Artists, Creators, Copiers, Thieves, Supporters, Evangelists…

The last few days have seen some bluster created by Lily Allen in a very similar way to Metallica back in the early days of P2P file sharing. I was interested to see this sensible and well executed response to some of the arguments.

It is one of those subject that we see time and time again. It is generally regarded as a binary decision. You either do things and get paid for them or you do things and people steal them. This is an emotive subject in virtual worlds too not just the music business.
I do not condone theft, but I think that theft or sharp practice works both ways. A creator of something can be profiteering or milking a product for all its worth. There is a balance to be had here.
If I look at my own business here at Feeding Edge, there are things I do that are done for different forms of payment, or for things as loss leaders, I put things out there specifically for people to copy, a thought or an idea. That is because I am not motivated by high end greed, that is the corporate mentality that has caused the world so many problems the last few years. At the same time, of course, there are bills to pay and lives to live.
Finding that middle ground, being able to use some peoples things giving them appropriate credit (either financial or opening them up to audiences) needs to happen across all industry. Those that only take whether they are the apparent bad guys who copy and steal content, or those that take because they are being unreasonable in pricing and usage of their “product” are just as bad as one another.
If something really is of value, someone somewhere will have honour enough to pay in all sorts of ways. The music industry should not look on people are resources to tax. It is precisely because of passionate evangelists for emerging bands, products, ideas etc that freely distribute ideas and content that those become marketable and “successful”.
There is no easy answer on how to transition from that free thinking to a product/consumer mentality and it may be that old thinking clashing with the opportunities afforded by mass communication has yet to evolve.
If you like things, help the people that build them. Support them, talk about them, pay them if you can (me included).

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