Monday, July 09, 2007

What is the incentive to create without Intellectual Copyright?

I the comments on my previous post someone brought up the perennial question noted in the title here. And it is a decent question. What is the incentive to create without the possibility of monetary gain?

I should note first that I have only once "made money" off of my intellectual property. I put made money in quotes because I didn't really make money, but I charged. Also because I didn't really charge for the intellectual property. A few years ago some friends and I put out a zine that was all haiku. We all sold them, but would also email the full contents to pretty much anyone who wanted them, with the condition that they wrote us a haiku that we could include in a future issue. Needless to say, we didn't actually make any money, we lost some, but we got some great haiku.

Back to the point. What is the incentive?

Well, the interesting thing about this question is that it ignores the vast expanse of human history during which there was no IP law. That's right, Mozart had no control over his work. And yet people still made art, still invented. What's more, it skips over the more important question: What is the goal of creating art or inventions. Under capitalism and with IP law, there is no incentive to help people without money, so if I had the potential to create a device that would help only people who couldn't buy it, then the profit motive would encourage me to simply not create it.

But we all know that isn't how reality works. Artist create art, whether they get paid or not, and often they don't, often they lose money. I would go so far as to say that the majority of people who create works under copyright don't make money on them, or even "make money." They do it because the have a need to. They do it because the act of creation is an integral part of the human experience, whether it be the creation of a painting or the coding of a program or the invention of something simply because you know it will help people.

People created before there was capitalism. People created before there was money. People probably created before there was language.

Whatever happens, people will create. It's what we do.


P.S.This wasn't aimed at you T-Ray, you just sparked a rant that had been a long time in the making.

1 comment:

T-Ray said...

Point well shown. Now if only there were an easy way to go about making major changes in modern day governments such as the current U.S. government.

Sadly I think the abolishment of IP in the U.S. is just as likely to occur as the revival of the hemp industry. Corruption wins again?