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Pirate policies. Are government funded artists willing to give up their rights to the work? [With poll]

By johnboy 19 September 2012 47

While the pirate campaign launch is still to happen down at Lake Burley Griffin the pirates have released a slew of policies.

Most of it is unlikely to get much argument but my god check this out:

The Pirate Party will seek to ensure that a proportion of Arts ACT grants are awarded
to artists who adopt creative commons licensing.

Forcing artists to give up the rights to their work in exchange for public funding?

Creative Commons licensing of Government funded art

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And because it is talk like a pirate day:

alestorm


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47 Responses to
Pirate policies. Are government funded artists willing to give up their rights to the work? [With poll]
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p1 12:36 pm 21 Sep 12

milkman said :

b) get a day job and do your art when you aren’t working

As someone who like to do “artistic” things, but who has very (very very) little natural talent, this has been, and I suspect always will be the only option for me (well, (d) might be an option if I win lotto….).

ppt1ne 11:05 am 21 Sep 12

Any artist (or craftsmen or whatever) who has a problem exposing their creations for free needs to get the business out of their art, IMO.

As a composer and musician, I get enough of a reward having an audience at all.

Therefore, when the art was produced with a grant, and automatically given such a huge audience, anyone who objects to creative commons for taxpayer-funded work needs to git out (let someone more worthy take their place).

milkman 6:45 am 21 Sep 12

poetix said :

milkman said :

Bottom line, if you want to be an artist, either:
a) be good enough to support yourself from people buying your stuff
b) get a day job and do your art when you aren’t working
c) get a grant from someone (e.g. govt) and accept the terms that come with it
d) be a rich bugger who doesn’t need to work anyway

Lots of options!

Or (e) marry well. (Said she, just back from her launch.)
But I do think there should be specific consultation with artists/writers on this.

Indeed. Artists should feel free to add (f) and (g), just don’t expect a free ride from me.

poetix 9:19 pm 20 Sep 12

milkman said :

Bottom line, if you want to be an artist, either:
a) be good enough to support yourself from people buying your stuff
b) get a day job and do your art when you aren’t working
c) get a grant from someone (e.g. govt) and accept the terms that come with it
d) be a rich bugger who doesn’t need to work anyway

Lots of options!

Or (e) marry well. (Said she, just back from her launch.)
But I do think there should be specific consultation with artists/writers on this.

milkman 7:46 pm 20 Sep 12

Bottom line, if you want to be an artist, either:
a) be good enough to support yourself from people buying your stuff
b) get a day job and do your art when you aren’t working
c) get a grant from someone (e.g. govt) and accept the terms that come with it
d) be a rich bugger who doesn’t need to work anyway

Lots of options!

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 5:48 pm 20 Sep 12

c_c said :

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

C_C, It doesn’t seem like you know much about how the interwebs work. If something is in data form, there is no way to stop it being passed around.

Nor was their any way to prevent CDs, DVDs, video cassettes, 8-tracks, vinyls, cassettes, silver-halide prints, books, newspapers etc… being passed around and copied.

You’d have to be more than a little silly to think the internet was the first medium to permit both the sharing of and theft of intellectual property.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

If a artist is being funded by my taxes, I should have legal acces to anything that comes of it.

No doubt the tax I pay is going to you in some form: Family Tax Benefit, Education Rebate. So I’m going to drop by your hours and pick up the laptop and school uniforms I helped pay for.

I’m going to try the same logic on my doctor next time. If my taxes helped pay for his medical degree (and by today’s figures the taxpayer contributes around $20,000 per semester course for a medical student, so easily $160,000 a year for their degree), then I should be able to see him for free. He already drives an Audi so he won’t be put out if I do.

And how will that access work for a physical, one of a kind piece if every taxpayer has legal access to it? Sculptures, oil on canvas, how exactly will we divide the ownership over that between all 23m taxpayers.
I know, we can require that it be put on display… wait, that’s already part of the grants process.

This is such Mickey Mouse logic its pathetic.

