Using the ‘net, not being scared by it

People who own the rights to music, film, tv, etc. should, in my humble opinion, learn to love the Internet, and not to be frightened of it.  That’s a nice glib statement from someone who never created anything useful in his life, but as someone who consumes a lot of created content surely I have some experience 😉

I was really struck by this thought when reading Felicia Day’s blog (again), after the release of the Guild song, Do you want to date my avatar.  Within a short time of it being released, there were fan-made movies on YouTube, using that music and animation from games such as Lord of the Rings online, World of Warcraft, Second Life, and others, to perform to the song.

Many content owners would immediately go to war with DMCA’s to have the music stripped from those videos, since it’s clearly not owned by the people who made them but by The Guild, or Felicia Day, or whatever organisation she has in place to own the rights.  Did she start processing take downs?

Nope, she found them on YouTube and listed them as favourites, which let’s them show up on her FriendFeed account.  I can only assume that this eventually increases the sales of the song (because god only knows once you’ve heard it you can’t stop humming the bloody thing) and doesn’t negatively impact it at all.  In the same way that seeing a cool fan video on YouTube with a song by Big Mega Band from the 80’s as the backing track is more likely to make you go and re-buy it on iTunes than it is to make you strip the audio from the vid and import the illegal, low quality version onto your mp3 player.

You either embrace the ‘take it and use it and make something with it’ nature of the ‘net, or you end up fighting it at every step of the way and losing none-the-less.

Felicia Day and creative content owners of her generation are going to make it work, because they accept, use and take part in the medium.

4 thoughts on “Using the ‘net, not being scared by it”

  1. There certainly is fear in making something you would like to make money out of available for free. The fear is that people will love it, but not bother paying for it.

    The answer, I think, is in the delivery and the payment method. If both are quicker and easier than getting hold of the free, illegal, copy there is no reason why people won’t stump up the cash. If either one is more difficult then downloading the illegal copy they won’t bother.

    I’m not sure that giving things away for free, via a legal and easy to use method, and also asking it available to pay for, will work. I suspect very few will pay for things.

    A good example is Cory Doctorow’s novel Markers. Chapters are released each week and they are free to read. I am reading the story, and enjoying it. I won’t be buying the novel when it’s released in a couple of months (before the serialisation is finished). The same goes for Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. I watched it for free when it was released. I now have no urge to buy the DVD. Freakangles is just the same.

    I’ll admit that I am slightly unusual in the latter (most people, if they like something they’ve watched will buy the film), but I suspect I am in the majority with the former.

    From a personal perspective, should I ever get to the point where I can actually call myself an author, I will still happily give away short stories and flash fiction on my web site as I do now, but I would like to sell books (electronic or otherwise) for cold hard cash.

    1. I agree, although feel obliged to point out that I was talking about the song, which isn’t free (you can buy it on itunes, amazon, etc.) and is being used by other people as backing tracks on their own youtube videos.

  2. Yeah, my wandering mind got diverted onto the braoder subject. 🙂

    Had a listen to the song a couple of weeks ago and, like you found it rather catchy.

    I also have no problem with people using part, or all, of someone else’s work as long as it’s credited. It can only help to promote the original. I draw the line at passing the work off as your own when it’s clearly not.

  3. Tony, First you created Tagman and don’t ever forget that.

    Second, I love Felicia Day’s attitude and if the product is good enough people will buy it, I know that I do.er

    Third, I am still sore about my EQ videos having been nobbled by You-tube – perhaps I should have credited the original artists.

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