Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dutch copyright survey—visual artists voice optimism about digital media

"Blurred Visions," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

Dutch visual working artists voice optimism about self-promotional opportunities within digital media, according to a recently released 2010 unscientific, online survey.

As the Netherlands eyes enacting tougher copyright laws against online piracy, wisely it first sought feedback from its 110,000 working artists (their day job).

About half of the 4,500 responding artists (about 4 percent) didn´t feel threatened by digital media.

The Most Threatened

Only 9 percent, the “Claimers,” want stricter copyright laws. Illustrators, authors and photographers are overrepresented among Claimers.

“Strikingly, musicians are underrepresented amongst the Claimers,” the survey summary said. 

Claimers are usually age 45 or older and derive most of their income from royalties through collection societies.

“Concerned Young People,”--another 11 percent--expressed pessimism about their bargaining power in the digital world.

CYPs earn through performance fees. They don´t make much money but work many hours in their creative professions.

Who are the optimists?

“Self-conscious Makers”—accounting for 15 percent--are overpopulated by visual artists, photographers, cartoonists, illustrators and designers. They see positive opportunities on the Internet.

Most are self-employed.

The SCMs share this general outlook with “Generation 2.0,” representing 18 percent.

They are young, make most of their money from outside of creative work, relying more on performance fees than royalties.

The “Non-affected” 18 percent said digitization has little impact on their professions as visual artists, designers and directors.

Visual authors, singer-songwriters, composers and illustrators were underrepresented in this category.

The “Generation Analog” group, comprising 12 percent, don´t have much of a clue how to deal with the digital world.

Besides, most of their money flows from royalties, collecting societies and commercial agents.

“Digital Newcomers” comprise 17 percent.  

Mostly authors, screenwriters, actors, and directors, they see opportunities in digitization but make little of digital media.

“Most work in sectors yet to experience opportunities and consequences of digitization,” the survey said.

What effect have collection societies—Burma/Stemra, Sena, Norma, Lira, Pictoright and Vevam—on these results?

Most responding who used these collection societies said they were satisfied clients. 

I don´t have an answer. It may have neutralized those otherwise potentially threatened by digital media and file sharing.

What does all this mean?

I think it means the law will rarely keep up with the pace of ditigal media´s technology and growth.

Any patchwork system of laws and enforcement will not work. Uniform laws and approaches are required.

If the Dutch survey offers insight, it´s that digital media is a moving target in fast transition.

Responding optimists appear those with the most to gain and least to lose in the new media.

Artists relying on royalties, collection societies and commercial agents and who have much to lose to the Richard Princes of the art world, express substantial fear and pessimism.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

"Miroma´s Majesty," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2008)

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