Emerged

An interesting development in the digital world has been the continuing rise of gaming as a hugely popular activity, and a hugely profitable industry. Flowing from that rise and popularity, there is yet another fascinating aspect: streaming games for entertainment. The best-known example of this phenomenon is Twitch, now owned by Amazon.

A new paper by Amy Thomas, entitled “Can you play? An analysis of video game user-generated content policies” presents one of the first in-depth analyses of the copyright aspects of this new entertainment category, and its very particular user-generated content (UGC). As she points out, copyright has trouble dealing with game streaming. Copyright applies to many aspects – the underlying software, the images, the sounds, the scripts – and yet the game streamer is not infringing on these in any meaningful way, but building on them in a playful and creative sense that is beneficial for the game studio. Game streamers – especially the best ones – act as skilled and unpaid marketers that show off all the best elements of a game, often leading spectators to try it out themselves, if they have not already done so. Thomas writes:

With the slow pace of policy change and judicial interpretation by courts, it seems unlikely that the legal treatment of game UGC in copyright doctrine will change any time soon. Without intervention, this leaves UGC creators in an uneasy state of tolerated infringement, with an omnipresent threat of enforcement measures.

In the face of this doctrinal gordian knot, the video games industry has responded with an alternative mechanism of regulating user creativity: contract. Now, game companies routinely consider the user who approaches a game, not as a passive consumer, but as an active creator who is interested in what rights are licensed to them to interactively create with a game.

The contract is established with the End User License Agreement (EULA) that players must accept. Thomas looks at the EULAs of 30 games in order to understand how game companies are moving beyond the strict and unhelpful prohibitions of copyright to find ways to work with game streamers for mutual benefit.

She explores eight aspects of game streaming that are regulated through the EULA: videos, monetization, screenshots and game photography, soundtracks, fan works, merchandise, modding, and commercial use. One of the most striking results is that a surprisingly high number of game companies allow the monetization of their game content (7 without condition, 12 with). However, monetization has its limits, in the following way:

UGC policies mainly permit passive ad revenue, money gained from partnership programmes with online platforms, and fan donations. Paywalls in any form (e.g., Patreon), whilst strictly constituting ‘monetisation’, are almost universally prohibited amongst those rightsholders who attach conditions to the monetisation permission (with the exception of Mojang who allow for a 24-hour embargo of paywalled content). As such, it may be more accurate to define monetisation as a user’s entitlement to derive passive income from their UGC, but not the active solicitation of money from other users at the point of access. In this sense, monetisation of UGC is not transactional, but rather merit-based; other users may reward the creator of UGC with their time, subscription, or donation, but cannot be actively charged to access the content.

“Merit-based monetization” is a great way to describe patronage of the kind that true fans can provide. As previous posts on this blog have suggested, it represents one of the best alternatives to a copyright system that isn’t working for the digital world. The new research about game streaming from Thomas confirms both of those aspects.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Originally posted to Walled Culture.

Posted on Techdirt - 13 June 2022 @ 08:15pm

Copyright Being Used To Stifle Attempts To Preserve A Dying Language

One of deep-seated problems with copyright is that its supporters believe everything created should be “owned” by someone and protected from being “stolen” by others. We’ve already written about how that’s a bad fit for writing music, and NBC News has a fascinating story about how the same issue is plaguing a very different world – that of indigenous languages (pointed out by D. J. Mary on Twitter). It concerns the Lakota language, one of many native American languages that are at risk of extinction because so few people speak them fluently. In recent years, there have been increasing efforts to create language resources from the surviving speakers, to prevent the language and its culture being lost, and to produce learning materials. The long and interesting article discusses the details of the dispute between the Lakota Language Consortium and some Lakota language speakers, like Ray Taken Alive:

The Lakota Language Consortium had promised to preserve the tribe’s native language and had spent years gathering recordings of elders, including Taken Alive’s grandmother, to create a new, standardized Lakota dictionary and textbooks.

But when Taken Alive, 35, asked for copies, he was shocked to learn that the consortium, run by a white man, had copyrighted the language materials, which were based on generations of Lakota tradition. The traditional knowledge gathered from the tribe was now being sold back to it in the form of textbooks.

The story touches on many important issues concerning cultural appropriation. But one of the key problems is that materials recorded and written down from native speakers are automatically covered by copyright, and that means people can argue over who owns them.

A common trait of Native American cultures is to hold things like land, resources and knowledge communally. That runs into conflict with U.S. copyright laws, which allow companies and nonprofit organizations to commoditize their work product — including pieces of a shared language.

That’s an issue not just for the Lakota tribe, but many others, both in the North America and further afield. It’s ironic that laudable endeavors to preserve culture and heritage for humanity can end up in these kind of legal squabbles over ownership – all thanks to copyright.

