I agree with the other posters who state that live performances would be largely unaffeteced without IP. In fact, I would argue that they would have a huge boost. There’s two ways to look at it, 1) no IP laws had ever existed; 2) IP laws cease to exist right now:
- We would have a few great composers and authors, a ton of mimicks, a lot of failures and simply not a whole lot of material. As others have posted, people who need to eat will do so first, create art second. Those that do survive will form some sort of guild or corporation of artists to pool resources.
There would be a lot less variety and not much incentive to try anything new. I suspect that a lot of work will be derived on what actually happened in history than complete works of fiction. Gods and religious themes would probably be the closest thing to sci fi. Dominant works will probably center on current events and the classics will largely center on the big news events of the past (assasinations, impeachments, political murders, etc.)
I assume that there will be a lot more commentary, paraody, critique, too, because that seems to be the best way for authors to distinguish themselves, i.e. selling their “voice/outlook.” People will directly pay for their artistic work. Societal strata will develop like in the Rennaissance (sp?). Awards, if any, would probably be awarded on the same criteria, just that people wouldn’t pay as much attention to it, because with the lack of funds, they wouldn’t be as lavish.
I also suspect some sort of natural Trademark will develop for two main reasons: 1) so that the author can at least make some attempts to stymie the copiers and give an easy symbol to recognize his “brand;” and, 2) so that the public which seeks the authors work can identify it more easily. Granted, this mark will not be enforceable in the courts, or it might, just on traditional notions of theft rather than infringement. The market for goods/services using the brand will be many orders of magnitude weaker compared to the live performances.
Cities will develop around artistic centers and for once people can truthfully say that they are there for the culture, instead of having convenient places to drink (first) and eat (second). Rents, traffic, congestion, etc. will remain largely unaffected. Actually, rents may increase because rather than rent as an apartment, the land would transformed to a stage/theater (this is assuming that societal preference is for live shows).
To some extent, any technology for entertainment would have taken much, much longer to develop or may have never developed at all, unless it has a military application. Personal PCs probably would have never developed. (I don’t know much about the history of technology.) However, once technology developed to the level that we have now, I think most creativity, except for live performances would come to a screeching halt, see my next point for further expounding.
All this could change if there were still IP laws for medicines, technology, industrial applications, etc. Then, the artistic community would eventually rally together to voice some sort of recognition of those laws as they apply to artistic arts. I have a feeling that they would probably end up to where we are now, hard to say, really.
- I agree with Jools that China would be good example of what it would be like with weak IP laws. Eventually, there would be massive market chaos. RIAA and any large, bloated, inefficient industry will most likely fail. Payment models will change drastically, and I suspect a lot of artists will have to go around and secure funding/captial themselves. There will be no concept of the starving artist, just artists (few) and the starving/lazy (large). The latter will eventually have to get some type of job.
I suspect a lot of manufacturing/low skilled labor will return to the US and drive wages down in the short term. They will compete with the illegal alien workforce, and I suspect border/immigration will be more highly scrutinized. Someone will actually want that $5/hr bagger job. I suspect that their might be increased support for more/increased level of social welfare, and therefor, higher taxes. Unsure about the long term, as the US population can change quickly. Many of the technical schools will be out of business, and may even resort to a trade/guild system.
Existing popular work will be traded with reckless abandon. As newer generations get used to everything being for free. Prices would probably go up as producers with capital at risk would need to get in and out the market quickly before trading happens. There may be a few nobler people out there who would buy outright rather than trade for free. I’m sure some sort of status will develop ala the Rennaissance where it will be a symbol of wealth to be able to afford your own entertainment. Live performances, again, will be largely unaffected, and will probably see an increase in demand. First run movies will be in high demand, if they are still being made at all.
Filming/photography will probably be switched over to digital media, as long term it is just much easier and less costly to produce. There will be more incentive to create anti-piracy technology, and big bucks to whoever can invent it. I don’t see a future for unions of any type as their ability to drive up costs will make them highly unfavored.
At to a world without any money towards artistic endeavors: it’s up in the air, really. Seriously, society will largely be communistic, or there would be barter everywhere. Money would have to develop, or there’s a good possibility be would still be not far from the stone age. I have to run, I may expound latter.