How to Replace Copyright

How can artists earn a living when people can copy their work for free?

That's the basic question everyone's asking.  Here's the answer.   You make a website with a forum structure.  In this structure, you have producers of content putting up their work and you have consumers of this content donating to the producers.   "Ah..." you say, "this has been done and it doesn't work very well."  Right you are.  To make this system work, you need to organize the consumers by rank, those contributing more getting a higher rank, and you need to privilege the higher ranks.  Why will this work where other donation-based systems have failed?  It's simply a quirk of human nature.

The quirk in question is that humans value status, a lot.  Humans will go to great lengths to acquire and maintain status.  A great deal of human activity can be defined as a quest for status.  However, something so sought after must be difficult to achieve, and thus we have all manner of social constructs that limit our ability to buy status.  You can't go to a party with your bank account balance pinned to your shirt.  That is simply far too crass.  You can, instead, drive up in an expensive car, wearing an expensive suit, checking to see how fashionably late you are on your expensive watch, etc..  While you cannot simply announce your net worth, you can indicate it by displaying things that only someone of your net worth can afford.  We are awash in luxury goods for this very reason.  "But," you say, "the car is amazing to drive and worth every penny, the suit is oh so comfortable, and the watch is simply gorgeous."  Yes, items of status must be at least mildly justifiable, or they simply become the pinned bank account balance.  But, that's not the real reason people buy them.

If you were to create a forum-based website where people were allowed to contribute money, and then ranked those people based on their contributions, no one would be stupid enough to join.  It would be too crass.  The highest ranking person there, assuming there was anyone, would simply be "King shit of Turd Hill."  It wouldn't work.  But, if you instead have producers of content on the site then everything changes.  The status achieved by contributing to those producers would be incidental.  "I didn't want to be the top-ranked person on this forum, it's just that John's music is so good and I want him to release more."  This is, of course, just another way of saying "I don't drive an expensive car to show off how much money I have, I drive it because it handles so well."  It's a quirk of human nature.  It's how the world works.

I have designed such a system but have not built it.  I did try, a few times, but it appears I'm not the entrepreneurial type.  I came up with this idea quite a few years ago and the original idea has been refined significantly since then.  My design has an immediate cash-flow for the person that builds it.  It has detailed mechanisms that allow the forums to be completely self-moderating.  It has a solid mechanism to deal with illegal content, as sites like this will certainly be plagued with.  You, of course, don't need my design.  The above concept is all that you need to build a site.  You could refine it over time, dealing with the problems that come up.  Or, you could hire me as a consultant and jump a few years ahead of the competition.  It's your choice.  Someone is going to build a site like this; the world is waiting.

Over the next while, I'll be moving older posts over from my Keliso blog to here, consolidating everything.  I'll be posting more and more detail until someone actually takes notice and builds the system.  Once built, I'll probably register myself and start putting up content... maybe then I'll earn a little money for my ideas, rather than giving them away for free.

Stay tuned.

What is Keliso?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a small think. ;-) But such a great idea