The Takoha Manifesto - a summary

This document suggests a way of collecting money to pay for the production and presentation of artistic recordings and performances. It's a fund-and-release system. We propose that applications of this mechanism be described as “Takoha systems”.

The copyright crisis

The costs of reproducing digital content (music, video, text, etc.) are now practically zero, but the essential costs of the original production remain. Producers also usually wish for some financial reward. Technological and legal enforcement of the copyright system for such content is doomed. Once digital content is released, it is effectively available to all, for free: a digital work is a public work.

The current business model is collapsing. There is a looming risk of a market failure in which producers wish to release their work, consumers are willing to contribute to the costs of production, but legacy remuneration systems are incapable of  supporting the transaction. Ideas for adapting and replacing current systems are incomplete or apparently desperate and unrealistic.

Takoha: a recycled business model

Takoha systems offer an alternative to the current mechanism, resurrecting the 19th Century practice of collecting subscriptions for public works.

A Takoha system allows many subscribers to make variously-sized financial contributions towards the release or realisation of some artistic endeavour in advance. The money is collected until the advertised threshold amount is reached or the advertised time limit is passed. If the balance is reached in time, then the work is released and the producer gets the money. If not, then the money is refunded to the subscribers.

Collecting money in advance solves the problem of copyright violation: when the work is released, the money is already paid. The work can be freely released to everyone. Contributors can offer exactly as much as they think the project is worth, and they only need to pay if the project is actually realised.


Version 1.05/2009-02-19/DNH