Peter Sunde isn’t known for his approach at ensuring content creators get rewarded for their work. The Pirate Bay, which doesn’t host any illegal content but happens to point to where you can find said content, is a prime example of taking content for free. Putting that aside, his latest project, Flattr, has me rather excited.
It’s nothing new, the concept of micro payments has been around for a while now. Sellaband, a rather unique approach to music, allows the listener to support their favorite artist in producing their next album or song. Spot.us uses the same approach, community funded reporting. The problem stems with the way people view, and use, the web. Because the content seems free, as in you don’t need to buy a subscription for every site you visit, the reader gets the idea that if it’s on the web, it’s free to use and abuse as you feel fit.
Great if you are a trustafarian with daddy’s gold card and loads of time to play at being creative, but totally the wrong approach if you strive to earn money from your hard work (i know, i know, wash my mouth out, artists should get paid??). Where I see Flattr working well in my situation is with documentary projects. If the project is interesting, readers would hopefully give me a small donation. It doesn’t have to be much at all, maybe 2 dollars at a time.
I bet you even give the guy who washes your windscreen, or guards your car, more than that, so are you telling me you wouldn’t be inclined to do the same for me?
This video explains the approach:
The key thing to the success of Flattr is the uptake. I know many have tried with Paypal, but let’s face it, Paypal is an evil company pretending to be a bank. I avoid using Paypal where possible. Another question is how much will Flattr charge each party involved for the process of sending and receiving a donation?
I do really hope this picks up. It has all the hallmarks of being a useful conduit for ideas and stories on the Internet.