Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Earlier today, I ran across an infuriating link at Boing Boing. (Here is the Wonderland article linked from Boing Boing, and another article at Terra Nova on the topic.) It seems that SOE has made a public statement saying that they will not allow outside music to be played through entertainer characters in Star Wars Galaxies. Why? In short, because someone might play a copyrighted track in the game, and bring down the wrath of the RIAA's attack lawyers on Sony's collective head.
If we allowed someone to play anything they want, they could play a song by Madonna and then we'd have licensing issues," said Julio Torres, a producer for Star Wars Galaxies at LucasArts. "We don't want to give them the option to try, because the bottom line is, if we open that gate, they will go through it," he said.
Don't you just love the general "Us verses Them" mentality? Those sneaky little players are going to do something naughty, so we better nip it in the bud. Clearly, there is some kind of workaround or loophole that can be used to allow this. Heck, Linden Lab managed it with SL land music streams. I've got to believe that, if LL can manage it without being sued into oblivion, Sony could accept the risk. But, of course, SOE has no incentive to do so. They've created a static game, not a seed crystal for the formation of the Metaverse. (No matter how far fetched that view of SL may seem to some folks, myself included.) Continuing innovation for innovation's sake makes no sense for their business model. Sony wouldn't gain anything (where "anything" equals "more money") from this feature, and it might cause someone to whisper the word "lawsuit" within five miles of their corporate headquarters, so better not risk it, right?
Once I got over my brief surge of righteous indignation and shame at having once given these folks money, I noticed something else. Apparently, I (as Moriash Spindrifter, my now-defunct SWG incarnation) have become the unofficial spokesman for the cause of musical expression in Star Wars Galaxies. Take a look at the included picture on the Boing Boing and Wonderland articles. Yup, that's SWG me! The screen capture was taken at a public Nalargon in Coronet, Corellia. I used the picture in an embarrassingly bad fanfic a while back. (Click the image below for the full-sized original.) I'm sure it was found completely at random with a Google image search. Sometimes, I am surprised at how small the Web really is.