Imagine if Square Enix decided to release Lara Croft under a public license, allowing anyone to legally produce not-for-profit games, comics, films – really anything – starring the adventurer. Of course, that’s not what big companies do with their intellectual property.
Except, that’s what Japanese manufacturing behemoth Yamaha did. For over a decade, Yamaha, in concert with developer and import/export concern Crypton Future Media, has been licensing the images of the mascots of its Vocaloid voice-synthesiser software under a Creative Commons licence. As a result, at the peak of its popularity, a whole ecosystem of fan-made images, videos, and freeware games grew up around it. I got in touch with them – and fished around on some decade-old forums – to find out more. Read the rest of this entry »