Jarmo Puskala wrote:Well, if somebody else was trying to make a load of money with this movie it would make us look bad and piss off people who've worked for free and for us. So what would we, or people in general, benefit from allowing commerical use?
Hmm... I guess I better explain a bit more in detail then. Starting with some theory... (I'm an economist, so this happens to be my expertise, and it may become a bit lengthy... Sorry for that, but I do try my best...
There are actually two separate problems here, and they should be handled separately. First, in which ways the movie and its accessories will create the most overall benefit altogether? And second, how shall that benefit be distributed (between the different people, public and companies involved)?
Now, the first part of the solution is in principle easy, although it may sound harsh to your ear at first. Just be patient and read it all first.
1. The more desired stuff available to the public the better. Basically, if people want to pay for it and it is profitable, it's good.
(Obviously, if people don't want to pay for any profit, there's no point producing!)
So, maximising profit has a clear rationale as a measure of how much people do appreciate the products sold. Of course, subsidising the supportive poor fans by setting prices low to an extent is a part of "giving them their share of the profit" (it's up to the producers how far they want to go in there, but this actually is already a part of the second problem). Omitting that - the more profit people are willing to pay the more overall benefit provided. You may think otherwise, but that's exactly what economics can tell for certain. It's just a matter of defining the profit correctly - and thereafter we come to the second problem of dividing the profit.
(NOTE 1: Often people - even economists - don't always quite recognise what "profitability" means in economics, as they are stuck with the common figures in book keeping. However, the profit in book keeping is only one 'juridic' money measure for corporate
profit. It doesn't even quite measure what (the owners of) that company benefit of their business. (Just take some fans owning an ice-hockey or a football team, for example. They may lose money and put enormous amounts of time in it every year, and yet they love running the show!) Let alone the book keeping figures don't measure at all how much the consumers benefit of the product or service they pay for! The profit in economics actually means overall net profit (benefit, visible or not) - or that of a company's or an individual's - depending on the specific case being discussed each time!)
2. The second problem, division of the benefits of production (total profit), is difficult in many ways. And there's no absolute truth known to it.
Those who put work, time and money into production would certainly desire some back with interest in a form or another (simple joy is one form, pure cash just another). Not to mention those who possibly put their whole carreer at risk. And those fans (=consumers) certainly want to be left better off as well after deducing whatever they pay for price. Everyone wants their own share of the net
benefits, but there's really no one "correct" rule known for making the deal. So, at the end it's all about making an agreement - and rarely everyone is satisfied.
(NOTE 2: If you add (1) the net benefit provided to the public
(consumers' invisible "profit" after paying a price) and (2) that collected by the provider for itself
(=corporate profit) and its (3) expenses
(= partners, suppliers, workers, financers, taxes etc.; i.e. sub-providers), (1 + 2 + 3 =), the sum matches exactly the total - by definition!
Increasing the total profit will also increase the profit of both the customers and the providers or at least one of them. Of course, there are most often many hands (the marketing channel most notably) taking their portion before the customers actually get provided, but they all sure need to get their ('fair') share as business partners as well. The producer seldom has all the necessary resources on himself!)
Furthermore, those, who didn't expect such a success when working for the film, may now appear demanding a share of the future gains as well - not just a share of the gains already gained.
The exact way you will divide the gains gained and those yet to be gained among those involved is a question you need to deside in any case. You just need to realise you cannot deside by yourself but only in agreement with all those others having a stake (anyone involved somehow, not just shareowners). And there are literally an infinite number of ways to choose from for such an agreement - starting from a direct buy-out (a bullet payment to everyone but those gaining ownership of the company (Energy), i.e. pretty much paying a one-time salary and kicking them out) to various share/divident/option systems and any other imaginable agreement. Such arrangements won't necessarily require any cash moving, if people are happy with else, but often cash actually does appear to be the easiest way. Quite often people do prefer a share or an option in the common future as workers or shareowners instead. As I said, there are practically no limits for such an agreement...
I understand you are especially concerned about the opinion of those many volunteers who never expected anything but the team to succeed and them and other fans to get some fun & stuff in return. In this case, they certainly got everything they could expect and even more as a free product already. Notice that they bore little economic risk or risk of losing their face in case of failure, and few of them sacrificed their time and effort anywhere near to the extent the core team did, so anything more than a great free movie or whatever you already want to offer them is an extra gift from the core team to them. That is, anything on top of that already produced and gained can well be considered as the lucky returns for the risk the core team took. And indeed, according to finance theories, those bearing the risk should also gain the profits.
So, making a fair decision about dividing the benefits is a very difficult and delicate one. But it's also a very important one - and you cannot avoid making it! You just cannot. In a way or another you need to deside what to produce (if anything), at what price to sell (if any), and who shall be the beneficiaries. And the only ones who can deside what is "fair" in this case are the core team members in agreement with all others around them.
The worst case scenario is that there won't be any more beneficiaries. That's the case when nothing more will be produced. To create more benefit... That means producing more profitable products for sale - irrespective of whichever the way benefits might be divided in (zero price is just one way for choice!)! And the best case: people get more of what they want - as long as providing more is profitable! And the division of profits - that's completely up to those involved all together.
Oh, and what would Energy do with all that money? I'm not the one desiding. It's a business of those running this show and that company. IMHO the obvious best decision would be to make another such great movie. I bet every fan of yours will be expecting just that now. And this time you could afford what ever you need. (Perhaps another extra-cheddar hamburger for Samuli, eh?
EDIT: I better stress that my suggestion does by NO means necessarily mean there SHOULD be any fees whatsoever. I just point out there COULD be such, and they could even be all voluntary
, if so desided.
(Disclaimer: I do realise the copyrights may pose serious problems. Those problems may possibly be resolved with a suitable agreement with the owner, however. I sure would make an offer for one, if I were in the core team.)