Thursday, October 15, 2009

show me the way and I'll try again

I doubt I'm done with the whole copyright issue, and the legal confusion of U.S. copyright law--and, considering Second Life is international, but Linden Labs are based in California, I'll likely continue to concentrate on U.S. law--but I've been holding several links open that I should just make a post out of, and move on from. (As ungrammatical as that was).

First, I'm not going to make a large deal on this, but protesting against Step Up! has had more repercussions than just job loss. Apparently I've been banned from Vade Mecum--which was somewhat baffling at first, because as far as I know, I've never been there. In fact, the only reason I found this out was due to following a link one of my hunt groups gave out, on a store in that sim offering a hat gratis that sounded vaguely interesting.

It turns out that the reason I was banned is because the sim owner is either friends with folks who are friends with one of the organizers of Step Up!, or just directly friends with the organizer in question. I will say that the sim, now I've been trying to find out more information, sounds rather interesting, and they have their own Ning community, to announce events in the sim and roleplay events.

If you scroll down the main page announcements, in fact, you'll find a link to Couture Chapeau, which is currently doing a wonderfully vintage hat line--and, in fact, was the store I was trying to reach to check out their work.

I'd encourage everyone to check them out if you're interested; I love the layout on their Ning, and it sort of sounds like they might have Steampunk touches, now and again.

I just can't. Since I'm banned.

In other news, I meant to make mention of this before, but Miss Dio on her blog, the Ephemeral Frontier, is collating all the various recent changes in SL and is cautiously seeing hope in how the Lindens are interacting with the grid. For me, the jury's still out, but she makes very good points.

MMORPG ponders, what is an MMO? It's a good, thought-provoking article. And i09 pleads for people to stop oppressing men in fantasy games. (On a more serious note, i09 ponders recent changes in science fiction in media, and whether or not those are sexist, or empowering. Their answer, by the way? Both.)

And tomorrow, the Exodi sim starts their Quest for Flesh hunt--hunting for small candy bars containing skin, eyes, or candy. (I'll briefly point attention towards the first skin shown in that blog entry as evidence of how copyright infringement remains a thorny issue on the grid...) But the skins and eyes look really good, I'm looking forward to the hunt.

In the meantime, the shops of Wretched Hollow are having a pumkpin hunt, with a slight difference. Most of the prizes range between one and ten Lindens, with the occasional skull scattered about with limited edition Lord and Lady Hollow outfits for L$100. (I'll post pictures later, and I'll have to negotiate with Miss Neome for modeling the mens' versions, but the Hollow outfits come in Blood Red--a gorgeously shadowed deep, rich red bustle-dress with flexi sleeves--and Blood-Spattered--which is a muted charcoal with splashes of blood across the bodice and the front of the skirt. They're very well done, and well worth the $L100 per outfit.)

We realize that the hunt is going to take some time. There are things that you can do to help reduce the amount of lag while you are hunting. You can lower your draw rate to 128 under preferences/graphics. This helps lag on the server side by not making it process things that you aren't near. You can also help out by switching to non scripted hair and clothing while hunting. The Lindens are finding that the resize/recolor scripts in the hair and clothing are really hurting sim performance. If there is considerable lag, you may be asked to remove some items. Please do not be offended.

All things considered, these are very polite tips, but it does make me ponder. For one, Miss Oriana Kuhr's entire product line, fashion-wise, relies on resize scripts. Now, I realize, many of us could get the size we want of the item we want and strip the scripts, but many of Dilly Dolls's resize-scripted skirts are also recolorable, via scripting. One skirt, eleven tops, you can't just strip the color scripting out--unless you want default black for all your outfits.

But it does make me think--how many businesses leapt on the resize scripting bandwagon (especially hair designers!) because it would "stop" Copybot and similar programs, somehow. (In truth, it doesn't, at all, but delusions persist.) And now that it's turning out to be as big a problem as Mono-scripted rezzing items? How soon will we see resizing scripts vanish from all the companies who once thought it was so necessary to employ them?

And how many of those selfsame businesses throw up their hands and declare an end to it, and leave the grid over it, declaring a loss of any perceptible profit?

Participating stores are all Wretched Hollow merchants and include Wretched Dollies, Sick With Lust, La Boheme, Silent Sparrow, Likka House, House of Debauch, Blood Tea, Rainbow Sugar and Occular Oddities.

Considering Occular Oddities is becoming a new favorite eye shop, and I've been a member of Silent Sparrow since the dawn of time--and I like poking around the Wretched Dollies shop on occasion--this is the perfect hunt for me. Twenty-one pumpkins? Bring 'em on!

Get your pumpkin hunters' kit here--including the notecard with the passages I quoted--and join in the fun!


HeadBurro Antfarm said...

Hang on, you were banned by friends of friends of the Step Up people? That sounds a tad extreme - who invited the thought police to the debate, I want to know!

Also, what job loss?

HeadBurro Antfarm said...

p.s. That sim you were banned from, what period or theme is it - it's not clear from the Ning I'm afraid.

Dio said...

