Paying content creators with micropayments

A few years ago, I wrote about models to pay for content creators in this age where everybody wants to share content for free — except for the entertainment industry, of course, that seems to look upon 2012 as the year to come down with a legal jackhammer on top of anyone doing something that can be remotely called “piracy” or “content theft”, even if the Internet is destroyed in the process. Back then, I left the question open on how exactly to achieve that.

Two years later, I pursued this same topic, by showing how Second Life®’s economy model, based on micropayments, might provide an alternative source of income for content creators. Not because I “speculated” that it might be possible, but by just looking at the extraordinary amount of evidence from a virtual world whose economic furnace is driven by the Linden dollar, possibly one of the most successful model of micropayments ever devised. Two years ago, I challenged Linden Lab to extend the Linden dollar towards other non-SL services — not only allowing it to be used on OpenSimulator-based grids, but also to allow micropayments on webpages.

I wasn’t really expecting Linden Lab to listen, of course 🙂 Nevertheless, it didn’t come much as a surprise to me that not long after that article was written, a Swedish group (operating out of the United Kingdom) actually managed to launch that very same service. No, not an interface to Linden dollars which would work on the Web; they launched their own micropayment service. The company is known as Flattr.com and his owners include the (in)famous Swedish founder of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, who joined forces with a venture capital company to launch a world-wide model of making payments to content creators.

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