Friday, September 14, 2012

Two easy ways to succeed on Kickstarter (and two reasons you should look for these kinds of projects)

Over the weekend, Ars Technica put up a quick post on old games getting rebooted through Kickstarter. They talk about how it's fertile ground for rebooting old games. Unfortunately, at least for creative endeavors, revisiting well-trodden ground may be one of the only profitable uses for it. But surprisingly this might be a really good thing for people looking to back Kickstarter projects.

As someone who is mentioned twice (obliquely) in the promotional video for one of the most successful Kickstarter reboots (when at Microsoft I worked on Shadowrun), I have a bit of a sentimental interest in this topic. It would seem that if you want to succeed on Kickstarter, try for one of two things:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Author's "Carnival of Souls" mark takes reviewers on a not-so-fun, and unnecessary, ride

I've spent some time this afternoon reviewing the Complaint in Jazan Ward's claim against HarperCollins over the Carnival of Souls and Enter the Carnival trademarks. And although I'm not sure he'll succeed, it's by no means the craziest thing I've ever seen. As for his complaints against the bloggers, there I'm not so convinced, and it's quite possible he may wish he had never tried anything.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, an author of graphic novels named Jazan Ward has brought a claim against HarperCollins claiming that HarperCollins' new series of novels called Carnival of Souls infringes a trademark he has registered in those same words. Using various legal theories he wants to have HarperCollins change the name of the series and pay him damages for infringing his mark. Recently Ward has also started to send cease and desist (C&D) letters to various book bloggers and other reviewers telling them that they can't review the Carnival of Souls books because by doing so they're promoting a property that infringes his mark.

This claim may sound like it's crazy. It's not. At least not necessarily. And in fact, there's one particular part of the lawsuit that should be very interesting to small developers or indie authors who may find themselves up against a big media enterprise. But going after the reviewers is a different story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A fresh analogy for file-sharing: the tomato

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but sometimes a tomato is a piece of music. Did that make any sense? After reading the article linked below, it just might. And even though I think the analogy doesn't work perfectly, it leads to some very interesting perspectives on digital downloads and content creation.

The instructive comparison in the article is this: people say that digital content is a totally new type of thing because it can be reproduced forever without depriving the original owner of the original item. (The technical name for this type of copying is "lossless".) But that's not true. There's another type of thing that can be copied forever in a lossless fashion.

Monday, September 10, 2012

One simple reason I've ignored the paid reviews scandal

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
(Othello, Act II, Scene 3)
Shakespeare could make an entire tragedy out of what happens when you're so focused on your reputation that you lose sight of what's really important. It seems that at least some authors may have fallen for the same trap, buying their way to a good name without earning it.

If you've been living in a cave for the past couple of weeks you may not know what I'm talking about. I'll explain.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Could you do me a favor?

I'm trying to get a sense for new topics that you'd like to see covered and other related things. SurveyMonkey is my friend. Could you go here and give me some info? I'd be much obliged... I don't have anything free to give in part because I don't know what would be enticing!