Thursday, June 18, 2009

Artist/Jailer Quandary

Though I believe that opening up your work to a wider audience always results in higher profits, I'd like to pose the following decision for artists, struggling or otherwise:

If, by releasing your work with a copyright license that allowed copying, sharing and the adaptation of your work into other mediums, your profit levels remained the same but some form of your work reached twice as many people, would you make that choice?

For the purpose of this exercise, we'll assume that the choice is in your hands rather than the hands of a label or syndicate which controls distribution rights. Even in our modern artist-side, independent climate such groups have a role, though they control much of the debate regarding intellectual property and tend to neglect both artist and consumer rights. So we'll ignore them for now.

I guess the question is: Are you an artist or a jailer? The question isn't even "artist or businessman," as independent artists are rapidly proving that it's possible to make a profit without controlling access to your work. The model is changing and many of us are changing with it.

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