On the 22nd of June at 5.34 AM, Taylor Swift tweeted, “I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They [Apple] listened to us.

For those of you unaware of the details of this case, Ms Swift had refused to let Apple stream one of her albums for a free three-month trial. She told them, “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t  ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

And herein lies the problem of the century. Should illustrators, artists and writers ever work for free? With the advent of digital technology the creative industries have taken a major hit. Images are shared everyday, often without credit to its author, let alone royalties paid; music can be shared for free, through YouTube for example or pirating sites; even books are not exempt, thanks to scan and upload and even the old photocopiers.

To a certain extent, this issue has always existed. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, which meant that music tapes could be taken home, copied and passed on; CDs idem; books were read and sold on to second hand books shops for a smaller profit that nonetheless went to the shop, not the author. For art it was slightly different in the days pre-smartphone, but cameras were around, so you could always take a pic of existing art for your scrapbook or to use as a postcard.

If, on the one hand, digitalisation and the internet have introduced the world to more creative people, who otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to be heard/seen/read, on the other they have also diluted the market, meaning that, as a trampoline to distinguish themselves from the masses, creators are willing to give their work out for free.

And I don’t mean free as in ‘Here, have a gift’. After all gifts will always be welcome, because they are purposefully given by one person to the other. Giveaways are also a great way of introducing yourself to others. I have to admit, I don’t much like the idea of work being handed out for free as a matter of course or else it won’t sell. It is silly, and forces the market into complying with this module. Moreover, those that dare to stand up and defend their rights to earn from their creations, are often accused of being greedy.

Ms Swift’s victory means a lot to indie creators, as they are suffering the most: they must still make a name for themselves and cannot compete with the bigger businesses who can spend millions on advertising campaigns. Their budget is puny in comparison.

If a consumer is forced to choose between a free album or a paid one, they’ll go for option 1 – unless of course they already know the latter and have reasons for getting it that lie beyond money.

Mind you, technological advances have also brought better quality products and I would never trade that for a backward step. I was crying a tad last night when I had to dish out £53 to buy the new Batman game but, OMG, the quality was exceptional. How many hours did it take to create that game from start to finish? I was not expecting to get it for free, that’s for sure.

I don’t think this breach will ever be healed for, as long as the internet continues to exist, so will free sharing. Some folks will still be content to give out part of their work for free, and will continue to do so; others will be happy to offer lower prices, vouchers, sales and bonus material. At the end of the day it comes down to appreciation and respect, where the creator of a product should have the last word.

In the end, the stand taken by Ms Swift has already made a little bit of history.