Jeff Jarvis: Copyright or creators’ rights?


Jeff Jarvis says: “Creators don’t need protection from copying. That’s futile. Copying can’t be stopped. Thus copying is no longer a way to exploit the value of creation.” (Full story here: Copyright or creators’ rights?).

Jarvis’ argument makes a lot of sense: with the ubiquity of the web and digital media, you can’t stop people from copying your work. In fact, authors want to be quoted and their work spread, so that all you can ask for is recognition in the form of attribution and links pointing to the site or blog where the work was originally posted. The author doesn’t get paid directly for the work, but can hope to make money through speaking fees, as he gains fame thanks to the spreading of his work. Instead of copyright, Jarvis speaks of “creditright”.

Large amounts of high quality material is made available every day on the web, authors compete for attention and recognition. Sources range from the individual blogger talking about his/her hobbies, to large press organizations – and they all vie for readers, likes and linkbacks.

My concern is: how can a professional writer make a living from writing, if he gives his work away, free for all to copy and use, as long as he gets the credit? I haven’t seen a convincing proposal yet.

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