Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Artists, It's Time to Choose a Side

By Jel in Op-Ed
Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:37:16 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

It's common to argue about the legalities of digital copying and distribution, and to disagree on its virtues in the area of published artwork.  However, I suspect that most of the argument comes from a misunderstanding of the goals of art publication, and I'd like to take a moment to illustrate this.


Making paper for joy and profit

What is a sale composed of, beyond the product and its monetary value? Well, let's take an example. What if you were selling a stack of paper for $4? I might offer you $2 for that stack of paper, and you might refuse. If I begged you, you might still refuse. But what if I were to say that I needed the paper to distribute important lessons to underprivileged schoolchildren? Then, you might agree, and perhaps be extra generous, giving me the paper for $1. I know that I, personally, would do it under such circumstances, because it is socially beneficial -- I would not be gaining more cash, but I would gain a strong motivation - the knowledge that my work has benefited my society, that I've made a social contribution. And, as many of us know... the best job is one that you enjoy doing, not necessarily the best paid.

Now, what happens if I take a book, made from your paper, and throw it in the bin? I've taken your contribution to society, and tossed it aside. Now, all that you've done is make $1, waste energy, and waste trees. One might certainly consider that a form of theft -- a "social theft", if you will, since not only have I stolen from you, the producer, I've also stolen your social contribution from those it would benefit. After all, you didn't expect that his paper would only get to its intended audience if they happened to meet a retailer's strangely flexible idea of a good customer. No -- you expected that supply and demand would work in society's favour, to distribute said paper as widely and as efficiently as possible. You expected your contribution to reach its audience as best it could, regardless of economic conditions.

Writing books... for art's sake?

OK, lets move up the production chain a little. Think about writers for a moment. Whether they create romance, science fiction, or poetry, most have a message to get across to readers -- perhaps an emotional impact, rather than an intellectual message, but it's a message, nonetheless. Many would say that no one would be a writer for the money. This, then, is a social contribution which we want our work to make. What if the book's publisher did not distribute every possible copy, simply to falsely inflate prices? Well, then, this publisher would not be fulfilling that implicit contract. We have found our "social thief", willing thief or not, in this particular example, and it is the publisher.

This lack of fulfillment for implicit social goals applies not only to writers, of course, but to any artist. Any artist, that is, who creates with a social goal in mind. A prime example, at the moment, is found in the music industry.

It is, of course, possible to distribute music digitally, with very high fidelity, to everyone who is uses the Internet -- an incredible and rapidly growing number of people. Further, it is possible to distribute this music quickly, and at very low costs. Further still, this distribution method not only spreads music well, but has closely associated forums in which to discuss such "messages" as an artist's music might contain, and allow the ideas at the heart of them to grow and truly begin to contribute to society in remarkable ways.

But how does this concept of social contribution alter the status quo? Well, it alters things in one very simple, but important way -- artists need to choose a side. The question for producers of art is this: do you really make art, which has a message -- a social contribution -- to spread, or do you simply have a product, which should be spread in a limited fashion, if that is what's required to ramp up demand, and generate more cash?

It is by no means proven that digital distribution would lower profits. With cheaper online prices and easier access, uptake would likely be much greater, which may well compensate for reduced price. Even today, when most digital music spreads freely, without cost, music industry sales have not been proven to be affected. But let's say, in a worst case scenario, that artists would lose money by distributing their work digitally. If it this music is really art, a form of social contribution, then why insist on $2? Why not allow vast numbers of people across the world to gain benefit from the message of your art very quickly, and accept $1 instead of $2? Wouldn't that spread your message much quicker, yet still provide you with ample compensation for your work?

Conclusion

I feel that it is time for those would would claim social motives to choose a side. The days of huge corporations which do nothing but publish and distribute information in tediously slow and awkward ways are rapidly disappearing. No longer is it possible to claim that art and other forms of information have to cost a lot simply because of production and distribution economics. If middlemen still claim so, then they should be declared redundant "social thieves", and swept aside.

It is now trivial to distribute information en masse, and at high speed. All who claim that their work is primarily for social benefit need to stop and think at this juncture. Those who create computer software have been aware of such issues for some time, and many have chosen to release programs very cheaply or freely for precisely this reason.

Similarly, if, for example, you happened to be a publisher of low-cost informational books to aid disadvantaged groups, then it is now time to put that book online, and make it much cheaper, in accordance with your lower online publishing costs. Musicians, singers, and songwriters, who claim that they are truly artists working for social benefit need to do the same. It is simply not possible to claim that your primary goal is to spread social benefit, be it a simple information, helpful tools, or an artistic "message", when you refuse to provide that information in the most accessible way. It really is time to choose a side, and with a little thought, it's easy to figure out which what your social contribution is, and, in turn, where the social thieves are.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Also by Jel


Display: Sort:
Artists, It's Time to Choose a Side | 91 comments (69 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
A quote seems apropos .... (4.00 / 6) (#3)
by streetlawyer on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:39:30 PM EST

Many would say that no one would be a writer for the money

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money" -- Dr Johnson.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Well, that's probably a valid opinion, too (none / 0) (#6)
by Jel on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 01:52:09 PM EST

... but I've often read comments very similar to the  following, which is from a section on becoming a writer, here

One question you should ask yourself is why you want to be a writer. If the answer is for fame and fortune, popularity, millions of adoring fans or money, you should think about a different career. Writing is lonely, time consuming and usually not very profitable unless you are that one in a million writer that manages to make it big.



[ Parent ]
that comment is wrong (none / 0) (#43)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:55:21 AM EST

It's simply a lie, unless you insert the words "of novels" after "writer". There are hundreds of thousands of people who support a decent middle-class lifestyle by freelance writing, even if you discount all those staff journalists out there. I've earned my living by writing in the past and may do again.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Hmmm... OK, well... (none / 0) (#44)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:48:59 AM EST

I'm not a writer, so I'll you the folks who are argue this one among themselves.  For now, I've heard the perspective I used more often than your perspective, so I'll go with that.

