Welcome to the sharing economy, Jim. It’s too bad that starving writers never figured out how to make words pay. You could write songs and make more money. Well, if they were good songs. You could write movie scripts and make more money. If they were ever bought. But just having a way with words gets you plagiarized. It never seems to make the writer money.
What? Oh, you think that music and movies get stolen too? Well, certainly. This isn’t about theft, this is about copying someone’s words and pretending that they are your words. Piracy? Piracy is a different thing entirely.
Piracy is not the problem. In fact, pirating as the RIAA and MPAA define them isn’t even a crime or theft. Pirating requires profiting from copying, and most people simply want to see or hear a thing. Most of them don’t even keep the copies long-term; nor are they technically savvy enough to know how to keep them (I’ve worked on enough of their computers to know) the point was, there are royalty systems in place for music and movies. For the people who know how to make sure they get paid points on the back-end. There is no structure in place to see that writers are paid for writing, even on the back-end. That paperback pays the author one time even if Half Price Books sells the same copy twenty times. Something isn’t right here.
I link that podcast just so that this is understood, what I am voicing is more than just my uninformed opinion. People pay for Spotify, and that service pays artists directly. It is one amongst dozens of services like it. Netflix has decimated what was left of the studio system in Hollywood. That industry is in the middle of re-inventing itself, about where music was back in the Aughts. Now. Now if only we could figure out how to get decent wordsmiths paid for their efforts, that would be great. Could somebody get to work on that?