Fan based production for computer games: User led innovation, the 'drift of value' and the negotiation of intellectual property rights

Humphreys, Sal, Fitzgerald, Brian F., Banks, John A., & Suzor, Nicolas P. (2005) Fan based production for computer games: User led innovation, the 'drift of value' and the negotiation of intellectual property rights. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources, pp. 16-29.


Fan based or third party content creation has assumed an integral place in the multimillion dollar computer games industry. The emerging production ecology that involves new kinds of distributed organisations and ad-hoc networks epitomises the ‘drift of value’ from producer to consumer and allows us to understand how user-led innovation influences the creative industries. But the ability to control intellectual property rights in content production is critical to the power structures and social dynamic that are being created in this space. Trainz, a train simulation game released by Brisbane developer Auran, which relies heavily on fan created content for its success is used as a case study. The licence agreements between Auran and the fan creators are analysed in order to understand how the balance between the commercial and non-commercial is achieved and how the tension between open networks of collaboration and closed structures of commercial competitive environments are negotiated. It explains the intellectual property issues involved and highlights how the interface between copyright and contract will have a critical impact on this example of user led innovation.

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ID Code: 5010
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Computer games, Intellectual Property, Fan production
ISSN: 1329-878X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified (200199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Intellectual Property Law (180115)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 (The authors)
Deposited On: 13 Sep 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 14:39

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