[ Parent ]
Oh shit! (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by ucblockhead on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 02:28:08 PM EST

That's my problem!
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John... (none / 0) (#27)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 07:22:12 PM EST

any fansite, your post, penpals, etc.. The list is endless.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Social theft (3.60 / 5) (#10)
by Torgos Pizza on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 02:58:01 PM EST

I'm just not getting how throwing away something I purchased is considered "social theft". How can it be theft when it did not belong to anyone else to begin with?

In your example in the first paragraph of the body, I buy a book from an artist/author for a $1. Author makes money, I read book. If I throw away that book, how am I stealing? There is no obligation on my part to evangalize the author's point. Nor is it my responsibility to even keep the book. I have purchased a product and it's mine to do with as I please.

If the artist or author is hellbent on spreading his ideas to the world, then he needs to choose more than one distribution method. The flaw in your argument is that your artist is aligning himself with an entity that is solely out to make money. Why not choose a non-profit publisher? Or even self-publish? The way you write the article, you make it that it seems that artists and authors are forced into these situations without alternatives.

This simply isn't the case. There are plenty of other methods to get your message across to others. One example is to publish your work on the web. You can purchase a website for $6.00 a month and have a 10 gig transfer limit. That's an awful lot of text being served to a large audience.

Publishers are no more thieves than yourself. If you choose to work within the traditional for-profit publishing system, you have to expect the publisher to try and make as much money as possible. A better article could have been written in one sentence: "Get the most for your money."

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

It's in the title (none / 0) (#13)
by Jel on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 03:30:26 PM EST

The flaw in your argument is that your artist is aligning himself with an entity that is solely out to make money. Why not choose a non-profit publisher? Or even self-publish? The way you write the article, you make it that it seems that artists and authors are forced into these situations without alternatives.

This is exactly my point.  They do have a choice.  That's why it's in the title ;)

[ Parent ]

Social theft (none / 0) (#89)
by phliar on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:21:26 PM EST

I'm just not getting how throwing away something I purchased is considered "social theft". How can it be theft when it did not belong to anyone else to begin with?
If I may speak for the writer -- it is the fact that the seller sold it to you for less than its market value because s/he felt it was going to be used for the good of society. If you then throw it away, you have deprived society of the good that the seller intended.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Rimtrik has chosen a side (5.00 / 3) (#11)
by shellreef on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 03:08:16 PM EST

The punk rock scene cares particularly about spreading their message and shunning sellouts without a message. At least one band, Rimtrik, activately encourages sharing of their music online:
Download our songs & share them in your favorite 'Napster-like' program (ex. Morpheus, WinMX, Audiogalaxy, or any other media sharing program)

If you really know what you're doing, upload them to any FTP you can!

Rimtrik gets it. They are aware of the existence of the MP3 scene, and understand it enough to know about FTPs. Rimtrik is using it to their advantage.

And if that's not enough, Rimtrik requested their CD to be ripped and distributed via IRC on my favorite channel. Did I mention their actual CD is available for free plus s&h?

It's almost too good to be true, but hopefully this kind of promotion via the MP3 scene will continue to be used to the artist's advantage.

Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Rimtrik, just a satisified fan.



Social theft (5.00 / 3) (#16)
by William Rees on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 04:59:23 PM EST

Now, what happens if I take a book, made from your paper, and throw it in the bin? I've taken your contribution to society, and tossed it aside. Now, all that you've done is make $1, waste energy, and waste trees. One might certainly consider that a form of theft -- a "social theft", if you will, since not only have I stolen from you, the producer, I've also stolen your social contribution from those it would benefit.
You have not stolen anything. You paid me for the paper. You lied when you said that you were going to use it for underprivilaged children, but you made that lie to me alone. The only person who could be potentially hurt is myself. Although I was compensated for my paper, I was deceived. It could even be seen as a breach of oral contract, although that is unlikely.

Most importantly, I alone was decieved. If you had made an announcement to many people that you intended to give the books to needy children and then they had based actions on that promise, then you could be seen as "stealing" from them (although it is not theft in the legal sense).

People cannot be held accountable for all of the roads they have not taken. If I cut down a tree have I stolen from the neighborhood children that may have otherwise played in its branches? Have I stolen from the next person who may own my house? Clearly, no.

Different words (none / 0) (#18)
by Jel on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 05:22:38 PM EST

Theft and deception are not the same words.  You don't have to deceive a community in order to steal from them.  To deprive them of what is rightfully theirs, simply, is stealing.

[ Parent ]
well (none / 0) (#26)
by speek on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 07:14:17 PM EST

If people can describe sharing as theft, then Jel can describe lying as theft. I find it less wrong to make Jel's jump than the other way.

In any case, his point still stands - sometimes the creator of a work continues to care what the work is used for, and if you violate that expectation, then, at best, you're being rude, and at worst, immoral. Although I am anti-copyright, I generally refrain from violating today's artists' expectation that their work be paid for before I use it. I would like those expectations to change, however. But, that's a long fight.

--
God needs money from you
[ Parent ]

Nicely summarised :) (none / 0) (#30)
by Jel on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 08:19:25 PM EST

Hehh.. you did a great job of summarising this, Speek -- could've saved me some work ;)

[ Parent ]
easier to summarize other people's thoughts (none / 0) (#35)
by speek on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 08:44:43 PM EST

...than your own. Or so I've noticed.

--
God needs money from you
[ Parent ]

Case in point (5.00 / 3) (#17)
by dennis on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 05:01:09 PM EST

It is by no means proven that digital distribution would lower profits.