Originally posted to the Walled Culture site.

Posted on Techdirt - 10 June 2022 @ 07:39pm

Having True Fans Can Create A True Business

We have written several times about the “true fans” idea as an alternative approach to the traditional remuneration models employed by the copyright industry players, such as publishers, recording companies and film studios. It’s a simple approach: get the people who really love an artist’s work to support it directly, and in advance, rather than indirectly through buying things after they’ve been created. If that sounds rather soft and utopian, it’s not: it can also be run as a business, as this story on Axios makes clear:

The Jonas Brothers are helping to launch a new subscription media company called Scriber that allows celebrities to charge their biggest fans for exclusive content via text messages.

Why it matters: The goal is to bring the subscription economy to Hollywood without using Big Tech platforms as intermediaries.

According to the article, the Jonas Brothers have 50 million Instagram followers in total, so if 1% of them were willing to pay the $4.99 monthly subscription fee, that would generate in the region of $30 million a year, less payment processing fees, which will be relatively small. Even if only 0.1% are keen, that’s still $3 million per year. According to Axios, users of the new service will receive “exclusive material — like behind-the-scenes videos, exclusive merchandise and early access to tickets — via text message links pointing to content that’s pre-loaded for extra fast browser viewing.”

What’s most interesting about the move is not any of the above details, which are specific to well-known names like the Jonas Brothers, but the fact that Scriber is designed as a general platform that can be used by any artist:

Scriber will charge all celebrity creators $1 per month for every subscriber that uses the service. Because Scriber works with celebrities on the back end of the deal, most users will not realize Scriber is powering their transactions.

It’s a great example of how the true fans model not only benefits artists and their followers, but can also be the basis of a new kind of intermediary. But it is one that takes only a relatively small cut of the money, unlike the current system sustained by copyright whereby most money ends up in the pockets of the corporates, not the creators. Expect to see many more experiments like Scriber.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Story originally published on Walled Culture.

Posted on Techdirt - 8 June 2022 @ 08:12pm

Taiwan Creates A New Fair Use… But For Just A Narrow Sliver Of Works

Too often we assume that copyright is something that only concerns Western nations like the US and EU. But it’s important to remember that copyright has been exported all around the world. Moreover, when Western nations make copyright worse, they then try to convince other countries to adopt the same bad ideas, for example through the terms of trade deals. But occasionally, nations outside the copyright mainstream manage to make some moves in the opposite direction, adding benefits for ordinary people rather than for the copyright industry. For example, in Taiwan there’s a welcome change to the law in this area, reported here by Focus Taiwan:

A bill to amend the Copyright Act to enable the fair use of copyright-protected work by schoolteachers as teaching materials in their virtual courses without prior permission was passed by the Legislature Friday.

The amendment will exempt schoolteachers from obtaining prior permission to display, use, or transmit copyrighted texts and other materials “within a reasonable scope” and “where necessary for the purpose of teaching in schools” in their remote classes.

This is just an update to the existing law, expanding fair use of copyrighted materials from face-to-face teaching to classes taught online. It’s hardly a massive liberalization. The same is true of another amendment to the Taiwanese Copyright Act that was passed to enable the National Central Library (NCL) to create digital editions of the physical books that it holds. However, the Ministry of Economic Affairs noted:

the NCL would be forbidden from digitizing books already released by publishers with digital versions and that the NCL’s digital collections would only be accessible through computers at the national library.

In other words, as usual, publishers’ profits are put before the public’s right to access knowledge in the modern format of ebooks, never mind on their own devices. Sadly, this unfair and almost unquestioned bias towards Big Content is something that seems to be universal in the copyright world, whether in the West or elsewhere.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Story originally published to WalledCulture.

Posted on Techdirt - 1 June 2022 @ 08:04pm

Are ‘Fast Movies’ Really A Substitute For The Real Thing? Or Just Good Marketing?

There’s an interesting post on the TorrentFreak blog about “fast movies“:

These heavily edited copies of mainstream movies aim to summarize key plot lines via voice-over narration in about 10 minutes. While no replacement for the real thing, these edits accumulated millions of views and incurred the wrath of rightsholders, leading to the arrest of three people in Japan.

As that rightly points out, fast movies are not a substitute for watching the entire film. An earlier report on the same Web site indicates that the Japanese film industry disagrees:

the losses cited by rightsholders are huge – 95 billion yen (US$ 856.7m) in the past 12 months alone, roughly $10 per ‘fast movie’ view when working in the 80 million views cited by CODA [a Japanese anti-piracy organisation].

