How Do You Like Those Apples

October 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

For obvious reasons, the above was a “featured video” linked to the ubiquitous “how do you feel about DEES ornges” scene from Bourne Identity. Seemed appropriate enough.

Andrew Herman, Rosemary J. Coombe and Lewis Kaye, “Your Second Life?: Goodwill and the Performance of Intellectual Property in Online Digital Gaming” (2006)

In 2003 Linden Lab did an amazing thing & granted players intellectual property rights over the sex toys and furry suits they made on-site! This was like woah brah because End User/TOS agreements typically strip players of exactly that! Cuz if anyone’s gonna stockpile GOLD FANTASTIC GOLD via gameplay, it should be the companies whose games they are rite?? But not in SL, which created considerable goodwill between user and producer of content. This is important! And shows how goodwill generally, especially re: issues of intellectual property, can be used to harness and generate economic and social value, both for companies and individuals! Which in turn blurs, nay outright queers, the co-creative relationship(s) between producer and consumer and further erodes the clearcut boundaries between authorship, ownership and digital property.

Only one selection today due to I got a whole class of essays to grade & return by Wednesday. Which is somewhat related to my reaction to this essay, particularly the concept of goodwill and the basic business sense of similar. Like, at what point did some suit go, you know what, making our customers (or students, or sister wives, or whatever) feel like asshole criminals is just the ticket to winning their loyalty & getting them to pay for the things we make. Let’s do more of that, whatcouldpossiblygowrong.jpg?! I give you Metallica, aka Rawkin Lulzcows of Shitlol. Not just because they’re angry mulleted goblins, but because they grossly underestimated their fans’ (and everyone else’s) intolerance for being scolded. Yeah yeah freedom ain’t free, and we got this thing called capitalism to make sure of it — a system fans understand & mostly work within until you point directly at their hearts and say they don’t have one, the result of their downloading a thing of yours because they cared enough to want it on their disk mans or whatever people listened to back when Metallica was a thing.

Which granted is a very different circumstance (and era) than what the authors describe. And yes is a cartoon version of how CYBER PYRACY actually works. Still –and I’m sure demographics have a great deal to do with this– it’s surprising to me that it ever was surprising to anyone that it’s easier to harness fan energy than fight against it. Because like. If you get your water from a particular well, why would you subsequently poop in the well in the attempt to pump the greatest volume of water from the well. VERILY WHY WOULD YOU POOP THAT POOP, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Again, it’s more complicated than simply not pooping, sometimes it’s about an acceptable fecal threshold. But still, the point stands — fans are an important demographic. In that they’re THE demographic. Trying to sell them poop water & surreptitiously commoditizing their sex toys and furry suits just doesn’t seem sustainable, as a business model.


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