Lawyers, Nerds, and Money

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The Internet has been lauded as a way for independent content creators, such as writers, musicians, and filmmakers, to distribute their work outside of traditional media structures, thereby circumventing entry barriers that prevent aspiring artists from developing creative careers. Unfortunately, the logistics of network influence necessary for any widespread reach are often overlooked. As a result, only a few such creators actually succeed. This study articulates the extent to which the “anyone-can-publish” paradigm resists late capitalist modes of content production, but with particular attention to network infrastructures required for any sustainable publishing success. I propose that free online content can represent a new model of artistic production that is financially viable for the producer while maintaining the ethos of free content, but only within certain contexts that take advantage of these infrastructures.