|Title:||When Firms Encourage Copying: Cultural Borrowing as Standard Practice in Game Spaces|
|Citation:||Poor, N. (2012) When Firms Encourage Copying: Cultural Borrowing as Standard Practice in Game Spaces. International Journal of Communication 6, 689–709|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Katzenbach, Herweg and Van Roessel (2016)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study’s methodology is comprised of two parts. Firstly, the author samples derivative objects from four games which allow for user generated content creation (including EverQuest II, LittleBigPlanet, Spore and Second Life). The second part of the study involves a textual analysis of players’ opinions on copyright issues within the game via online forums and web boards.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
Some companies, such as Sony, actively fight the copying of their intellectual property. Yet there are companies, Sony among them, that sell and promote games in which copying is an encouraged norm. Four such spaces are examined here: EverQuest II, LittleBigPlanet, Spore, and Second Life. The four contain copies of, or homages to, cultural intellectual property. Users’ comments regarding the issues around copying were also studied. Users are aware of the copying in these games and feel they should be allowed to remix culture, but they are confused about the legal specifics of copying and homage. Firms take the same approach to copying as users: They do it when they think they can get away with it.
Main Results of the Study
• Users exhibit cultural play in their derivative content, often as a means of showing cultural competence within their in-group (e.g. creating content which references Star Trek or Dr. Who).
• Game companies’ exhibit mixed messages where copying of such cultural content is encouraged, but only to the extent that it is conducted in corporate-controlled spaces. For the time being, the intention appears to be to follow the same take-down request practices as e.g. YouTube.
• Overall, users appear to have an awareness of copyright law’s existence, but are not knowledgeable about its application. This confusion is exacerbated by the various representations of fair use exceptions, DRMs, EULAs, and trademark law.
• Economic forces are important determinants in companies allowing or disallowing copying. This leads to a further implication that companies only allow copying where profit is possible.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Whilst the author does not state any direct policy implications, they suggest that companies should be more consistent in their enforcement of copyright law, both in respect of their own and third-party IP rights. The author also notes that it is unclear how successful the encouragement of user copying through corporate self-regulation and self-enforcement will eventually develop.