SECOND LIFE U2 CONCERT UPDATE: U2 in SL CONTROVERSIAL...to say the least. Turns out this weekend I(Joyce Schwarz, JCOM, emerging media & entertainment consultant) am writing a column on 'branding in Virtual worlds" for imediaconnection-- an online trade pub that goes to more than 25,000 ad and branding execs. So excuse me if I'm being a bit too sensitive to what's happening in Second Life vs RL (real life). In my opinion, a bootleg U2 concert is heating up some big copyright and IP questions.
Check out this thumbnail of the U2 concert in virtual world "Second Life" this weekend. Note that the caption says that the server was playing the U2 Boston concert. Photo is included in Ilya Vedrashko's blog "Brands In Games". http://www.vedrashko.com/advertising/blog.htm.
ILYA VEDRASHKO'S CONCERT COVERAGE:
Turns out I just interviewed Vedrashko on Saturday -- he's an amazing dude who is currently working on an MIT master's thesis that explores the potential of in-game advertising. For some reason, Vedrashko is one of the few bloggers to post on the concert. A couple of other bloggers have already picked up his post including links such as Bootleg U2 Rock Out In Second Life (Gamesetwatch.com) and epromos.com blog FREE STUFF: Virtual U2 Promotional Merchandise and inclusion of the SL "band" photo in an earlier blog at www.shanthideas.com on Extending Your Brand (but no mention that the concert is bootleg)!
Check out these 'U2' avatars in an earlier post on 2/24/06 in Vedrashko's blog -- the SL "U2 Band" is quoted as saying: "We are long-time U2 fans who also belong to a 3D virtual world called “SECOND LIFE”. In that world we are a group of role-players who go by the name of “U2 in SL”. We have created avatar character likenesses of Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr, and Adam Clayton. We believe we’re U2’s FIRST virtual tribute band!"-- U2 in Second Life.
BLOGGER NOTE FROM JOYCE SCHWARZ -- the big concern I have is that the U2 in Second Life 'band' plays U2's actual music NOT their own rendition of U2 songs. As far as this blogger knows, the SL U2 group does not have permission to replay the Boston U2 (RL) concert. Yes, I know there was no charge BUT???
here's the link: today's in-game concert
COKE/PEPSI AND MACHO NACHOS....depicted during concert but prompt "no sponsors" response from SL members. As a veteran advertising exec who has produced more than 200 events ranging from concerts to film premiers, I chuckled when I saw the SL 'U2 Concert' featured both Coke and Pepsi and Evian -- all in the same category usually called 'beverages'. In RL (real life) most certainly one of the three would have insisted on what's called 'category exclusivity'. As I understand from the update in Vedrashko's blog, the food and drink booths have been 'taken down'....here's a response to Vedrashko's post on the concert from one of the 'players' in the SL band.
(EXCERPT FROM BRANDS IN GAMES BLOG)Free snacks and drinks from the "
official sponsors". The other stand "sold" beer (Sam Adams included). UPDATE: One of the players behind the band asked me to point out that there are no "official sponsors" behind the event. Quote: We have no sponsors official or otherwise. We do it all for free. We sell nothing. HOWEVER, to correct any misconceptions such as the one stated publicly in your blog, we are taking down the food and drink booths. They were merely provided to give a more "real world" concert setting. No copyright infringement was ever intended.
See thumbnail of the SL 'U2 Concert'U2 in SL 'food and drink booths' below which a SL member says are being taken down after the SL 'U2 Concert' to 'correct any misconceptions' . The thumbnail is now preserved forever in Vedrashko's concert post. Vedrashko added his own update to his post saying: UPDATE: I(Vedrashko) wrote about it before, but for clarity am reiterating here: the U2 in SL is a fan-made performance and should be discussed as such.
Here is the link to the Concert info on 'SECOND LIFE" http://www.u2insl.com/index2.html. Here's what the group says on that site: "Through streaming music technology in the 3D virtual world of Second Life, from time to time, we hold concerts and gigs for the entire SL community using real U2 live music. We role-play the real world band using custom made avatars, animations and concert set (see pictures!). We do this for fun but, most importantly, to raise awareness of the various causes supported by the real world band—causes suchbands to exist in a virtual world." (Note boldface is this blogger's addition, not the SL group's)
REAL BONO VS SL BONO AVATAR: take a look at this comparison between a photo of the 'real' Bono and the avatar this SL group created for SL. Click on the thumnail to see the similarity/differences etc. http://www.u2insl.com/portraits.html click on this URL to see the 'portraits' of the whole group.
The Second Life 'portraits' of course bring up the question of who owns my identity/image and who can use it --is it fair use to depict Bono in SL singing his own songs roleplayed by an unauthorized avatar image of Bono?
OF COURSE I KNOW THAT CONTROL IS SO 20th CENTURY...
A quick search on Google for "music in virtual worlds" or music "Second Life" did not produce any findings on the use of music in 'virtual concerts' in 'virtual worlds'. However, as most online radio stations know the issue is a big one for them. Lawyer and author Lawrence Lessig's recent appearance in SECOND LIFE is linked here: MAKE: Blog: Lessig in virtual world (photos and transcript)... NOTE: Co-hosted by Philip Linden. Professor Lessig's avatar is by lilith Pendragon, who also brought us the in-world incarnation of Cory Doctorow, Thomas P.M. Barnett, and Coltrane of MTV. full transcript
ADDITIONAL SOURCES FOR INFO ON TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS BLOG:
DMCA -- on wikipedia.com -- for those interested, here is a link to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Red Cross objects to use of emblem in video games (unauthorized use of symbols of companies or organizations. Did you know the Red Cross symbol is protected by federal regulation?
FAQ about Protest, Parody and Criticism Sites -- Chilling Effects ...(maintained by the USF Law School IIP Justice Project) includes info about the Latham Act and right of publicity and commercial usage.