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[chox] Lessig, Die Dunkle Seite der Mix-Macht

Die Verlaufsformen des Widerspruchs zwischen User-Creativity and Corporate
Appropriation werden immer deutlicher....aber ohne user-creativity will
nicht mal mehr Lucasfilm auskommen!!

Franz Nahrada, thx. to Brad Seawell vom MIT /idc Mailing list

----- Original Message -----

Lucasfilm's Phantom Menace

By Lawrence Lessig
Thursday, July 12, 2007; A23

In May,[ ??.htm ] Lucasfilm announced plans to enable fans of the "Star
Wars" series to "remix" "Star Wars" video clips with their own creative
work. Using an innovative Internet platform called Eyespot, these
(re)creators can select video clips or other content and then add images
or upload new content, whether images, video or music.

Eyespot is one of many new technologies inviting "users" to do more than
use the creativity they are consuming. Likewise, Lucasfilm is one of many
companies recognizing that the more "users" use their creativity, the
thicker the bonds are between consumers and the work consumed. (Put
differently, the more money Lucasfilm can make.) Turning consumers into
creators is the latest fad among companies scrambling for new profits in
the digital age. How better to revive a 30-year-old series than by
enlisting armies of kids to make the content interesting again? These
traditionally protective commercial entities are creating "hybrids" --
leveraging free labor to make their commercial properties more valuable.

Among companies enabling this remix creativity, Eyespot is one of the more
enlightened. Remixers using Eyespot's technology typically own what they
produce. Eyespot allows them to share their work on or off its platform.
No one's getting paid (yet) for the creativity that Eyespot enables.
(Other companies, such as Revver, are experimenting with ways to get
creators paid.) And Eyespot at least explicitly grants to creators the
right to their own creativity.

A dark force, however, has influenced Lucasfilm's adoption of Eyespot's
technology. A careful reading of Lucasfilm's terms of use show that in
exchange for the right to remix Lucasfilm's creativity, the remixer has to
give up all rights to what he produces. In particular, the remixer grants
to Lucasfilm the "exclusive right" to the remix -- including any
commercial rights -- for free. To any content the remixer uploads to the
site, he grants to Lucasfilm a perpetual non-exclusive right, again
including commercial rights and again for free.

Upload a remix and[ ??.htm ] George Lucas, and only Lucas, is free to
include it on his Web site or in his next movie, with no compensation to
the creator. You are not even permitted to post it on[ ??.htm ] YouTube.
Upload a particularly good image as part of your remix, and Lucas is free
to use it commercially with no compensation to the creator. The remixer is
allowed to work, but the product of his work is not his. Put in terms
appropriately (for[ ??.htm ] Hollywood) over the top: The remixer becomes
the sharecropper of the digital age.

Lucas is of course free, subject to "fair use," to do whatever he wants
with his creative work. The law of copyright grants him an exclusive right
to "derivatives"; a remix is plainly a derivative. And it's true that no
one is forcing anyone to make a remix for free.

Yet as anyone watching this industry knows, there is a deep divide between
those who believe that obsessive control is the hybrid's path to profit
and those who believe that freer access will build stronger, more
profitable ties. Predictably, on the Vader-side of control is often a
gaggle of lawyers who continue to act as though nothing interesting has
changed in copyright law since the time of[ ??.htm ] John Philip Sousa.
These lawyers counsel their clients that control is always better. They
ridicule efforts to strike a different balance with the army of creators
being called into the service of their clients. It is for the privilege of
getting to remix a 30-year-old series that these new creators are told
they must waive any rights of their own. They should be happy with
whatever they get (especially as most of them are probably "pirates"

Lawyers never face an opening weekend. Like law professors, their advice
lives largely protected from the market. They justify what they do in
terms of "right and wrong," while everyone else has to justify their work
in terms of profit. They move slowly, and deliberately. If you listen
carefully, sometimes you can even hear them breathe.

A decade from now, this Vaderesque advice will look as silly as the advice
lawyers gave the recording industry a decade ago. New entrants, not as
obsessed with total control, will generate radically more successful remix
markets. The people who spend hundreds of hours creating this new work
will flock to places and companies where their integrity as creators is
respected. As every revolution in democratizing technologies since the
beginning of time has demonstrated, victory goes to those who embrace with
respect the new creators.

Hybrids are an important future of Internet growth. Businesses will have
to think carefully about which terms will excite the masses to work for
them for free. Competition will help define these terms. But if one more
lawyer protected from the market may be permitted a prediction, I suggest
sharecropping will not survive long as a successful strategy for the

Feel the force, counselors.


iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity
iDC mailman.thing.net

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