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Licensing Agent

in a world of brands

Sven Kloepping



Publicat Duminică, 27 Mai 2007, ora 09:06

      Wheep! Wheep! Wheep!

     

      The coca-cola-reddish alert light blinks on my navigator’s screen like a very police-shuttle siren when chasing a rusty vehicle through the city’s dusty air. It wants to inform me that my brand-navigator has registered a violation of brand licensing somewhere nearby. I have to watch out closely ...

     

      Not many seconds later I discover the criminal on the left side: a tall young boy, wearing a T-shirt that shows a holographic but very distorted data-projection. The image is so bad that it has to be programmed by one of those software- greenhorns – or even by the criminal himself. The projection consists of some kind of a strange logo: on a black, star-covered background you can see three over-dimensioned aliens having oral sex with a young white lady from Earth. Somehow it looks like those discrimination posters in Nazi Germany, where the completely disfigured face of a Jew once exploited the fear and prejudices against those people to turn it into hatred and vengeance. The headline on the T-shirt says: “Don’t give ‘em any chance!µ Lacking a personal opinion, I just stare down on my licensing navigator where I see that this logo is copyrighted by Zion Zero Unlimited in the Oklahoma City district. So the guy isn’t allowed to wear that stuff in the public if he hasn’t paid a special royalty for it. In further digital words my navigator tells me that the criminal hasn’t made a purchase on this right.

     

      I instinctively slow down my glider’s speed so that I’m hovering in the air without any movement. Self-enabled to finish the job, I’m grabbing and aiming the data-phaser. Without any warning or further delay I’m shooting the pre-programmed data-stream right into his body.

     

      My virtual bullet destroys the 3-dimensional hologram in 1½ seconds. The letters and images are flickering like a defective neon light. Shortly after, they crush away into the deep blackness of the T-shirt’s non-dimensional background. I left no single trace. Nobody would ever suspect that there has been any logo on this tattered piece of clothing. The flickering stops and so does the alarm signal. Good job. Well done.

     

      Then it reveals my new state of account: 50 money-units, plus the licensing agents’ provision of 5 money-units. Quite good wage.

     

      The criminal looks very startled. Right now he stares like an exhibitionist who got not very big balls. He stares quite more amazed, as all the girls who were standing around him leave him quickly. He’s not phat enough for them.

     

      He slowly realizes what happened and stares angrily at my shuttle. If he pulls out any weapon I’ll have no other choice than to kill him. But he doesn’t move (survival instinct). Then he calls something in my direction.

     

      ¥U not wanna let me wear the shit I wanna wear? See how fucky these chicks have been - you just can’t do that! Tomorrow I’ll get my account filled-up to the very top, you know - everything’s gonna be alright! Just check out my virtual identity-card – here. I’m not tellin’ fuckin’ lies.“

     

      He holds somewhat silvery into the mist that emerges through the drains from the allpresent underground.

     

      But I just turn my head away, seemingly not interested in what he is saying or doing. If you’re not strong enough, those guys take full advantage.

     

      Without any further word I’m accelerating my shuttle to steer it right back to the illuminated magnetic bars that have been installed to the front of every building in this megapolis, to enable and to coordinate the daily shuttle-traffic (and, BTW, to control it).

     

      The criminal cries something out like ¥You dammit little bastard! I never gonna pay your fuckin’ royalties, you know - even if you’d give it for free I’d stuck them right into your god-damned ass! You cop-licensing-sucker!“

     

      For this slander I could have arrested him – it’s his luck that I don’t want to stress up things right now. So I fly on.

     

      To relax a bit, I activate the integrated virtual screen on my windshield, zapping to the visual sound channel - ¥first choice for the top-music“, as they’re proclaiming it in the daily media (disclaimer: this was an advertisement from Music Inc.) -, and I’m connecting myself at once to the one-and-only music-thrill for us human beings. Right now, the Intergalactic Meteor Surfers are gliding on some glittering shooting stars, buckling their bones, forming them into some strange sculptures - plus, they’re playing their most famous song ‘What You Want’ (slogan  by Shakespeare Inc.). Makes you shudder, I tell you – not a song for the easy-minded.

