Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crowd Funding Freedom

Crowd Funding Freedom

Copyright 2012 drew Roberts

Creative Commons License
Crowd Funding Freedom by drew Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

So KickStarter kicked it off in the minds of many and IndieGoGo lets people outside of the US get in the game. (There are others as well, if you have such a site, send me the link for possible inclusion in the little post.)

This is something for people who crowd fund projects to consider and if they like the idea to insist on.

If you are going to participate in crowd funding a project which results in copyrighted works, patented or to be patented products / designs, inventions, etc. then why not insist on Free Licensing for the resulting works / products?

If you think about it, why should you pay to fund the creation of something which you can then be sent to jail or seriously fined for copying and sharing with friends.

If you think about it, if you are paying the creative person *up front* for the work they are doing, why do they need the government granted monopolies of copyright or patent to give them an incentive to create the work that gets the monopoly protection? Is the money that the crowd is paying them up front not enough of an incentive for them to create?

If crowd funders get into the swing of this, artists/musicians/creatives will get paid, and fans will be free to share the creations and promote their favourite artists.


Mike Linksvayer said...

Completely agree with this, and has been my policy for choosing which projects to contribute to almost exclusively (I've made a couple exceptions for local projects that were about starting a cafe or parklet; but to be completely consistent I guess I should've demanded any marketing materials from those projects be free).

One of a zillion projects I've been mulling is a democratic patronage policy commitment site, where people would publicly commit to only funding free-as-in-freedom projects. Any other ideas for promoting this practice?

Crosbie Fitch said...

There will be confusion as we transition from the reproduction monopoly of copyright to a free market in the exchange of intellectual work between artists and their fans/patrons.

Even as artists realise that crowdfunding is worth a try, many will still be indoctrinated to believe that they have a RIGHT to prohibit others from copying/communicating the work thus funded, i.e. they won't be aware that this is an unethical commercial privilege.

I think there's some responsibility on the part of crowdfunding facilities to make it clear that whether one sells one's work to a publisher or the public, the purchaser should receive the copyright too, i.e. a copyleft license in the case of the public.

Selling one's work, but reserving the privilege to sue one's customers is invidious.

Gurdonark said...

A crowd-funding site devoted solely to liberally-licensed creative works makes a lot of sense, as does crowd-funded scientific research, crowd-funded how-to material, and crowd-funded open source gadgets.

zotz said...


If the customers catch on, that should do it.

If the artists catch on, that should do it too.

As an artist, there are a lot of benefits to your fans that they can enjoy of the fund Free works from you and you can point these out. Competitive advantage all other things being equal.


Indeed, we need to try and keep moving in that direction.

zotz said...

Just posted this:

I give you something to think about: Crowd Funding Freedom - - the video claims to want to change the way artists are treated. What about the way *fans* are treated? There is an opportunity to do both here. Why pass it up. Get the artists a good pay day *up front* while giving the fans their Freedom. The artists will then still be able to make *extra* money after the fact. *Win:Win*

after watching this:

Charlie Kaufmans Anomalisa

Jacques-Jean Tiziou said...

Hey there Drew- certainly a valid thing to ponder.

I think the question that many content providers will hesitate on is the question of how much is being paid up front.

Many folks will be super happy to distribute their work freely in this way, but to do so sustainably, the up front cost would have to be significantly higher, potentially pushing the price to a level that is out of reach. Reserving the ability to control the work and potentially derive more income from it later allows one to first make it available at a lower price point.

To run a sustainable practice, you have to ask yourself how many of these creative works can I reasonably create per month or year or over the course of an entire artistic career. And what are reasonable costs of living over that time?

It's not about trying to squeeze money out of one's audience/customers, but rather about being realistic about what it takes to make the work and to sustain the work into the future.

zotz said...

Jacques-Jean Tiziou,

the upfront cost may indeed need to be higher. It is important to note though that once a work is released under a Free license, the possibility of further income on the part of the creators is not killed. It may or may not be reduced, but it does not cease.

It is about reserving the right (wanted r not) to sue your fans for sharing your work that they funded. Fans funding you may not be not wise to put up with this situation.


Mike Linksvayer said...

Jacques-Jean Tiziou, drew: re "Reserving the ability to control the work and potentially derive more income from it later allows one to first make it available at a lower price point."

True (modulo realistic estimation of future income from copyright licensing), but that's a supply side concern. IIUC, drew's proposal is collective action on the demand side.

drew, thought of another tangential comment on this post; you wrote "KickStarter kicked it off in the minds of many and IndieGoGo lets people outside of the US get in the game"

I'm sure you know, but it's worth noting that the first widely known (for a much narrower definition of widely) modern writeup of what Kickstarter and others have made successful comes from thinking about funding works post-effective-copyright-enforcement, (1998).

zotz said...

Yes Mike,

I was speaking to the supply side.

I do know about the street performer write up and also know Crosbie has been working on this stuff for years.

I have an old writeup in a notebook somewhere around here describing a system using Freedom pricing and commitments on the part of the public to spend on this and etc.

I never published it though. I can't remember the date without finding the notebook. Perhaps some day I will scan it and publish it somewhere for a lark.