Clarke, however, believes the model that will ultimately prevail is that of shareware: I write a cool piece of code, put it out there and say, “If you find this useful, please send me a check for five dollars.” Unfortunately, it’s kind of like those public-television pledge drives. You know you should send them a check. One of these days. In other words, ain’t nobody buying houses in Malibu off the proceeds of shareware. Which means that those of us who dreamed of making our riches in “content” — be it movies, music or epic poetry — may be SOL (shit out of luck).
Nobody in this town is going to feel sorry for some $20 million name-above-the-title who suddenly finds his or her gross points are worth crap. But if Clarke is right, and Rodrigues, Taylor and the rest of the copyright crowd are wrong, five or 10 years down the line, film- and music-company revenue models could be dead. And after years of waiting or dancing on tables, when you finally get the shot you’ve worked so hard for, you may find a zero or two lopped off your check.
Ian Clarke would like us to live on principle. Although I admire his intellect, I’d rather live off interest.