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Alternative business models

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Most (though not all) business models for producing creative works in Western society are based on copyright law. New types of business models which let authors effectively make a profit out of free content would arguably lead to a dramatic increase in free content creation.

Some of those models are available, and used to some extent, right now. Others can be proposed and possibly implemented some day.

One such model is that authors provide some kind of service, and generate content related to their professional activities as an aside. For instance, a musician can earn money from concerts, a software engineer can earn it from maintainance and user support, a scientist from teaching and so on.

Other models seek to support content creation in a more direct way:

The threshold pledge system is a promising business model. It's discussed in the article 'The Promise of a Post-Copyright World' at A similar system was used by Stephen King to fund the release of the book The Plant. However, his system was fundamentally flawed, as it was still under full copyright, and he demanded to be paid depending on the number of people who received copies, even though the effort required to write it was independant of the number of copies made.

Jamendo has recently introduced a system which involves sharing its advertising revenue with the artists.



For more general discussions on this topic:


Careful with openbusiness. I do take part there, but there does not seem to be any real dedication to business models in support of creating Free Content or Open Content. It seems more a site for open and participatory business models even if the works produced are non-free. (If I have this wrong, corrections / clarifications are welcome.)

Still, it is an interesting site and worth a look if you haven't been there.