Ryan Sohmer Rails Against Internet Regulation

Ryan Sohmer is the author of the wildly succesful webcomics Least I Could Do, and Looking For Group.  His recent post in the LICD forums is a response to the Writer’s Guild of Canada’s calls to begin regulating the internet in Canada, especially in the realm of online video.

“Say what you will about the web, and there is much to be said, it breeds innovation. The reason for that is because it’s non-regulated, because an ass like me can produce whatever he likes, however he likes in an effort to entertain others. The majority of the things we try don’t/won’t/shouldn’t work, but if 1 out of every 100 projects works, that’s a success.” – Ryan Sohmer

excerpted from “Union Woes” – Least I Could Do Forum.

As one of a select few who make their entire living from independently publishing content on the web (and associated merchandise sales), Ryan’s opinion should certainly carry some weight.  

Canadian media has typically been less reactionary in new media intellectual property concerns, with the CBC going so far as to release a DRM-free, high quality version of “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” via Bittorrent last March.

Creative Commons Doesn’t Cannibalize Sales

NIN Frontman Trent Reznor (Photo by Capital M)

NIN Frontman Trent Reznor
(Photo by Capital M)

Chris Anderson recently posted “The best selling MP3 album of the year was free” on The Long Tail blog. Apparently, Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV was the best selling MP3 album of 2008 despite being released under a Creative Commons license that allowed for free, legal sharing.

The album grossed more than $1.6 million in revenue duing the first week in release.  Creative Commons blog has more:

NIN fans could have gone to any file sharing network to download the entire CC-BY-NC-SA album legally. Many did, and thousands will continue to do so. So why would fans bother buying files that were identical to the ones on the file sharing networks? One explanation is the convenience and ease of use of NIN and Amazon’s MP3 stores. But another is that fans understood that purchasing MP3s would directly support the music and career of a musician they liked.

This would seem to be another big win for proponents of alternative models to the traditional intellectual property attitudes stemming from the physical goods economy.