Friday, May 28, 2010

the unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley

[2:41] DeePosed Updates Group: Hi to you all. The new free pose for June is available at the front of the store. It's the latest in the 'Framed' set. You can preview it here. Come and get it!. ....:) DD....btw...LL have appeared to have well and truly ruined 'Search'. If you are having trouble finding the store simply click the slurl on this message and pick up at LM from the LM dispenser at the shop.

What she means, if you haven't figured it out, is that under viewer 2.0 searching for anything remains impossible, but worse is that half the time, searching for anything under 1.0 versions is now impossible, too. Pretty much, we're learning that we have to know where a place is to go there; that the typical patterns of searching--under any setting, any search terms--are now akin to paying a psychic to divine locations for us.

It's even more possible that paying said psychic would result in less expense, frustration, hassle, and give us better results, as well.

Sometimes, translation aids help us in our SLives, at the very least by allowing people who otherwise could not communicate, talk to each other in broken variants of the home language. It's far from perfect, but usually, it works out.

Today? Today was fail:

[17:15] MystiTool HUD 1.3.1: Entering chat range: Viva Seminario (8m)
[17:16] Emilly Orr: Welcome, Viva. If you have any questions, let me know.

[17:16] Emilly's Google Translator: Viva Seminario=>Bienvenido, Viva. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, hágamelo saber.
[17:16] Viva Seminario: 理解せず

Um....yeah. I really, really didn't catch that, and moreover, I don't think she did either.

Is it just me, or is the fact that Sion Zaius put the Sion Chickens up for the Linden Prize just about the most infuriating thing (barring the OpenSpace debacle, and everything concerning Zindra) the Labs have ever done?

Seriously. The Linden Prize was set up to "recognize a Second Life Resident, or team, with a $10,000 USD prize for an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn, and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world." That's a direct quote from the blog. I ask you: how, on any world, do the Sion chickens improve the lives, learning abilities, or communication/interaction skills of anyone? Virtual pets that lag sims to death. And they're up for the Linden Prize. It's insane.

Speaking of insane, Symantec discovered a cache of forty-four million stolen gaming accounts, on a Chinese data server. Do go read that list, especially if you play WoW, City of Heroes or Aion. Then change your password!

The last thing I want to touch on, briefly, is something overheard in passing. Apparently, someone went looking for superhero togs at a well-known store tonight. They did not find them at this well-known store. In the store's group, they asked why. Among various answers, one leapt out at me: that some "nutjob" with a blog threw a gear and slammed them in entirely slanderous fashion, so they took everything down.

As I'm fairly sure I'm the "nutjob" in question, I need to honestly tell you: this is not what happened. And if you ask the owners of this store, they would tell you this is not what happened. I didn't slam them for making items that infringe copyright--virtually every maker of goods, large or small, has either made something or bought something that infringes on copyright.

I know I have. In my wardrobe alone, there are Babylon 5 uniforms; a Harley Quinn costume; several outfits relating to Jon Linsner's character, Dawn; an Ariel mermaid avatar; a Jasmine avatar; two different versions of the Wicked Witch of Oz; a Trill skin; a Sally avatar; a Queen of Hearts gown; and I'm not even thinking hard.

And I really doubt I'm staggering ahead of the infringing crowd--I think nearly everyone has something that violates copyright in some fashion, it's nearly impossible not to. We are fans; we are makers of things; thus, we are makers of things we're fans of. In some sense, this is inevitable.

It wasn't that. What I was protesting wasn't what they made their coin on; it was the morbid irony of them supporting the Step Up! campaign--which is still purporting loudly that it wants nothing more than to stamp out "content theft" on the grid--in a store which sold little beyond copyright-infringing outfits.

Did I want them to fold up and slink off, tail between their virtual legs? No. Never. I never hated them, I never wanted them gone, I was frustrated that that store and Step Up! rather colossally missed the point of what stopping copyright infringement is--whether you call it by the real term, or the inaccurate "content theft".

Does copyright infringement injure people financially? Yes.

