Re: attn. JMS: A TV writing question...

 Posted on 6/30/2003 by to

>I've read statements by some successful (defined here solely as "making a
>living from their art)" artists (Janis Ian, Mercedes Lackey) who have
>experienced only positive results from having their work available for free
>the Internet. The theory on their part seems to be that, by having an item
>available to the casual browser, there are actually *more* sales once the
>consumer knows what product s/he's buying. Music stores have allowed
>to listen to records for decades without it harming sales. Why shouldn't
>and videos be available to sample as well? I mean, really - one is supposed
>trust 'reviews' and 'critics'?

Well, those are really a whole passle of very different issues, ownership vs.
review copies, samples vs. whole works, choics vs. compulsion....

If a person wants to put up samples of his/her work, that's terrific. It's
when someone takes the work and puts it up, or removes ownership, that's the
issue, when choice is removed.

>I can understand that artists seem to feel threatened by the 'free' Internet
>and possible theft of their work but in the long run isn't it better to have
>something available to be sampled and increase sales to casual browsers than
>clutch each item to your chest and insist that each and every item be paid
>by a blind consumer?

But the issue isn't samples, it's whole works. There are some usenet groups,
for instance, that have put up every story an author has ever published. Whole
books have been uploaded.

Remembering that the average novelist makes less per year than the average
grade school teacher, if 2000 copies of a book are read or downloaded online
instead of purchased, that loss of $2-3,000 can make a huge impact on the
writer's financial life.


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