There’s a neat debate going on at Huffington Post following and article by Bevin Carnes on the real cost of Free Culture. The article itself is short and doesn’t offer anything in terms of real solutions to a real problem but the comment chain that follows is an interesting read for anyone looking for a primer on the Free Culture debate.
Bevin opens with this, “So the new craze is free culture The new utopian theory is about how the world would be a better place if we just invented new business models that make money from giving away all works of art and intellect on the Internet.”
In my opinion Free Culture isn’t a new craze per say. One, it’s a movement about access to culture. Two, it’s a movement about the role of copyright in a society that creates culture. And three its about striking the right balance between regulation and easy access to that culture that is being created. Free Culture facilitates access to, the creation of and the trade in cultural products.
It is also about new business models for the creative industries but without the appropriate regulatory and copyright infrastructure in place its hard to develop innovative business models for this growing part of the population that wants to participate in the creation and exchange of culture.
The two most innovative ideas I’ve spotted on this issue are the Creative Commons initiative of Lawrence Lessig and the idea of different licenses for different distribution methods from the Manager of U2, Paul McGuiness. He sees a future where “every piece of music will be licensed to be available at any time on any device. ”
I understand there is a huge contingent that equates regulation with backwards forms of capitalism but in all of the debate and comments on the Huffinton Post article no one brings up the role of government and policy in promoting the creative industries. To me, having a debate on culture without mentioning the role of government is truly a utopian debate. The link to the article is below.