Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Guess Who's Afraid of the Record Labels!

Is George Lucas afraid of the dark side?
The popular Star Wars Galaxies multiplayer game has an artificial limitation that has had players grumbling since its introduction in 2003: the alien musicians in a virtual cantina cannot be programmed to play original music, or any music other than 10 preset songs. Why would such a limitation exist in an otherwise sophisticated game? Because LucasArts is terrified of being sued by insanely controlling labels if a user puts a copyrighted melody in the hands of a virtual alien fictional character. There is no licensing analog in the online world to the royalty collection mechanisms in place in offline cantinas. And in this loony environment of hair-trigger lawsuits, LucasArts just doesn’t want the potential hassle.