As I write this, today's contribution to the K5 fundraiser stands at $19,076.54. I don't know whether Rusty would call himself an artist, but maybe the gift economy works...

A different example is the Free Library project at Baen Books. Artists who choose the money side might not be willing to risk it, but art-for-art's-sake people might do just fine.

Case in point (3.50 / 2) (#24)
by E r i c on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 06:37:28 PM EST

There have been thousands of con men.  Most of them get punished.  Hopefully, Rusty will be, too.

I blame my past transgressions on Eminem's music. Reform number five is currently in progress.
[ Parent ]
I'm a musician (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by lb008d on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 05:50:38 PM EST

And I make money from what I do in the form of live performances with the Spokane, WA symphony.

The question for producers of art is this: do you really make art, which has a message -- a social contribution -- to spread, or do you simply have a product, which should be spread in a limited fashion, if that is what's required to ramp up demand, and generate more cash?

No the real question is for consumers of art:

Are you willing to pay people for something intangible or do you expect them to work for free?

Not the same subject (none / 0) (#22)
by Jel on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 05:59:26 PM EST

This discussion isn't about giving away music.  That's an entirely different question.

[ Parent ]
Two questions (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by dennis on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:56:38 AM EST

No, I think the question for consumers is "are you willing to be fair?" The question for artists remains.

I saw Harlan Ellison speak last year. He was awfully bitter about people sharing his writings on the Net, and said "at my age, I shouldn't have to work so hard."

I'm not convinced that sharing is actually reducing his sales, but let's say it is. He released his work under a social contract, that says "I'll provide this, if you pay me for copies." Violating that social contract at this stage of the game is not nice.

But that doesn't mean artists can't work with a different social contract. It could be "pay me up front, then I'll release files, which you can share as much as you want" (eg. Stephen King, who netted half a million bucks in his own pocket for a book he didn't even finish). It could be "here's the music, if you support me I'll be able to make more." It could be "please spread this far and wide, I don't need money, I just want the ego gratification."

So let's make all these options available, respect the artists' decisions, and let it play out. In the end, I think what the record companies fear is not piracy, but irrelevance.

[ Parent ]

Guess what! (none / 0) (#57)
by lb008d on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:17:30 AM EST

All of those options are already available! It's up to the artists to choose them and to the consumers to support those artists who choose the "pay up front" model.

Actually this is the model under which most orchestra recordings are produced - the musicians are paid up front and the record company walks away with the rest of the money. With the internet that scenario may soon change.

[ Parent ]

We're getting there (none / 0) (#60)
by dennis on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:07:38 AM EST

They're available, but not necessarily easy or well-known. Eg., if I wanted to release something under a pay-up-front model, how would I go about it? Who manages the server, who holds the money? (Here's an option, but it's not up and running yet.) And with any of the "free" options, how do I promote my works without money for marketing? (Maybe with better collaborative filtering.) Etc.

The faster we build support for these options, the better, because the music industry is actively trying to remove them. Eg., filesharing networks are the perfect distribution system for artists that choose these other models, but the industry is doing its best to sue them out of existence.

[ Parent ]

I'm a musician (none / 0) (#81)
by dTd on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:39:01 PM EST

"Are you willing to pay people for something intangible or do you expect them to work for free?"

I bite ;) Yes, I am willing to pay for intangibles if they are worth paying for. This is the issue at hand as I see it. If you as an artist/musician are creating art, or performing art that no one wants to see or hear at a price, than your art can be said to have no value. Why should I pay to listen to your art/music if I don't like it? As already has been shown, the downloading of mp3 files has little to no impact on music sales. If music sales are down, one can presume that the music for sale must be unwanted or disliked or of poor quality or too expensive. There is no excuse for bad products, if they don't sell you'd be smart to make new products. Prices can be changed and in most cases should. Music quality, as far as the recording quality goes, has been pretty good from commercial publishers/producers so I don't see that as an issue. The main factor in all this has been a monopoly of the media that art has been delivered on. By having a physical media monopoly, the producers of art can set the price as this was the only source to aquire said art. Now with this media monopoly fading away, the real public value of art is surfacing, what people will actually pay for the art. It may make a lot of artists and performers poorer, and some richer, but that is the economics of it at this moment.

Much has been said of mp3 downloaders and many accusations of freeloaders and cheapskates abound, but I must say that when I read some stating that they wouldn't have bought the CD/DVD/artform in the first place, I can well agree with them. I have wanted to have copies of certain songs for instance for literaly years but never purchased them and never will. Why, because they simply aren't worth the money. If I ever did download these copies I can say without a shadow of a lie that "I never would have bought this stuff, never." I also don't see this as revenue lost by the artist or publisher even though I state that I want these recordings, I don't want them enough to pay for them and accept that I will never have copies unless they are free. I can live without them though I think others are less adamant on this point.
/dTd

Perl 6 will give you the big knob - Larry Wall
[ Parent ]

Ah the 'ol good vs. bad art question (none / 0) (#87)
by lb008d on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:00:22 PM EST

If you as an artist/musician are creating art, or performing art that no one wants to see or hear at a price, than your art can be said to have no value.

Ah yes art dictated by the masses. You ought to ask Soviet-era Russian composers what they thought of that.

Should musicians only produce lowest-common-denominator music that appeals to everyone in hopes to make a living? (not get rich, just make a living).

In my orchestra we rarely play anything written post-1950. If we do, it's usually something "not challenging" to the audience. Are people's tastes so set that trying to experience something different is unthinkable? Are people in this country that ignorant when it comes to art (probably so)? Call me an art snob, but I'll give anything a try at least once.

What do you think would be the end result for musicians if people only wanted to hear Beethoven, and could get any Beethoven recording made for free coupled with the fact that any music not sufficiently easy to swallow won't be listened to?

