Monday, May 05, 2008

BBC: You are doing it wrong

Extermiknit has been pulled along with Mazzmatazz's Doctor Who themed patterns due to BBC concerns about losing potential profit. Not quite sure exactly what is going on, there is much discussion over on Ravelry but I can't find anything about it elsewhere.

I must say Extermiknit is a VERY well written pattern. Penwiper should be proud of her pattern. Same goes for mazzmatazz's patterns.

I've been slogging through an Official Doctor Who pattern for K-9 from the Doctor Who Pattern book and I am not impressed with the pattern at all. While not impossible it is not clear and not well written. I've resorted to writing out row by row instructions based on the cryptic directions in the book.

So in my experience, the officially sanctioned pattern is awful while the fan written pattern was quality, and was pulled.

I found an interesting article over at redshirt knitting today about media. Several points are made in the article but what struck me is the shift from media as something to CONSUME, that's what media wants you to do, to consume, to watch their programs, ie the commercials and buy products. The change is that not everyone is content to just consume. Growing numbers want to CONSUME, PRODUCE and SHARE.

LOLCat is given as an example. It's silly, it's fun, it's something many people can do. You can read and enjoy the lol cats. You can also make your own and post them. PRODUCE and SHARE.

Look at knit blogging. Thousands of people knitting and sharing their experiences. Consuming yarn and patterns, producing FO's and Sharing them with others.

Look at George Lucas and his Star Wars empire. Lucas embraces his fandom not only allowing them to produce new content but encouraging it through fan video contests. You don't see Lucasarts telling the 501st to stop dressing up as Stromtroopers, or telling droid builders to stop building replicas of R2.

Think of all of the free publicity Lucasarts enjoys via the fandom. Think of all of the happy fans having fun, and continuing to Consume Star Wars merchandise while also Producing their own and Sharing the fruits of their labor.

BBC just does not get it. The existence of quality patterns like Extermiknit is a good thing for their Doctor Who brand. They are free publicity. They show a healthy, happy fandom. As of today there are 155 knitted Dalek's on Ravelry and over 500 in queues. Not HUGELY popular but there is a following. They are fun. How can cuddly evil be bad?

I'm the first to admit I know nothing of British copyright law. I wonder what the girl from auntie would say.

I suppose I'm just disappointed that BBC would squelch the creativity of their fandom.

For the knitting community this, along with the abrupt MagKnits closure reinforces the practice of saving free patterns to your hard drive if there is any chance you may want to knit them later. If you wait they may be gone.

*UPDATE* 5/18/08

Mazzamataz is in talks with BBC to have her patterns made official. About time stupid BBC. More here and here. The real lout in this is the shifty prat who was selling Mazzamatz's FREE patterns on EBAY. When she went after him to stop making a profit off her FREE patterns he went crying to the BBC.

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