When I received my written contract from Frontier on Friday last week, I was extremely excited. Signing something makes it feel so official, so real. Then I read the contract. Frontier, like all companies, have to protect their interests—especially when those interests are vested in intellectual property, trademarks, and copyrights for virtual created items. I’m sorry to break it to everyone, but the Elite: Universe doesn’t exist as a physical entity, but only as a virtual and legal one. To say that intellectual property law is complex would be an understatement. Who owns what, and who has the right to use it and under what circumstances becomes a convoluted maze of legalistic verbage that will twist even the most stable individual in on themselves until they are wibbling and drooling like a wet sponge. I have been floating, mired, in the sucking mental mud that is a legal contract since Friday. My creativity has been sapped, as has much of my will to live.
Then a debate started on the forum about the legalities of submissions to Frontier’s writer’s forum. I won’t repeat it here—it’s probably illegal to do so and a hanging offense, but for the masochistic this is the link. Reading this sparked an idea—a blueprint of freedom if you will—to subdue David Braben and take over Frontier using the power of their terms and conditions against them. If I took over Frontier then any contract would be with myself, and so not needed. I could be free of this legalistic headache and get on with the story. Below is my attempt. Far from bringing freedom, it is a morality tale and line of reasoning that does not end well….
Let that be a lesson to all. Legal agreements (the word binding is unnecessary as all legal agreements are binding) are the exact opposite of Occam’s razor, and cut much more deeply. They always subdue and always stifle, but there is no shortcut, no easy way around. Until I have negotiated the minefield of legalism that has twisted my brain, twined my creativity, and will probably turn my manhood, work on the story is on hold. I, a writer and so someone who is supposed to have enough power over words to free imagination, is tied by them until further notice.
(No lawyers or solicitors were harmed in the writing of this blog post. I only wish they had been.)
Image credit: Businesswoman Wrapped In Red Tape: © Scott Griessel – Fotolia.com. Usage rights purchased.