theEweekly Wrap: Guitar Hero, social media protests and Black Friday
|Sweet image rights o’ mine||Axl Rose, founder and frontman of faded rock band Guns N’ Roses, has filed a lawsuit for $20 million (£12.6 million) against the developers of Guitar Hero III. The game, which was launched in 2007, has a cartoon image of former GnR guitarist Slash on the cover. Because Slash left the band in 1996, Rose claims an agreement was made with developers, Activision Blizzard, to not use images of Slash in the game or promotional material.
Rose’s lawyer Skip Miller told Reuters the game is “reinforcing an association between Slash and Guns N’ Roses and the band’s song Welcome to the Jungle”; despite the fact that Slash (pictured) co-wrote and recorded the 1987 hit. A previous lawsuit against Guitar Hero – brought by guitar manufacturers Gibson, who claimed to own a patent for “technology to simulate a musical performance” – was thrown out of court.
|Tweet against the machine||This week’s student protests were organised via social networks, according to the media. The Guardian commented that “unlike student movements of the 1960s and 1970s, actions developed organically, with social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, providing an ideal platform for grassroots organisation”. Journalists have attempted to infiltrate these sites to expose ringleaders, but so far have not identified any individuals inciting violence.
It is, however, thought that those who ran ahead of the march on Wednesday and began causing trouble at Whitehall were communicating, and the action was premeditated; should the police decide to seek out perpetrators, it could be only too easy. The marches, the violence and the media portrayal have all been both condoned and condemned on Twitter, using the hashtag #demo2010.
|Micro journalism?||Unknowingly predicting the previous story, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone speculated on Monday about the potential news-sharing power of the site. Speaking to Reuters at a technology event in Oxford, he said: “I think a Twitter News Service would be something that would be very open and shared with many different news organizations around the world”. Twitter’s similarity to a real time news feed has already made it a favourite with reporters and researchers.
TechCrunch clarified that there were no official plans for a “Twitter News Network”, but commented on its power to change the way news is reported: “People would be there, on the ground, tweeting about it in real time. It made the traditional news outlets look like absolute dinosaurs”. This could, one day, be the materialisation of other co-founder Evan Williams’ wish that Twitter become “a force for good“.
|Backfire Friday||After days of anticipation, Amazon’s ‘Black Friday’ deals turned out to be something of a letdown, spurring anger and complaints from consumers. Black Friday is a US tradition which aims to kick-start Christmas spending by offering deals at a loss to the retailer. To restrict their losses, Amazon introduced ‘Lightning Deals’, where a fixed number of a certain product would be released at a certain time of day with massive discounts.
Customers began complaining when hyped deals – such as Take That’s new album for £1, or kitchen appliances at half price – sold out in a fraction of a second, while some reported the site froze, preventing a quick enough click to be one of the lucky buyers. Less popular products meanwhile, such as PC security software, were half price for a full hour, leading some to claim the ‘limited number’ was unfeasibly low for the promoted deals. The Advertising Standards Authority is now set to become involved in the issue.