Rebooting the licensing games for libraries initiative

Following the Microtalk I gave last Wednesday at TAG, I wanted to thank everyone for their interest and comments. As I reported, I learned the day before the Microtalks that we did not secure  funding to relaunch the licensing project through the Story Bikes idea. Arguably, I was really interested in looking at the legal issues of that project… which bring me to the reason I’m writing this post. Did anyone say PIVOT? 😉 

As a librarian and doctor-of-laws*, the problem(s) I seek out in my research involve(s) complex institutional arrangements within the realm of information, arts and culture. Games (and anything in the general area of new-ish complex-ish copyrightable works, mostly digital but not exclusively) are my preferred object of study and my preferred subjects are libraries and the environments they subsist in (Cities, Universities, School Boards, Prisons, and yeah, mostly any state-like institution you can think of). The vector linking my object(s) and subject(s) are legal arrangements fostered through institutions like markets, firms (old school Coasian classics, but also newer ones – from the perspective of Western thought – and their correlating mirror image, namely) commons or algorithms (full disclosure: I am a cyberneticist dabbling in socioeconomic theories in the post-modern sense, but I can easily “code switch” as I routinely have to interact with people working on positive or natural theories of law, e.g.: mostly lawyers – I am also a librarian, so I have to be conversant on a wide array of theoretical, conceptual, methodological and analytical approaches in any scientific field – any and all ideas welcome in my Thought Bazar).

Many existing digital platforms ward off libraries from acquiring content (think Steam, iTunes, Google Play and their ilk). Québec and other jurisdictions also have some stringent regulations applied to how certain libraries can acquire content. My working hypothesis (fear!) is that this platform & regulatory “double punch” will render Libraries KO in the digital world. Remember, without libraries (and archives and museums – collectively referred to as LAMs), society does not have many alternatives for us to consume content beyond buying it on a market… unless you consider piracy or the creation of original content as alternatives, but do they really allow for the participation in an open democratic society? I position libraries as an alternate institutional arrangements “feeding off” markets but eliminating market failures (citizens too poor to buy a game) or negative externalities (not knowing about the existence of a great game) as well as power asymmetries (incapacity to join/participate a social group because one lacks knowledge/agency). Certain types of works and many digital markets exclude libraries, which, in turn, excludes so many more… (sigh) 

As far as I’m concerned, indie games represent the PERFECT STORM for my research… I feel that if I can get indie games in libraries, I will have made my humble contribution in minding these gaps…

Despite the very temporary setback of not getting the grant for the Story Bike idea, I remain unshaken in my resolve to get more indie games (and, more broadly, informational, cultural and artistic copyrighted works) in libraries, as my personal social hack of existing institutional networks for the betterment of a plurality of voices and expressions in our crazy world. 

I know TAG has always been active with libraries through the amazing Arcade 11 initiative – this ongoing event is what sent me on this research path so I must recognize the essential work undertaken to keep the relationship with Libraries active! I am hoping to go deeper in the games in libraries thread. Please contact me if this interests you !

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 2019-04-10 à 9:34 am.

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