Difference being is that I’m not making money from the government. I’m not being paid by the government to earn a income.

Truthiness 4:27 pm 20 Sep 12

I am unsure how continued ad hominim attacks are contributing to this discussion.

The decision to engage with the dominant economic paradigm is one which is forced upon us all, I ultimately decided that my capacity to effect change for myself and the community was greater in my present position than in my previous positions. I would have thought it abundantly clear my primary motivation is not monetary.

Now, if we are sufficiently done dissecting my character, could we turn to the discussion at hand?

Open source provides us with a tool belt we can all use for free at any time. some folk use it to make money, some folk use it to avoid using money, some folk just play around with it. Whatever they use it for, the important thing is that it is there for all of us to use however we want. Increasing the size of our tool belt is a great idea, and if we keep adding to it, maybe one day we won’t all need to buy so many tools.

Thumper 3:03 pm 20 Sep 12

I might have made millions if I had submitted to the art markets sickening self promotional commercial wank

So you sacrificed possible millions from your art to be an EL2 in the public service, something that you constantly criticise.

Truthiness 2:13 pm 20 Sep 12

Relative success was enough to support myself just fine, but it became apparent to me that the entire artistic landscape has changed, and I had to adapt.

Widespread technology has enabled every man and his dog to be a prolific artist, and all of those works are available for free. That is a nearly impossible market to compete in, and the very act of competition is often antithetical to artistic intent.

I do not make art to compete or survive, I do not make art to whore it out for capital. I might have made millions if I had submitted to the art markets sickening self promotional commercial wank, I have friends who did so, but for me to do so any longer would have destroyed the very motivation and message of my art. Ultimately I make art to share concepts with others, open source let’s me do so successfully, without being dictated to by the rigged market. I’ll never be a pop star, but on the upside, I’ll never be a pop star.

Others are free to commercialise and capitalise their artistic works, that is their choice not mine.

From a purely classical economic standpoint, if you are being paid to do a commission, it is expected the client will get to keep the work you produce. In this case the client just happens to be all of us.

MarkG 1:53 pm 20 Sep 12

To use taxpayer funded grants to enrich the shared cultural climate of the ACT is the opposite of freeloading – it is a reasonable use of taxpayer funds and a fair exchange between willing parties. Grants would remain available for artists who wished to apply under traditional licencing terms, so nobody is forced to relinquish anything.

All manner of corporate and legal entities style themselves as representing artists. However artists can represent themselves in this: if they prefer not to accept creative commons licencing then the idea will lapse. But online artists have produced amazing work through cultural sharing and building on the work of others, and offline creators stand to benefit under the same principle, if they are willing to be involved.

For grants programs to include a requirement that the “return-on-investment” for specific artistic works be monitored (by ArtsACT or by artists themselves?), and taxed in some form strikes me as impractical. Has any meaningful examination been done on whether the returns would offset the cost of administration? … the loss of privacy?

Mark Gibbons
Pirate Party ACT

Truthiness 1:51 pm 20 Sep 12

Currently if our community needs say a government doctor review app, it is up to a government department to identify the need, write specifications, code it up and try to advertise it.

Imagine a system where members of the community voted on what they thought were important projects, and we directly rewarded people who made valuable contributions to popular projects. All the department would have to do is community engagement and quality control. The fortune saved on contractors can instead be spent on rewards for contributors.

The rewards don’t have to be huge monetarily either, we could just grant people printed housing, printed belongings or the dole. Indeed, as the printing process could also be open sourced, people could work to directly create their own rewards. A year or two working on a house printing crew might get you a new house.

We would in effect be creating a system of social credits, the way money was meant to be. People voting and participating in projects that interest them, the way democracy was meant to be.

A more equitable socio-economic paradigm does not have to mean communistic total redistribution regardless of effort. Nor does it have to impinge on capital investment. We can still encourage entrepreneurs and reward those who work hard while simultaneously providing a higher baseline standard of living for all.

c_c 1:31 pm 20 Sep 12

Truthiness said :

I have previously been a full time artist, but even relative success was insufficient to sustain a family.