     

      I’m passing a large-sized, 5 acres big advertising-poster showing the head of an odd-groomed guy - ¥J. W. Goethe“, the caption tells -, who bites with relish into some kind of food, the headline saying, ¥Ahh! So fast, so tasty. Instant-Burgers from the B-King.“ (ad, image and slogan  by B-King Int.). The poster hangs at one place for decades now, just the burgers have changed. Today people don’t like beef nutrition any more. They prefer the flesh of young, fresh-born Sahara scorpions - it’s the latest sales-thrill of the B-King (hey, it’s really delicious). As I don’t discover any sign for a licensing crime on the screen, I enter the onramp to fly into the tunnel-like rows of the circle-shaped magnetic-bars forming altogether the main speedway of the city. While accelerating my glider I discover a guy I know only too well: he works as an engineer for Magnetizor Corp. and everybody just calls him ¥Colored Steve“, a reference to his multi-colored hair. He’s a freaky amateur musician. Years ago he used to fight together with the licensing guerilla against the allpresent media and something they called MegaFusion. I just can’t tell you what he and his gang expected to gain from their bombings and kidnappings, but they really made trouble in my district. I even had to delete some of his colleagues.

     

      But this is long ago.

     

      Today he’s a quite nice guy respecting the actual licensing laws in every detail. He even has ordered an electronic update from LicensingWatch Ltd. every month, to be even more up-to-date according the actual trends and royalties. He’s no more swimming against the stream – by now he’s just a single happy fish in a worldwide pool of growing love, peace and joy (disclaimer: love is a registered trademark of the Koka-Kola Corporation). He’s presently installing some technical additions to the magnetic-bars over me. I can hear the nostalgic melodies of Suzy and the Banshees roaring out of his 100%-licensed virtual sound shirt. As there’s no other important message upcoming right now, I decide to have a stop to chat with Pete for awhile.

     

      ¥Hey, Agent!“ he shouts to drown out his smashing sound shirt.

     

      ¥You’re well?“ I ask.

     

      He grins – seems as if he has taken some of these new pills that are flooding your head with fantastic hallucinations.

     

      ¥Yep, all’s well – and is still gettin’ better.“ He’s really high!

     

      Although I never take those pills, you can see HypnoPill ads everywhere in the world.

     

      ¥You got something to pay duty on?“ I ask him, just joking.

     

      He replies, ¥No, I’m duty-free.“

     

      ¥Great.“ I say, smiling. ¥And if you’re going to play in the Anarchy Club today, just tell your buddies that if they’re licensing their lives in future as well as you do it right now, I won’t need to have my regular visits on them furthermore.“

     

      His face lights up a bit. ¥That’s damn good news, man! I’ll tell ‘em today on stage.“

     

      ¥Do that - and don’t have too many pills as for ...“ I cannot finish, as suddenly another licensing-alert interrupts me – the third today. I hastily prepare to leave. Pete got that quickly and simply says good-bye.

     

      ¥I’ll call back your image into my mind when I’m totally stoned.µ he adds.

     

      I don’t react, as I’m already programming my glider’s route through the city – right to the point where the crime had been reported. In less than a minute I should be there, thanks to my wonderful rocket propulsion and the easiest city-navigation in the whole world from NaviGate Inc. END OF ADVERTISING.

     

      The flight takes me not too long and time goes by like a firestorm – soon I find myself in the district where the next criminal wants to be discovered. As I recognize that I’m in one of those run-down uptown-ghettos, I reload my weapon at once. You know, I just want to be ready if someone waits to kill me.

