Free Scott, a part of Ridley Scott Associates Films, is hooking up with indie studio Ag8 to develop Purefold, a web series that will grapple with the themes in Blade Runner without actually referencing that world in any direct fashion. The web shorts, will could eventually become a TV series, will evoke the grand themes of the sci-fi classic -- compassion, humanity, identity, a dystopian future -- without using anything from the book it was based on ... due to copyright issues.
However, in a data-mining twist that Philip K. Dick could perhaps appreciate, Purefold will be a collaborative effort. According to the Ag8 website, "Purefold is an open media franchise designed for brands, platforms, filmmakers, product developers and communities to collaboratively imagine our near future... Taking place in the near future, Purefold enables participating brands to take an alternative route to brand integration than traditional product placement and embrace invention within a narrative framework."
And because Purefold will be using a Creative Commons license, "audiences, brands and platforms [will have] unprecedented equal use rights through their participation." While the idea of allowing fans and artists to participate in creating or enhancing bits of Purefold is exciting and interesting, similar to the world of fan-made machinima films, bringing ad or marketing agencies into the mix gets just a little too meta for me. It's remarkable that Hollywood is getting friendly with CC licensing, but this is definitely something I have a wait-and-see attitude about. It reminds me of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition and "cool hunters" at bars dropping the name of the best new vodka you should drink in your ear. Or perhaps the Tyrell Corporation.