If you don’t like a bit of Hollywood swearing, then don’t listen to this YouTube clip of Harlan Ellison’s rant about paying writers. Or rather, about how often writers are asked to do work for free. There are few who can rant as well as Ellison, and even though this clip made me smile, he is absolutely right. Why is it okay to ask an author to write something and not pay them for it? As Harlan says so eloquently, would you go to a petrol station and fill up your car, expecting not to pay, or ask a surgeon to operate for free? Naturally we are all happy to donate our time and skills for a good cause. That’s a given. But why would the managers of indie band, Garbage, ask a photographer to let them use a photograph he took of them for free when they have sold 17 million albums. Read the story in The Guardian about the photographer making a stand, here. Creative works, be they paintings or novels or photographs or music, bring such joy and inspiration, firing up our imaginations and taking us to another world. Surely that’s worth a bob or two?