Hi Emilly,

Thanks for mentioning my post about reasons for hope. I also wanted to say that in fact I am with you on the "jury is still out" concept. I have merely been collecting and pondering bits and pieces of evidence that suggest there MAY be reason for hope. There certainly is a significant chance that our buddies at the Lab will still manage to completely screw the pooch beyond all recognition.

Among the major concerns I still have is the very conventional, by-the-book strategies that the Lab is trying to use in order to understand their users' needs and desires. I think that at least some of the LL folks seem to want to listen to us, but one one suspects that they simply may not know how to do it.

Maybe if they start adopting some strategies for interacting with their diverse customer base that are as innovative as the product itself, things will turn out well.

But yes, you're right, that's a big goddam if.

Emilly Orr said...

HBA: I'd love to tell you more on the sim's period, but...I can't go. :) And I was let go from Radio Riel.

Miss Dio: It is, yes, and my optimism wants to believe the Labs will figure it out, and ten years from now, people will still be talking about SL in marveling tones.

My pessimism thinks they've shot themselves in the foot too many times, and people are finally figuring out things won't change in acceptable ways, and moving on.

60/40 shot at this point, I think....if they could even figure out, lower to upper brass, why Zindra was such a complete failure, I think they'd be good for the long haul.

Dale Innis said...

Waaaaaaait a second here! You said it too subtly the first time, so I missed it. You were fired from Radio Riel because of your position on "Step Up!"? Really??? wtf is *wrong* with them?? What did they say, "sorry, you disagree with us about something on the Grid, so you're fired"? Do they hire only spineless yes-frogs? Only zombies? My gawd!! Sounds boycott-worthy to me...

(Note: no offense intended to actual invertebrates, frogs, or zombies.)

HeadBurro Antfarm said...

You were sacked because of you post on Step up? Sacked?

Rhianon Jameson said...

Although you were subtle about it, Miss Orr, I gathered that there was a connection between the Step Up campaign and your parting ways with Radio Riel. I don't pretend to be privy to motivations and such, so please interpret the rest of this comment as a general statement rather than being directed at your relationship with Radio Riel.

I'm troubled by the idea that people can suffer significant consequences - consequences disproportionate to their actions - for expressing opinions. (As my opinions are often orthogonal to many around me, I have something of a vested interest in this point of view, but still...) It's one thing to fire someone for having and expressing beliefs that are at odds with the business of the employer - a staunch pro-life Catholic might not be an appropriate employee at Planned Parenthood, for example - but quite another to use power relationships to control viewpoints. Banned from a sim because your (well-taken, in my view) opinions on the Step Up campaign are not those of the sim owner? Put bluntly, that's nuts.

I respect people like Miss Widdershins, who took the time to write a thoughtful rejoinder to your blog post, explaining her position and politely disagreeing with yours. Polite discourse is good. No one has to agree, or change her mind, or even understand the other person's opinion, but one hallmark of civilized society is that we can disagree without drawing swords.

Icterus Dagger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Icterus Dagger said...

I found it somewhat ironic in that (as far as I understood it) one reason for the exodus of many "oldbies" from Caledon was due to this sort of drama and the death of polite discourse (in and out of group chat). I am not wanting to raise that whole debate again; I am just finding it ironic.

I suspect there is another side to this - in all fairness, Miss Emilly, we mainly see your perspective on these things. But on the face of it, both your being sacked and being banned form that sim is somewhat over the top and, if done in RL, might be illegal (yes, yes, I know, SL isn't RL).


(pardon my deleted post- I made some silly typos)

Emilly Orr said...

Wau. Okay, for once, I'm letting everyone know in advance, this was not the opening charge of a We Hate Radio Riel campaign; they're good people there, I was and am grateful to have been a host for them, I'm hoping once my business gets off its feet (more), and things further stabilize, that in time I can go to RR events as a patron, not an employee.

That being said...Dale, yes. I was given more reasons than just speaking out against Step Up!; but the general feeling is disloyalty, that I should have put the concerns and feelings of Radio Riel over my personal opinions. And maybe I should have, but I've never been that type of corporate employee. I have worked at places that have done what I considered to be wrong things in the past; I have spoken out against them. I did so again regarding Step Up! and the incident last June. But on my employer's side, this was viewed as not only extremely unprofessional, but a firing offense.

RR isn't interested in only yes-men (and yes-women) in the ranks; but I do believe it would have been different had I been a DJ. Because keep in mind, and this is a fact I know well--DJs are important at gigs; Hosts are just decoration.

Emilly Orr said...

Moving on.

HBA: Yes? Seriously, I know it may have been subtle, but I said this, both on Twitter and in the blog.

Miss Jameson: Bring it back to that 'disloyalty' comment. Apparently, I was nearly fired back in June, but the Duchess stayed her hand. My reaction to Step Up! confirmed what she'd been thinking, however, and so she informed me.

The rules of the grid are not the rules of the real world, but even in the real world, can you honestly claim no one's ever been fired from a job just because their bosses didn't like them? I can't. In fact, RL, I was fired once from a position because I unnerved the nurses around me. And in that position, I knew what I was doing was vital (archival recovery of medical records), and so did they.

