Intellectual Property: “We’re Heading for the Clamp Down!”

There has been much to say lately about recent events. Legislation backed by big business, governments, and others have many in an uproar. There is good reason to be weary of this heavy-handed legislation, but there is another side that many just don’t get. “What I create and own, I created and own, not you, its mine so hands off.” That is a very crude, over simplified statement but I meant it that way. It’s to the point. Just because technology has allowed for manipulation or distribution of products doesn’t give anyone the right to use it anyway they see fit just because they can. It’s this lack of understanding how seemingly innocuous deeds not only open up a can of worms, but open an entire worm farm. All the while the perpetrator feels indignant and lays down as defense that this is a so-called “right” because it’s on the internet. But really is it?

Once again let me be clear, I am NOT stating I agree with SOPA/PIPA/ACTA or anything related. What I am stating is the defense being offered for these regulations not to be implemented is exactly what will give them even more reason to enact them. By their own deeds they might be sowing the demise of the internet as we now know it. I’ll give you an example to think about because I believe it’s a great thought experiment for you to use. You should be able to come at this from both sides, 1: As the creator of the original idea, the owners, and people portrayed as involved or appearing. 2: By the person who created the new fictional idea and story line. Sorry I have to use a link but you can not participate in the experiment if you don’t watch this trailer.

What you need to remember is this is something created by a fan, not someone affiliated with the owners, actors, or studio that owns the original content or copyrights. And although it’s very good work, it’s fantasy and not the work of the people, actors or studio that are displayed. Its intention is obviously to give the illusion, but at what point does this fantasy morph into something that is detrimental to the actual brand, studio, or actors? The argument that it never would be is not a defense. Things happen and that’s why there are certain rules to protect ideas because there are real lives with real money, and livelihoods at risk. Just pose to yourself that you own the rights to the ideas, the actors, the studio, and everything else associated with it. Does someone have the “right” to create something like this and distribute it with the defense of “If someone were to confuse this for the real thing, well that’s their problem.” I feel this argument and non understanding of just pure business practices and models is exactly what will give the people who want to use a sledgehammer to swat a fly a steam shovel to bury the internet as we now know it. Here’s a few questions to get your mind working on this exercise. there are many more, but you can hear the lawyers battle cry over the hills for both sides.

At what point is it parody? At what point is it too much like the real thing? Is the work up to the quality that all the actors, studio, directors, and backers put their name on? What if it was your product, would you approve? And Why? What would happen if your fan base took it as real? What if your fan base thought your were trying to use it as a mask for a plausible denial public release story? Or using it to see if you were to go ahead with such project? What if when you or your stars were out on the Red Carpet or at other venues talking about an upcoming film all that was being asked of them was if this bogus trailer was the real deal? What if the entertainment channels and media venues became relentless in their questioning and you couldn’t say anything other than to answer questions about something that wasn’t even real? Would that hurt your brand, your marketing, your sales, your actors or studios reputations? What happens if your fan base likes the idea of the fictional trailer and is disappointed in your actual release of something different and start bad mouthing your product or actors for not having the vision to adapt the bogus trailer?

And that is just touching the surface!

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr