Creativity, Ethics, and Fair Play in the Internet Age

I had planned to have my next blog brag about my most recent Inquistr articles (Sam Riley and Gay marriage).  I considered discussing the New Hampshire primaries, and how John Kasich moved ahead of Ted Cruz.  Then I read this article, and I knew I HAD to share it.  It’s important.

Kristen Lamb wrote a thoughtful, insightful article about expecting freebies on the Internet, and how it hurts authors and other artists.

I’m a cheapskate: I admit it.  I’m niggardly, parsimonious, a pinchpenny.  Free is my favorite price.  But I’m also a lifelong science fiction fan, and I’ve known of and accepted the principle of TANSTAAFL for years.  Too much free is bad for the economy.  As Kristen Lamb points out, it’s also bad for Art and Literature.

Mercedes Lackey, in her novel The Lark and the Wrenhas the heroine get reduced price music lessons from some teachers who believe she’ll value the lessons more if she has to pay for them, even if the teachers cut their usual fees to the bone in acknowledgment of her poverty, talent, and love of music.  Lackey uses a similar theme — that one values what one pays for — in other books, including Owlflightco-written with her husband Larry Dixon, where the wizard Justyn is taken for granted and not respected by his village because he doesn’t charge them properly for what he does.

In Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, by Alan Dean Foster, Princess Leia explains to Luke that she came to political rebellion by way of boring art.  Totalitarian governments must have censorship, because a painting, a book, or a symphony can be a manifesto of protest.  Under the Galactic Empire, art and literature had become boring.  When Leia found out why she was bored, she naturally fell into rebellion.  (Foster does not mention if this was before or after she was appointed a senator, although one may safely assume it was before, with her becoming a senator to further her cause by fighting the empire from within, based on hints in the radio adaptation.)

Art must be free:  free to shout, free to whisper, free to discuss any topic.  But Art must not be “free,” or not only will artists starve, but Art will fade away for lack of incentive.

Please read Kristen Lamb’s excellent article.

[Photo by Brett Jordan via Flickr Commons]

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