Comments: IP on IP

I'm not sure that such an approach will find widespread traction. One of the problems is that most artists generally have no a priori idea which if any of their works will be successful (financially or otherwise). Some artists will produce no works of any substance. Others will produce only one or two good or great works and those may be their earlier ones. A good example, Anthony Burgess, one of whose first books, "A Clockwork Orange", proved to be his masterpiece. Burgess sold rights to the book for about $600 and was never very successful afterward.

I examined some copyright alternatives in my article, "Copyleft: Rethinking Intellectual Property in the Digital Age," I recommended that copyrights be treated similar to trademarks. The failure to keep a work available from original sources (such as the artist or publisher) would, after a brief time, cause the works to become public domain. My thinking was that if a work was in enough demand it would remain published. If not, then it should be public property.

Posted by Steve Schear at September 6, 2005 12:05 PM

Curiously, that document didn't list the Auction idea - is that something that is recorded elsewhere? And, given the apparent abandonment of that URL, isn't it time to find a better home before its own rules come ironically into play?

Having no value previously ascribed to art is something that all artists face, sure. But the same goes for software, and it is arguably even worse as the capital costs of large software projects are normally not recovered; at least with art, it can be stored and released later on, and nobody thinks of paying nothing for art.

The only way to avoid this problem is to reward the producer on future popularity. This is what royalties do ... but it is also the system that is so under threat. So either we figure out a way to re-engineer royalties under the new economics or figure out a way to predict the future!

Posted by Iang at September 6, 2005 02:26 PM

> ransomware, a concept where a piece of art or other IP is freed into
> the public domain once a certain sum is reached.

Arguably this accurately describes the business models of many scientific journals, whereby articles become free after a 6 months to a year, when the novelty value of the material has faded and its revenue-generating potential is largely over.

Posted by O.L. at September 7, 2005 07:41 AM
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