This morning I got really, really annoyed with Last.fm.
I know its not their fault but, I really really wanted to listen to a particular song over and over while I had my coffee (as I’m occassionally known to do – this morning it was Human by The Killers). Obsessive yes, but darn it, it’s a catchy tune. I don’t actually own the song so just thought I’d listen on Last.fm.
Annoyingly, after listening 3 times, Last.fm told me I couldn’t listen anymore because I’d reached my limit! Now, if Last.fm was a free service, I might understand this but, I’m one of their paying customers. I’ve been subscribing for years to get access to all of their functionality – I thought.
Now, I know the real reason underlying this is music rights agreements – record labels just hate the idea of us listening to their music without buying a CD – but, common, I’ve already PAID for a subscription to this site (and have done for years). Why can’t I just use all the features? So I emailed them hoping to get an answer and provide them with ‘valueable user feedback.’
I can see no reason why I can’t listen to a streamed song over and over – even in the restrictive world of music rights. I can watch the video over and over (via legit and illegit copies) on YouTube and other services, so I suspect this is mainly Last.fm reserving the right to commercialise on this at some point and not completely rights related.
All I can say is that Karen Groenink’s point that ‘Digital Products are Rude‘ applies here as much to the product as to Last.fm’s customer service. Their response to me didn’t appolgise for my unhappiness or potential misunderstanding but gave me a snippy, legalistic response. When I replied saying I was annoyed becuase it just appeared that they changed the terms of what their subscription was AFTER I’d subscribed, they just suggested I cancel. Nice customer service.
Now THIS is what I’m talkin’ ’bout – I just found out that a photo I took a few years ago and put onto Flickr under a Creative Commons license (so that anyone else can use it as long as they attribute appropriately, etc) has been used in a GREAT Election Day video.
Full details here.
It’s the beauty of Creative Commons – someone, doing something creative and for good with work they never could have had access to under traditional copyright rules.
I’m not saying that I’m opposed to Copyright, just that this great creativity that doesn’t damage my intellectual property is something great that Creative Commons enables.
Now GET OUT AND VOTE (if you’re American that is)!
Crossover is full of producers from across a range of media; mostly independent producers who live off the quality of their ideas and work. So what happens when you get them together in an environment where they need to share ideas and can potentially have conflicts over who walks away with the rights to which ideas?
Well, here’s what Heather Croall, Lab Co-director has to say:
There are lots of development labs where existing teams come in with existing projects and get put through a rapid development and prototyping process. Crossover is different to that because the lab brings together around 20 responsive individuals (approximately half from traditional film and TV produciton and half from new media, games and interactive media). Because these people are not existing teams with existing projects the Crossover process is much more focussed on brainstorming methodologies and stimulus to help get these people from different backgrounds to join forces in interdisciplinary teams and come up with crossplatform projects together through the week. The IP of ideas that are generated through these brainstorming methods is owned collectively in the lab. Any of the participants may ed up actually taking it forward. The lab is much more about encouraging the new media and traditional media producers to consider how to approach proejcts together from the very inception of an idea and bring the best of storytelling and the best of interactivity to the development process. Because the lab is full of indies they often do want to also bring their own projects in and hope to get them brainstormed with the people in the lab. The challenge is that it needs to be made clear that in those cases the IP remains with the producer who brought the idea to the lab and it is already in development. The producers have a 24 hour window at the start of the lab to declare these projects on the IP wall That way the projects remain with them and they can feel safe to bring them into the mix. The overwhelming majority of projects that have been developed in Crossover Labs have been predominantly ones that came out of the brainstorm methods so it is only ever a minority of projects that are brought to the lab already in existance. The process is of course about the ideas but it is also about learning processes and tools that equip producers to develop projects in new ways, with people from totally different disciplines to meet the changing needs of audiences” in a cross platform media landscaspe.
Paula Le Dieu is one of the mentors here and has done extensive work thinking about IP issues and alternative frameworks for dealing with them in her time working on the BBC’s Creative Archive and at Creative Commons.
One of the reasons I find the Crossover process so exciting is because of the thought that Frank and Heather have given to the IP structures. New projects created during the week are commonly owned by all the participants – this makes for the genuine atmosphere of collaboration and creative co-operation that is the heart of the crossover experience. It also subtlely introduces participants to commons or open IP structures that I believe are such an important part of the future of media production.
I was surprised that a number of the projects that the participants chose to work on were ones where existing IP was brought into the lab and where the original owner would be the ‘director’ in the group and would be able to leave with the rights to the group’s work. This is apparently different from what’s happened at past labs and I wonder if there’s a different culture around this in the Nordic countries, or if its because these ideas were shining through so strongly, or for another reason.