One thing that Old Media never seems to figure out is that when a show has fans, rabid fans, they want to show their appreciation. Take, oh, say, Star Trek. Fans go nuts over Trek. Duh. So what did Viacom (the parent company of Trek) do when a few years back, fans created websites and used images from the show on the sites?
Viacom threatened them with lawsuits for using copyrighted material.
There is a word for such an action: stupid. Actually, there are lots of words -- criminally stupid would be a good combo. Nothing like ticking off your fan base and alienating them! Maybe Viacom forgot why the show made them money.
Anyway, this is why I was shocked to read that the head of CBS (which used to be Viacom in some sort of weird split that always confuses me) said something, y'know, smart. They are going to make a Star Trek environment in Second Life, and actually allow fans to fiddle with it and maybe even use some of it for future Trek-related products.
From Trek Today:
"If somebody spends the time to take 20 clips from 'CSI Miami,' I think that's wonderful," Moonves told a reporter. "That only makes him more involved with my show and want to come to CBS on Monday night and watch my show. And we're going to get paid for the clips this guy takes off our air as well. It's win, win."
Moonves said that his wife, Julie Chen, was partly responsible for his recognition of the value of audience-repackaged content. "You know what that meant?" he asked. "[The fans] were involved, they were watching, they were having fun with our content." And it drew in additional audience members.
Let me repeat that: DUH.
I'm not in Second Life yet, though I plan to have some sort of presence there soon (Aaron Price from Slacker Astronomy has interviewed astronomers in SL). I may have to pay the Federation a visit when I'm there.
Tip o' the VISOR to JK and LT at -- seriously -- Look At His Butt! (NSFW)