[ Parent ]

lcd music (none / 0) (#91)
by dTd on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 07:40:22 AM EST

"Should musicians only produce lowest-common-denominator music that appeals to everyone in hopes to make a living? (not get rich, just make a living)."

Music produced to make living should be music that will sell. If you really expect to pay your bills by composition or performance obviously you'd need to compose music that is popular or wanted. On the other hand, I am open to most all music and don't mind experimentalism, though if I'm paying for it I want music I like, why should I pay for your experiments?

I could crank out hours of garbage music in hopes to make a living but I am deluding myself thinking this is a viable income model. This is more of the same kind of logic that pervails today, that any business model should succeed now matter how poorly instituted and executed, and the argument that since I made money last year doing this, I should be garaunteed to make money this year.

I do not advocate music dictated by the masses, unless you want to make money on it of course, see if you expect the masses to pay you, you must provide something they like. This is a pretty simple concept to understand and is based on supply and demand. I would ask if music composed and performed for the sole purpose of generating income can even be called art anymore? I doubt it.

"What do you think would be the end result for musicians if people only wanted to hear Beethoven, and could get any Beethoven recording made for free coupled with the fact that any music not sufficiently easy to swallow won't be listened to?"

I think muscians will be relegated to promoting art instead of generating capitol, Money tarnishes the idea of art, making it a sellable product and diluting it's purity as concessions will always have to be made in order to make your product sellable. As soon as income is brought into the equation, art will always take a backseat to marketability or you stand the chance of total failure which isn't such a bad thing, but won't pay your rent either.

"Call me an art snob, but I'll give anything a try at least once."

Are you willing to pay for it though? Ths is the reason some of us don't buy PC games without a demo version to test first, or music without hearing it on the radio first. To blindly plank down money on a gamble that it could be good or might not be something you hate is frivolous. You'd be better served going to the casino and pushing quarters into a slot machine.
/dTd

Perl 6 will give you the big knob - Larry Wall
[ Parent ]

Willingness to pay (none / 0) (#90)
by phliar on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:37:21 PM EST

No the real question is for consumers of art:

Are you willing to pay people for something intangible or do you expect them to work for free?

Me -- I don't need money from music to support myself (I'm lucky). A dollar I make with music is worth much more to me than a dollar. It is proof that someone else thought enough of what I was doing to do something about it. Conversely any music I listen to that I appreciate I always tip the performer.

To me, your question is interesting but irrelevant. I do expect to work for free.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Keep in mind, (2.00 / 2) (#37)
by spacejack on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:01:37 PM EST

artists that claim social motives are usually crap (why do you think they resort to such tactics in the first place?)

Which is why... (none / 0) (#50)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:12:29 AM EST

Which is why, in a sense, I'm saying that it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is :)

[ Parent ]
eh (none / 0) (#73)
by spacejack on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:44:53 PM EST

This is hardly a big enough issue for them to make much use of.

[ Parent ]
Social motive not necessary (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by spacejack on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:40:37 PM EST

I find most artists are putting work up for free. Most artists that I want to sample have at least some free stuff available for download or viewing (myself included). Most new bands that I have checked out have lots of songs available to download for free from their site. You could spend all day finding free content from commercial artists. Most visual artists have scans of most, if not all of their work up. It's happening. But this is not because they're on anyone's "side". They need the exposure. They need to let people sample their product, and the Internet is a good way to do so. There's more and more free stuff out there every day.

Yes, and many more (none / 0) (#49)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:11:00 AM EST

...don't.

I simply thought that I should probably point out another good reason for allowing digital distribution.  This isn't quite the same, by the way, as arguing for always-free music, but there is a certain amount of crossover.

[ Parent ]

allowing digital distribution (none / 0) (#74)
by spacejack on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:06:06 PM EST

Well, advertisers don't care much if you redistribute their content... you figure all artists (who survive off selling their work now) should become advertisers? That's basically how things would go; artists who can't survive by selling their work become advertisers. Either that or they'll create work that can't be digitally redistributed (live performance, old-school media, etc).

[ Parent ]
Social Motives? Social Contribution? (5.00 / 2) (#39)
by twhid on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 10:56:08 PM EST

The only definition in the article of what these terms may mean is:

important lessons to underprivileged schoolchildren

what do you mean by social contribution? a trash hauler is making a social contribution, should she take a pay cut because the trucks require less fuel these days? of course not.

without this definition the rest of your argument falls apart.

artists make work for any number of reasons. they should be allowed to their own reasons. meeting chicks, selling stuff, tax purposes, narcissism, nothing better to do, don't want a day job, etc are all valid reasons.

your black and white definition needs to be thoroughly rejected. simply judge the work and leave the producers to choose their own means of distribution.


++
i don't have a good sig

A better perspective (none / 0) (#48)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:07:39 AM EST

The only definition in the article of what these terms may mean is:

They don't need a definition.  They're simple combinations of words, like "black cat", not new terms.

what do you mean by social contribution? a trash hauler is making a social contribution, should she take a pay cut because the trucks require less fuel these days? of course not.

No, of course not.  That's not the best angle to look at it from, though.  If I was a trash hauler, I might certainly console myself about taking such a job, and convince myself that even though it's dirty work, I'm doing something which society needs.  Therefore, I don't need to cut my pay before a need for social contribution exists -- it's already one of my job's "perks".  Taking away such a perk, then, potentially, could change the entire nature of my work, and my daily life.


[ Parent ]

re: a better perspective (none / 0) (#62)
by twhid on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:33:31 AM EST

hi jel,

They don't need a definition. They're simple combinations of words, like "black cat", not new terms.


my point being that it's meaningless catch all term. everyone who isn't actively working against society (criminals, cheats, etc) is making some sort of contribution (except lawyers of course :-).

your position is that one either has an ethical reason to create art (social contribution) or an unethical one (sell stuff). i would argue that selling stuff is a social contribution. but beyond that, if the work is found to be worthwhile than there is no unethical reason to create it or unacceptable strategies to distribute it (beside those strategies that would be unethical or illegal anyway).

thanks for your article, i've enjoyed it.


