Open Education & Culture Empower Model.
NOWADAYS, Imagine if with all the penetration Internet is having in the last years around the world, all companies decide to restrict their contents exclusively to those who can pay for it. It sounds terrific, isn't it? But that's already happening in much levels.
If you can't pay for an Internet service, you can't access to the web and therefore to all its content. Simple. The same happens when you're a student and need to do a research about an specific subject and all the scholarly journals you find when you google it are paid. That shouldn't mean a problem if you have the economic resources to pay for these documents, but that's not always the case.
Education was supposed to be a right
Education and culture became a privilege determined by the acquisition power we have. Even when we have the skills or talents needed to study a college degree in a university, that's not enough. How many talented people don't continue their academic formation because of the simple reason they don't have the wealth to do it? Opportunities should be the same for everyone as well as access to information and art. I know, these are scholarship programs, but that's not enough since the fact the education system is not designed as an mean to discover and enhance the individual talents of each one and if you don't fit in the system and all its exigences you remain unable to apply to one of these.
The importance of equality lies not in the deletion of a system is deeply rooted in our society but in the consciousness and actions we can take as individuals. If if have been privileged with the means to thrive in this society, then I extend these privileges to others less fortunate; I do a little effort so others can have the same opportunities I had, if we adopted that mindset and philosophy our society must be different. A brighter one, for sure. Just imagine how many people could aspire to better job opportunities if they have the necessary tools to develop their full potentials. Boundaries would depend on each one and they hunger to learn. Although that's sound like an utopia, I firmly believe it is possible to achieve.
A solution for the piracy problem
Piracy remains the biggest problem amongst creators around the world, but that's just indicates us how much it's necessary to make our contents more accessible and democratic. Piracy seems unstoppable unless we change our mindset about intellectual property distribution. That realisation has led some creators to offer their works for free and generate incomes by asking for donations or the acquisition of an specific physical product. And believe it or not, people feel compelled and motivated to support these kind of projects due to its unique open nature. So, if we would want to achieve a balance between that what we must do is either offer our content for more affordable prices or search for alternative methods of generating incomes that allow everyone to access to the primary content or product.
The necessary balance
As an Artist, I certainly know we need a mean to survive and get income for our work, because that's exactly what I am pursuing by becoming an author. I'm not saying by no means we should give our completely work or content for free to the world. That's would be pretty illogical considering we live in a commerce-based society, and even when for us money shouldn't represent an end but a mean to get what we need in life —what we need not what we want— we must consider how necessary this has become in our lives.
Therefore, we need to find a balance which allows us to continue generating profits without excluding any sector from being able to access to our contents and here's precisely where the Open Education & Culture Empower Model comes into play.
The Open Education & Culture Empower Model
Although I am a fiction writer and I absolutely know my work isn't indispensable to be known by people, even when I've worked hard to capture a deeply message between each page of my novel, my primary aim is to inspire other authors to adopt and repeat this model and in that way make a difference against the system almost killed my dreams once.
So I propose this, if you are an author, provide open access to your intellectual property to everyone. Don't you think knowledge should be something worth sharing for the greater good? I genuinely do. By giving information and culture to people you're empowered them so that they can stop being sheeps and become Alphas. Become leaders. So, why don't to offer your content for free and look for another ways to make a profit from that share of the audience who can actually pay? That's precisely what I'm intending to do by publishing my novel for free around the Internet. I want that no matter who you are or to what platforms you are connected to, you have access to my literary work, period.
Moreover, if you are a reader, you are not obligated to pay for it, because you can pay-what-you-want or just pay nothing if you can't afford a donation. But if you feel inclined to donate or acquire my merchandise to support me and my project, you certainly can and by doing that you've becoming a patron of those who will be unable to pay for the content. That's equally.
Thus, here's a pivotal point to make it work. We, authors and audience must go hand in hand, working together to seek the empowerment of those disadvantaged. So, in my case, I'm charging an extra and symbolic fee of USD 1.00 on all my digital and physical products which will be directed to provide the eBook versions and printed editions to anyone who wants to acquire them but doesn't have the economic possibility to do so. They just have to fulfill a form explaining in a few words why they can not do it, then, when the amount raised is sufficient, they will receive this patron-sponsored product. Since this will be possible thanks to all the patrons, I will send their names attached to the product to credit them.
How to know if I should be a patron or a empowered one?
Well, I think that's pretty simple, since my books have very low rates, you must wonder to yourself: how often do I pay for a Starbucks even knowing that it's a overpriced average coffee? If your answer is "quite often", then, you definitively should pay for a book or information content on the web since this usually cost the same as a cup of that coffee brand, otherwise, you shouldn't and you must be an "empowered".