Idea Value VS Remix World
But there is a gulf between the rate at which the technology to facilitate this customization, and the cultural understanding to accept it. If we hope to continue in the vein we are taking, there must be changes to one, or both sides, because they are currently at each others throats, each threatening to bring the other to it's knees. And designers are caught in the middle.
We want to point this out to you, designers of the world, because it will affect you. Design in our era is about interface with information. If there are interests or organizations controlling that information, it may change or be restricted in ways that make your product unusable.
To illustrate the difference between the product user and the information controllers, imagine you're having a birthday party. We remember one party we had as a kid. Dad is all about using parts of videos as storytelling devices, and this was an archeology party -- putting together broken pieces of plates in the backyard in order to find a treasure chest of candy -- and it started with a clip from "Raiders of the Lost Ark". It was a great way to set the scene, Dad called him "Uncle Indy", and then we went and dug around in the mud for a few hours. Awesome. Except for the copyright infringement.
In research for a recent book, JD Lasica contacted a number of movie studios to request permission to include anywhere from 2-10 seconds of a variety of movies in personal home videos (not to be sold or given away) for his children.
Out of the 7 studios contacted, four refused the request, two did not respond, and one waffled. Mr. Lasica wasn't able to obtain permissions to use any of the information he requested, even though the value of each tiny clip was probably negligible (one studio asked for $900 per 15 seconds).
Moving on to an even more overt instance of bizarre intellectual property enforcement, biotech giant Monsanto was discovered last week as having applied for international patent rights on a variety of pig breeding techniques and practices, many already employed by farmers. According to this GreenPeace (probably biased) press release, all animals generated by these breeding practices would be subject to royalty payments to Monsanto.
Now pause for a second. We're not intellectual property law experts. Nor are we policymakers with years of experience under our belts. But we can see this kind of legal trickery as potentially dangerous, or at least very world-complicating.
What happens, in the case of a product like Threecustom's lipstick, to the rights to that generated shade of color? Are they the customer's to use with as they see fit, or is it some sort of arrangement like wedding photographers, who maintain rights to reproduction. These are, whether we want them or not, questions that designers have a hand in answering.
We have the chance, finally, because of the right technology and information sharing infrastructure, to unlock the potential artistry and expression of the entire human populace. But it won't happen with ever constricting controls on information. Of course, without controls, making money from information in a capitalist market becomes tough. There are lots of things to consider.
So make sure you o consider them. The world will be designed, whether we are paying attention to it, or not. Whether it will maintain it's spark and spontaneity is another story. It's up to us.
Copyright 2004-2006 Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team