Street Performer Protocol

Here’s an interesting idea for all those music performers, software designers, book writers, and pretty much anyone else who creates works that can be easily shared electronically. Create a sample of what you can do and then get people to donate to an escrow that will pay you when you complete your work. When your work is done, it gets released into the public domain and you get the donated money. If you don’t finish your work in the allotted time, then the people that donated get their money back.

Instead of having people pay by the book, song, or software package, authors get a lump sum and agree to release the work to the public domain. This lets those with limited financial resources benefit from creative works of others despite not being able to pay them back.

Of course, there are issues with the SPP. For example, it might be hard to get people to donate at first. I’d hope that as more people became comfortable with this way of doing things, that people would start donating more freely.

The original paper on SPP and Wikipedia provide more details.

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