Artists Unchained: About Us

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Artists Unchained is an artist led initiative to: harness the features of P2P to empower artists to distribute media direct to the public, to ensure artists retain full copyright in their work, to always give artists an alternative to signing restrictive contracts, to allow the public to enjoy artwork without paying up front, to allow the public to support artists via direct patronage.

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How it all started (and snowballed)

LogoHi my name is Philip, I wrote this site, but enough about me. Originally the AU started out as a brainstorming session between my friends and I, on how to harness the massive ground swell of support for P2P, and the millions of people sharing music, movies, and other media online, but in a way that further supports the artists who create that media being passed around.

It seemed crazy to all of us that no one could figure a way to use P2P in a legal fashion and replace traditional systems. I, being a devious son of a bitch, and my friends devised a distribution model that incorporates P2P at it's core, but then links into other net-based and traditional systems to create a unified concept. It gives independent producers the system they need to capitalise on P2P in a coordinated and targeted way.

Artists Unchained is an artist & fan driven 'counter-culture' think tank (A4T*) that promotes the AUS (Artists Unchained System) for the open and fair distribution of art. It is a response to the traditional business systems that have failed the artist and their fans by imposing draconian restrictions on distribution, failing to maintain back catalogues, and failing to adequately supply niche markets.

P2P has shown there is more than one way to get art into the hands of fans and keep rare (and much loved) art in circulation. Through P2P, as a fundamental part of the AUS, art can be shared digitally as part of an alternate system where freedom is paramount. This is an opportunity to smash the shackles of big business and free our art once and for all.

If you can digitise it: you can unchain it!

Effects [Ensuring Freedom of Speech]

As we explored the new system together it became obvious that is goes beyond being a mere business model which is encompassed within a larger social model. It has many aspects, a giant web of interlinked ideas that all work in symbiosis with each other, and it is fair to all. At is heart it plays to all, it even supports fans, to recognise the fantastic work fans do in promoting an artist and company they love. Thus the 'mutual exchange clause' was introduced into the system to enshrine this relationship. It allows fans to be fans and to finally shed the 'Pirate' label.

The mutual exchange clause means that fans are paying for a licence 'in kind' by hosting the artist's files on P2P. They can also give additional support to the artist via direct patronage, so no matter how they obtain a file they can always contribute.

One of the biggest hurdles to any business setup is dealing with stock and wastage. The AUS proposes that an independent producer never has to carry stock, as the home user has everything they need to manufacture a hard copy via printers and DVD burners. Anything a home user can not produce is taken care of via Print on Demand (POD) services which can print out books and custom mechanise. POD gives additional revenue to the independent producer.

All of this was designed to an eye to empower independent producers to break free from the shackles imposed by traditional business models, to drastically reduce start up cost, and allow anyone in the world, no matter their income to distribute their art.

Access is a primary design concern to the AU, especially to artists in countries, or areas, suffering economic hardships. It is not always easy to obtain a back account or funds to start a business. Here the online systems like 'Pay Pal' are utilised as part of the AUS, as all you need is an email address. While you do need an account to withdraw the money (or send it to a family member with an account) many business now accept Pay Pal as a means to pay for product, and many ship internationally.

Cyberspace is not bound to one country. It is universal. It is one unified 'virtual-nation'. It is time to treat it as such. In doing so we ensure freedom of speech and reject corporate control and special interests regulating the net.


One day 'Artists Unchained' is going to be an official charity (apparently you need to collect £5,000! in a year to register - which isn't going to happen anytime soon). For now it will be run with a charitable mind set. So yes, everything that appears here will be given away free (at the moment five pages! - very generous). You don't have to pay for the content on this site. [A donation button will be added to this page when there is something worth donating for! Some kind of fund raise or war chest]

We are thinking of this because charities have certain rights, protections and provisions that companies do not. Seeing as this is a charitable endeavour is seems silly not to take advantage on what is on offer.

UK English

This site is written in UK english, and you may from time to time come upon British spellings, expressions and phrasing. In the interests of clarity, in communicating with the global community, these will be kept to a minimum. It will also be written in 'plain english', and links will be provided to any uncommon technical terms. We also have a tenancy to use the royal 'we' which is kinda northern (North-England), and 'us', as if we speak as a group, because each individual speaks for all, as we are all united in purpose. You hear it from one, you hear it from all of us (as we talk to each other).


The simple layout of this web site suits screen readers, allowing those those with visual impairment to hear what is going on. Brail converters (blind and deaf) should find it very easy to interpret these pages. This site will, in the future, link to sites with equally accessable content. We will encourage download pages of all artist's to be simple and accessible.

Global: The simple layout allows access to all net users, even those without broadband way out in the sticks [rural areas] on slow 28k modems. While this may seem a little illogical at first, especially considering that those connected via a 28k modem can hardly take part in P2P distribution in any real way, but reading this web site may well inspire them to upgrade (or in areas without broadband to campaign to have the infrastructure put in). It's much easier to want something when you know how it can benefit you.

There is a shadow site, which is a slightly (and I mean slightly) tarted up version for those with broadband. The content on the shadow site is exactly the same as this one.

No Ads

There will be no adverts on this site. All advertising is by word of mouth. Our 'Ad-Men' are not Ad-Men in the traditional sense, they are in fact your own friends with their own personal recommendations. We believe that grassroots is the most honest way to get the media to those who would have an interest - after all who knows you better than your friends?


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