Excellent piece here explaining exactly why the “free culture” nonsense needs to die in a fire.
Actually had someone the other day tell me she believes in the “death of the author.” Presumably, she believes that all art is somehow floating around out there in the ether, free for the taking; that no-one can claim ownership of art because it exists in the common consciousness.
Interestingly enough, I’ve seen this attitude fairly commonly among amateur artists. People who’ve done a little music, a little writing, a little acting, think it’s easy enough for any slob to do, and therefore don’t have any respect for someone who does it professionally. Some, in fact, seem to resent artists who get paid for their work, seeming to ask why some people make money from doing something they can do, too.
Granted that there is a certain amount of nepotism and luck involved in getting professional distribution deals for one’s art, and there’s also no accounting for the taste of a public that supports the careers of hacks. However, there IS a considerable amount of effort that goes into creating quality, original works. Doing so is, in fact, a full-time job, and unless we’re making a point of paying people to do that job, the only works we’re going to see are dreck created by people who don’t care about what they’re making.
The real world, in other words, is not Burning Man, where we can all get baked and share whatever nonsense we’ve come up with during that time. We still have to eat and pay the rent and the electricity bill. Artists need that money just as much as the person working in a toilet paper factory. Depriving them of that money because you think art should be free is theft, no matter how much you try to dress it up in philosophy.