Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars

William Patry, 2009 Tigard 346.0482 PAT

There is no magic; of the market, of the government, of science. Human desire is satisfied by human effort, and motivating that effort is a complicated process.

We are told that copyright is required to motivate the production of "content". Certainly, some authors claim that they will only create if they can control how their creations are used, though many create even if they must pay to do so. How does this relate to the current legal copyright structure, where almost all who "create for copyright" do so for a small fraction of the revenue earned by the corporations that control these works forever?

The small corporations, the small publishers with a few dozen titles and ineffective marketing, may struggle to break even. The largest corporations earn huge margins and dominate the global market, and dissipate those huge margins on internal friction and misplaced staffing. Both small and large make expensive bets on untried authors and new subjects, and mostly fail. This is gambling, not investing. It seems a poor conduit between author and audience, and thwarts attempts to develop new and threatening models that work more efficiently.

The ideal delivery model would (somehow) connect every author to every reader/listener/viewer who would benefit most from the author's work, consume almost no resources (like the paper for remaindered books), at an economically "efficient" price somewhere between the minimum and maximum expectations of both author and user. Indeed, the price might be mostly non-monetary; recognition, encouragement, research help, formatting, illustration, publicity, and proofreading by readers might help authors produce more quickly and painlessly, and provide additional value (brag rights?) to the reader. The narrow dollar conduits running through a chain of businesses restricts the flow of non-monetary value.

Patry focuses on the political and polemical crimes of Big Media, though he mentions some alternative ways to connect performance and audience. A question arises: is the massive media distraction machine something we want to make more efficient? Are there better uses for the time and talents of artists and media consumers - teaching and learning creative craft, for example?

PanicsPatry (last edited 2018-01-10 23:54:53 by KeithLofstrom)