What if Money Was Removed from the Equation?

So let’s say we live in a perfect and beautiful world where money isn’t really all that important (or existent or what have you). Let’s just imagine that copyright, somehow, didn’t cost us any money. Just remove money from the picture altogether. Completely. Does this change our view of copyright?

I’ve been ranting talking about how copyright is just a way to control us and our money by the large and scary industries. So what if copyright didn’t exist for money? What if companies couldn’t make us pay them for breaking copyright laws; what if copyrighting something meant that you couldn’t make money off of it?

On the one hand, this would theoretically mean that everything that fell under copyright and intellectual property laws would be created simply for the benefit of society. If you invent something, the first thing you generally want to do is patent that sucker so no one can steal it. But if there was no money to be made, would you bother? Probably, since we’re still obsessed with getting the credit for it. Perhaps, in the case of inventions and patents, things wouldn’t really change–the battles over patents might be somewhat less intense, though, if it was just battling over bragging rights. But say, when an artist recorded something, and you downloaded it “illegally”, what if the music industry couldn’t sue the pants off of you for money? Would they stop, and leave us alone? Would we be able to get music and movies for free without being beaten to death by lawsuits and settlements?

On the other hand, if there is no money for an incentive to create things, would our culture stop completely? Sure, copyright as it is today is basically killing everything we love in our culture, but if people could access your content for free without penalty, then they would clearly do it, and you wouldn’t be making any money, so why bother?

The point of this confusing post is that, in a way, copyright lawsuits forcing us to pay people for their content might actually be necessary. Kind of a Devil’s Advocate kind of thing, but if there were no consequences to downloading or taking content, then no one would want to invest their time into creating content. The penalties for this shouldn’t necessarily be making you pay 50,000 dollars butttttt that’s another story.

But wait! I hear you cry. What about people on Youtube and the internet in general, who make music and videos and write stories just for the heck of it, without making any money off of it? Doesn’t this mean that money isn’t the only/most important incentive?

Well, random citizen, I see your point. However, we can argue that, of all the amateur content on the internet, not all of it is very good. In fact, only a small portion of this is really any kind of decent, and in order to create good quality content, you need to put time and effort into it. Even the popular Ray William Johnson started out in a shitty apartment making stupid videos with a terrible camera, and only made it something big and fancy after he made it his job. Though quite a lot of the “professionally made” culture, like movies and music, are also pretty terrible, without the incentive of money, our culture would grind to a halt. We would still have that amateur content, but really, is that all we want to be left with at the end of the day?


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