Imagine you were asked to write a law that encouraged creativity. What would it look like? Whatever your answer, it’s pretty clear that it wouldn’t look like copyright.
Which is weird, right? Because copyright is supposed to be the law that spurs creativity. The problem, it turns out, is that the central features of copyright are directly opposed to the things that support creativity.
Creativity is a tricky thing to understand, and we have very little insight into what animates the creative spark and why some people are more creative than others.
But one thing we do know about creativity is that a really good way to make people less creative, is to pay them. A series of studies by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan Teresa Amabile, and others, have shown that primary school kids don’t learn to read if they’re paid to, artists produce their worst work when they’re commissioned to produce it, and people get worse at solving puzzles if you reward them for successful solutions.
The reason for this? Creativity is closely linked to motivation, and humans become creative when they’re internally motivated by curiosity or interest or desire. They get demotivated — and less creative – when you introduce money into the equation.