++
i don't have a good sig

[ Parent ]

Bugger. (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by Lord Snott on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:00:59 PM EST

I just lost a six paragraph comment. Shit.

So I'll just say (less eloquently), Jel, you're not understanding the difference between an Artist, and a performer.

The industry is simply protecting it's product. It has nothing to do with art, or social theft. You don't go to a store like Sanity (do they exist outside Australia?) if you want art, you go for they image, fashion, or to see a scantily clad girl in school uniform. But NOT ART.

I like the spirit of what you're saying, though :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

Could be right :) (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:58:50 AM EST

The industry is simply protecting it's product. It has nothing to do with art, or social theft. You don't go to a store like Sanity (do they exist outside Australia?) if you want art, you go for they image, fashion, or to see a scantily clad girl in school uniform. But NOT ART.

If that is the case, which it may well be, then it adds more weight to my argument, by showing that such an industry it not the place to publish art within.


[ Parent ]

Science, then? (none / 0) (#59)
by dipierro on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:51:11 AM EST

The U.S. Constitution only gives congress the power to protect the interests of useful arts and sciences. So if it's not art, and it's not science, it shouldn't be copyrighted, at least not in the U.S.

If society has the right to copy your work, and you take that right from them, that most certainly is theft.


In capitalism, man exploits man. In socialism, it's the other way around.
[ Parent ]
If you're going to keep asking the question... (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by losthalo on Tue Jun 18, 2002 at 11:02:55 PM EST

...then you're going to keep getting the answer.  Artists charge for their work because making art is expensive.  Price an amplifier sometime, price some printmaking paper (I once spent $600+ in a semester on paper in college).  Studio time costs, paint costs.  Most of all, keeping an artist alive while they work costs a lot.  Creating the time in which to make art costs.  That's why giving it away isn't an option if you're lucky enough to be creating it full-time.  I'm a printmaker and a photographer, I'm not that lucky.  I'm now working developing others' snapshots for a living, because selling your work doesn't pay.

If society will benefit from artists' work, then they should pay for it.  Society should quit asking for donations from those who have little the same as it should stop expecting the politicians to pull our asses out of the fire.

Losthalo
"Is that what people want?"
"It's what we do."

Different issue (none / 0) (#47)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:01:01 AM EST

As I've stated previously, this isn't about free music -- that's a different issue entirely.  It's about priorities; figuring out the main goal of your art, and how best to achieve that goal.

[ Parent ]
Heed the advice of another great artist... (none / 0) (#53)
by dipipanone on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:14:46 AM EST

Dit dit dit dit dit dit dit dit,
Dit dit dit dit dit,
Get a job...

--
Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
making music is not expensive (none / 0) (#55)
by dalinian on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 07:57:03 AM EST

If you have a good computer, a decent soundcard, a microphone and some instruments, you shouldn't need much more. There is lots of good free audio software available, and you can get it for a reasonable price packaged in a GNU/Linux distribution, or completely without payment if you have broadband. In fact, there is already a whole operating system for this purpose: Demudi.

So, you have a studio. What else is needed? Skills, of course. Learning music takes time, and usually quite a bit of money. But one usually doesn't start learning music for the money, but because one's parents force one to do so. :-) And because music is fun!



[ Parent ]
the costs of making /good/ music (none / 0) (#66)
by Xia on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:40:27 PM EST

You're not taking into account the skills needed to record music well. I could churn out something that sounds so-so from the materials I have in my bedroom, but that can't replace a trained studio engineer with top end recording equipment. When my group, Escape Key, recorded a CD last fall (all self-funded and produced), studio time was our biggest expense. Without the day job of our guitar player, we couldn't afford to do this.
Back to the topic of the original article, all of our mp3s are freely available, and we sell CDs too. I think we would have the mp3s available no matter what, but it's important to realize that there's a big difference between what you can afford to do when you have a good day job backing the project and when you're doing art full time. Art /is/ expensive, and it's a struggle to make a living at it. There are costs from materials, training, getting your work out where it can be seen... and we all want to make a living at what we enjoy, right?

[ Parent ]
good enough quality (none / 0) (#72)
by dalinian on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 06:43:00 PM EST

I understand that bad sound quality is not cool, but it's not that big a deal. Music is ultimately not at all about sound quality: it's about the rhythm, the melodies and the skills of the musicians.

This is a big change. Once all people will see that artworks are not products but methods of communicating emotions and attitudes, sound quality will not matter much anymore. I wouldn't want to start praising one of the most famous dictators the world has seen, but I don't think chairman Mao was entirely wrong in hoping that one day the common people would make their own art for themselves, and not need an artist "elite" to provide it anymore. And the evil record companies of our day are of course even worse than that.



[ Parent ]
of course sound quality matters (none / 0) (#75)
by DavisImp on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:05:09 PM EST

Choice and use of materials is just as much a part of art as the general outline. Few people would deny that Da Vinci's sketches are genius, but much would be missing if, say, Mona Lisa had been done in ink on notebook paper instead of paint on canvas.

Likewise, rhythm, melody and skill create only the most blunt outline of music. I love bjork, for instance, but most of what i like about her music is its subtlety -- the noises and sounds that barely register in the background, the balance between the sweeping choirs and guttural beats, the cracks and tics of her voice. All of this would be lost if it were recorded with shitty equipment. Studio quality has mattered ever since the Beatle's Revolver, and in many many areas of music, there's no way of going back.

