Thoughts On Ownership and Compensation

This post is part of the ongoing Sentry project along with my peers, Bryan and Brandon, whose blogs can be found here and here, respectively. The general idea is that each one of us will create a post on a subject of our choosing and the other two will write a response within a week concerning the post. Of course, we also invite anyone to share their own opinions and thoughts as well. The more the merrier, after all.

Like many of you reading this, I am a huge fan and user of the Internet. For research, entertainment, work, or just wasting a few minutes of time, I have come to use and rely on my computer and online access more and more with each passing day. Even when I do ever so infrequently turn on my television, it is usually just acts as a bigger screen for whatever I am streaming or working on. I am fairly certain that I watch more original content on YouTube now than I do on actual television. While the comments section always devolves into a cesspool of human thought and interaction, there is one particular topic that annoys the crap out of me; the discussion of revenue, advertisements, etc. on the videos being watched.

There appears to be this idea that everything on the internet is/should be free. “It’s all information. Information belongs to the masses and should be free.” I don’t understand or know where this concept came from, but the lack of logic behind it is absurd. Information has always been available but it has never been free. Before the age of the internet, television and radio was the major form of entertainment and information. Unless you were watching/listening to Public Access, advertisements were usually paying for what you were viewing. Before television/radio, people relied on books. These books, unless you bought them, were available for ‘free’ at your local library. Guess what? These libraries, and their contents, were paid for by donations, taxes, drives, etc. Sensing a pattern?

Information/entertainment has never been free. It has always cost something to create it. Perhaps it did not cost you, the consumer, directly but it still required some cost to come into fruition. This is what I find frustrating about these conversations about compensation and advertisements, in particular, going on concerning online viewing. There is a sense of entitlement as though people are deserving of what they view/stream and are annoyed/perplexed that the creators would allow advertisements on their content. I am not talking about random cat videos or idiots harming themselves because frankly no one should be paid for that. I am referring to individuals that actually take the time and effort to at least attempt to make something of quality. Creating such things is not cheap and the people involved deserve some compensation for their efforts.

This should be pretty self explanatory. I mean, if someone even slightly aided in building an edifice, they are compensated for their work. Yet, maybe that is the true crux of the issue. Artistic/creative work has rarely been appreciate or valued beyond the few exalted ones and within select circles. While people are entertained or inspired by the art they hear, see, taste, there is seemingly a sense among the public that it is ultimately a ‘hobby’ and not actual work. I understand this idea to some degree since there is often little physical labor involved and not much of an end result for the hours of labor and effort. However, artistic creations are work. They may not be as noticeable or require the same type of labor as other jobs, but they are work and are no less deserving of compensation. Whether that is through direct payment from the customers/consumers, advertisements, banners on the side of a page, etc. is up to whoever created what you are enjoying.

I don’t know if I will ever have the drive, talent, opportunity, or balls (metaphorically speaking) to ever publish one of my stories. I hope to someday have that privilege and if that day ever comes I would like to make something from it. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy writing and the act of creating people and worlds and narratives and will continue to do so, but at the end of the day a guy’s gotta eat right?



The Sentry Gathers…


Writing Challenge – Inspired by the Stars

This is my second endeavor in the Sentry project. These stories are written alongside Bryan and Strubberg as independent endeavors. Today’s endeavor was fueled by cheap coffee and music provided by Lindsey Stirling (check out her stuff here). Check back every third Saturday for new Sentry Stories and feel free to join the process! Members pick a random “anything” to inspire our writing (this one’s was a photo of the galaxy from the Hubble Telescope) and we start writing at 12:00pm CST. The only rules are 1) the “anything” must inspire the writing 2) we can’t take longer than one hour and 3) the post must be less than 500 words. Bryan’s can be found here, Strubberg’s here. Comment on this post to learn more.


Looking Up at the Stars

Not a single cloud obstructed the view. The hill was high enough that the city’s noise did not interfere either. Richard did not mind the city’s distractions so much, but the occasional silence was always appreciated, particularly for certain events. The trek up the hill was harder than Richard remembered. He had done it only the year before with little exertion. Granted the added weight of his satchel did not help. Still after staggered steps and a few needed breaks, he reached the top. The perfect spot as always, thought Richard as he began to empty the contents of his bag.

He spread the blanket on the ground flattening it out to ensure no corner curled or turned getting as much space as possible covered. Finesse was never Richard’s strong point, but he tried to arrange the chocolates, fruits, and cheeses he had brought as best as possible. The wine was cold enough to stay out next to the simple platter for a while. His arrangement would never make a section of the local paper, much less a national magazine, but he made it as appealing as possible. It was a special night after all.

Setting up the telescope was no trouble. He had done it a hundred times. It was essentially muscle memory at this point. Unlike, his childhood friends, Richard had never really had any interest in the stars. He never wanted to be an astronaut nor travel in space. He was content to examine the mysteries and pleasures of the ground he stood on. Of course, that all changed, as with most things, when she came into the picture. Lucy, the starry eyed girl, from astronomy class. He had taken the class for an easy A and had found her. To think that he had chickened out of talking to her. Thankfully, she was not as timid as he was concerning the opposite sex.

They became inseparable. Her fascination with the stars became theirs and what was originally a cheap first date looking at the stars became a ritual of their relationship. Which is why everything has to be perfect, thought Richard returning from his haze of fond memories. The telescope was perfectly aligned. Finding a few flowers nearby to enhance his arrangement, Richard sat down and waited for a specter that would never show. He could hear church bells from below start to chime. He checked his watch, 9:00 p.m. on the dot. “Happy Anniversary, Lucy, my star.” The words felt ripped out of him as he spoke. The ring from his pocket was heavy as he placed it in his palm. Five years married. Five years of holding hands and looking at the constellations were all he had before she was taken from him. Richard could no longer hold back his tears. He laid back on the blanket and looked up at the stars praying that one day he would be able to see them once again with Lucy’s hand clasped in his.


So that was my submission. Hopefully some of you like it and others can provide suggestions for improvement in the comments or want to learn more about this crazy experiment.

The Sentry Gathers…