If you’ve been paying much attention to any of the tech news lately, you’re aware of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that’s currently being debated at the Federal level. You’re probably also aware of the fact that many sites, including Wikipedia, Google, Scribd and others are protesting the legislation – some going as far as to black out their entire sites today to bring attention to the issue.
I’ve read SOPA, and agree that there are some areas where it definitely needs work (in particular the forced removal or addition of words and links from privately owned web sites), but it is also my firm belief that there is a need for improved methods of piracy enforcement on the web.
Above all, however, I believe that the work of creators has value, and is their own property to do with as they wish. Illegal downloading of pirated material, as well as the sale of counterfeit goods, is harmful not only to our economy – but to the future of high-quality creative works.
So, today, I’m setting the price of my 2010 book, Starving the Artist: How the Internet Culture of “Free” Threatens to Exterminate the Creative Class and What Can Be Done to Save It to FREE for the PDF over at Lulu.com.
It’s a fairly quick read (less than 100 pages), and it will give you something to do while Wikipedia’s down.
Here’s the quick synopsis:
For a lot of people, creation is their livelihood. For others, it’s where their livelihood ought to be. As Richard Florida wrote in his 2004 book, The Rise of the Creative Class, “Stimulating and glamorous as it may sometimes be, creativity is in fact work…The creative ethos is built on discipline and focus, sweat and blood.” All music, art, movies, writings and games were brought into being by their creators – and for these creators to have created them, there was some underlying motivation to do so. Without their creators and their motivations, creative works simply would not be. Why then, in today’s Internet culture, is all creative work expected to be free? Why is it that some individuals feel it is their right to take things that do not belong to them, without receiving any permission to do so? Why, in the Internet culture of “free,” are those creations we enjoy and value most the ones that we are most likely to simply take?