There are virtual games which have their own rules, some even within a network of databases which have their own set of parameters to play by. There is you, sitting in your home with its rules, the rules of your environment, and the parameters within you exist. There are the rules of your municipality, the rules of your province or state, and the rules of your nation.
There are rules to religion, rules of politics, and rules of justice.
Every rule we apply is arbitrary.
The purpose, the application, and the results of the rules' imposition all tie into arbitrary implications.
In this case. Fox's brand, The Simpsons' sole purpose is (to Fox as a corporation) profit. The entertainment value is only so far as Fox's concern a direct factor in the degree of said profit. If The Simpsons (hypothetically - I'd never) ever became non-profitable, Fox (I assume) would drop it as fast as it could.
The "Duff Beer" being sold in a non-virtual world is likewise branding. Call it copyright or trademark or which one's rules apply (I'm not an expert, so assign the proper arbitrary term for me) but the underlying fact remains in either case:
Fox has been broadcasting Duff Beer for around two decades.
The concept of Duff Beer is associated with The Simpsons.
Fox's issue: it appears is that another for-profit corporation is applying the same brand to their product.
On the one hand, its unfair that someone profits off of the work of another. On the other, who's fault is it that Fox didn't apply their own concepts into a broader parameter of relativity? Nothing stopped Fox from ACTUALLY MAKING their own Duff Beer. Nothing's stopping them from, for that matter either, just appeasing the fans and make Duff Beer labels you can cover your own beer bottles with (which then raises further implications).
Personally I feel it comes down to a demand. If people want to apply an arbitrary concept like Duff Beer to the beer they're drinking, then let them. If the people want to drink ACTUAL Duff Beer from the show, they're going to have to wait until technology allows them to interact with a virtual environment. Simply put: You can't drink Duff Beer because it's fictional unless you do it in a virtual Simpsons environment created by Fox (or whoever owns them by that point).
Any company that decides to take a concept without permission from another company which is currently profiting from the creation of that same brand that has been in place for two decades, and apply that concept towards their own product for the sake of branding is (in my opinion) lazy and unscrupulous business tactics. We have rules against such unscrupulous business tactics. There is no rule against laziness.
Concepts are arbitrary and therefore fragile. Some people will prefer beer because its delicious, others because its intoxicating, and some because of the brand loyalty.
And when you buy something because of brand loyalty you expect your money to go to the brand.
I would be curious to know if Duff Beer corporation (the one in tangible reality) is deliberately expecting the public to be mislead in order to profit off of the brand.
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