Want to MAKE MONEY FAST on open source software? I just realized that the tools to do so are out there and already being used. I’m just here to put names on the things and point you to them.
Dropcash is one of those dead-simple sites that follows the unix philosophy to do one thing really well (although it doesn’t read mail, yet). It allows people to create a donation campaign, where they pick how much money they want and then are able to publicize their campaign with tools from the website.
The Street Performer Protocol (Google’s HTML version of the full text) is an electronic-commerce mechanism to facilitate the private financing of public works. To describe it in a sentence, someone creating a copyrighted work would publicly set a price for their work and hold it for ransom until their price was met.
The only disconnect between the Street Performer Protocol and Dropcash is that the Street Performer Protocol has a trusted third party hold the money in escrow until the work is delivered. An auction escrow service could probably make a nice market for itself by providing escrow services for Street Performer works, although adding one onto Dropcash might add too much complexity. Still, using Dropcash to put a price on an open source product seems like a great idea, and the market can respond if someone sets a price too high because someone else will see an opportunity to release the same software for a lower price.
I’m not proposing anything new though. Some of the most visible uses of Dropcash have been pseudo-Street Performer. There have been a couple Movable Type plugins that were held ransom using Dropcash. There was also a TextPattern plugin zem_contact which I think highlights the strength of the protocol.
I am working on my mom’s site and she needed a contact form. zem_contact is perfect for her, and since it had already reached its goal I installed it for free. If the goal hadn’t been met, she could potentially pay the remaining amount and get the script or I might in order to buy myself some free time not working on her project, then other people would be able to use it for free.
The Street Performer Protocol is a business model that big copyright is overlooking in favor of maximizing profits, but people wanting to balance profits with the commons should consider it. Perhaps in the future there will be Dropcash campaigns to add Creative Commons licenses to existing works, so an author could say “$10,000 will buy an Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license, and you can drop the Noncommercial or turn the No Derivative Works into Share Alike for $5,000 more.”

One response to “Dropcash and the Street Performer Protocol”

  1. That last little paragraph would basically make it like the business-friendly interpretations of the GPL, which is pretty neat. Sort of like artistic sponsorship or similar.

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