Consumer Generated Content In The Real World

Mitch JoelPosted by

I was boarding a plane earlier today and right before the door they have a batch of signs – you know the standard warning signs.
There was one in particular that I could not understand until I realized that someone had moved the sticky graphics around. The stick figure seated in the wheelchair now had an enormous protuberance – you can imagine the rest.
What amazed me was not the fact that someone played around with image, but rather that no one else seemed to notice or care. I smirked. It was funny… in a high school kind of way. It also made me realize that whoever did that broke the law, or did something wrong.
When someone takes a brand and does what they want to it online, we call it consumer generated content – whether the adaptation is good or bad.
Can someone be sued, fined or sent to jail for changing a sign in an airport? What are the consequences of doing the same thing to a company’s brand online?
People really hated Metallica for taking on Napster. How do we feel, as a society, about people adapting signs in airports? Especially considering the accolades we give to others for creating their own iPod commercial.