Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Three simple questions for the "relaxed copyright" camp

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I'm waiting for some real answers to these questions from people who either support relaxing copyright laws or oppose laws that help content creators deal with copyright infringment:

#1: Can you give an example of any other industry, worker or business that must bear 100% of their operating costs and pay a normal income tax, but are required to give some of their products and services away for free?

Find me one other business, employee or professional that is required (either by law or via social pressure) to accept all of the following:
  1. Bear 100% of overhead and operating costs;
  2. Pay full taxes on all revenue; and
  3. Allow their products and services to be taken and used without payment, and in some cases, resold in direct competition - at whatever volume that society and individuals want.
There is a comment form is below this post for your answer.

#2: If the work of content creators so greatly benefits society, would you support them getting tax breaks or mandatory discounts on their living expenses and products/services?

The anti-copyright lobby wants content creators to simply accept infringements in the internet age as just "the way it is". After all, if our work is being used to enrich society and allow people to create things for everyone to enjoy, we creators should be happy to be making such a contribution to the world. So, if the work of content creators is so beneficial and of such pivotal importance in a free and innovative society - to the point that we're required to be OK with giving our work away - then why don't we get some help from society for creating the works? Non-profits and charities get tax breaks and discounts for what they do for society.

I'd be OK with relaxing copyright law (or just keeping it as it is with no additional protections) if I got the following for being a content creator:

  1. Free or heavily discounted supporting purchases (cameras, fuel, hotels, cars, software, computers, etc)
  2. Discounted rent, loan interest, health care and other living expenses, and
  3. A special tax bracket where I pay significantly less taxes on my income based on a.) how much of my work is used without payment and b.) how much time I spend dealing with infringements.
I mean, that's only fair, right? If I have to consistently give my work away for free or cheap, it's more than fair that I get financial help on the equipment, costs and time it took to create that content. Again, if society thinks that the work that content creators make is so important to have available for free use, this should be a no-brainer. Help us with the expense of creating the content, and I'll be more willing to give a proportionate amount of it away.

Again, there is a comment form is below this post for your answer.

#3: Why is it OK for certain social media/video account owners to copy images/videos rather than share them?

I really want an answer to this one, since I've never seen one offered in the many times I've brought this subject up. On Facebook, there is a "share" button under *everything*. Sharing is a one-click deal. The same goes for Twitter. It's very easy to click "retweet". On Youtube, there is a full array of one-click social media sharing buttons.

Tell me, those of you who go WAY beyond this and download the image/video/text, then re-upload and repost a separate copy - why do you do it? I mean, it's several additional steps to go through. You must have a reason to do all of that extra work?

Am I correct that the reason you do it is because you know that when/if it goes viral, that you will get all of those new followers, the retweets and the shares? You must consider that to have some value to you in growing your following, right? You know that if you simply share and retweet normally, that most of the viral benefit goes to the original author/photographer and that you'll get *some* new followers, but not as much as the creator. That's not good enough for you, apparently. So, if you do that, then tell me why you deserve 100%, or even a significant percentage of, the viral benefit for an image that someone else took? Why do you feel that the original creator does not deserve to get more of the viral benefit, but you somehow do? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, you're free to defend yourself if I'm off base. There is a comment form below this post.

Also, any fellow photographers, storm chasers and peers who are tired of hearing me talk about this are welcome to call me out right here, and tell me why I shouldn't be asking these questions. Let's debate it. Again, the comment form is below.

A great post, Mr Robinson! I guess there is nobody can answer your questions, even a single of those. They just want the benefit but don't want to pay the time, effort, and money what the creators gladly do, in other word "stealing".
- Posted by Luka from Arizona

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