[-empyre-] OSW: open source writing in the network

adam adam at flossmanuals.net
Sat Jan 14 00:48:50 EST 2012

On 01/13/2012 02:10 PM, Dmytri Kleiner wrote:
> On 13.01.2012 11:03, adam wrote:
> Reducing the cost production is only "profitable" if you can prevent
> competition, which would otherwise drive price to cost. "Closed"
> publishing can prevent such competition byway of state-enforced
> intellectual property, open publishing can not.

There are many profitable businesses that have for a very long time made 
a lot of money from the resale of open (in this case out-of-copyright) 
material. Penguin books for example. They cant stop competition of their 
out-of-copyright classics but seem to be doing alright. You can get many 
of the same out-of-copyright books at project Gutenberg for free but 
that doesn't stop Penguin books and many other publishers selling the 
same material in both paper and digital form and making a good profit. 
The point here is not the price of production but services.

With digital books services are coming to the fore and it is no longer 
about price points determined by production.

There is a problem of state-enforced IP preventing competition here but 
not as you have articulated it. The problem is not of copyright 
protecting closed publishing but of closed platforms protecting 
distribution channels. That is a very important fight which encompasses 
digital networks as a whole and open publishing is directly effected.

Regardless, the opportunity is to take this moment and these 
opportunities and make it work for us on scale. 2012 more than any other 
year opens up publishing and if we miss this window we can only blame 
ourselves. If we wait for the moment capitalism is abolished then 
publishing will stay as it is for a very long time and then we also only 
have ourselves to blame.


>> Lastly models for becoming profitable are changing. The biggest shift
>> I see is to put the money at the front of the production cycle instead
>> of at the end. There are platforms like Unbound
>> (http://www.unbound.co.uk/) that are giving this a go, and many
>> successful examples in Kickstarter:
> And this brings us back to where I left off in my response to Simon, the
> issue of scale.
> I love Kickstarter and simular sites, like Flattr, Goteo, etc. If you
> are a cultural worker or free software producer I highly recommend using
> these, as they are generating a fantastic community of cultural
> production, which is great to be part of, if you can.
> Yet, it's a very small community. So the vast majority of production can
> not be funded by these sites. It's exactly the kind of token or fringe
> alternatives that we must not mistake as a genuine embodiment of social
> change, as cool as it is for the few it can support.
> Kickstarter, for example, has raised $125 million dollars in it's
> history. In total. This seems like a rather impressive sum until you
> remember that it's just over half the budget of "Spiderman 2," which is
> one movie, and not an especially high-budget one.
> Visit the video store and walk down the isles, imagine that each of the
> titles you see on the shelf had budgets more simular to Spiderman 2 than
> too anything funding by Kickstarter. Now imagine the total number of
> workers employed by the budgets of the movies you see in the video
> store, compared to the number of workers employed by projects funded by
> Kickstarter and you can see what I mean.
> Does Kickstarter work? Sure! Does it fund amazing projects? Yes! Should
> you use it? Absolutely! Will it change the way culture is produced? No.
> It wont. And even imaging it could assumes, as I mentioned, a massive
> descaling of cultural employment. Would we even want that?
> Now, you might believe that that is merely a temporary situation, that
> Kickstarter and simular sites can grow and grow until they can reach a
> simular scale to capital funded culture, but that is not possible. Why?
> Because Spiderman 2 is funded from accumulated capital, while
> Kickstarter is funded from the retained earnings of workers. This is a
> rather important difference.
> What it means is that the limits of the amounts of funding available for
> each model are a function of the structure of wealth in society. The
> total pool of accumulated capital vs the total amount of retained
> earnings workers are able to consistently divert from consumption. The
> former is orders of magnitude larger than the later. In fact, the
> workings of the labour market will tend to push the later towards 0.
> For projects like Kickstarter to scale they can not depend on the
> limited funds workers are able to divert from consumption, and must tap
> into the real source of accumulation: Surplus Value. In other words,
> only when money available for Kickstarter investment can be reproduced
> from the captured profits of the works they fund. To achieve that,
> Kickstarter would need become not much different than the industry as it
> exists today.
> Sorry if this breaks your heart. It breaks mine. But as much as I love
> our hacker and free culture community, let's not mistake our subculture
> with a new mode of production, doing so will only make us complacent,
> content with our lack of complicity in evil proprietary culture, instead
> of standing with the great majority of cultural producers and consumers
> and demanding nothing less that the complete transformation of cultural
> production, which means the abolition of capitalism.


Adam Hyde
Founder, FLOSS Manuals
Project Manager, Booki
Book Sprint Facilitator
mobile :+ 49 177 4935122
identi.ca : @eset
booki.flossmanuals.net : @adam


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