Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's the Art of Smart Business, Ashley Alexandra Dupré.

This is not legal advice (since I am not qualified for that capacity), but a personal rant for "edu-tainment" purposes: If you are an artist or otherwise creative person, it is in your best interest to retain as many legal rights to your work as possible - copyright, publishing royalties, and writer royalties. Never sell your rights or the publishing company that hold those rights (that you own) to someone else - especially not to a large corporation.

In this new media millennium, it is the artists who should take charge and control of their art. In the past, it has been the money-rich corporations and the capitalists who own them that benefit from the hard work of creative people. They were the ones to buy intellectual property on the cheap and rent it out in perpetuity. Since these corporations had the clout to market the work and milk it for every penny, then the cycle seemed to be self-sufficient: Find or fabricate the latest trend, buy rights from the talented or commission work from the talented, publicize this work, and profit from it.

Artists should truly benefit from their work. Artists should be the ones who decide whether or not to license their work for commercial use or not. Artists should have the same right to enter the capitalist class as wealthy non-artists. And maybe this could happen if enough artists are aware of the electric power at their fingertips, if they grant non-commercial Creative Commons licenses to their professional and amateur artistic peers (of various media) and milk the bigwigs for limited-term commercial licenses.

How does this connect with Client-9's call girl? For one thing, if you're going to be videotaped by Girls Gone Wild, you should at least get paid - residuals would be ideal - or not even be in a contractual agreement with them at all. Even still, would-be pop star Ashley Alexandra Dupré lost her chance at ex-jailbird Joe Francis' $1 million and must try to sell as many 98-cent mp3s (to get less than 30% royalties or so from the music download service) before her fifteen minutes of infamy are finished - or try to extend those fifteen minutes as shrewdly as possible. Regardless, she should make sure she still legally owns those tracks, or at least a hefty portion of copyright, as it could be your retirement plan. Ashley Alexandra Dupré can't expect to be a high-priced call girl forever, and in light of last week's situation - anymore for that matter.

Mayflower Hotel Washington photo credit: David Shapinsky.

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