On Saturday April 12 Jamie King was in Amsterdam, Netherlands at Economies of the Commons, presenting some of the ideas behind and experience of STEAL THIS FILM along with Ton Rosendaal from Blender Foundation. Jamie concluded by explaining the VODO project. Commenting on the presentations were Jon Phillips of Creative Commons and Felix Stalder of Nettime. There’s a few blog posts out there on the panel including this one from Images for the Future.
I was approached by quite a few people after with questions and offers of support. A couple of nights later, I got to discuss VODO (amongst other things) with a few people including Eddan Katz of EFF and Henrik Moltke of Good Copy Bad Copy. Henryk’s view was that the danger of the STEAL THIS FILM ‘model’ is that people might think that they can ‘give up the day job’ and start giving creative stuff away for free online in expectation of a decent wage, when in actual fact, they can’t. I disagreed, saying that while it would definitely be a great thing if creators could earn a living wage through sharing their works, we also have to take into account that commons-based production and distribution is opening unprecedented possibilities to create, distribute and be heard — and in some cases, to earn some money doing so. It’s possible that providing that ‘little slice’ of the pie to many more new creators (see, ‘amateurs’ or ‘users’) is as or more important than providing ‘big slices’ to those who style themselves as ‘pro’ creators.
What constitutes ‘reality’ when thinking about how people survive, live and thrive in this world, whether from their creative works or otherwise? Is it a requirement that we should be able to provide as many people as possible with a ‘living wage’ or will it be sufficient to bring smaller amounts to more people?