Going back briefly to the last content theft entry, Miss Cerveau was having a sale--as were many people--coming off Easter weekend.
I found another poster.
This is Stroker Serpentine, of Strokerz Toyz fame. Wired ran a story on him last year, and it's absolutely true--if you were an erotic performer in any sense, at some point, you walked through Amsterdam. All of us, every single dancer, escort, stripper, a ton of new folk who started out camping all the time and worked their way up--all of us went through Amsterdam, and most of us ended up with SexGen equipment along the way.
I'm not saying this is, this was, a bad thing. There was a club--may still be, I don't know--called Babydollz in Amsterdam that was actually a great deal of fun to hang out in when I first started, before I was hired by a club in my own right. I have no objection to what Serpentine's done.
But he's the first one on one of these ads, I feel, has a genuine almost-right to claim what the posters claim. Because he's the one who actually filed a court case. (Though, I have to admit, there is a loss of respect here for Serpentine--and why? Because he bailed on the court case--when he had the ability to be foundational and establish, once and for all, case law for intellectual property online. So there's that to consider, as well.)
And Miss Ziggy Quirk actually did a stunning thing back in February I just tracked down now--the typist, or as she says, "the human behind Ziggy Quirk", came forward and made an eight-minute vid for YouTube laying out her perspective on content theft.
Now, let me say this. I still believe the bulk of the SL economy's problem--at large--is not content theft. I still believe it's the number of island owners who lost serious money when LL killed gambling, and ended up reselling their islands or just walking away, trying to dump the equipment and mostly just deleting it--or having LL delete it for them--and as a result, getting sick of the game and deleting their accounts, never to return--because that is the reason for a lot of the problem with recirculation of funds.
How'ver, the problem of content theft? Is not what I'm disputing. There is content theft, yes. Is it getting worse? Yes. Can it be stopped? I don't think so. (I think there are ways it can be slowed down, but stopped entirely? That's going to be rough, that's going to involve a lot of investigation, and to date? The Labs really don't seem to care.)
The homogeneity of product that Miss Quirk speaks of--yes, I believe it's possible that SL is headed that way. And it would be a massive tragedy, of truly epic proportions, and yes, players would flee at speed for other platforms. Because part of the joy of SL for many is content creation. And if the major content creators get sick of creating, and leave, that leaves even more of SL subsisting in a vacuum of ghost-town abandoned zones and low-use islands. Eventually LL would end up reabsorbing a ton of dead sims, as they've had to do over the past year, and make their best attempt at resale to recoup their own losses.
But is the answer to restrict new users from using the tools that established users enjoy? I don't think so. Is the answer to restrict folk who don't have payment information on their profiles from entering sims? I don't think that's it, either. I think part of it is in how LL is letting their new 'community orientation' zones help new players into the game--because it used to be, you had to learn at each station, before you could move to the next, and now? If a new player really wants to get on the grid, all they need do is walk past everything and port out--ten minutes tops, they're on the grid. And how does that aid new players in understanding what made, what makes, Second Life unique in the first place?
Answer: it doesn't. But again, it comes down to fixing a problem that Linden Labs doesn't care about.
Should the Labs be concerned about content theft? Yes, as much as they should be concerned on the whys behind Pontiac and other large corporations choosing to leave SL. Should they be concerned about it over such issues as Windlight and voice not performing optimally in game? Yes. Is this going to happen?
Hells, no--because it's not as cool and sexy as working on the next fun feature. And that's a bit of programmer elitism, there, same as fixing the old bugs in the code rather than try to patch over them so they pop up later when the code breaks.
So yes, I'm saying there's no easy answer, but I'm also saying--protesting that it's all about content theft won't fix the downturn in sales. Figuring out what works--and what profoundly doesn't, and why--in Second Life's economy might.
But even that's only a might.
Because sooner or later, someone else is going to come up with something that shares enough of what draws people to Second Life, in a platform that actually works, is more stable, and doesn't have the weekly Wednesday and Sunday epic failure rate that we've all sadly become accustomed to in SL--and that's where the gamers, the builders, the lovers, the dreamers will turn.
And then Second Life really will become the ghost town that the press has been claiming. And that would be the worst loss of all.