Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Knitted Daleks vs the BBC

The BBC hates it fans. It does. You can look at its creations, but never, never touch them. You're scum. That's not for the likes of you. Thinking of making a Cyberman jumper? They've got goons to duff you up for even thinking about it buster. Want to knit a cuddly Dalek to keep you warm at night? Best do it under the covers and never let on to your dirty little crime.

Do not, whatever you do, publish the knitting pattern on the internet because then you will be in hot water. For this is what has happened to Who fan Mazzmatazz who's creations like the rather cute Ood, pictured, were just too good to keep to herself. She wasn't grubbing round for money like some tedious, oily spiv - she was just freesharing the love, and doing it specifically under the Creative Commons licence.

Mazz was bullied by the corporation into taking her designs down but the fight is not over and, supported by the Open Rights Group, Mazz hopes that the killjoys will relent once they realise their error. That will only come about if the "public service" BBC come to understand that one enthusiast with a very strange hobby is not about to bring down the "brand" but is actually adding to its value.

The irony of the whole story is that Dr Who itself, and its ever more appalling epigones, plagiarises its storylines like nobody's business. Not a scene goes by without a rehash of some old show or a stolen plot line. But let's kick the knitting lady, she's pinching our market! She sees a show she loves, they see a big bucket of swill they can shove their fat snouts in to.

What's next - abolishing online scrabble?


Magnus said...

I mentioned your post to a Whovian friend of mine and this was her reply:

"Actually, I've just now heard through the fannish grapevine that the
BBC has reconsidered (possibly due to having gotten a ton of bad
publicity), and is currently in talks with the knitter about the
subject of granting her an official license and put her designs in
their magazine and stuff. So it looks like this story will likely
have a happy ending after all.

Also, I have to say, while I agree that the BBC were being jerks, I
don't think the tone of that particular post was *quite* warranted.
The problem here is that someone had appropriated the knitting
patterns and put them up for sale on eBay. Fans doing and sharing
stuff for their own amusement is one thing, but making a profit off
something like this is a big no-no, and *definitely* illegal.It's quite reasonable for the Beeb to take action about that, but what they did wrong was to go after the knitter instead of the seller. Not
only wasn't she the one selling them, she had a creative commons
notice on her site insisting that they not be sold for profit, and she went to eBay and made them cancel the auction when she found out someone else had put them up for sale."

Her point of view on profit might not jar with your own, but I do think she has a point.

Jim Jay said...

According to her website she is indeed discussing things with the BBC, so it looks like there is good news on the horizon.

scott redding said...

"Who .. do .. you .. serve?"

"We .. serve .. Knitted .. Davros."

"Knitted .. Davros .. is .. an .. enemy .. of .. The .. Supreme .. Knitted .. Dalek .. you .. must .. be .. un-rah-velled."