Saturday, 14 January 2012

You Got Lawyers In My Creativity!: The End of Redpill?

See the guy on the left? That's SOPA.
I am the Warden!!

As I look to the left at the number of posts I've made this week and find a big, fat zero (my apologies to all the big, fat zeroes out there - I meant no offense), I wonder just how lazy I've been this week. Then it hits me I haven't been lazy at all, just busy, and that's alright. Still, posting to the blog is much like having lunch in the break room with the rest of the staff; everyone wonders how heavy your workload is or thinks you're just being rude.

Two matters have been on my plate during this short week, three if you consider a nice visit with my parents early this week. First has been putting together the Kickstarter proposal for Killshot and second has been reading as much information as I can on this SOPA crap and how it threatens Redpill.

For those of you unaware of SOPA and its unbelievably harsh "solution" to internet piracy, read this to get the basics of it. Scary, no? Reading the scant number of news posts on the subject, infinite blogs, and podcasts on the topic has made me stop and think whether or not working on Redpill is worth the risk. On its own, that last statement seems a bit ignorant (and I feel ignorant just writing it), but the initials risks to releasing Redpill was to the material itself. A cease and desist letter, Warner Brothers sends their lawyer to talk to my lawyer, and I have to give up on the project. It was a risk I was willing to take because the potential exposure was too good to pass up... at the time.

Since starting up this blog in August and talking about creating a Matrix-based RPG using the Optional System, I've had close to 700 hits on the Matrix: Restoration Part 4 post alone (with second place being no more than 55 hits to last month's rant on gaming innovation). When you're standing in a crowd of millions and every one of those millions is waving around their product, you'll take notice any time that crowd turns and gives you even the slightest glance. What started as a playtest concept for friends soon became an idea for a free, published game onto itself.

But to have the entire blog and any subsequent website taken down? Hell no. Mind you, the backlash has finally reached those holding SOPA in their ignorant hands and word is another review on the bill is pending, but I think it's safe to say the message has already been shouted from the rooftops. The threat's been made and while the aggressor has stepped forth and apologized, I still don't trust those bastards. More importantly, I don't trust the corporate mentality of creative oppression. You and I might think it helps to draw positive attention to their product, they view it as something not within their control and in their panic, things will get out of hand.

I'm a Canadian and we're not exactly popular when it comes to copyright. Up here, it's legal for us to make personal copies of videos, music, and other copyrighted material so long as we're not making a profit from it. That includes fan fiction, which is exactly how I perceived Redpill. In my culture, what I planned was acceptable and, more importantly, legal. But the rest of the world doesn't see things the same way. Savages.

As the future unfolds, I truly hope I never take on such a greedy business persona. It's nearly as bad as becoming an aggressive driver in light of being the victim of one. My plans with Broken Ruler involve publishing under the Creative Commons license and embracing creativity on all levels. I'm a firm believer of the saying "All news is good news." When that time arrives, I plan to remember this day.