Living with the commons


This map is over ten years old, but shows that the US receives over half of the value of all royalty and licence fees paid in one year, and that while the per capita value of these fees was $130 in the UK it was only around $9 in both Spain and Italy.  So let’s congratulate our knowledge and creativity based industries?  Or does this export / import market in intellectual property threaten cultural exchange and our freedom to be creative.

The enclosure of knowledge that copyright rations is also accompanied by a ‘scarcity of average attention’ (Philippe Aigrain) in the face of digitised abundance.   Our ideas of authorship and cultural authority support the trading of culture that may have once been considered indigenous or ‘common’ to all and most of us join a consumer pirate crew as a consequence.  So, hooray for  initiatives like the creative commons and Open Culture.  Promoting these types of opportunity is part of the cultural professional’s C21st responsibilities. 

Image: www.worldmapper.org

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