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Publishers were expert at selling copies - not intellectual work · Saturday May 08, 2010 by Crosbie Fitch

Jason K to Dennis on Michael Geist’s Blog

“The people representing industry who want to stomp out P2P file sharing and to whom creators are listening to in reality have gotten several opportunities around the globe to do so, and it hasn’t extracted any value for content owners, nor deterred the use of these programs.

Creators like yourself are so naive to believe that law will solve your problems, when the past 10 years you guys are still eating Kraft Dinner, because the multi-nationals are not interested in seeking a pay raise for content creators, they have a fetish right now to control the uncontrollable. It has NOTHING to do with compensating creators, nothing to do with right or wrong.

There have been several positions open up on the table to help extract IP value from the digital marketplace in the form of monetization, but that has been flatly rejected by the multi-nationals, which means money for creators in the current system is being TURNED DOWN by these groups because of their fetish for control.”

NB I made a copy of Jason’s good work, but I didn’t steal it.

Publishers aren’t interested in developing business models that pay intellectual workers for their intellectual work, because they’ve never been interested in paying intellectual workers anything except as little as possible. Moreover, they know exactly how to pay intellectual workers. They’ve been doing it for centuries.

What they aren’t in the business of is selling intellectual work. No, they’re 100% focussed on selling copies and controlling the distribution channels by which intellectual work is received by those who want to receive it.

The problem is, for them, that market is over. One can no longer sell copies or control distribution channels – though they’re still trying (making the laws ever more draconian, qv ACTA).

The publishers don’t give a damn about helping the intellectual worker sell their work because they’re not in that business. They’re certainly not interested in figuring out how to help the intellectual worker sell their work direct to those who want to receive it as that removes the publisher out of the value chain (along with their 99% cut), which would be madness.

So, the intellectual worker of today has to leave the publisher to pursue their folly of trying to sell copies to people who can make their own copies for nothing (selling snow to Sámi).

The intellectual worker now has the problem of how to sell their intellectual work to those who want to receive it. And those who want to receive it have the problem of how to commission their favourite intellectual workers to produce it.

I’m labouring the distinction between intellectual work and copies because too many people still think they’re one and the same (indeed, are hypnotised to believe that). The market for copies has ended (as the more astute publishers might one day realise). However, that doesn’t mean the market for intellectual work has ended. People still want novels and movies produced even if PDF and MPEG copies of them cost nothing to make. It is thus the intellectual work that is valuable – not the copy, and persisting in this popular petulance that the law must make it otherwise is unbecoming of any intellectual worker worthy of the term.

So, publishers, gone! Defunct. Dead as dinosaurs. Let’s hear nothing more about them. They are irrelevant to the imperative we face.

And that mission, for those willing to move beyond complaint to developing a solution, is to explore how intellectual workers and those who want to receive their work, can exchange that work for money. After all, this is the foundation of all commerce. It’s all about voluntary and equitable exchange.

Unfortunately, whilst I could tell you the solution now, there is a perverse, inverse relationship between the severity of a problem and the likelihood that whoever professes to have a solution will be found credible instead of being considered a charlatan. But I’ll give a URL anyway: contingencymarket.com (and again, perversely, there is pressure against making this a hyperlink).

Suffice it to say, the answer is in the question. If the question is “How does an intellectual worker exchange their intellectual work for the money of those who want to receive it, at a price both agree on, and without threat or coercion?” then the answer is “Via an exchange – via a mechanism that facilitates the exchange of intellectual work for money between a producer and many customers”.

The sale of copies is irrelevant. The very idea of selling copies is an 18th century anachronism (along with the 18th century privilege of a reproduction monopoly we call copyright).

The market for copies has ended. The market for intellectual work continues unabated.



 

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