Spec Ops: The Line, TikTok, and media licenses

Capitalist greed strikes again to stifle creativity

MajorLinux - Editor-in-chief

We live in a very interesting time. We are surrounded by amazing works created by amazing creators. From music to movies to video games, we have so much media at our disposal. There’s so much of it, that one can inspire the other and even form collaborations. You know, like featuring songs in video games. Even creating dances or inspirational videos using your favorite song. The unfortunate thing about this is how copyright law works, especially in the US. In order for us to have the things we enjoy, deals have to be made behind closed doors to get us there. And those deals tend to be temporary. So, what happens when those deals expire? Look no further than Spec Ops: The Line.

What’s so special about Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops: The Line was released on June 26, 2012 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. It released nearly two years later for Mac OS X. I feel the game was an important one to be made because it touched on the violence we normally see in video games. It also touched on the violence we very rarely see in real life. This video game introduced a lot of gamers to the chemical weapon white phosphorus. I have a feeling that those paying attention to the genocide in Gaza had a bit of a flashback when they heard the state of Israel was using it on Lebanese civilians.

It was a game that showed the real horrors of war in video game form. It left a lasting impression on me that made me re-evaluate my position on war games. It’s not that I don’t play them. I’m set to be a game manager for Call of Duty for an eSports association soon. I just don’t flock to the games as much as I used to.

To say that Spec Ops: The Line isn’t one of my favorite video games would be an understatement. I truly believe this game is very important and think everyone should play it.

But, that might be easier said than done at this point.

Spec Ops: Delisted

It was discovered on January 30 by Wario64 on Twitter that Spec Ops: The Line was delisted by Steam. While it was only Steam at the time, it is now removed everywhere.

This was something that confused the game’s designer and director Cory Davis.

The Verge finally heard back from 2K, publishers of Spec Ops: The Line. Communications director Joe DiMiero had this to say:

Spec Ops: The Line will no longer be available on online storefronts, as several partnership licenses related to the game are expiring. Players who have purchased the game can still download and play the game uninterrupted. 2K would like to thank our community of players who have supported the game, and we look forward to bringing you more offerings from our label throughout this year and beyond.”

2K communications director Joe DiMiero

It is speculated that this is happening due to some licensed music in the game. “The Star Spangled Banner” by Jimi Hendrix is played on the menu screen along with other licensed tracks all over the game.

But that’s not the only place getting hit with licensing issues.

TikTok and UMG

Variety has reported that Universal Music Group (UMG) has been bullied by TikTok into a new licensing deal. According to UMG, this would worth less than their current deal. The current deal is expected to expire on January 31.

UMG said that its agreement with TikTok is set to expire on Jan. 31. “The companies have not agreed to terms for a new agreement and upon expiration of the current agreement, Universal Music Group, including Universal Music Publishing Group, will cease licensing content to TikTok and TikTok Music services,” the company said in a statement. […]

Artists on Universal Music Group labels include Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, Sting, The Weeknd, Alicia Keys, SZA, Steve Lacy, Drake, Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Rosalía, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Adele, U2, Elton John, J Balvin, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan and Post Malone.

Excerpt from Variety’s reporting

Now, it doesn’t say what will happen to existing videos. TikTok didn’t provide a comment to Variety. This does mean that there will be a serious lack of dancing or meme videos featuring the latest artists and their music.

While Steam and other storefronts had to do what they had to do, companies like 2K, UMG, and TikTok are really at the heart of the problem with the creative medium here. Because of so many people trying to scrape every dime, nickel, and penny from everyone’s pockets, we can’t enjoy and create content. I also want to be clear in saying I’m not coming after the music artists. They get the bad end of the deal, too, as creators.

Copyright law and those who benefit the most from it is a huge issue for creators. And yes, I stand with creators who want to protect their works from people stealing it. But, in the cases above, that’s not what’s happening. If someone wants to play Spec Ops for the first time, what can they do now? How will these young creators express themselves without being to play The Weeknd’s new track if he has one?

Capitalists are ruining society. They are stifling our creativity.

When will enough be enough?

Source: The Verge, 9To5Mac

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By MajorLinux Editor-in-chief
Marcus Summers is a Linux system administrator by trade. He has been working with Linux for nearly 15 years and has become a fan of open source ideals. He self identifies as a socialist and believes that the world's information should be free for all.
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