Second Life has been witness to a furore of protest over the last day or so, providing an interesting insight into intellectual property issues in a digital world. An in-world script called ‘CopyBot’ was doing the rounds, making it possible for any user to exactly duplicate an item from another’s inventory. Given that a number of people make a (meatspace) living by selling their SL designs, this provoked outcry and protests until developers Linden Labs announced that using CopyBot would be considered a TOS breach. What is most interesting is the diversity of attitudes among residents regarding the situation, as indicated by this comment thread.
One thought on “CopyBot Chaos In Second Life”
As a character inside Second Life I lifted a few examples of pilfered textures off some websites and have kept them around or reference purposes. I am fairly sure this piracy issue will come to bloodlet the creative part of SL in a few months and cause a steady stream of bans. I have discussed the dangers with many people months ago, I was well aware it would be happening and it will be largely impossible to oppose. One of these days the average disgruntled ex player (who had a character banned most likely) will stitch together an easy content siefe and filter out non-transferrable data from his cache and sell or dump it en masse onto Second Life. To Linden Labs the task of checking all files to see whether or not they have been generated using pirated content – and ban whomever introduced these articles. I can see a really unpleasant but strangely aesthetic runaway effect already. However this plays out, a few million dollars of real intellectual property will deflate like the worlds largest souffle.
So what else do I expect, taking this in account? I can see SL slowly open up. Maybe LL will allow users to buy the server package and run their own seperate SL franchise. IBM is said to be doing that already, in some form. Independents can register a seperate domain, with unique rules (instances?). If that would happen, “non-transferrable” goods would be kept inside the first domain, to avoid them disseminating in non-LL networks. I can see how this would work in practice… the object owned becomes grey in a foreign realm and is marked (for instance) “LL”. Likewise, objects could be marked “mature” or “nonchristian” and wouldnt work in respective realms. The vatican network or Fox VR woudnt appreciate these animated talking vulva’s.
Linden Labs needs to get on the case and start improving the interface and the inventory. Right now both are flawed. Only a really small percentage of people I know cares to even look at SL; less than a few percent of the people I know (maybe one in twenty) actually continues playing.
If SL survives, and right now there *still* is no reason to assume it won’t, it will become bigger and better. In a few years SL wont run on todays average PC’s. In ten years SL will need something like the fastest DSL connections, octcore processors, those obsidian black hexagonal graphics processors, 32 gig memory and that kind of esoteric stuff. By then you might be able to wear 3D goggles, tacticle gloves to handle in-world objects and power a gesture based interface, a feedback device to walk twitching your leg muscles. I can see an environment with fractal trees, islands with 16 times the surface they have right now at the same price of a regular island right now, 64 times the prim allowance, avatars with 4 times as many attachment points, skin layers and textures well into the 2048X2048 range. Inventories will come with icons that allow you to see and recognize the object, you will be playing using a default 2 monitors if not with a headset.
But by then copyrighted content in SL will have slowly dived in a terminal S curve, leaving only people that sell sponsored content, items that are hip for only 3 weeks, or items that are somehow resistant to illicit copying.
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