The Future of Medium
Open response to the invitation to produce paid exclusive content: A contribution
It is an honor and a privilege this invitation to participate in this challenge that is the capitalization of Medium. A challenge that reflects the very struggle of those who would like to support their work as a writer, with the freedom to produce with the quality that has made this platform known as a provider of differentiated content.
In times of extreme polarization, superficiality and discreditability of information and thought, Medium has been able to constitute as a reference of critical and lucid thinking both by the work of those who write and by the work of those who read it. Now as readers, now as writers these people have constituted and continue to voluntarily constitute the deserved capital of Medium as provider of this space.
In this sense Medium is much more than a content provider, or a library of independent contemporary literary production, it is a community of these reader-writers who collectively create that wealth. One of the most magnificent differentials of Medium, and a determining factor in the generation of its quality production, is the interaction it provides among these writers-readers.
Sometimes reading the prose poetry of a person who is not part of my “follower-following” circle, but of someone who for some reason liked the writing, enlarged my own perspectives and sensibilities and “talked” with him Through his work, again find inspiration for mine. If we reflect we will see that this amplifying effect of the inspirations is an event that has found space to occur in rare opportunities throughout the history of the creation of the thought. And never with such cosmopolitan and multicultural breadth.
I think, feel and write in Portuguese even when translated into English. And I do this within the reality of Brazil, a country of non-readers. Marked on the one hand by the functional illiteracy of a population that did not have access to reading, and on the other by a large majority that even having been properly literate carries in itself a profound unwillingness to read the world. That is why I deeply appreciate the challenge that Medium poses, because within this peripheral reality, wanting to live in writing is like passing a certificate of poverty, and wanting to live from writing outside the mainstream media sounds like declaring yourself a marginal or vagabond.
Therefore, the capital that Medium deservedly already has as a brand, as a network in itself is already gigantic. If we make a filtering of the production of mainly original and critical content that Medium has in its collection, and reproduces daily, it does not compare to that of any media or social network. And without a doubt, I share the view that those who enjoy and mainly use this good and can pay for it should do so. Just as I agree that these reader-writers who support the provision of such content should of course also be remunerated by the percentage of the gains.
So when you ask about what percentage I expect to receive on the content that will be paid. I suggest by way of simplifying the calculation, the famous 10 percent. However I would like 10 percent of what would be to me to be equally distributed to all other Medium-writer.
As for production, I think it is perfectly fair that anyone who can afford to do it, but would not like that who can not, but still wants to read or use this work can do it. I know how to make such distinctions in service provision is not only difficult but counterproductive. But it is not in the discrimination of the client-users that this distinction is made, but in the licenses of use and reproduction of the intellectual property. It is through them that those who can not pay for the provision of content can be released, but they contribute to their publicity through the free dissemination of those who will actually gauge economic gains from the commercial and economic use of the knowledge provided.
I am therefore talking about hybrid copyright licenses that release access to and reproduction of content for vehicles and non-profit making entities and uses, but which guarantee predetermined royalties on the earnings earned for the owners of the work.
Facebook today makes billions by not selling paid advertising to its users, but rigorously users as consumers to businesses. Its capital is in the appropriation that is not criminal of the data people. Its added value is both the reduction of this data into marketable products companies, as well as the formatting of the network itself and consequently reducing the mentality of users the mentality of both economic and political consumers. So it’s extremely commendable that Medium in your business plan does not opt for this perverse logic. But that does not prevent that, like Facebook, it covers and covers very dearly who actually owns the capital, and in one way or another will appropriate the content and service it provides. Because one thing is to sell another is to charge.
I hope it is on these institutions that the purpose of the profit is the projection of collection both to become “people” by publishing their ideas that necessarily need to be linked to their brands within the network, or using or reproducing the content built here. Because Medium is to corporate eyes these two sources of resources: already an important network of “opinion formers” is present and being present in that influence will be fundamental for them. And take advantage of the content produced by it to support your media and communication media.
Medium for the capitalist of the information age is at the same time a Uber where he will take away the labor that will replace his producers of salaried content. And at the same time a market for the production of qualified opinions that does not replace the acquired academic-scientific studies, but which can often have more impact on public opinion than they do. If they will pay cheaper for this, or they will not pay you at all. Like a Chê Guevara shirt sold at Wal Mart, this will depend on the protection of the property that Medium can provide through the use licenses, earning the proceeds for that service, or better space for independent intellectual protection.
Considering that the objective is both economic gain and advertising of the work, I suggest that you consider the use of alternative and redistributive copyright licenses, such as RobinrightⒶ to always be charged when there are gains through your provision of content without ever hindering your Access for lack of resources to whoever wants to use it. Even because in this case as a library of knowledge in the era of capital you function as a new type of bank, making available this new form of raw material free of charge and gaining if or when companies can make profits.
In addition to charging who can and should pay for it if there is no such protection, it is not just a matter of justice, it is a matter of future, of survival. I see Medium as a platform that has everything to be the network of the international community of writers, providing services of dissemination, protection of work and work. Providing remuneration when this work is capitalized and then by obvious charging of who will actually profit as this community of writers-readers who create thought and knowledge.
I do not think this is a utopia. In fact, I do not even think it’s a near future to be a reality. This is my initial contribution. And that’s what I want to talk about: Future, for all of us. And so I made a point of responding to this open invitation, and not only in English but also in Portuguese. The future of Medium is a topic of great relevance for the whole community.
In fact my contribution is twofold. Because in addition to the text, I am also releasing for all intents and purposes including the use and reproduction of all my writings originally published here in Medium in accordance with the terms of the said Robinright license.
Within the license options that the platform provides, the texts remain as “all right reserved”, but this is only because none of the available options contemplates the terms of that license, namely: authorized to be used and reproduced including commercially without my prior authorization, But with your commercial use automatically implying the agreement of the rates on the earnings that, in my case, leave it to you to establish the value of the author based on the average.
In the meantime, I would like to close by insisting that you consider with affection the possibility of all authors who may eventually be remunerated through Medium or the commercial use of third parties of works published here previously authorized by similar licenses to which I have described tools To allocate a portion of their earnings to the other members of the network, preferably as a contract term with a fixed percentage, if not at least as an eventual and voluntary possibility. Medium’s strength is in the net. When one wins everyone should participate in those gains.
Hugs to you, thanks for the opportunity and success in this new phase.
Libertarian Activist of Basic Income and member of the ReCivitas Institute.