Thursday, March 22, 2012

The ungreyed artists

I love the question of how the artists will/should get paid. It gives me ample opportunities to talk about myself, about what I do and about how I make my way through the world.

You see, the one reason I could pay my rent this month is because I didn't charge anyone for being an artist, a writer or a content maker. The one reason I could pay my rent this month is because I trust my audience enough to give them what I do - in all forms - for free, and then let them decide what they want to do with it.

If they like it and want to smile - they do. If they like enough to share it - they do. If they like it enough to remix it - they do.

And if they like it enough to thank me (in words, money or things) - they do.

This is not a strange thing. It's how humans have always worked. And most of what I do revolves about reminding people that this is, indeed, the way humans work when they are given an opportunity to do so. All you need to do is give them that opportunity.

And thus, my rent is paid. Because I didn't force people to ask permission to take part, and because I didn't ask for permission to do mine.

I live, as it were, in and of a grey area of copyright.

As much as I love the question of artists making a living, I am less fond of the answers. These seem to revolve around making people pay, and not only in the literal sense. The sense of pure retribution that some of my fellow creators seem to feel frightens me. They talk about damages, reparations, lost incomes - even of sending people to jail.

Punishing people for liking what I do does not seem to be a proper way to behave. On a pure personal level.

On a corporate level, it makes more sense - copyright infringements tend to cost not insubstantial amounts of money, especially if it's on a large scale. Millions and billions of dollars are spent each year on copyright protection alone, and thus it makes corporate sense to put in place strong, retributive systems of copyright laws.

I, however, am not a corporation, and neither do I make any millions or billions of dollars. I only make two things: art, and do.

The question of artists making a living is plagued by answers who mistake me for those corporations, and who subsume my personal/artistic sensibilities for the corporate sense of profit making. I have no interest in taking my fans, friends and fellow artists to court for liking my work - I doubt I could afford it, even if I wanted to. But it is in my name even harsher measures on copyright infringers, consumers and my fellow remixers are proposed.

In my name.

As a struggling artist - indeed, as the very poster child for a poor creative person trying to make do - I have no interest in being included in the fight on my fellow art lovers. And I have even less of an interest in being used as an argument by corporations who don't give a manicured rat's ass about me when their profits are on the line.

If you want to support the corporations - then do. If you want to support the artists - then do. But, please, don't say we need harsher copyright measures in my name.

That's not my answer to this favorite question of mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment