How To Protect Your Work And Make More Money Selling Art, Music, Fashion, Video & Books!!

in #howto5 years ago (edited)

Forgive the title. When in Rome... Anyway, 20 years ago, when most people were without Internet, there began a Paradigm Shift that is still taking place today. That Paradigm Shift affects every artist, musician and creative soul on this planet.

In the Information Age information is more easily available then ever before, which in turn has led to a Shift of the Artist's Perception on copyrights. With an endless sea of easily obtainable material, the Artist (musician, printer, designer, etc.) can now create an amazing array of new conceptual works, all based on other's previous ideas. And this is a good thing for the muse is as old as art itself, right?

But along with this new freedom comes the expense of content piracy.

So should we revamp old copyright laws? Or is there another way to embrace this Paradigm Shift?

Image stolen courtesy of https://www.nextadvisor

There's A New Way

I quickly realized that copyright laws don't need to change. It's the way that artists do business that needs to change. Let me explain, and let me do it by telling a summarized version of the story of the VCR:

In the early 1980s US film companies fought to suppress the VCR in the consumer market, citing concerns about copyright violations. In Congressional hearings, Motion Picture Association of America head Jack Valenti decried the "savagery and the ravages of this machine" and was quoted saying, "I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." In the case Sony Corp of America vs Universal City Studios Inc., the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the device was allowable for private use. Subsequently the film companies found that making and selling video recordings of their productions had become a major income source. ~Wikipedia

Image stolen courtesy of

So What's The Lesson Here?

It's that the film studios realized that instead of fighting the new technology on the grounds of copyrights it was far more profitable to embrace it. The film industry was under the impression that once an audience had seen a movie at home they wouldn't want to see it in the theater. What they didn't realize is that the home movie viewing experience does not replace the theater. There's nothing quite like being in the theater, with a live audience, eating popcorn (or whatever) with that giant,wide screen. And there's another, even more subtle effect at play. Some would argue that the two scientific theories, flicker fusion threshold and the persistence of vision, help to explain the "cinematic experience" that is lacking in the home theater. I.E. film played at 24 fps contain as many dark moments as light moments (constituting more like 48 fps), whereas video on the television is displayed at 30 fps continuously as a stream of rendered lines. This adds up to the 24 fps being perceived as a higher quality, higher fidelity, higher resolution viewing experience that simply cannot be replicated by video, and so the movie theater continues to be a multi-billion dollar industry despite the VCR, OR the Internet.

Image stolen courtesy of

As a web designer, AND an artist, I decided I could help this Paradigm Shift along. I realized that all artists everywhere were undergoing the same stress the film industry endured in the 80s. Still to this day, the cry can be heard from artists of every genre:

"It's getting harder and harder to make money from my work!"

Citing fears that their work will be taken without compensation, a very large portion of artists still refuse to put their works online. But are they missing out on a big opportunity, just like the film industry did when it refused to embrace the VCR?

I believe there's a new model for selling art, music, video, books and even fashion in the Information Age. And that's to give it away for free.

What the F$$$ Did You Just Say???

Yeah, give it away for free. Information is so readily copied that it is a fruitless and expensive endeavor to try and protect your copy rights. In the end, there can be whatever copyright laws a nation likes, but they will be of no use against information piracy. If I can hear your music I can copy it. If I can see your art, or T-shirt print design, I can copy it.

HOLD ON, Then How Do I Make Money???

Instead, a better idea, is to flood the Internet with a free copy of your work, available everywhere, but at a lower fidelity/resolution than the original. By widely distributing a free copy at a lower quality, you ensure that most looking for your work will find this copy instead of the original. The movie industry is already keen to this tactic as they are behind almost every malformed, poor resolution, "pirated" video you can find on the peer-to-peer networks, usually with hundreds of seeds backing the copy. But to make it malformed or unusable could be detrimental to the budding artist, so instead I suggest putting a decent, yet lower quality version out instead. The artist should use this copy as their "business card". The Art (music, design, print) Copy is now the means of getting the attention; spreading the message. It is no longer in and of itself of marketable value. Not the low quality copy, anyway. The high resolution, high fidelity original will of course still be of value, so long as it's out-numbered by the low resolution copies. It's the copy that is free. And by ensuring that the free copy is the most widely available copy, and is of lower quality than the original, you can "protect" your work. Those who are interested enough to spend money on the original will still be there just like there are people who still go to the movies.

Successful artists are also now finding and using other methods to make revenues from their work. Merchandising and live shows are now major ways to make an income from music. Re-branding and cross-brand ads are another way artists and fashion designers are making money. Actually, the number of new methods being employed to make money from the arts are so many it could be another article on its own.

Hey, isn't Steemit one of these methods? Could be why I'm here.


Artopium was created with the new Paradigm in mind, and as a whole concept puts at the forefront the needs of the artist to gain recognition in proper balance with the needs of the audience to give it.

If you go to the music section on Artopium you will notice that artists have the ability to sell their mp3 download as well as give it away for free. There are a lot of artists who have made their songs available as a free download as well as a purchasable one. The free download is compressed at 128 kb/s, but the purchased download is 320 kb/s, a much higher fidelity, definitely noticeable on a good system.

Artopium was also created solely by me, and will never be a corporation. Notice that there are no ads on Artopium. That's because Artopium is not a billboard. It's a tool used to facilitate an online seller to buyer transaction in a way that conforms to the New Paradigm.

Image stolen from


Artopium is only as good as the art that's on it. Right now Artopium needs artists and musicians who want to sell and distribute their work and content in a New Way, and who want to experience rapid exposure based on Word of Mouth, arguably the single best promotional method. There are plenty of media streaming websites, merchandising websites, and promotional websites. Think of Artopium as a tool-website that distributes your work in a way that is more conforming to how people actually want to view and enjoy it: on their own accord, after they have left Artopium.


Nothing will beat the wall-hung print or the original work. Have no fear in putting relatively decent quality photos of your work on Artopium that people can download and share. When it comes to quality, of the best is the giclee print, but if you can't afford a giclee yet, be sure your prints are of high enough resolution in comparison to your online images as to deter buyers from telling friends to just use the online material. Sell a high quality print. It's that simple.


Don't make your broke-ass fans go find a way to pirate your music, because in the end piracy is love too. Give it to them for free so that they will have it on hand to show their friends. Those who like your music and have the money to spend on it ~will~. Word of mouth takes place in the moment and most people are listening to their players and not necessarily online or even using a website to listen to music. By giving a free download away a potential new fan has time to be in a comfortable place to find out if they really like you or not. And when they have it on hand your fans are much more likely to tell their friends about it, then their friends will know where to get it too.


Designers are especially afraid of their work being stolen by other designers. This really is a big problem in the industry, and fashion has a few quirks that make it different than the other art genres. If you have a high contrast, two-tone t-shirt print design (there are a lot of these) it doesn't quite matter if the digital image of the design is low resolution; it can still be copied. Many designers will only release images of their designs while being worn by models, ensuring that folds in the fabric make it hard to just cut-and-paste the design into Photoshop.

Video / Film

Not much needs to be said here as much has been said already. Video is very similar to music: widely distributing lower resolution copies is the key. So, make sure not to upload your prized indie film in full HD to YouTube, but go ahead and upload the whole thing at 480 with lots of commercial interruptions. ;)


This makes the fifth category of arts available on Artopium. This is pretty easy to understand as well: don't put the whole book online, just bits and pieces of it everywhere.


I hope this has helped an artist somewhere. There's an amazing number of ways to make money from art right now, and if you embrace these new ideas I'm sure you will gain traction on your way to success! Thanks for reading and I look forward to see your Art, Music, Fashion, Video & Books on!

My name is Michael Betthauser but most people know me as "Artopium Mike." If you want to know more about my story, how Artopium came to be, and how you, as an artist can earn more from your work, follow me here on Steemit! Then be sure to sign up to join for free!


Good Read, I agree with the concept of embracing. Paranoia can stagnate your creations if you sit on them for too long... the sad truth is that someone on the other side of the planet could be creating your "original' idea right this instant but you wouldn't know since neither party is sharing haha

Ha! So true! I could write a gazillion posts just on the topic of: from where do ideas come? Who kows who else is thinking the same thing as you right now.

Yea I've also dived into that question and explored the mere tip of the iceberg when it comes to possibilities, truthfully though, I think half the excitement of creating something "new" is realizing that it is not and that you do actually share an interest or idea with another human being, it is rare to find common wavelength, that's also part of why people create? Its a call out for understanding and acceptance as well.

great article Michael. However platform like steemit is a best way to get pay through your work as well because everybody wins! Any music, pictures, books article etc.. which you would ve given away for free,will get views, get to be heard and get paid.

Steemit does not facilitate everything an artist needs. Hence Artopium. Steemit is great for what it is and what it does. It, however, does not do everything. E.g. musicians still want an option to charge for a download of their mp3, even if that same mp3 is for free. There are those who will pay just because they want to give the money to that artist. Steemit does not provide a way for musicians to charge for mp3 downlaods. Artopium does. This goes the same for all the other categories on Artopium. What I'm suggesting in the article to some extent is that utilizing a symbiotic relationship between various platforms such as Steemit and Artopium can be very beneficial to the artist.

I'm a musician based out of St. Louis.

I believe protection of ones work is more important in today's internet age.

What is your method of protecting your work? Digital watermark? Low resolution, as described in the article? Complete absence of online presence? (That is a tactic I guess).

This is a fantastic post @artopium, I really like how you've taken something that most people view as a problem that must be shut down, and turned it into something positive. And you're totally right, the film (and music) industry makes more money today than ever before, so clearly pirating content hasn't killed entertainment off; instead it's thrived. I also like that you are practicing what you preach and have created a website to help artisits by having them literally give away their content. Welcome to steemit, I look forward to seeing more insights like this from you, and especially where a platform like steemit can play a role.

thank you very much! Your reply means a lot. I run into a lot of opposition to this idea so it's refreshing to hear an areement. :) And followed!

Hello, great work, i liked your post and reward it with upvote.

I'm running budget proposal campaign on Steemit for funding my future STEEM Windows and Android app - STEEMER. If you would like to contribute, please visit my post for details:

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.18
TRX 0.05
JST 0.023
BTC 17158.82
ETH 1273.05
USDT 1.00
SBD 2.22