We hear a lot about intellectual property, these days; who owns it, how to protect it and so on, but it always seems like society and its laws are fighting a losing battle in the attempt to keep up with a rapidly developing and ever-more networked internet. Perhaps it is time to admit defeat and declare victory to the internet. This is a shocking statement I know, but perhaps all property really is theft, even intellectual property. OK, I am a writer, a poet, a songwriter and an artist and I am writing on a blog set up for writers to promote and share their talents, so I can already feel your hackles rising! Of course I would love to make a living from my arts and creativity, we all would, but perhaps WordPress and other blogging sites just demonstrate to us that everyone is an artist, and perhaps we should not really soil our creativity by dirtying it with the nasty business of trying to profit from it at all. In the end, although many of those that do profit from the arts are very talented, many have also been fortunate enough to benefit from making the right contacts, or by having great skills of promotion and marketing themselves. In fact, like in all areas of capitalism, success in the arts means success in business and marketing. Yes, we have the ideas and create the products, but if we cannot market them ourselves then perhaps it is fair enough that the managers, the agents, the publishers, promoters and the like should profit from them. Of course if this does happen, we would all want to take our share, and usually these days, artists do get a reasonable share, but perhaps the whole business is finished, now that everything can and will be instantly shared on the internet. The big record companies, for example, having been masters of marketing, have had it far too good for far too long, and they are the ones most upset by free sharing on the internet. They are the ones fighting against the inevitable in the courts, and I do not feel much sympathy for them if they are losing out on a few million pounds profit here and there! They are businessmen and women and if they cannot find ways of holding on to their profits, they will have to find other ways.
I am an artist, not a businessman. In fact, I am fundamentally opposed to rampant materialism, profiteering, greed and out of control capitalism. It is important to me to share my creations, and if any of them are good enough for people to want to share them, I would like to be credited. This is my ego talking and wanting to protect ‘my’ creations. However, one of the beauties of WordPress is the way writers bounce off each other and creations on occasion blur into each other with the inspiration of collaboration, like a perfectly tuned-in improvising jazz band. It becomes impossible to say who started a particular theme or motif. Ultimately all art is inspired by all other art and nothing really arises out of a void.
Is it right for a piece of art to be worth millions of pounds, while equally impressive art sits in the bedrooms and studios of great, unknown artists all over the world? Is it right to live our lives waiting and hoping to one day be discovered, and then to fight against the natural tendency of humans to share, by claiming our right to ownership and therefore profit? I think we should concentrate instead on other ways of financing our creativity; ways which will undoubtedly spark off further creativity, rather than stifling it by diverting energy into marketing; ways such as teaching to enable others to enjoy the beauty of creating and expressing their entire being, or working therapeutically with the excluded, or oppressed; people who for whatever reason have not been able to discover their inner artist; let us make connections, collaborate, change the world. I for one do not want to relegate the arts to the level of the merely ‘intellectual’ and denigrate them by calling them ‘property’. The arts encompass all levels of humanity, physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, individual, universal. In the arts, imagination reigns supreme, and lifts them way above the level of property. The arts demand the right to shared ownership by the whole of humanity!
Share at will………….