The Age Of Enlightenment and Opportunity
Ars Technica published an article called “Bugging out: How rampant online piracy squashed one insect photographer“. The following is my response.
Cry me a river.
Yes, copyright doesn’t work in the digital age*.
Yes, there is a solution as old as the history of art, which also, thanks to the digital age, makes the entire human race available for financial support: Sponsorship/Subscriptions/Commissioning (e.g., Patreon) and Crowdfunding (e.g., Kickstarter).
A work of art should be something that artists want to share with the whole world. Artists also have the right to be paid for their work, just like builders, architects, cooks, chefs, teachers and whatever profession you want to name. Artists don’t have the right (though some have the privilege) to work for one day and then vacation for the rest of their life because they produced a single work.
Seriously, if you love your work, find people who will sponsor or commission it – they are out there and the Internet will hook you up. We live in the Golden Age for commissioning art. Never have artists had it better.
*Anything that can be digitized can be copied infinitely for near zero cost, and distributed globally at the speed of light. Any hopes of chaining that beast is futile. You may plug some holes, but new, bigger ones will simply and always open. The whole question/issue of copyright for digital content is beyond idealistic and it is unnecessary and undesirable.
As little as three years ago, even after Kickstarter but before Patreon, I would have been as clueless and useless as the author and the photographer of and in that article. Not any more. There are no excuses. Take a look at the ship people are getting paid monthly to do.