Getting ready for Generation-C
A generational movement consisting of creative consumers who modify proprietary offerings, and of members of society who in turn use their developments, all without any moral and legal considerations. Think video and audio mashups, jailbreaks for game consoles, unlocked mobile phones, tuned cars, even 'hacked' vacuum cleaners that can now be controlled remotely, via mobile phone apps.
Authors Jan Kietzmann of the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada and Ian Angell of the London School of Economics, UK, have coined the term "Generation-C", in the spirit of the well-known Generation-X and others, to encompass these "constantly connected citizens - creative, capable, content-centric, and community- oriented - who collectively communicate, collaborate, copy, co-develop, combine, contribute and consume common content."
Writing in the International Journal of Technology Marketing, the authors discuss the resulting controversies associated with existing intellectual property rights, and suggest that the future can only bring conflict if such legislation is not changed. Generation-C will only grow as more and more of our products become increasingly modifiable, and as creative consumers freely exchange their ideas for product improvements online. The authors propose that governments and politicians should allow creative consumers' derivative innovations for the 'good of society' and for the benefit of their economies. This is a controversial perspective - one that intellectual property rights owners would rather not debate.
The article concludes with important messages to organizations, intellectual property rights lawyers, owners of property rights, governments and politicians, suggesting they reconsider the impact that the current intellectual property legislation has, not only on those who modify proprietary products, but on all of us.