Creative output, social media & the tragedy of the commons

Screenshot 2014-01-24 11.43.27

Ed Yong’s comment on Alexis Madrigal’s article at The Atlantic is spot-on.

Can you spot the fundamental flaw in the logic of self-justifying logic of the owners of @HistoryInPics*?

“Photographers are welcome to file a complaint with Twitter, as long as they provide proof. Twitter contacts me and I’d be happy to remove it,” he [Xavier Di Petta] said. “I’m sure the majority of photographers would be glad to have their work seen by the massives.”
-from “The 2 Teenagers Who Run the Wildly Popular Twitter Feed @HistoryInPics” by Alexis Madrigal

If you don’t tell people who took the pictures, how do the photographers benefit from having their work seen by the “massives”? Sure, having one’s work make an impact is a reward unto itself, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

When our artists can’t pay their bills, we get less art. Or as the internet would say,  “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

*In general, I avoid linking to folks that are making their bank on the backs of uncredited artists.

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