The Escapist’s Casual Friday for issue #4 featured the article Machinima by JR Sutich. It started out alright. It talked about how cool some video game movies, like Red vs Blue, can be. It also talks about how much poor quality work is out there that passes as Machinima but is really nothing more than some kid trying to show off how skillful he is at a game.
Sutich talks about how the issue of copyright infringement hasn’t come up very often for these videos. If not for the games themselves, why not for the popular music that gets featured? Especially since MTV has decided to play machinima music videos, it would make sense that the RIAA might decide that unauthorized machinima should be stopped to protect “creative artists”.
And then Sutich says that it would be a good development! While I understand the idea that there is copyrighted work that should be protected and I understand that strict enforcement of copyright would get rid of a lot of the crap out there, I also think that if the only people who can make machinima are the people who are given approval by the game companies, it would stifle creativity rather than promote it. He says, “often the best way to get something legitimized is to have it come under such intense scrutiny that it becomes regulated.” So now machinima isn’t legitimate? Microsoft has embraced Red vs Blue, and EA clearly must approve of Rooster Teeth’s Sims 2-based series The Strangerhood.
People make some pretty good quality machinima out there. It isn’t always easy to find, but it is one of those things that makes the Internet so cool. If people become afraid to make it for fear of copyright infringement lawsuits, there will only be that many less people making it. Maybe the RIAA, MPAA, and other organizations would prefer it to be as controlled as possible, but I know I don’t.