Of course, this likely doesn't apply to the kinds of music you listen to -- pavement, as wall as many members of garage music, utilize a low-fi sound. But that decision to use low-fi sound is as much a part of their art as Brian Eno's decision to use high quality equipment to make abstract soundscapes. Don't assume that because what you listen to doesn't require good equipment no music does.



[ Parent ]

music? (none / 0) (#86)
by dalinian on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:04:29 AM EST

I think this discussion is moving from music to something else. I didn't understand this was about details, and not something I personally call "music".

I'm not sure if you are an audiophile or not. If you are, then it's end of discussion. :-) but if you're not, I will try to explain myself.

I think my original point still stands. The quality of cheap hardware components is of course the biggest issue, because software shouldn't affect quality at all. I understand nobody making music seriously should choose the cheapest soundcard and microphone she can find. But damn, she should not necessarily choose any of the most expensive ones either! :-) The original poster said that making music is expensive, but decent hardware really isn't that expensive.

And of course there is always the issue of pure digital sound. Then it doesn't matter at all what computer hardware you are using. Just use digital connections and nothing goes to waste.

BTW, you shouldn't make assumptions about what I listen either. :-) I like some of the older prog rock like King Crimson and Yes and psychedelic stuff like Jefferson Airplane, but I've also got plenty of newer albums with really good sound quality (for example, stuff from the Magna Carta label). I wouldn't trade that quality away for nothing. But I would trade it away in return for freedom in music: to me, the melodies, the rhythm and the skills are far more important than sound quality, and if losing some of the quality means that I get access to much more diverse selection of music than before (plus of course share it freely with my friends), I say lose that quality.

As a final note - and it's staccato! :-) - I'd like to point out that harpsichord must be the crappiest sounding instrument ever invented, but that didn't stop J.S. Bach from writing some of the most fascinating music ever.



[ Parent ]
sound quality (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by dTd on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:43:50 PM EST

What rubbish is this saying that sound quality isn't important in an recording? If the original was performed on poor equipment with a disregard to sound quality I would like to hear that disregard in my recording of said performance. If recordings are not done on the best possible equipment and using the best methods than what you hear when listening to that recording may be nothing like the actual performance. The artist should perform using whatever equipment they make their art with, the recording of that should be done at the utmost quality to preserve the original.
/dTd

Perl 6 will give you the big knob - Larry Wall
[ Parent ]

I think you're missing the point... (none / 0) (#61)
by dipierro on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 10:22:35 AM EST

This isn't a question about whether or not artists should make money, it's a question of whether or not they should be able to artifically manipulate the supply side of their government-given monopoly product. There are lots of people out there who would gladly pay $0.25/song to download mp3s of their favorite songs. The cost to create the mp3 is $0. They've already been created, by the fans. Society gets the music, the artist gets paid, everyone goes home happy.

Consider bootlegs. In this case, the recording costs are paid by the fan. Yes, the artist still had to write the song, but I seriously doubt that bootleg recordings have a high replacement value for live concerts or even studio recordings. If there's one law that should go first, it's the anti-bootlegging laws. Let it fall under copyright law, where bootleggers will have the statutory licenses through ASCAP and HFA.


In capitalism, man exploits man. In socialism, it's the other way around.
[ Parent ]
Okay. (none / 0) (#77)
by losthalo on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:18:51 PM EST

Then look at it this way:

1.)  Artist creates piece of art (be it painting, song, story).  This costs money, not to mention time.
2.)  Artist makes it available online in digital format.  This costs (some) money.
3.)  Artist's work is then reproduced many, many times by people who pay nothing for it.
4.)  Artist is still poor, and wondering if there's some -other- way to make a living at this, since there is no way to make a living relying on people who download their stuff to pay something for it.

So far as I can see, the only way to make any money as an artist is to have some degree of monopoly on distribution.  

[I intentionally exclude massively popular artists whose work can make them a living if only a miniscule percentage of people "sharing" it actually pay something for it.  They are the exception, not the rule.  The Grateful Dead made a living?  Sure, their fans make up an entire -sub-category- of hippies.]

Even if the costs of buying from the artist directly are very cheap ($0.10 a song?) people would still, by and large, just get a free copy.  I have yet to see otherwise, would like to be proven wrong on this point in fact.

Where supply is not an issue, demand is low.

Losthalo
"Everybody has had one, and one is enough for anybody."

[ Parent ]

Naw. It's not that hard. (none / 0) (#79)
by cpt kangarooski on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:14:54 PM EST

You must recall that duplication of a work at the same cost that it would cost the author to duplicate it has always been possible. I mean, you think that no one else had printing presses available to them? We see this today, where the plants that press DVDs often run off additional pirate copies from the same masters, on the same equipment. (and ironically, still CSS encoded) The solution for an artist is to not release the work to anyone until he can be paid as much money as he ever expects to get for it all at once. This is in fact, traditional. It's how patronage works, and can be seen today as work for hire. It is also how the Street Performer Protocol works. Of course, underlying all of this is that no one should care whether artists make money. (disclosure: I'm an artist) Artists making money is a means to an end -- it is not the end itself, and isn't a necessary means either.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Artists need to make a choice (3.50 / 2) (#42)
by inerte on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:10:19 AM EST

And a lot already did. They are releasing their work under a license that forbids certain uses of the work.

I think you've realized one of the most important things, artists should be free. But your article spent a lot of paragraphs talking about how the current greater scheme works and why you believe it is wrong.

But there aren't many reasons why artists shouldn't sign with Sony, make a huge success and get all the girls and drugs they may want. That's the whole thing that will change the scheme. The users (or mp3 downloaders) can make an impact, but they are manipulatable, but marketing or peer pressure.

Why should artists choose ' the other side '? You've titled your article this way but inside there aren't complete, new, interesting or strong arguments to convince them.