     

      Shabby buildings everywhere. I’m sure there are eyes, staring behind the blackened windows right onto the street, to watch my brand-new shuttle as if to cannibalize it as soon as they get a chance. Building after building – and one is looking like the other, except a single abandoned skyscraper standing a few hundred yards away. As I recognize it, panic streams through my veins, because the front of the building looks like a 1:1 copy of Buckingham Palace . Seems to me I’m much too late.

     

      Someone must already have painted this digital picture in original format on all those slimy, sooty walls until he got tired and sat down by a trash can nearby. However, this is what the official report says. It was sent to me via virtua-mail from the HQ in the L. A. downtown district. I wished that info would be incorrect. But it’s all too true.

     

      Couldn’t they have forwarded this to me earlier? What do I gain from a true information if I can’t prevent the licensing violation? ¥Sorry, control system failed“, the screen tries to excuse itself. But nobody’s interested in such explanations.

     

      The show must go on.

     

      First I have to find the ¥creator“ of the artwork. My search doesn’t take me very long as I discover him behind the 5th trash-can on the right side. He has just finished the last step of the front entrance of Buckingham Palace and looks quite startled as he recognizes me. Hastily his head turns around and I discover that his non-licensed artwork wasn’t the only crime he has committed today, for his holographic face isn’t registered as well. My navigator blinks so fast that if my pulse would go as fast as these flash-like intervals it would already have killed me with a heart-attack.

     

      But let’s come back to the face of the guy: It looks somehow like that one of poor-peoples’ grandmaster Robin Hood ( by Sherwood Forest Inc.). You should know that I got nothing against those hallugene face-copies of famous personalities – but at least every single copy has to be registered! Only paying royalties every new month can enable the normal people to wear such a face-copy. As for myself, I’d never put on those masks that are even more distorting your face than lifting it up (I had to write that, I got money from the Human Face Foundation HFF).

     

      I introduce myself in slang, as he doesn’t understand any other language.

     

      ¥What’ve you done, you suckah???“ I shout.

     

      To my surprise, he stays very cool and reacts quite moderate:

     

      ¥There’s no reason to be so harsh, man. You see ...“ He stands up and stretches his arms in the direction of the walls. ¥You see my artwork? I suppose no one has ever painted such a great digital picture. I mean, why should this work be deleted? It beautifies this area, brings color into the ghetto. Why should it be deleted just because I haven’t sufficient money to register it officially?“

     

      For a second or so I’m just standing there and staring at this guy – I must have looked as startled as the artist himself, when he first saw me. I can’t reply at once, for I haven’t the right words to argue. So I simply take out my data-phaser as I usually do when facing a licensing violation. Aiming it directly on the wall, I’m ready to fire the destructive data on it. By now, many inhabitants have opened their windows to have a look on the painting which has been digitally sprayed all over the window-glass. However, they just want to see what’s going on behind their windowsills.

     

      I’m not hesitating a second, for I know from experience as a man-of-the-law that one moment can destroy every of your pre-planned action. With one single pressure on the touch-field of my data-phaser the whole image flickers and fades and is gone – added to the virtual trash of the licensing agent headquarters’ data servers. Now, as the building looks again like all the other horrid walls, the inhabitants seem to be quite happy with that ¥restoration“ of their residential area. They even rejoice, waving their hands in my direction. I am possibly as startled as the artist who can’t shut his mouth for a long time. Out of my pity I tell him what I don’t tell every criminal.

     

      ¥If you want your image back, just pay the royalty-fee and call me at 105-334257.“

     

      He thanks me for the information but still stares in the direction of the inhabitants, not believing their ignorance. By watching him, I recognize that I nearly forgot to ...

     

      Losing no second, I point my phaser towards him. With one touch of my finger, the destructive data deletes his Robin Hood face, which crumbles into nothing at once.

     

      There’s evidently no place for heroes in this suburb.

     

© Copyright Sven Kloepping
Sursa :   Imagikon
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