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Published:December 1st, 2007 09:56 EST
Over A Pay Per Moon

Over A Pay Per Moon

By Sean Stubblefield

The cause of the writers strike is indicative of a taking " mentality derivative of our internet culture (and business), a devaluation of artistic effort, and a disinclination to commit or care.

There is a pervasive attitude in our society of being entitled to free stuff online, assuming online content is public domain or that said content is worth less-- particularly if it IS offered freely (or cheaply). We, as a society, are losing the capacity and willingness to put our money and our affection where our mouth is, supporting what we enjoy and love. When something can be gotten for free on the internets, the reasoning goes, then why should we pay for it if we don "t have to? Why buy a CD if the music can be downloaded for free? That money can be used elsewhere for other expenses.

A fair and valid point " to a point. Mandating payment for access is one thing, and is understandably objectionable because it feels like a kind of taunting, extortion or ransom. Especially if you don`t know exactly what you`re paying for up front, and then more so if it turns out you think money was waste, or at least what you bought wasn`t worth as much as you paid. But to regretlessly refuse/ refrain a voluntary payment or consent to donation requests for what you enjoy is also objectionable, because it willfully or neglectfully demonstrates a lack of integrity and honor.

If you merely like that music, or want to find out if you do, then it makes sense that you would rather not pay for it. However, if you love the music, if it impresses you, and that music is something you would otherwise buy " then isn "t showing appreciation and support with your money and/or time the decent thing to do?

I mean, if you truly and sincerely enjoy it, wouldn`t you want to contribute to, commend and celebrate its existence " its perpetuation?

To essentially say with your money: I like what you created. Thank you!

Alas, money moves this world. It is foolishly naïve to deny or pretend that fact isn "t so.

The value of something in capitalist economy is defined by what people are willing to pay for it. And if you aren`t willing to pay for it? That thing becomes scarce or of inferior quality. And the creators aren`t the only ones who lose in that scenario. WE THE PEOPLE, as consumers or admirers of the created, we suffer from a decrease in what we love.

I understand well that we don`t all have enough money to pay for everything we like, and would like to pay for. But for the things we really like-- if we can afford to, shouldn`t we be magnanimous and philanthropic? I wish I had the finances to be more supportive " of artists whose work I applaud. We`ve gotten to a point of laziness where, if we can`t use the remote, just going to the TV to change the channel is an inconvenience, if not crazy. Our society is diminished by an apathy in which, if a TV show we like is canceled or threatened to be, most of us seem content to let a favored show disappear unopposed; instead of attempting to save it through a demonstration of support. An act as simple as writing a letter or sending a form email is apparently too much hassle? If a TV show we enjoy changes its schedule or goes into hiatus, for many of us, instead of looking for it, the show becomes out of sight-out of mind. If you allegedly enjoy the show, and yet can`t spare time to watch it, to find it, to record it, to keep up with it... how much do you really like it? And if we can`t even be bothered or motivated to defend a TV show we like, can we manage or be expected to defend something as critical as world peace?

This negligence reveals not just a shortened attention span, but worse-- an inability or unwillingness to commit to what we claim to love and approve. Our indifferent and dismissive behavior expresses that we actually don`t really care. If a particular entertainment goes away, then just move onto some other amusement, one being as good as another " as if it means nothing more to us than a momentary-- and ultimately irrelevant-- distraction. What`s happened to artistic appreciation? If we really cared about something, if we really liked something, we would make the time and effort for it.

If a creator asks for a donation, and you like what they`re doing or trying to do " then why not comply, as you are able?

At JSDC, Jessica Stover`s relatively unanswered requests for fundraising on her film projects illustrates the phenomenon, in a microcosm. Considering the numbers of non-repeat traffic she gets on her site daily, the amount of money donated is both lacking and disproportionate. Clearly, a great many people like what she`s doing, otherwise they would not continue to flock there in droves. Right? And yet, statistically, most of them return frequently as what Jess calls drive-by freeloaders, donating nothing to support her artistry.

Jessica notes about raising $7000 for finishing a small film project, If everyone who visited JSDC Monday morning put in ten bucks, then it`d be done and done. "

Seriously, $10 is not a lot to ask. Or to give. And yet, the goal is far from reached.

Her projects are entirely fan supported. But apparently visitor " doesn`t necessarily mean fan . The genuine core fans have already donated to this and her other projects, so there is less/limited coin available from them to contribute substantially to each.

Continuing, she elaborates, That way you can see how easily you can breathe life with but a little movement or kill things with lethargy, how easily things live or die when you vote with your wallets; both by what you patronize and don`t patronize. "

And in summation, This process is definitely an exercise in how difficult it is to create and distribute anything. My hope is that you will understand, and come to understand that he who controls the media controls reality right down to how you perceive what is worth paying for and what is not. "