You pay for copyright all the time

Sheila Chandra - Monday, April 10, 2017


I’m going to address a controversial subject – with some of the public anyway…. copyright. More specifically, paying extra for the copyright element of a product. Or in many cases, paying for it at all…


The public thinks artistic endeavour should be free

Now I understand why this is. Creativity is typically portrayed as something creative people ‘can’t help’ doing. So why, this section of the public thinks, should I be paying for something those people would do anyway? Let me try not paying for it, and see if I still get the benefits.


Creativity isn’t like that

It isn’t something we can’t help doing. It isn’t something we can always afford to do anyway, if we also have to do something else to earn enough to live. It isn’t something that abundantly spills out of us. It’s work. Hard work. You get up in the morning – sometimes excited, sometimes dreading it. And you begin. Whether you want to or not.

You sit there with a blank page. Or with a project idea that you know you have to do, but which will be controversial and you’ll get criticised for. You hit blocks. You’re unhappy with the quality of work that day. You have to get it finished to a deadline. Doesn’t that sound like work – and pretty scary work – to you?


Creativity isn’t easier for good artists

Sometimes it can be. For others, it’s increasing pressure to be good. Eric Morecambe probably died early due to the pressure of writing good material for the legendary Morecambe and Wise Christmas specials. Spike Milligan credited his terrible depressions and breakdowns as being precipitated by the pressure of writing. And although I’ve been praised for the innovative quality of my musical work – much of which was down to the ground-breaking material I wrote for myself − I can tell you I absolutely hated every damned minute of writing it. I’m not a natural songwriter. And the ‘coal face’ of creativity isn’t an easy place to be.


People think they should get artistic product for free

There’s a peculiar inconsistency about demanding that in the age of the internet, creative product should be free. We don’t demand other online goods for free. Not physical products. Not books. But music and in some cases, images ‘should’ be apparently. And why? Because so much of it has been pirated that it can be. In other words the logic seems to be, ‘If I can steal it easily, it should have been free in the first place….’ This is so obviously a post-fact justification for theft.


“But I really believe that ‘stuff for free’ is the future!”

There are those who say that they’re stealing artist’s work (or letting their stealing and consequent devaluing of music affect the market so much that even legitimate outlets only charge a pittance for it) because the future is a world where everything is free. Now I’m with you on this one. I’d love this to be true. We’re the only animal that actually pays to live on a planet which is our birthright. But…. food, energy, shelter etc. aren’t free. Not yet anyway. So why are you singling out creators? Because those of you who choose to, physically can without prosecution. That’s the real answer.


You already pay for copyright on other things without begrudging it

Oh yes you do, you little rascal! You pay for branded drugs that cost drug companies R&D to create which are copyrighted (or the NHS does, and you pay them back via your taxes). You do it every time you buy ‘Nurofen’ instead of a generic ibuprofen capsule. Where apps are free, you’re paying the developer from the ‘upselling’ that the app encourages you to do.

That lovely ‘Apple’ device in your pocket or on your desk? You’ve paid a premium for copyright on that because it took a lot of R&D to develop it and now Apple has to get it back. Those Heinz beans? You’re paying copyright on their secret recipe. And you’re happy to pay the premium price to get what you want. Why? Because if you want it, you don’t have a choice.

So why aren’t you happy to pay a decent price for creative product, again?

By now it should be obvious that begrudging musicians and in some cases, photographers, alone a decent price on their work and respect for their copyright, is a double standard. If you really think all copyrighted items ‘should be free’ on principle, then you should be stealing branded beans and demanding that Apple give you ipads for free – or at big discounts. That isn’t going to work anytime soon.

And before you protest that those items are ‘different’ because they exist in the physical world, remember so does an MP3 or Jpeg file. And those files take at least as much time, energy and money to create as a branded can of beans. So before we arrive at an ‘everything is free’ nirvana, please understand that creative people have to live, pay bills etc. and support the idea of paying them properly so that they can afford to keep creating.It’s simply the only way to treat everyone, from Apple to your local band, equally.



Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


card slow and steady under-confidence tidy desk imagination well organized artistic chaos stardust buy fewer clothes compulsion home life slim-line wardrobe hobbies clutter artists confident in clothes clearing as you go the void getting ready for work networking myth copyright writing funding campaigns artist mentors creative ambitions living mess free great artists subconscious mind business-speak creative career living clutter free clearing clutter working class artists morning routines how to work efficiently buying hope domestic life low maintenance strategies friendships networking effectively artist materials brilliant creator lazy home organising hotel room nascent artists how to save time loss creativity vocation creative magic artist much better friend magic crowdfunding clean desk streamlining routines work priorities cleaning staying in control artist workspaces temperament vulnerability just in case organise creativity diary long-term artistic development cupboard of shame clutter addict mornings clear desk double standard concentrated creative time peer-to-peer networks sheila chandra coaching creative spark stay tidy automatically branding good friend absences collections good art work control loving your audience focus saving time creative wellbeing business emotional resilience childhood good creative habits fine art tidiness in living spaces buying wealth creative commissions celebrity endorsed products tidy career strategy tortoise and hare hijacking creativity artist mentoring organisation self promotion missed opportunities low maintenance making decisions exhaustion cleaning your desk professional creative career nipping things in the bud professional mentors creative confidence organizing for creative people critical acclaim wind down pop music anxiety tidy people commitment being organized guilty purchases clearing in short bursts sacrifice diagnosis business interface to creative businesses hostile clutter cry mature artists effortlessly tidy proposal writing well curated closet home care proposals artistic conviction jealousy stop cluttering network work efficiently hoarding efficient work patterns VIPs email precious memories visualising letting go feel like creatiing stop hoarding stuff inspiration work trips friends artistry to do list inconvenience warm down business-like emotionally secure artist professional encouragement great art introverts motivation wardrobe brands resentment nurture creativity social media ‘stories’ about your possessions work life tips for clearing culture productivity creative culture smart artists display items 2018 goals bulk buy arrogance diary : clothes peacefulness tension too many commitments storage email bankruptcy too busy platform goals working class culture email overload parent car creative organising mess dynamic spaces boredom emotional support housework much quicker clear outs criteria for letting go of stuff nurturing creative work tidier options elevator pitch green room appointments buying youth ‘creativity’ popular culture touring why organise chaotic buying stardust lifetimes multiple lifetimes creative career coaching feeling creative buying happiness new year quality being tripped up stay on top of email normality social media networking grief funding procrastination emotional balance overwork partners how to be naturally tidy trope disorganization clarity of thought theft work/home life balance fall of innocence clearing creative people pop culture spree static spaces creative person innocence symptoms of creativity binge Sheila Chandra author artist goals workspaces minimalists creative identity time clutter successful artist