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Plato

Couldn't, wouldn't (none / 0) (#45)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:55:10 AM EST

Why should artists choose ' the other side '? You've titled your article this way but inside there aren't complete, new, interesting or strong arguments to convince them.

I don't believe that I either could or should convince people to follow a higher moral path.  It's enough, however, to simply light up the forks in the road.

[ Parent ]

Okay (none / 0) (#58)
by inerte on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 09:39:04 AM EST

  That's why I still voted +1 FP.

  But I will be watching you! ;-)

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Plato
[ Parent ]

I can think of one. (none / 0) (#51)
by gnovos on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:44:08 AM EST

But there aren't many reasons why artists shouldn't sign with Sony, make a huge success and get all the girls and drugs they may want.

Other than, of course, the fact that they money they have is actually a subtle form of a loan, and chances are great that in 2-3 years, when thier names have been forgotten by their ADHD fans and the very last album of thiers is sold and no more are going to be printed, they will end up poorer than if they had spent those years working at McDonalds or begging for money on the street.  Though if they had worked at McDonalds, they would still maintain control of thier music so that they could play it for thier grandchildren someday, but if they;ve signed those rights to Sony, they are out of luck...

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]

Let me see if I follow... (none / 0) (#63)
by miket01 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:48:09 AM EST

Let me see if I can re-state your argument/example.  (You go off track in a couple of places, and I'll try to address those below, but I think this is the core and strongest part of it.)

There is a theoretical Artist claiming that his or her primary goal is to provide a social benefit through their creations.

There are Middlemen of various types that in the past had provided greater opportunities for distribution, but due to technological advances are no longer the most efficient distribution method in town.

Since an Artist's social benefit can (for the purposes of this argument) be maximized by maximum distribution, it would make sense for the Artist to sweep aside these Middlemen, and provide their stories (or what have you) directly to their audience for a reduced compensation (thanks to the more efficient distribution.)

If that is a correct representation of it, I can think of 2 flaws in your argument.

(1) Distribution.  Not everyone is on the Internet.  Traditional distribution still reaches where the Internet can't.

(2) Self-publishing.  Self-publishing is a great, great thing, but it is still publishing.  Not every Artist wants to or has the skills to be a publisher in their spare time.  So, they share some of their profits with a Middleman publisher in exchange for the service.  This is a good and fair transaction in my eyes.

I don't understand the following part of your argument at all...

"But let's say, in a worst case scenario, that artists would lose money by distributing their work digitally. If it this music is really art, a form of social contribution, then why insist on $2? Why not allow vast numbers of people across the world to gain benefit from the message of your art very quickly, and accept $1 instead of $2? Wouldn't that spread your message much quicker, yet still provide you with ample compensation for your work?"

Are the Artists *losing* money, or being provided with ample compensation for their work?  There's quite a big difference.  And isn't *everybody's* job a form of social contribution?  Should we all be doing our jobs at a loss (or for some minimum compensation)?

Thanks,
Mike


Mostly beside the point (none / 0) (#64)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 12:04:28 PM EST

(1) Distribution.  Not everyone is on the Internet.

I made no attempt to suggest that.  I may have suggested that traditional publishers would be entirely unnecessary, but that was more of an indirect implication.  I was discussing Internet distribution at that point, and expected that venue to be taken as the entire context.  I'll watch such implications in future, but I don't think it's a real issue here.

Self-publishing, again, I did not intend to imply.  It would, of course, not suit everyone, except in the digital world, where it might be possible at the touch of a button.  I fully understand that members of our society specialise in certain areas, and much of our success comes from such specialisation.  This is an issue which I think about quite regularly, and might even come up with a separate article on someday.  Again, though, it's not relevant to this discussion.

Are the Artists losing money, or being provided with ample compensation for their work?  There's quite a big difference.

I've already written an entire paragraph illustrating and discussing this difference.  Re-read the last para before the conclusion.
 

[ Parent ]

I think I'm getting it. (none / 0) (#65)
by miket01 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:24:59 PM EST

Having read message #49, I'm starting to see what you are getting at.  

I agree with your description of the opportunities available to artists thanks to new distribution channels.

Since you don't seem to be espousing an opinion on which side an artist should take, I shouldn't have bothered arguing the pros and cons of either side.

The only real strong opinion you state is that artists should choose one side or the other.

I don't see why they should.  Plenty of musical artists make profits on CD sales and concerts, but still allow fan distribution or digital distirbution of material.  An increasing number of writers are doing the same with book sales.  

It is in society's best interest to compensate those who would provide benefits to it, and sales of physical product is still the most straight-forward way of doing that.  Therefore, I don't see many artists -- even those whose primary goal is to benefit society -- totally doing away with it.  Even the fund drive going on around us here will eventually be supplemented with product.  Even the public broadcasting drives on USTV give tote-bags in return for donations.

Thanks,
Mike


[ Parent ]

Plenty? (none / 0) (#67)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 01:54:30 PM EST

I don't see why they should.  Plenty of musical artists make profits on CD sales and concerts, but still allow fan distribution or digital distirbution of material.  An increasing number of writers are doing the same with book sales.

Hmm... just how many is "Plenty"?  Is it enough to suggest that the vast majority of our artists "get it" yet?  Plenty is a very subjective term, and usually refers precisely to one's own idea of an acceptable number.  Given the current stance (or lack of any particular stance) by many artists (not just musicians), I don't believe that the numbers would be "plenty" by my definition.  They certainly don't suggest a strong understanding of the issues in my opinion.  You may be of a different opinion, or more easily contented, of course.

As for totally doing away with, well, <anything>, that's not something which I'm "espousing an opinion on", either.  But that's been explained in other comments.


