The dark side of freeism

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Old 03 March 2013   #16
Haha guys! Are we really going to use Joker as our "ethical compass" now?! I mean...

I think google / facebook is an interesting example, but a very complicated and deceiving one. At the end of the day Sergey Brin, Larry Page and everyone at Google go home with a fat paycheck. In this case, people who pay for the free services we use are investors; who spent money on Google and obviously now have a lot more of it (i'm simplifying I know... I don't know shit about this market and i'm not part of it).

In our CG case, the ones who pays the bills for this free labor are either young artists with no leverage, who has to compete with no-wage competitors and students, often with massive debts in loans.

If you're going to give away something for free, give it to somebody who actually need it. I don't know, environmental activists, people with cancer, handicap people... not Hollywood money-mongols for Pete's sake!
 
Old 03 March 2013   #17
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Last edited by TheCook : 03 March 2013 at 07:21 PM.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #18
Originally Posted by teruchan: Another wise man, Mark Twain, said "Write without pay until someone offers pay..."

One thing to note, though, is that nearly all versions of freeism are a form of advertising. Authors give away their books for free. Musicians give away songs. Even the big anime companies in the US were giving away anime episodes.


The problem with these examples is that you are describing individuals and companies giving FINAL PRODUCTS for free, final products that contribute to your own individual branding.

When you're just some guy helping to make somebody else famous then you have significantly diminished returns for working for free because when you want to use a famous project to advertise yourself then it can still be said of you, "well, how do I know that someone else couldn't have done what you did? Everyone above you in the hierarchy is what REALLY defines the final product."

It's not to say that you get nothing out of working on a famous project that you can put on your resume, but you get a lot lot less than people like the artists of Odd Future or whoever releases a final product get.

(And musicians are especially a bad example because musicians can get most of their money from tours and concerts, they're still getting paid, the recording can be seen as merely advertising for the concert.)

Last edited by badsearcher : 03 March 2013 at 09:12 PM.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #19
Lots of good responses so far. In my opinion, doing something for free is not inherintly wrong, so long as it is mutually, and equally beneficial. At least as equal as possible. One of the problems is that, as it relates to the VFX industry, it isn't mutually beneficial or equal.
Its a kind of a laddering effect. The artist gives away their time, which in turn allows the employer/company to benefit by not accounting for the real cost. Then the major studio benefits by making/getting the services from the employer/company at a reduced rate....albeit an unsustainable one (because it doesn't represent the "real" cost), thus allowing the shareholders and suits to benefit without having to pay the real cost of production.
I say its a laddering effect because as you go up the ladder the benefit increases...

...i think the major studios have somewhat of a parasitic relationship with the vfx industry. It doesn't, can't and won't work! The relationship has to be symbiotic. The problem is also that the industry has also put itself in the position to kiss ass instead of kicking it! These two things have brought us to where we are.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #20
Oh good - another thread about the dangers of working for free.
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Old 03 March 2013   #21
Originally Posted by Artbot: Oh good - another thread about the dangers of working for free.


So? I mean, clearly these threads generate interest and conversation, so, is there a problem?
 
Old 03 March 2013   #22
Originally Posted by TheCook: People are willing to work for free, for a slim to no-chance to get "a foot in the door", but without realizing (or maybe they just don't care...) that they are killing this industry.

Sorry, but that's placing blame on the wrong group, I'm afraid. To claim people willing to work for free are killing the industry (and even suggesting that they do it because they just don't care) is a dangerous oversimplification at best and won't help to get this industry back on track either IMHO.
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Old 03 March 2013   #23
Hirazi, I agree that anytime you are looking at problems, you need to 'follow the money' to find the ones with the most power, and consequently, responsibility.

But you have to acknowledge that there is a large amount of gentrification that happens when a field turns into a place that expects a large amount of free labor as a cost of entry and so there's quite a bit of resentment against people whose parents can subsidize such an existence and consequently subsidize the vfx market.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #24
This might help the conversation:
Free culture movement
Quote:
"The free culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content[1][2] by using the Internet and other forms of media.
The movement objects to overly-restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system "permission culture".[3]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_culture_movement

"Criticisms

The most vocal criticism against the free culture movement comes from copyright proponents. Rick Carnes, the president of the Songwriters Guild of America, and Coley Hudgins, the executive director of arts+labs, an alliance of technology and media companies, claim that despite the free culture movement’s argument that copyright is “killing culture”, the movement itself, and the media it creates, damages the arts industry and hurts economic growth.[28]
In addition, some argue that the atmosphere of the copyright debate has changed. Free culture may have once defended culture producers against corporations. But now free culture may hurt smaller culture producers. Prominent technologist and musician Jaron Lanier discusses this perspective and many other critiques of Free Culture in his 2010 book You Are Not A Gadget. Lanier's concerns include the depersonalization of crowd-sourced anonymous media (such as Wikipedia) and the economic dignity of middle-class creative artists.
Andrew Keen, a critic of Web 2.0, criticizes some of the Free Culture ideas in his book, Cult of the Amateur, hyperbolically describing Lessig as an "intellectual property communist".[29]
In the news media industry, some blame free culture as the cause behind the decline of its market. However, scholars like Clay Shirky claim that the market itself, not free culture, is what is killing the journalism industry.[7]"
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Old 03 March 2013   #25
Originally Posted by badsearcher: So? I mean, clearly these threads generate interest and conversation, so, is there a problem?


Yes, so much interest that there are a half dozen other recent threads with the same discussion going on.
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Old 03 March 2013   #26
@badsearcher - You're not wrong, BUT the problems created by an industry relying too much on free labor shouldn't be blamed on the people providing this free labor. And that specifically was my point. Basically making your business depend (primarily) on free labor is similar to outsourcing (only even cheaper). Don't blame the worker, doing your job for less or even for free, blame the companies that enable these practices.
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Old 03 March 2013   #27
Vfx vendors rely on "free labour" in London all the time as part of your temp contract. Its an utter disgrace they do not pay overtime.

b
 
Old 03 March 2013   #28
Originally Posted by Hirazi: @badsearcher - You're not wrong, BUT the problems created by an industry relying too much on free labor shouldn't be blamed on the people providing this free labor. And that specifically was my point. Basically making your business depend (primarily) on free labor is similar to outsourcing (only even cheaper). Don't blame the worker, doing your job for less or even for free, blame the companies that enable these practices.


@Hirazi - I agree, I was over-simplifying things, and there's nothing simple about it. But you can't ignore the fact that if suddenly no-one agrees to take work for free and charge at least enough to make a living out of what they are doing, eventually employers/clients will have to play along. So at least in theory, young artists have the power to change all that, and with power comes responsibility (came out a bit fartsy -- sorry). If somebody have the power to change something but chooses not to for his own convenience -- he is responsible.

Maybe work-for-free artists shouldn't be blamed, maybe they should, I don't know; but they are part of this like it or not.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #29
Originally Posted by Panupat: I'll bet that the school does receive some compensation (and perhaps the professor). Just not the students


If that were true. There would have been riots...

It was done for the experience. Nothing more or less.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #30
Originally Posted by narenn: If that were true. There would have been riots...


If I can speak quite frankly, in Western Culture at least, most artists, because they are told they don't have a 'practical' or 'useful' skill and are therefore implied to be a drag on the economy, end up being quite passive which I think is a large part of why so many artists tolerate the thought of working for 'exposure.'

(The aforementioned attitude is of course absurd because you never see bankers, lawyers, and a myriad of other 'non-practical' professions feel guilty for being paid and definitely not choosing to not get paid.)

Last edited by badsearcher : 03 March 2013 at 01:47 AM.
 
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