Monday, March 24, 2008

for the gag and the bind and the ammunition round

The early cars
Already are
Drawing deep breaths past my door

Apparently the "SL brand" argument hadn't been made quite obvious enough. That's the only thing I can figure, as to why we were all confronted with a new ToS to agree to, on world entry.

So, okay, LL wants us all to know that "Second Life" is a brand name for a product. We knew this already. Why was it necessary? Got me.

And last night's phrases
Sick with lack of basis
Are still writhing on my floor

To that end...I've mentioned it a little, of late, but there's some growing hysteria amongst content designers, about content theft, and it's starting to get rather shrill. Maybe I'm not properly understanding the issue, but I just don't get it.

And it doesn't seem fair
That your wicked words should work
In holding me down

I noticed it first when Miss Tigerlily Koi at Calla put up posters imitating a well-known PETA campaign to protest theft; now I've found a poster over at Miss Solange Cerveau's place:


that does the same thing.

No, it doesn't seem right
To take information
Given at close range
For the gag
And the bind
And the ammunition round

and Miss Laynie Link's designed a protest skin--which, double irony points here, she's giving away free--to protest content theft.

What gives?

Conversation once colored by esteem
Became diologue as a diagram of a play for blood

See, here's the thing. All these designers screaming that they're being hacked? And they may well be, I don't have all the specifics...but where did it start, really?

And it doesn't make sense
I should fall for the kingcraft of a meritless crown

Because if all the skin designers are freaking out over content theft because of Eloh Eliot? Eloh Eliot released all her skins as open source. That means exactly what you think it does--change them, don't change them, repaint them, totally reconfigure, repackage as is--you, as the end line consumer of product, have complete freedom to do what you will.

Which is not how most designers run things, I get that.

But truth be told, I haven't seen a lot of supposedly "stolen content" popping up. So, it's confusing for me.

No, it doesn't seem right
To take information
Given at close range

And what's most confusing about the content theft hysteria at present? Traces back to whomever lifted PETA's no-fur campaign in the first place. Because, I'm sorry, kids, that is just plain pigheaded arrogance to scream "content theft" on the one hand, with a series of posters featuring ideas stolen from someone else to protest stealing.

Am I the only one seeing this?

For the gag
And the bind
And the ammunition round

And maybe it's also me, but everyone currently bemoaning the drop in sales due to "content theft"? It's not "content theft", it's the economy of SL. Which traces back to the loss of gambling. Which made a lot of players with a lot of disposable income leave the game.

See, it's that whole world split thing again. Second Life's economy is still largely dependent on an influx of income from outside SL to function. Because most of the big money players are still making that money, and taking it right back out of the game, instead of buying in-game and recirculating funds.

Which is fine if you've got disposable income you can do that with. But making money in SL? If you're not starting by plugging money in? Not easy.

What is this posture
I have to stare at
That's what he said when I'm sittin' up straight

Which again, is not the complaint. The complaint is, SL reflects RL. And RL, we--at least in America--are recession-moving-into-depression at speed, economically. Which is starting to show in SL. That, combined with the loss of casinos, gambling, games of chance...which leads directly back to the impact the economy has on SL's sex industry, which, hello, brings us back to shopping--because, trust me on this, strippers and escorts? Like them or hate them, but they dump a ton of their income on outfits.

Change the name of the game 'cause he lost
And he knew he was wrong but he knew it too late

And if they don't get tips because the gamblers in the game don't tip them--because the gamblers in the game don't have casinos to play in--because LL killed gambling on the grid, even though there were six different ways to avoid American litigation than the way they chose--I mean, complain about "trickle-down" economics all you want, but that's pretty much what we have--the risk faction comes in with money; the pretty girls angle for it; then the pretty girls go shopping. It's sexist as hell, yeah, but it's also SL to a large degree, and it's what's not happening anymore, because the money's slowed down to a radical degree.

But I'd like to choose right
Take all the things that I've said that he stole

Which is, in my opinion anyway, why designers--good, bad, known or unknown--have stopped selling as much. It's not content theft. It's the choices Linden Labs made that they never thought through before they made them.

Okay, enough of the rant. Just had to say that.

Put 'em in a sack
Swing 'em over my shoulder
Turn on my heels
Step out of this sight
Try to live in a lovelier light

This deserves some appreciation, as a good conversational redirect--I found these stacks:


behind a display in Miss Arcadia Asylum's booth at the Clothing Fair. Talk about attention to detail. And attention to detail most people won't see--because both those stacks of decaying paper goods? Are behind a sign.

Nice. Totally cool, and wau for the texturing, and most people? Will never know they were there.

And some really random images to tie things up, that I couldn't post for two days, 'cos they reveal hunt locations for the FallnAngel egg hunt.


Sadly, I didn't get the idea to start capturing the cooler eggs until we were nearly done with the hunt. He'd made a lot of the eggs for this year after Ukrainian traditional hand-painted designs. Just amazingly lovely.


Obviously, this is not an egg shot. How'ver, it's just as good--because the skin is one of Mr. Azriel Demain's new Geisha line of skins, and OMG. Just OMG, they're perfect. (Also, the hair--though not in this shade--was also a hunt giveaway. Though the shade picked to go in the eggs was Lamanael Party, not Lamanael Red. But you see why I had to run and pick up the hair in red, don't you?)


Another lovely egg design, that was found tucked away under the waves below a lush little cuddle spot. Next to the Barn of Evil, if I remember correctly.

I'll have to see if I have any other images, but I know I didn't take many. More's the pity, I should have. The eggs this year were really lovely, and the hunt itself? Amazingly challenging. Actually had to ask for help! That doesn't usually happen!

(Lyrics taken from Fiona Apple's "Not About Love".)


Frau Lowey said...

just for more on the issue...

Emilly Orr said...

Thank you for the link. (For those wondering, since the end 'b' is confusing, try this.)

The thing is, I'm not trying to say that content theft isn't happening. It is. All over. SL is plagued with it from the Labs on down. The problem I'm seeing, though, is the campaign used to publicize content theft depends on content theft. That's recursive, and hypocritical. And also, the problems with SL's economy do not start and end with content theft--they start with the Labs profoundly misunderstanding the sort of economy they have here, and go downhill from there.

Even with that, Second Life, I do feel, is unique in online gaming in that it's perhaps the only online game that allows user-generated content to this degree--and that comes with people who are ethical about issues of intellectual property and reuse, and people who could care less, just like anywhere else. It's just more obvious in SL.

I know eventually I'm going to hear from folks who are involved in this campaign, because I do have friends who are content designers, who are artists, who are impacted by this issue--but I can't stand by and say nothing. Just as I profoundly believe it's wrong for PETA to claim they're saving animals from harm by killing them in large numbers, I believe it's wrong to swear content theft is hurting you, and steal someone else's content to do so.

Even if you're jumping from PETA's bandwagon to do so. May be hypocritical of me, in this, but I'm completely for anything that harms their profit margins.