Friday, July 6, 2007

Church of England "Digital Code of Conduct" aims to demolish creative freedom

Manchester Cathedral today issued a "digital code of conduct" for videogame developers:
1. Respect our sacred spaces as places of prayer, worship, peace, learning and heritage.
2. Do not assume that sacred space interiors are copyright free.
3. Get permission from the faith leaders who are responsible for the building interiors you want to clone.
4. Support the work of those engaged in resisting the culture of gun crime and those involved in promoting the work of conflict resolution.
This was after Sony issued another apology to Manchester Cathedral and the Church of England over the some death that they (Sony) had no involvements. And like the greedy nutjobs they are the CoE isn't accepting the (second) apology, probably still scheming on extorting a pot of money from Sony and, indirectly, from us videogaming fans.

A couple of things is obviously wrong with this so called 'code of conduct', which I hope the videogaming industry as well as the whole entertainment and media industry will ignore, which I will attempt to explain here. An old building architectural design can not be copyrighted (at least extended beyond the original expiration date) much like books by H.G. Wells is no longer copyrighted. They will pass into the public domain, as I am sure if the design of the 600 year old Manchester Cathedral probably has (if it ever was copyrighted in the first place). Even then building a replica of a building, no matter how closely it resembles, isn't 'copying'.

It is how Las Vegas (the most 'sinful' place on earth) was able to rebuild replicas of famous buildings. It was also how the aliens in Independence Day were able to blow up a replica of the White House. It is how 99% of all homes in the UK isn't unique. Do they really think that Alfred Hitchhock's North by Northwest's climatic battle at Mount Rushmore was shot at the real location? If they do then they are in for a rude awakening. What about previous videogames when we could lob grenades into mosques? I never heard them complaining before. Oh wait, they are muslims, so it doesn't matter...

Gun crimes are a local issue. How they expect a multinational company like Sony, which is primarily based in Japan, to take issue on local Manchester gun crimes is beyond me. If Manchester Cathedral and the CoE wanted to tackle the issue head on then they have to do it through their local community - and the parents. At most they can take it on a national level by lobbying the government to tighten gun control and what not. But to blame Sony and the gaming community for the deaths of people they have zero responsibility for?

Last of all let us not forget the content of the game in question itself. The game, Resistance: Fall of Man, involves mankind battling some kind of alien humanoids to save the planet earth. Now, I have never played the game (nor has the church I believe, but at least they can afford a PS3 with all the begging for money stuff they do), but from what I garnered from my more trustful gaming buddies, the Manchester Cathedral was being used as a field hospital (a very noble gesture by Insomniacs, the game's developers) and actually involved alien humanoids attacking the Cathedral and killing sickly patients. Quite how protecting a hospital is bad I can't imagine. Maybe it is because the old farts do not believe in fictional aliens, but then again their bible made up of mythical content.

Or maybe they just want us to shoot gays. They are after all responsible for the miserable weather.

Eagerly awaiting a map mod of Manchester Cathedral for Unreal Tournament 2007 when it is released.

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