Ownership & Copyright

An interesting game from MolleIndustria regarding copyright:
http://www.molleindustria.org/freeculturegame-eng

As we read in some of our Game Studies readings, the process players go through when they play a video game (the discovery of the algorithm of the game) can be educational and convey something meaningful to the player. In the “Free Culture” game by MolleIndustria, your goal is to keep ideas floating around in the free culture domain (the inner circle) and distribute them among the green people, so that they can absorb the free culture ideas and then generate more ideas. As you’re playing, a copyrighting machine (marked with a ‘c’) attempts to suck up all of the ideas from the inner circle, thereby preventing the green people from absorbing free culture ideas. As time passes, the green people eventually turn gray and become “passive consumers” and leave the inner circle. ¬†What you may learn (or realize) from playing the game is that copyright really slows down the creative process, since ideas in the free culture domain cannot be used to create new ideas when they have all been copyrighted.

A semi-related issue I dealt with regarding copyright on YouTube:
So as you may or may not know, I’m part of a taiko (Japanese drumming) group, and most of the songs we play are “public domain” (in the world of taiko). Others are songs we’ve either created, or in a few cases, songs that our senior members have brought and taught to us from their study abroad experiences in Japan with other taiko groups. One of those groups contacted me through YouTube last semester inquiring which group played a song in a video recording of our performance (at last year’s Hawai’i Club Luau). Long story short, taiko groups in Japan are really intense and protective of their songs– we’re not allowed to perform their songs without their permission… which is a little ridiculous considering people do covers of songs all the time.

2 responses to “Ownership & Copyright

  1. I played this game for over 20 minutes. I know, pretty sad right? What i did realize though is that there is no end to this game, it is a vicious repetitive cycle that sometimes favors the green people in the inner circle and sometimes the copyright “machine”. I found it very annoying when the machine would go to my ideas and suck them all up.

    I like the idea of the game however and It seems like a very good way to teach younger children the problem with copyright. Good find!

  2. Four hour workshift + this game = time wasting.
    This game is unbelievably frustrating, which, I guess, is kind of the point. I do think the game fails to account for the way people are arguably more willing to create more when they feel their ideas will be protected.