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Techdirt: Author Using Kickstarter To Offer His Book To The Public Domain, And Help Other Creators To Do The Same

Good post by Mike Masnick about one author’s attempt to use Kickstarter for a “patronage” (perhaps it should be called “micro-patronage”) model for funding and rewarding artists, novelists, and other content creators. For related discussions, see my posts: Conversation with an author about copyright and publishing in a free societyExamples of Ways Content Creators Can Profit Without Intellectual PropertyThe Creator-Endorsed Mark as an Alternative to Copyright.

Author Using Kickstarter To Offer His Book To The Public Domain, And Help Other Creators To Do The Same

from the needs-better-production-values,-but… dept

I was recently alerted to an interesting project and organization seeking to get more new works into the public domain. It’s been started by Aaron Pogue, who self published some books last year, selling well over 100,000 copies, and allowing him to not just quit his job, but to start an entire organization focused on helping content creators get paid to put their works into the public domain. The goal is to use systems like Kickstarter and others to allow fans to support the organization, called The Consortium, to pay them a salary — just like a normal job — for which they can then create content to release into the public domain.

Pogue is kicking this off with an attempt to raise $30,000 for the third book in his trilogy. If he hits the goal, he’ll release the book into the public domain, allowing anyone to do whatever they want with it. Make a movie out of it? Go for it. Do a fan edit of it? No problem. Whatever you want, once it’s in the public domain.

That said, it’s not clear if he’ll make the goal, though it is an interesting project. I’m wondering why it hasn’t raised that much and I have a couple of theories: first, the production quality on the video with the Kickstarter project isn’t great. I know this isn’t always easy, but for some reason, projects with better quality production seem to just do better on Kickstarter. The other thing is that I’m wondering how many of the buyers of Pogue’s first two books in the trilogy even know about this offer. In fact, I wonder if this is one of the limitations of relying on a platform like Amazon — in that it can put a wall between an author and his or her fans.

Either way, I’m really interested in these types of projects. And it’s great to see people like Pogue out there — a successful artist — not just explaining that copyright isn’t “the only” way to make money as a creator, but almost certainly not the best way to make money. And then to take that even further, and to help other artists make money without relying on the crutch of copyright, is a very cool thing to see, whether or not this particular Kickstarter campaign succeeds. In the meantime, though, if you would like to show some support for this type of project, check out the Kickstarter campaign and see if you think it’s worth backing.


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