Interesting Plight: Clearing Possible IP From UGC

The makers of the game LittleBigPlanet, which allows users to create their own levels, have apparently started deleting any and all levels that include any mention of anything that might be construed as someone else’s intellectual property. This seems both extreme and unnecessary. It’s certainly not going to keep fans particularly loyal to the game.

Techdirt: Online Game Shutting Down All User Created Levels That Reference Someone Else’s IP

I don’t blame LBP at all.  It’s a funny, fickle world these days, with people demanding all sorts of rights for the natural progression of culture-sharing. 

This TOTALLY makes me want to go back and get my PhD in Folklore, UGC, and The Webosphere.  What a fun thesis that would be!! 

For hard-core community peeps, this whole idea of limiting user commentary is frustrating and debilitating to your social networking process.  If you want a community to be powerful and empowered, how can you limit their freedom of speech by removing references to anything they may care about BEYOND the brand?  The whole “there is a time and place for such talk and neither are here and now” mind frame is reminds me 50’s mentality, or something a scolding grandmother might say.

On the flipside, it’s difficult to feel social freedoms from a corp standpoint.  It’s far to easy to call foul on people in the biz.  If something is said about YOUR brand in another brand’s outlet, and that commentary is not ‘flattering’… one can almost claim defamation.  I don’t care what ‘freedom of speech’ legislation exists in the world… a good lawyer can spin just about anything.  There is SO MUCH gray area here that it is far more attractive to corps to just avoid the whole darn problem all together (like perhaps Little Big Planet chose to do).  There are a variety of issues circling the rights & responsibilities of social networking, IP, and user-sharing that they’re more like vultures slowly circling in, and eventually will blot out the use of ANYTHING not-on-point-with-current-branded/IP-social-networking-site, ya know?
Vultures like copyrighted content on youtube, off-topic advertising-spam-ads on forums, allegations & false fact reports, knock-off versions of real brands on virtual shopping sites, etc.  Cease and Desist letters are going to be standard copy for lawyers supporting virtual brands & virtual experiences.

And for THESE reasons it is imperative to have a strong community staff who can deal with both the community, as well as understand what’s best for company AND community (since very often their interests are divided/opposing)

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