Publicly Funded Digital Productions · Monday June 09, 2008 by Crosbie Fitch
Remember The Digital Art Auction? Perhaps you even remember The Street Performer Protocol? Related, but distinct ideas that no doubt sprang into many people’s minds at the peak of Napster’s popularity. Not all of the people with these ideas bothered to write up and publish them. Some of us even tried implementing them – some of us are picking up business, some of us are still tinkering in the workshop.
These ideas arise from a perceived necessity to enable the sale of digital art without relying upon a monopoly on the manufacturing of copies (copyright), and adopt the solution of collecting of a fund from the interested public in order to commission the production and/or purchase the publication of a digital artwork. The Digital Art Auction arrives at a single price paid by all covering bidders, whereas the Street Performer Protocol simply collects all pledges, large or small, should the total prove agreeable.
There are many variations already out there, e.g. microPledge is an implementation of the Street Performer Protocol, and PropagateLtd [now LiberateIP.com] is an implementation of the Digital Art Auction. See Fund and release for more information and links to other implementations.
As for myself, I’m currently working on the Contingency Market, a commission free exchange that is designed to enable anyone to roll their own website that relies upon large numbers of users exchanging money contingent upon the outcome of future, public events (such as the publication of a digital artwork).
So, have no doubt that sales of digital art are possible even without copyright.
Kort E Patterson in his recent article Copyright History and How to Escape It provides further discussion of this area.