Beneath the roil of arguments about illegal downloading of digital media, there is an unmistakable social, dare I say ethical, implication to the idea that the next generation is growing up believing that it is normal to enjoy entertainment media without paying for it. Perhaps the most counter-intuitive phenomenon is the fact that college students currently paying a premium to study and train for careers in the arts are among those using torrent sites and other means of file sharing to download movies and music in ways that never compensate the creators but do line the pockets of the site owners, ad servers, and advertisers. All the while, the PR messages coming from the industries which benefit from this exploitation support the activities of these kids, who just may be selling out their own future careers.
The dialogue has to change, working artists are beginning to speak out again, and Will Buckley hopes to give creators of all size and type a means to share ideas and ultimately reach their fans on a peer-to-peer basis. The hope is to have intelligent dialogue about how the work really gets done, who really suffers from illegal downloading, and who gains. In 2011, Buckley founded FarePlay, which has most recently joined forces with The Trichordist, co-founded by musician David Lowery, who has become very outspoken on these issues.
I spoke to Will Buckley via Skype at his home in Florida.