This seems to be the classic “lost sales” fallacy – that every unauthorized copy of a work represents a $10 sale that didn’t happen. That’s unrealistic: many people browse movie clips online out of curiosity, and never had any intention of paying to watch the entire film. As the US District Judge James P. Jones wrote in a criminal copyright case in 2008, reported by Ars Technica:

Those who download movies and music for free would not necessarily purchase those movies and music at the full purchase price. [A]lthough it is true that someone who copies a digital version of a sound recording has little incentive to purchase the recording through legitimate means, it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free.

There’s another important angle, missing even from the judge’s wise words. The “lost sales” view completely overlooks the “gained sales” that also result from people discovering new titles in these ways. They may use the latter as a taster, and then go on to make a purchase that they had not originally been planning. That seems likely to happen in the case of the “fast movies”, since they are not only much shorter than the original, they typically have only a voice-over instead of the full audio track.

For a film that is worth watching, the “fast movie” versions act as excellent marketing material. Rather than suing the people who make these kind of trailers, maybe the Japanese film industry should support them.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Originally posted to Walled Culture.

Posted on Techdirt - 25 May 2022 @ 01:41pm

Fan’s Rare Recordings Of Lost Beatles’ Performances Can’t Be Heard, Because Copyright Ruins Everything

There’s a story in the Daily Mail that underlines why it is important for people to make copies. It concerns the re-surfacing of rare recordings of the Beatles:

In the summer of 1963, the BBC began a radio series called Pop Go The Beatles which went out at 5pm on Tuesdays on the Light Programme.

Each show featured the Beatles performing six or seven songs, recorded in advance but as live, in other words with no or minimal post-production.

The BBC had not thought it worth keeping the original recordings, even though they consisted of rarely heard material – mostly covers of old rock ‘n’ roll numbers. Fortunately, a young fan of the Beatles, Margaret Ashworth, used her father’s modified radio connected directly to a reel-to-reel tape recorder to make recordings of the radio shows, which meant they were almost of broadcast quality.

When the recording company EMI was putting together an album of material performed by the Beatles for the BBC, it was able to draw on these high-quality recordings, some of which were much better than the other surviving copies. In this case, it was just chance that Margaret Ashworth had made the tapes. The general message is that people shouldn’t do this, because “copyright”. There are other cases where historic cultural material would have been lost had people not made copies, regardless of what copyright law might say.

Margaret Ashworth thought it would be fun to put out the old programmes she had recorded on a Web site, for free, recreating the weekly schedules she had heard back in the 1960s. So she contacted the BBC for permission, but was told it would “not approve” the upload of her recordings to the Internet. As she writes:

after all these years, with the Beatles still extremely popular, it seems mean-spirited of the BBC not to allow these little time capsules to be broadcast, either by me or by the Corporation. I cannot believe there are copyright issues that cannot be solved.

Readers of this blog probably can.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon.

Originally published to the Walled Culture blog.

Posted on Techdirt - 24 May 2022 @ 03:37pm

Copyright As Censorship: Abuse Of The DMCA To Try To Delete Online News Is Rampant

Online platforms often give access to digital material that is under copyright. If any of that content is infringing, then potentially the platform would be liable as well as the person who uploaded it. Online companies naturally want to be immune to the consequences of any copyright infringement committed by their users. However, companies in the copyright industry also demand the ability to protect their copyright material.

To address this tension, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides online companies with a “safe harbor” in the US, provided they fulfil certain conditions, which includes taking down infringing material when they are made aware of its presence on their servers. This “notice and takedown” system allows the copyright industry to seek out material on sites, and send notices to the relevant Internet companies claiming that there is an infringement, and demanding that it should be taken down. The person who uploaded the material can make a counterclaim under the DMCA. This may trigger a lawsuit from the company claiming copyright. If it doesn’t, the material will be put back up.

Although the safe harbor approach is designed to provide a balanced solution to the requirements of both the copyright industry and the online service providers, it masks a deeper inequality that is typical of the copyright world. Takedown notices are generally sent by lawyers or specialists who carry out this operation all the time, often thousands of times a day, using automated systems. They know the details of the law. Under the DMCA they are only required to provide a statement that they have a “good faith belief” that the use of the copyright material is unauthorized.

The recipients of takedown notices are usually ordinary members of the public. They are unlikely to have any legal training, and yet must respond to a formal legal notification if they wish to make a counterclaim. In addition, their counterclaim must include contact information – probably the last thing that an individual wishes to hand over to a company threatening them. Finally, and most problematically, the counterclaim must include a statement “under penalty of perjury” that the material was taken down by mistake. This is in contrast to the much weaker “good faith belief” that the original takedown notice requires from the notifier. Many will quail at the thought that they risk being convicted of perjury. The end result is that most people will simply accept that their material is removed, even if it was legal, for example under fair use.