And now we finally hear the truth.

If I can’t be a success, then everyone else must be held back from been a success to.

Truthiness 1:16 pm 20 Sep 12

In answer to your questions, my sizeable throbbing capitalist paycheck goes almost entirely toward becoming self sufficient and not having to work so much, if another way could be found to achieve this goal, I would gladly forgo my excessive wealth. I want my kids to not have to put up with the same unsustainable and exploitative lifestyle I have been forced into.

Without being too specific, I am an EL2 level IT contractor in the public service, the work I do is almost exclusively using open source technologies, and my work is recontributed to the relevant projects where possible. I also run a small business to do with open source software and hardware.

I have previously been a full time artist, but even relative success was insufficient to sustain a family. Several years ago I made the choice to open source all my work, I haven’t seen a cent from my own art since, but my work has now been remixed tens of thousands of times into movies and games, songs and images. I consider the collective cultural impact of those works to be more important than any meager capital I may have eeked out of the market.

Personally I would like to see government and corporate sponsorship for prolific open source contributors to popular projects, a kind of scholarship for contribution to humanity’s collective benefit. Such a scheme could be incredibly productive and low cost, In the long term I could see such a scheme even potentially employing the majority of our populace and out competing capitalism.

Postalgeek 12:55 pm 20 Sep 12

Truthiness said :

Is this where we compare economic penises to determine social hierarchy? I put it to you that the merits of an idea can be determined without reverting to the relative authority of the speakers.

That’s your straw man, not mine. Asking what you are prepared to sacrifice for the principles you are so keen to impose on others has nothing to do with hierarchy and everything to do with determining the hypocrisy of your stance.

Truthiness said :

Surprising as it may seem, it is possible to be a “functional member” of society while still being highly critical of the entire rigged economic paradigm. Indeed I put my criticisms of the system precisely down to my familiarity with economic history.

So in other words as a ‘functional member’ of a rigged economic paradigm, you would like that rigged economic paradigm to remain unchanged in regards to your personal situation but you would like to see it undermined on behalf of other people who rely on it?

Truthiness 12:40 pm 20 Sep 12

Is this where we compare economic penises to determine social hierarchy? I put it to you that the merits of an idea can be determined without reverting to the relative authority of the speakers.

Surprising as it may seem, it is possible to be a “functional member” of society while still being highly critical of the entire rigged economic paradigm. Indeed I put my criticisms of the system precisely down to my familiarity with economic history.

Postalgeek 12:20 pm 20 Sep 12

So you’re willing to forego your capitalist paycheck, then, and consider your work to be part of our collective cultural legacy? Come work for me, and instead of paying a wage I’ll stick your name on a banner and hang it outside, and everyone can share in your work for free.

I want to know what all you proponents of freeloading are planning to sacrifice here? You’re keen as mustard to sacrifice other people’s incomes on the alter of your principles, so I want to know what you create for money, and how you are sharing it with society?

Truthiness 12:00 pm 20 Sep 12

Making artist compete for capital, just to eat and live, is like making economists sing for their supper, arbitrary and unnecessary. We have more than enough to go around.

We are all freeloaders on our cultural inheritance, whether your a “self made man” or a “dole bludger”, we are all resting on the laurels of history. There are no unique ideas, no original inspiration, every action we take is a remix of existing ideas.

The history of innovation can not be split into individual unconnected ideas, it is an unbroken line of indivisible interrelationships. No man is an island, no idea truly his, our collective cultural inheritance is the foundation upon which each successive generation builds. We do not pluck ideas from the virgin ether, we only remix the ideas of those who came before.

The more we partition ideas into walled gardens, the lower the foundation of freely available common thought we leave for future generations. If we allow this intellectual protectionism to continue, we risk placing ourselves in a situation where no progress can be made without buying access to current knowledge.

Copying is not theft, it is an essential part of cultural distribution, observing and copying is the foundation of all discovery. Remixing is not merely derivative imitation, it is the process from which all ideas spring. These acts are the constituent parts from which all progress is made, outlawing our most basic creative processes is totally counter productive.

