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David Simon: ‘Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere’

Journalist and screenwriter David Simon has published his first blog dispatch. His new site is called “The Audacity of Despair.”

After holding on to his website for many years, the creator of The Wire opened his site to share his online thoughts. In his introduction, Simon included a stern warning for all creators who write for free on the Internet. Check it out:

Anything that says content should be free makes it hard for all writers, everywhere.   If at any point in the future, this site offers more than a compendium of old prose work and the odd comment or two on recent events — if it grows in purpose or improves in execution — I might try to toss up a small monthly charge in support of one of the 501c3 charities that I soon hope to list in the How To Help section.  And yes, I know that doing so will lose a good many readers; but to me, anyway, the principle matters.  A free internet is wonderful for democratized, unresearched commentary, and it works well as a library of sorts for content that no longer needs a defense of its copyright.  But journalism, literature, film, music —  these endeavors need people operating at the highest professional level and they need to make a living doing what they do.  Copyright matters.  Content costs.

On a related note, Choire Sicha wrote a short essay this morning, wondering: “Who gamed a substantial number of professional news-gatherers into providing free content for Twitter?”

We recently approached the question from a different angle, asking our readers: When Should Writers Work for Free?

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