Monday, August 20, 2007

Rock Band and User Generated Content

I've talked about EA's Rock Band before and do not hide the fact that it sits proudly upon my list of most anticipated upcoming titles, but I've been hesitant to blog about it with any depth in the past for fear of disappointment (as a player). Simply put, up until now I've seen very little mentioned of any 'user generated content' for Rock Band. I know they'll have online multiplayer (certainly a plus) but without the ability for players to craft their own songs and share with friends I'm worried it might feel crippled.

Now, obviously there are serious legal issues to be considered here and I'm guessing EA will ship the title without a feature that would allow players to create their own songs knowing full well that doing so would immediately open the doors to Copyright infringement issues. Clearly this is something EA wants to avoid given how closely they are working with various rights holders.

Whether Rock Band supports it or not, though, the fans will eventually find a way. I've recently come across this tutorial for uploading your own custom songs to Guitar Hero II (PS2 only, I believe). You can see an example of this in action in the video embedded below.

Copyright issues here are obviously less of a concern given how complex it is to upload one's own songs. Only the most dedicated players would invest the time and money to do so.

Its a pity really -- I'd still like to see a way for players in Rock Band to be able to easily create their own content in order to get the true 'band' experience in a way the copyright holders could accept. What do you think? Is it even possible? Or would user generated content in Rock Band be a Pandora's box of legal issues and/or crippled functionality?

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Blogger Patrick said...

I think the big limitatation comes from the nature of the game design. The musical "notes" aren't analogous to the actual music, they're level designs made to fit the music, but only imperfectly. Unless you have a real tool, an instrument, it wouldn't work. The legal issues aren't a big deal though, just put it under creative commons or limited use license.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Ben Mattes said...


Have there been instances of EA or another major publisher releasing content under a creative commons license? I'll admit I'm not well enough versed on the specifics of intellectual property law as it pertains to the rights of music license holders, but I would have thought that if creative commons could get around music sharing/piracy issues it would already be employed a little more aggressively.

9:39 PM  

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