Online computer gamers are a creative bunch, from the mayhem of first-person shooters (FPS) to more the social experiences of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), gamers are producing new content for their favourite titles at an amazing rate. This paper explores the rewriting of the boundaries in the production and ownership of intellectual property in the computer games industry. The purpose is to examine the potential for computer game studies to contribute to an understanding of an alternative intellectual property regime known as the commons. This paper will explore how computer games users establish commons-like formations, specific to the digital environment, that extend the confines of current intellectual property rights. It will argue that the productive activities of online gamers are not motivated by the traditional logic of market-based incentives. This represents a new condition which may contribute to a reformation of the privatising enclosure of the intellectual property system.
Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society 2005