When discussing online content there are positives and negatives to be considered when producers choose to make their content freely available. The PowToon below highlights some of these.
In a world influenced by money, it is not surprising that millions of illegally downloaded materials are obtained each day. In a report carried out by MarkMonitor Inc. (2011), they found “of 43 unique sites they observed. Traffic generated to these sites was over 146,000,000 visits per day”. It’s clear that online piracy is a real issue, so by a producer making their materials free they can avoid the stigma that comes from illegal downloads.
There are certain scenarios where creators wish for their content to be consumed by as many people as possible. In an interview with Time (2014) the band U2 outlined why they wanted to release their album for free on I-Tunes and how by doing this they reached “500 million users”.
Although U2 have already made vast sums of money, it can be in smaller creator’s interests to follow their example. By reaching a large audience, it can increase the likelihood of consumers paying for future content that those producers create.
As for disadvantages, there are varieties of reasons why someone may not wish to distribute their work for free. The obvious reason is the loss of initial earnings. For some, creating content is money orientated and without a reward is pointless. In an article by The Wall Street Journal (2014) popular singer Taylor Swift discussed how “music is important and rare and therefore valuable, so should not be free”. This is the opposite of the previous example involving U2.
Continuing from this, a further disadvantage that covers not just media but academia and politics, is the issue of plagiarism. The infographic below outlines examples of where plagiarism occurs and the ramifications that follow.
Although paid content can be plagiarised, by making your content freely available you encourage this even more. In academia for example for someone to plagiarise a journal article they may have to pay “as much as $40,000”. (The Guardian, 2012)
In my opinion, for forms of media to grow, content does need to be readily available but to encourage this there needs to be an incentive for those creators such as money or recognition. This will help both the creator and the online community.
MarkMonitor Inc. (2011), Online Report Accessed [08/12/2016]: https://www.markmonitor.com/download/report/MarkMonitor_-_Traffic_Report_110111.pdf
Piktochart, Personally Created Online: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/18909352-topic-5-piktochart
Powtoon, Personally Created Online: https://www.powtoon.com/c/dWfOt02qfJX/2/p
The Guardian (2012), Online Article Accessed [06/12/2016]: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/apr/24/harvard-university-journal-publishers-prices
The Wall Street Journal (2014), Online Article Accessed [09/12/2016]: http://www.wsj.com/articles/for-taylor-swift-the-future-of-music-is-a-love-story-1404763219
Time (2014), Online Video Accessed [06/12/2016]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejDNHu9Wf-4
Time (2014), Online Article Accessed [06/12/2016]: http://time.com/3394701/u2-free-itunes-album/