So, for those not familiar with my posts, I've been mulling over the idea of going non-profit, public domain with my solo dev game and comics studio.
I know I just lost a ton of people with that sentence. That's fine.
Don't think I haven't heard it from plenty of people already. "But what if it's successful? Won't you be giving up a ton of royalty money? Won't you be mad if someone uses your characters and makes a million dollars and gives you nothing?"
There are both short and long answers to these questions.
SHORT: Great. Yes and No.
But what if it's successful? - Great, I hope that the ideas and themes I've created spread and inspire others to do the same.
Won't you be giving up a ton of royalty money? - Yes, and I'm fine with it. Because if someone can do a better job or crate a more inspiring idea with my pre-existing characters, than so be it. All the power to them. As a solo dev it is beyond exhausting and time consuming to defend and enforce traditional copyrights. Besides I'd still own the copyright to my work and stories and I don't need to acknowledge or consider work by others as cannon to my storytelling universe. Anyone can make a story with any character, but not from my approach or perspective. No one can recreate your perspective but you. With all the corruption that is apparent in all levels of our institutions and legal system, I don't want to feed that toxic legal system by giving my money to government bodies in registration fees or lawyers with legal fees.
Won't you be mad if someone uses your characters and makes a million dollars and gives you nothing? - Nope, and the current system in the mainstream already does that to creators anyway. Look at Garry Friedrich and Mike Ploog. They created Ghost Rider. When Marvel made the first Ghost Rider movie, the creators asked for royalties. In response, Marvel sued them into oblivion for daring to presume that they should stand up for themselves. Their only "crime" was selling original Ghost Rider art at conventions, the character they created. Marvel was happy to let them do that even though they contractually owned the character, that is until they spoke up and Marvel used the legal system to ruin and silence them. If you want to be successful and work with a big company you have to give ownership of your characters away anyway, with no promise of a share of what that character may make in the future. So how is it really that different? It's not just an issue in the comics or entertainment world, but in the business and work world in general. Employees are expected to sacrifice their own ideas, health, well-being and anything else for the good of an employer that is totally indifferent toward their existence, if not outright contemptful of anyone who suggests things should be done differently. If I create a character under public domain/creative commons and someone is inspired by that character to make a movie, cartoon, comic, game, anything else, I'm no worse off than if I worked with a large publisher and more likely to be able to enforce the most minimum of recognition, a simple credit that says that I created that character. And if someone can take my idea and build on it, make it better and use it to inspire more people then they have my utmost respect. And if they make a piece of crap, they make a piece of crap. It doesn't reflect on me. I can always make something with the character myself that I feel is of quality.
I'm tired of my hard work and money going to support a system that disrespects and screws the average working class person. I'm also tired of hearing people complain about that system, but not willing to do anything to fix or change it, if it means that they have to lift a finger or speak up for themselves. There are a lot of people who bellyache about our society, but consistently have to come up with a problem for every solution suggested. I don't want to be that person either.
So in the spirit of setting an example I've really been doing some hard thinking and research. I feel like the best possible way to make change is to make my publishing efforts public domain, low cost and non-profit. It would remove a lot of the constraints and bullshit that has to be dealt with in the traditional system. The more I think about it the more I think any publishing venture, especially news media, should be non-profit, removing advertising and sponsor bias and allowing an organization to provide an affordable product that respects the customer and creator. With such a system it is also realistically viable to properly reimburse the creator for their work instead of looking for every opportunity to snatch money and credit from them.
I truly feel that the only way that we will ever have honest, unbiased media coverage and world news is under such a non-profit system.
The real question is; will people support it? A lot of skeptics will say "no". I'm willing to try anyway because I 'm willing to take the risk if it gives me a chance to not be bent over by larger companies all the time. These mega-corporations can fight larger legal battles with the resources that they amass off of other people's backs. Will the public support it? Should it be a grass roots campaign? Should I run a kickstarter to raise the funds for registration, along with raising awareness and support?
Would you support a non-profit/not-for-profit publisher of games and comics? One that made their characters available for you to use in your own games and comics?
Let me know and share thoughts and opinions at https://mgagnon81.artstation.com/contact I may share some of the responses, so please state in your message if it is okay to read in a video or post in an article, etc.
Looking forward to hearing people's thoughts.
All Day Breakfast Productions