Many of the old ways to make money from artistic work will continue to work just as they have done so far. People will pay to go to concerts, rent movies, go to the cinema, buy merchandise, etc. All in all, the Internet will offer a more direct connection between creators and consumers of culture, but we need new ways to finance artistic work, without attacking consumer rights.
Collect fees for royalties to artists
Fees, in the form of advertising tax on TV, radio, billboards, cinema and printed media, could be used to finance cultural work. Advertisement is a form of mental pollution, stealing time and attention from our mind, pushing us to consume ever more. Corporations should pay for pollution, whether it’s mental or environmental. There are already fees for songs played on radio, web sites, restaurants, etc, being distributed to artists. Such a system could be set up to support moviemakers as well.
Reform the royalty distribution system
The royalties distributed through organizations such as CISAC, GESAC, BIEM and STIM are doing a great deal to support artists financially. The main problem is that it’s linear – meaning that international superstars get paid as much as a small artist each time their music is played. This system should instead be regressive; so that artists get paid less the zillionth time their song is played than the first time. Frequently played artists will still make more money, but no longer out of proportion. Today, a small amount of artists get a major part of the royalties.
Strengthen the rights of creators
Even though the interest of creators has been the main argument for the new copyright laws, the main focus has been strengthening the rights of the industry. Those two are not synonymous. In fact, while people are paying more for culture today than 30 years ago, most of that money is going to the industry, not the creators. New artists are forced into contracts where they transfer much of their creative rights to the record companies. Many artists do not make serious money until they are free from their initial contracts. By strengthening the rights of artists, instead of the industry, we could avoid these kinds of “slave contracts”.
In the end, it’s very possible that the media industry will have to change some of its behavior. Maybe in the future, expensive special effects and massive advertisement won’t be the main selling arguments for a movie. New technology sometimes brings about big change. Today, consumers have the tools to control their own cultural experience. Is that really such a bad thing for artists?
The Greens | European Free Alliance
in the European Parliament