A free culture supports and protects creators and innovators. It does this directly by granting intellectual property rights. But it does so indirectly by limiting the reach of those rights, to guarantee that follow-on creators and innovators remain as free as possible from the control of the past. A free culture is not a culture without property, just as a free market is not a market in which everything is free.
The current domineering corporations are free to wage their war of cultural walls and ceases and desists. However, customers are free to take their business elsewhere to companies that donÃ¢â¬â¢t try to control them or their freedoms. Here as well, technology is changing the rules. The Internet allows people to better organize and better watch the actions of corporations. The Cluetrain Manifesto, a set of 95 theses of how modern companies must do business, was written entirely as a warning to businesses that they needed to listen more to both their employees and their market. I believe that the Manifesto sums itself up best in Thesis #34, Ã¢â¬ÅTo speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.Ã¢â¬Â
Companies can no longer afford to put the bottom line above the heads of their customers. Anything you do can be held against you and knowledge of it will spread across the internet as quick as you can do it, and faster than you can apologize for having done it. As Cluetrain Thesis #80 states, Ã¢â¬ÅDon't worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as it's not the only thing on your mind.Ã¢â¬Â
Technology has also evened the playing field. No longer does it take special equipment and large capital investments to publish creative works. The existing Ã¢â¬Åmiddle manÃ¢â¬Â corporations that solely publish works can be bypassed and creative works can be sold straight to the consumer. The technology is working towards a truly democratic publishing infrastructure. It doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t mean that companies wonÃ¢â¬â¢t get their money back if they invest into the works of a creative author; it just means that theyÃ¢â¬â¢ll be competing in a larger, more competitive, market, which is precisely what Capitalism is about.
With alternative venues for innovation, new ideas and artworks may percolate, rising to renown by quality alone, without advertising, thus bypassing the mavens of culture who now wield such power over which artists, actors, or writers prosper, and which fail.