[ Parent ]

Enough to show an exception. (none / 0) (#70)
by miket01 on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:21:24 PM EST

I wasn't trying to say that those artists who choose to play both sides of your issue are a significant percentage of all artists, just that there are enough to prove that the option of doing both is as valid as definitively choosing a side.  There is no reason to choose a side.  There are merely options that an artist might choose to employ.

If your intent was simply to raise awareness of these options, then I think you are talking to the wrong people.  This is a website made up of volunteered contributions by those who want to get their message out without concern about monetary compensation.  We are all aware of the option.

[ Parent ]

Different sides (none / 0) (#71)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 03:36:51 PM EST

There is no reason to choose a side.

We're not discussing the same "sides" here.  You've misunderstood.  However, I've been over this a few times in other comments, so I won't do it again here.

[ Parent ]

False Duality (none / 0) (#68)
by jzitt on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:25:15 PM EST

But how does this concept of social contribution alter the status quo? Well, it alters things in one very simple, but important way -- artists need to choose a side. The question for producers of art is this: do you really make art, which has a message -- a social contribution -- to spread, or do you simply have a product, which should be spread in a limited fashion, if that is what's required to ramp up demand, and generate more cash?

The problem, of course, is that this is a false duality. Take, for example, Bob Dylan, Public Enemy, Phil Ochs, Rage Against The Machine, John Coltrane, et al. Each was creating art with a message in a format in which it was distributed (and, arguably, got its best possible distribution) as a product.

Does selling a recording mean that the contents convey no message? Obviously not.

Does conveying a message mean that the creator of this message may not earn a living from it? Obviously not.

Anyone who has actually tried to both convey a message and be able to afford food and shelter knows this.

This is emphatically not a "choice" but rather a field of possibilities. Some rare items will be at one edge of the field or another. But most balance the issues.

This bears a strong relationship to Kuro5hin's current meta-thread. Kuro5hin is intend to supply a social good, yet cannot run for free. Those who demand this false "choice" of others would logically demand that Kuro5hin either shut down or become some sort of package of empty commerce.

Jel, which of these two choices do you believe that Rusty should make?

And do you, personally, earn a living? If so, you logically must believe your career to be empty and pointless. My condolences.



Incorrect duality (none / 0) (#69)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 02:43:24 PM EST

Actually, you misunderstood the article.  The duality your discussing is quite different from the one in the decision I propose.

[ Parent ]
Incorrect? (none / 0) (#82)
by jzitt on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:44:19 PM EST

Actually, you misunderstood the article. The duality your discussing is quite different from the one in the decision I propose

Hmm... well then, this suggests that your point might be better served by your writing something that actually communicates it.



[ Parent ]
Suggestion noted (none / 0) (#83)
by Jel on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:51:27 PM EST

...however, many others got the meaning just fine.  

[ Parent ]
Art will not fit in one of two boxes (none / 0) (#76)
by dalesun on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 08:09:09 PM EST

Artists are a very diverse group, why should they not be expected to distribute their work in diverse ways? Artists will never align themselves with only one of two camps. Let them decide for themselves how to distribute their work from the infinite ways that this can be done. If an artist feels their work doesn't lend itself to electronic distribution, I feel their choice should be respected and supported. Many artists may also simply want to be artists, rather than technicians, web developers, publicists, distributors, etc. Most artists will also be particular about how this is done and will desire professional results, rather than the quick and dirty results available "at the push of a button," this may take time and skill that the artist may not have. There's nothing wrong with them making agreements with third parties to handle this stuff, leaving them free to concentrate on what they do best. If this stuff is done well it's worth a price. There is nothing necessarily wrong with commercial success, which can allow an artist to concentrate on their art rather than a day job. It is the artist's responsibility to ensure that they and their customers are not exploited. It can also be done BOTH ways, for example, check out Lake Trout, a great band from Baltimore, who liberally distribute MP3s, and also sell the same as CDs, although they are indie and are on a not-for-profit record label. They and others have distributed entire albums as MP3s that were also sold as CDs--and why not? There are however no entire albums on their web site at the moment--perhaps they have to pay for bandwidth.

(Really wish it'd automatically put in "re... (none / 0) (#80)
by cpt kangarooski on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 11:23:42 PM EST

If an artist feels their work doesn't lend itself to electronic distribution, I feel their choice should be respected and supported. No it should not. Not for that reason, anyway. Kafka wanted his works burned upon his death. Instead they were published, and we're better off for it. He's not the only one. After all, you're asking members of the audience to do something that is contrary to their self-interest. (if they didn't care, the issue wouldn't come up) Why should they? How do they benefit from it?

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
huh? (none / 0) (#84)
by blisspix on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:07:13 AM EST

I suggest you read Lessig's "Future of Ideas". There's lots of good discussion about why people create. They create for art's sake, of course, but they also continue to create only where there is incentive.

you also neglect to note that only 2% of the world's population have access to a computer, and even fewer of those are online. so who, exactly, benefits from online distribution?

Hmmm... (none / 0) (#85)
by Jel on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:00:25 AM EST

I suggest you read Lessig's "Future of Ideas". There's lots of good discussion about why people create.

I might well read that at some stage.  However, I don't see how the existence of a book alters my argument.  Many books exist.  Did you have something specific to claim or refute?

so who, exactly, benefits from online distribution?

This is answered elsewhere.

[ Parent ]

I agree completely (none / 0) (#88)
by phliar on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:15:01 PM EST

At the risk of being called an idealistic fool. This is a choice I made some time ago: my day job -- software -- pays me enough to take care of my needs so everything I did on my time: software, writing, music, photography -- would be for society. Maybe society didn't particularly want anything that I did, but that would be my intent.

Today, I have written a lot of free software; and with photography I have helped artists and musicians with their portfolios and publicity/concert pictures. Society has not been clamouring for my trumpet playing though.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...

Artists, It's Time to Choose a Side | 91 comments (69 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!