This unbalanced nature of the system makes it ripe for fraud, whereby people falsely claim to be the owner of copyright material in order to get it removed from a Web site. Among the millions of removal requests stored on the Lumen database, Shreya Tewari – a Berkman Klein Center Research Fellow on the Lumen project – found nearly 34,000 takedown notices that “appear to be attempts to misuse the DMCA notice-and-takedown process”:

The notices I found use the “back-dated article” technique. With this technique, the wrongful notice sender (or copier) creates a copy of a ‘true original’ article and back-dates it, creating a ‘fake original’ article (an article that is a copy of the true original) that at first glance appears to have been published prior to the true original. Then, based on the claim that this back-dated article is the ‘original’, the copiers send a DMCA to the relevant Online Service Providers, alleging that the true original is the copied or ‘infringing’ article and that that the copied article is the original article — requesting the takedown of the true original article. The wrongful notice sender then removes the fake original url after sending the DMCA request, likely in order to ensure that the article does not stay online in any form. If the takedown notice is successful, this means the disappearance from the internet of information that is most likely to be legitimate speech.

The post on the Lumen database blog has some interesting statistics about such takedown notices: 34,000 removal requests were sent by just 30 different notice senders, targeting 550 domain names, mostly online news sites. The material targeted generally concerned allegations of “misconduct, corruption, sexual harassment and other allegations against the same set of individuals”. It looks like the DMCA’s powerful takedown provision was being used to wipe embarrassing news articles from sites around the world.

An entire business sector, called “reputation management”, has sprung up to offer this kind of service. Specialists use DMCA takedown notices as a way of intimidating sites, and persuading them to remove material that is inconvenient for the reputation management company’s client in some way. According to a post on the Rest of the World site:

The industry has thrived, in part thanks to the effectiveness, ease, and low cost of making complaints using the DMCA. Hosting providers often lack the capacity or interest to investigate every complaint, and, under the law they can be held liable for contributing to the infringement of copyright, if it’s later proven, which can be very costly. Often, they simply comply with these requests.

The copyright industry’s success in obtaining a DMCA takedown process that is so easy to abuse, especially to silence voices and censor material, means that true and important information can be removed from the Web fraudulently and unjustifiably.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon.

Originally posted to the Walled Culture blog.

Posted on Techdirt - 13 May 2022 @ 04:01pm

The Internet Has Opened Up The Creator Economy To New Heights

One of the most dramatic differences between the traditional, analogue world of creation, and the modern, digital one, is the democratization that has taken place in this sphere. Until recently, writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively formed a relatively select group that was hard to enter as a professional. Today, anyone with an Internet connection can spread the word about their work and make money from it. In effect, everyone who is online, to a greater or lesser degree, is a digital creator – even with the most ephemeral of posts on social media. Although it is clear the creative field has been opened up enormously, details are hard to come by. That makes a new “Creator Report” from Linktree particularly useful. Linktree describes itself as:

a tool for connecting followers to your entire online world – not just one feed.

A Linktree not only points followers in the direction of your choosing – to your other social profiles, eCommerce store, or content you want to share – but it helps hold followers within your online ecosystem for longer. It allows users to share more, sell more, curate more and grow more.

Linktree claims to have over 23 million users worldwide, which means that it should be in a good position to observe how the new world of digital creation works. Here are some of the highlights of the Creator Report.

Out of 4.2 billion social media users, Linktree says there are 200 million creators, which is defines as “individuals who use their influence, creativity or skills to aggregate and monetize their audience”. Naturally, most of those creators have a limited number of followers. Linktree says there are 23 million “recreational creators” with fewer than 1,000 followers; a massive 139 million creators with between 10,000 and 1,000 followers; 41 million in the next category, with up to 100,000 followers; and finally 2 million each of creators with up to a million and more than a million followers. Around two thirds of creators are active part time, with 43% who spend up to five hours per week creating material. Some 36% have been active for less than a year.

The other key aspect is naturally the money they make. According to Linktree, 12% of full-time creators make more than $50,000, and 46% make less than $1,000. Among the part-time creators, only 3% make more than $50,000, while 68% earn less than $1,000.

None of those figures is particularly surprising – you’d expect only a small proportion of creators to make a living wage, and for full-time creators to find it easier to do this than for part-time creators. The central message of this report is a positive one: that the Internet has unleashed creativity on an unprecedented scale. When the digital world is criticized for its flaws and failings, which undoubtedly exist, that’s something that should always be borne in mind – and celebrated.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon.

Originally posted to the Walled Culture blog.

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