Charge for Your Ideas
Of the Founders’ genius ideas, few trump intellectual-property rights. At a time when Barbary pirates still concerned them, the Framers penned an intellectual-property clause—the world’s first constitutional protection for copyrights and patents. In so doing, they spawned Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Motown, and so on. Today, we foolishly flirt with undoing that. In a future where all art is free (the future as pined for by Internet pirates and Creative Commons zealots), books, songs, and films would still get made. But with nobody paying for them, they’d be terrible. Only people who do lousy work do it for free.
I have a lot to say in response to this, but mainly just
I’m not even going to address some of the things that are wrong with the patents and intellectual-property rights systems as they are, or even mention that many popular works were not actually based on original ideas at all (Sherlock Holmes adaptions, for one thing. Oh, and all of Shakespeare’s plays).
But let’s discuss “Only people who do lousy work do it for free.”
The writer of this article obviously has never read fanfic, seen fanart, heard fan music (or Vocaloid songs for that matter), or really had much contact with fan (or internet) culture at all.
I’ve read fanfics that were superior to the work that they were based on. I’ve heard downright spectacular fan music that far surpasses the paid-for soundtrack.
Because there is one thing more motivating than money, and that is a genuine love for something. Fans will spend their own time and use their own skill to produce something that’s (often, though admittedly not always) amazing.