Intellectual protectionism is advocated by those more interested in short term selfish market capitalisation than the long term well being of our collective cultural legacy.

Truthiness 11:27 am 20 Sep 12

The only people guilty of “theft of intellectual property” are those who selfishly keep works from entering the public domain.

Competing for capital in a rigged market is an individualistic and deluded pursuit which guarantees a disproportionate amount of capital accumulates to those who began with the most. Forcing an artist with only minimal knowledge of financial markets to compete in an area so far outside their field, to justify their mere survival, is like throwing them to the lions.

We are all recipients of a cultural inheritance, our lives are so good, not because of our individual actions in the market, but because our ancestors were brutal empire builders. Now we have so much, more land and food and resources than we can even use, and we can maintain this lifestyle with only a fraction of the population.

There really is no need to demand our citizens compete individually. I mean they can if that’s their thing, but we certainly don’t need every person competing in a game we’ve already collectively won.

We’re incredibly rich, we do not need to all work all the time. We are collectively pulling down massive over time and earning far more than we actually need, for what? Our own conspicuous consumption? Or is it because we are all hoping to not work some day?

We need to stop vilifying those who aren’t fully employed, I don’t know about you, but I’m actually jealous of them.

c_c 10:58 am 20 Sep 12

It was only a matter of time before you brought up Wikipedia and encyclopaedias.

Wikipedia has indeed been a transformative force. However three things are apparent:

1. It has driven traditional encyclopaedia publishers and some online competitors out of business

2. Wikipedia is built on free labour, exploited cleverly by a small group who make considerably personal gain from the efforts of the many.

3. Wikipedia has made information more available, but what is the quality of the information and it’s contribution to society? Countless articles to which respected and authoritative contributors have made additions have had those additions rejected because Wikipedia is driven by a mixture of consensus, populism, and group think.

In addition, Wikipedia has been exploited, and in turn has exploited other sources. You will now frequently see Wikipedia used as sources in journalism, with comical results when the Wikipedia article is wrong. And in turn many copyrighted sources are ripped off on Wikipedia.

So you’re saying that an example that has driven many people out of work, businesses out of business, and has diminished the quality of knowledge in favour of broad, consensus driven information is a reason for making the arts open source. Another own goal I would say.

As for Linus Torvald, or more broadly Linux. Another own goal.
Linux distros are generally well behind the commercial operating systems developed under copyright.

The exception is those commercialised versions of Linux, which surprise surprise are protected by intellectual property laws. In the case of Red Hat Enterprise, use of trademark registrations to ensure they retain control over the versions they make.

They still release source code in line with open source principles, but they use trademarks to protect their ideas.

pirate_taco 10:39 am 20 Sep 12

c_c: you don’t seem to have a grasp of the difference between the concept of free (gratis) and free (freedom), and what the latter means for society.

I think most would agree that the most successful creative commons endeavour would be Wikipedia. Wikipedia has transformed the way people seek information, and the benefit to the world at an economic level is many multiples of the money spent on it.
Do you call people who look up Wikipedia freeloaders?
Would the world be better off if Wikipedia charged a licensing fee?
Pre-Wikipedia Encyclopedias were very expensive to produce, very expensive to buy, and very quickly became out of date.
Wikipedia, via Creative Commons, has made collecting knowledge cheaper, quicker and more useful, with more topics in more depth than ever possible under the old business model.

Similarly, when Linus Torvalds uploaded his pet project to the internet back in 1991, he never imagined that in 21 years time a derivative of his software would end up touching on the lives of almost everyone on the planet. The Linux kernel powers so many things from supercomputers running climate simulations, to Android phones, websites, Google, routers, media players etc.
None of this would have been possible had he sought to commercially license his software, even cheaply.

It is probably not likely that an arts grant in Canberra will change the world like the above two examples did, but perhaps they will morph into something greater than itself? We won’t know unless we let it.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT

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