It happens in any realm. Am I sad I lost the position? Of course. Did I know going into protesting Step Up! I would likely be fired, though, over it?

Yes. And while I'm disappointed to be proven right, I knew it was a strong possibility if I kept protesting.

Emilly Orr said...

And Mr. Dagger:

I won't lie, I do slant things on more than slight occasion; I am open about it, but oh yes, I have a bias.

How'ver, in this, I am trying to be as fair as possible. Especially over the last few months of stress and upheaval, I was late to gigs, outright missed gigs, and, in RL and SL, that can be cause for dismissal right there.

And, as far as the banning from the sim goes? I was banned from Steelhead for most of the last two years, and the ban was only lifted, ironically, because I was hired for a gig in Steelhead. Since then, I have made very sure I don't have reason to enter the sim; ban or not, I'm not wanted there, and I don't want to press the point.

Every sim I've ever been banned from has been for personal reasons--for what was considered a bad review of a haunted house attraction; for my stance against a misguided group; for hurting a friend of the sim owner. It happens. I don't think of it as unfair, it just makes me blink on occasion.

RL legality doesn't really enter into it; think of it as the electronic equivalent of the electrified fence, or the restraining order. Offense was given, in some fashion; guards and protections go up. It happens.

Dale Innis said...

How singular! Are Radio Riel and the "Step Up!" campaign linked in some way? Why would expressing an opinion against the latter be considered an offense against the former?

Emilly Orr said...


....are you being sarcastic? I'm not sure whether you're genuinely asking, or just sniping.

But, on the off chance that you don't know, Step Up! was started by Miss Saffia Widdershins, Duchess Gabrielle Riel, Miss Angie Mornington and Miss Gwen Carillon. You can see who's in charge and what they're doing by following their blog.

Rhianon Jameson said...

I had the same reaction as Dale - though the same people may be involved in Step Up and Radio Riel, that doesn't necessarily make them one and the same, any more than AIDS funding for Africa and U2 are one and the same just because Bono likes to hang out with politicians to promote the cause.

And *of course* people are fired from jobs all the time because their bosses don't like them. But that's not at issue here - it's whether expressing opinions that are different from your boss's, on subjects not directly related to the business, is a firing offense. I'm not talking legality, or even whether it happens; I'm expressing surprise that it happened in this instance, over Step Up.

Now, you've made it clear that there were other sources of tension - the business in June was a more direct criticism, and missing gigs, despite serious RL issues, is problematic. Perhaps all of us who are expressing surprise should really read this as: the Step Up disagreement was the proverbial last straw. Fair enough.

And I'm not picking a fight with the good people at Radio Riel in general or Duchess Gabi in particular. Disagreements happen, people go their separate ways all the time. It happens. You're an (ahem) opinionated person - something that makes your blog so fun to read, but has its consequences.

Dale Innis said...

No, I was being ignorant, not sarcastic. :) I suppose, as Miss Jameson says, one can almost understand such a disagreement being the final straw on top of more substantive incompatibilities. But still; if it were me I would be careful to avoid allowing such a thing to figure in my firing decisions, if only to avoid appearing small-minded. In any case, thank you for the explanation. And the ever-interesting web log. :)

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Jameson: Basically, that's my opinion on it--I loathe missing gigs, or being late to gigs, but I also know it happened, and it's quite possible I might have been released for that, as well, had I not been the only host at the time. If I had to honestly sit down and dispassionately look at the why, though, I think it was far larger than a difference of opinion--I could have quietly disagreed and shrugged and moved on, but I got vehement about it. And stayed vehement about it.

Part of it is I seem to have a hair trigger where people and fire are concerned--I know how much it hurts to burn, far more than breaking bones or strangulation or poison, and I cannot disconnect that from my response to Step Up!. Making the ribbon orange, on top of other mistakes, has made me somewhat crazed on the topic.

In every other regard, though, I am trying to be fair to the women involved, and to the Duchess and RR in general. I know these are smart women, I know these are caring women, and while I stand so vehemently opposed to what the organization does, I am trying not to vehemently oppose anyone personally.

As I recall, the reason you started reading the blog--leading from the reason we started conversing in world--was due to a disagreement over children and education, so can it be any surprise that a disagreement with someone else led to a dismissal? :)


You make good points. I believe that what the Duchess was trying to do was to eliminate future conflict, though, and protect the strength of Radio Riel--she values free speech, she told me, and she values my ability to speak freely--she just didn't necessarily want my free speaking to impact RR as a business.

I can respect that; I do respect that. And it doesn't mean I now trumpet the call against RR--I don't think I'll ever do that. In fact, I've specifically avoided questions of musical copyright in world with broadcast radio stations; that might well put me in direct conflict, and frankly, I have enough to worry about right now.

But you're more than welcome; in truth, I thought the copyright law posts were a tad bit dry, and I was worried on losing my oh-so-wee readership. :)