Thursday, May 24, 2007

YASA: Make your own "Star Wars" ...

Hey, it's YASA -- Yet Another Sign of the Apocalypse:
'George Lucas, creator of "Star Wars," has never hesitated to protect his
intellectual property, which is why some call him "Lucas the Litigator." But
this week, his Lucasfilm plans to make clips of "Star Wars" available to fans on
the Internet to mash up -- meaning to remix however they want -- at
Tomorrow, LucasFilm will make an initial 250 clips (with more coming) from all six films available to fans to "cut, add to and retool". They'll also be providing Eyespot's easy-to-use editing program, which means virtually anyone can play.

What's happening here is the latest in a cultural shift of big media companies adapting to technology, which lets fans take, modify, and republish their property at will. Companies like Viacom are starting to get this and make similar changes, which allow companies to "keep some semblance of control over intellectual property in the digital age."

Oh, there are still rules, of course (they'd be foolish, like a certain car company, to give carte blanche access to mess with their IP). They'll make sure none of the submissions contain nudity, pornography, or the like (both programmatically and with a team of human screeners). And this is all for fun, as LucasFilm's senior director for distribution and business affairs Jeffrey Ulin points out, "If someone tries to commercialize it, that's where we've drawn the line."

Which, to me, is totally reasonable. I have a serious problem with people making bucks off of someone else's hard won (and expensively marketed) IP.

And this all ties into this week's Star Wars 30th anniversary celebration, which culminates Sunday.

And LucasFilm's being smart. The movies are done, and there's a gap before the new Force Unleashed video game and the animated and live-action TV series (all in which I'm trying to get cast). So, they're continuing buzz and fan engagement.

Oh, and the million-dollar question:
"Can I 'fix' Jar Jar?"
According to LucasFilm promptings:
"Don't be shy. Here's your chance to edit Jar Jar."

(As an aside, this is a leapfrog extension of what has done with its "Photo Masher" play area.)

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