Myths Vs. Facts: Copyright Not Needed to Make Money

One of the most persistent myths about the copyright monopoly has been that it’s needed to make money. This assertion turns out to be false for a very large number of observed cases, but the plural of anecdote is never statistics. So let’s look at some sound statistical evidence for policymaking on this issue.

Since the copyright monopoly is primarily an economic construction, there is a chasm in public support between its abolition for noncommercial activity, and its abolition overall.

In the population, there is a strong majority for reducing the monopoly so that it doesn’t limit noncommercial sharing of knowledge and culture between family, friends, and strangers; when concentrating on the younger half of the population, that majority shifts from strong to overwhelming.

Needless to say, that younger half of the population – now stretching up to people in their early 40s – will neither change their habits nor values about this, regardless of any fever-induced wishful thinking on behalf of the incumbent copyright industries. (Add another two or three decades, and they’ll be pulling all the strings in policymaking, and the executives of the incumbent dinosaurs will be dead.)

When it comes to the commercial parts of the monopoly, however, there are a number of myths flourishing that keeps public support for an all-out abolition in the “unlikely” part of the Overton window. Let’s see what these myths are, and how they stack up against facts:

Myth: If you take away the copyright monopoly, there’s no way for artists to make money.

Fact: This is a very odd myth, given that the old gatekeeper system was the poster child of keeping skilled artists away from any form of income. Under the “sign-a-record-deal-or-remain-poor system”, 99% of artists didn’t get record deals with the abusive record industry – and out of those who did, 99.5% never saw a cent in royalties. Thus, we are moving away from a system that deliberately kept 99.995% of artists without any form of regular income for artistry.

Observing that, I find it preposterous to claim that any shift towards a more inclusive system without those gatekeepers will somehow “take away the possibility of making money for artists”, especially given that the now-obsolete gatekeepers took 93% of the cut, on average, for the 0.005% that did make money in this system. Eliminate those gatekeepers and those 93% of the money go to artists instead – or at least, a significantly larger portion of it.

Read the rest at Torrent Freak