The RSA design directions set this brief 'Re-designing states of mind' and the design challenge was to find, define and communicate a social or economic 'contradictory behavior or practice', then design a service that helps us engage, re-configure, manage and live with this contradiction.

Technology today enables us to share files very easy - but illegal - over computer networks. The project CrimeWire aims to reflect upon the important consequences of these possibilities in a creative and inspiring way.


Aims and objectives

CrimeWire is developed as a response to the growing number of illegal music downloads that happens via peer-to-peer software. Especially it aims to deal with the strong contradictory behavior that:

We want to support the music artists - yet we download music without paying.
We know its illegal - but it is not "really" a crime.

CrimeWire is about re-designing states of mind by designing a service that helps us engage, re-configure, manage and live with these contradictions. Therefore CrimeWire does not aim to solve this complex and controversial problem of illegally downloading MP3s but instead put focus on it and actively provide different angles (not only those against downloading) to open up a space for reflection in the file sharer's mind. CrimeWire is about altering the experience of using peer-to-peer software.



The service I propose takes form as a "skin" for the existing peer-to-peer software LimeWire. The new service called CrimeWire is distributed like LimeWire's other available skins ready to download from the LimeWire website. The new design is in the details. Using metaphors from the criminal world the new skin CrimeWire renames the buttons in the interface and thereby it provides a whole new perception and experience of using the peer-to-peer software.

The consequence is that you will now hit a 'steal' button instead of "download", be asked to "select crime" instead of "select file" and so forth. You can perform all the normal functions of LimeWire plus a few extra, but CrimeWire constantly reminds you what it is you are doing.

See the transformation from LimeWire to CrimeWire by rolling the mouse over the image below >>>

The software still performs all its normal features but it changes the expeirence when you are asked to select "Crime" instead of "Type".

Criminal Record

CrimeWire offers also some new functions to the normal LimeWire. In "Criminal Record" (formerly known as Library) you have the "MP3 Paylists" informing you how much you "owe" both artists and record companies. This information based on a calculation that one track costs £ 0.79 ("thanks" to iTunes Music Store) and the artist usually gets 8-10% out of that. You can also access information about individual artists and specific record companies yearly income. This economic information adds a perspective and encourages reflection upon the whole music industry.

Justification Profile

The last new function is the "Justification Profile". This section is the most fictional part of CrimeWire and based upon a point system. When you input your salary, number of records in collection, amount of vinyl in collection, number of concerts you go to per year etc. it returns the amount of money it is fair for you to "steal" for per day.

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