Do the laws surrounding copyright and fair use confuse, baffle, and frustrate people, though? Also yes.

And I'll tell you something else--after those few blog pages of ranting, out of the sheer audacity on both sides in that case? That store still exists. And they're still making sales. Are they making as many as they used to? I don't know, and if the answer to that is "no", I'm sorry for whatever part I played in their loss of sales.

But clearly, the point was not made. Because now? The grid has an entire sim devoted to nothing but Na'vi roleplay, and the people running it and involved in it are quite handily and happily buying up Avatar skins, Avatar hair, Avatar eyes, Avatar attire, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt in my heart whatsoever that James Cameron doesn't have a single hand in it, at all. In fact, I really doubt he knows at all that that little 'fan tribute' sim exists.

The bottom line is, you want to call me a "nutjob" for saying mean things against a store you like? Fine. Feel free. But say I've slandered anyone, and that's where I have to stand up and say you're wrong. It's not slander if it's true. And it's not attacking them for no reason if it wasn't about what they made at that time.

But yet again, the point--copyright infringement on the grid being that point--is still falling on deaf ears.

It's just that these days, those ears are pointed, with blue stripes, instead of being flesh-toned, above spandex tights.


Rhianon Jameson said...

Surely the world would be a better place if everyone subscribed to the motto: "Don't be a jerk." It's hard to codify that in law, unfortunately, but people can choose to do the sensible, non-jerky thing. Yeah, Avatar avatars infringe, but let's be sensible: someone who sells pirated copies of the movie Avatar should be prosecuted as fully as possible; someone who engages in fan RP should be ignored or even supported as helping sales.

Alas, not everyone subscribes to the motto.

Fogwoman Gray said...

On the subject of Emilly Orr's blog - I got the Windrow-Ravenswood deck in the mail today. Because you pointed it out - thank you. It is just WOW. And now I want him to do the Major Arcana :)
So Emilly's blog FTW on this one.

Emilly Orr said...

Miss Jameson,

See, and that's where it gets tricky. Fan efforts are on the fringe in everything--in terms of rewriting stories, or making costumes, or making props. The rules are there, but they're vague and difficult to interpret for the layman--or the lay fan.

The problem becomes: where do digitally recreated fan works fall? Deviantart has a truly excellent copyright policy and for once, it's clear as it can be. Even with that, though, they themselves admit: "The bottom line is: Just about anything that is on this site, on the web, on TV, on CD's, on DVD's, in books & in magazines is probably copyrighted by someone."

Until there is concise and clear rulings surrounding fandom, and applications of dress, speech, story, portrayal, or construction thereof--digital or actual--we will still be raising these questions, and pondering the ethics. (And occasionally slapping an $18,000 fine on a nine-year-old for downloading a song she likes, because she must be 'held accountable'.)

Emilly Orr said...

Lady Fogwoman,

Okay, now my mind is reeling. A Tarot deck. Far more work, yes, but--ooh, if we could get him to do that...

And you're more than welcome, it's a lovely, lovely deck of cards.

Brinda said...

It seems to be so difficult for so many to see beyond their immediate needs...
Anyone or anything that would impede those immediate needs is seen as a "violation of their rights". Thus the, *Don't Be a Jerk* is a wonderful thought.
Sadly, We will never see that, and I believe we do need those that well speak the truth.

Emilly Orr said...

You, deleted sir or madam, strike me as an opportunistic leech. No spam of your likely fraudulent "private servers" in my blog, thank you ever so. Go drown in saltwater.

Emilly Orr said...


It goes deeper than that, I think; this supposition that anything virtual isn't "real", so if they see something, and take that something, then no one's hurt right? It's not like they stole a TV, or stabbed's just pixels.

Breaking through that internalized concept is going to be tricky.

Candy said...

Regarding the translation fail: how did you know she speaks Spanish?


Emilly Orr said...

I have no idea. I primarily use Ferd's translator in world for three reasons. First, it auto-detects the language of origin (somehow); second, it replies in that designated langage; and third, it auto-replies and auto-translates even if the other person isn't wearing a translator (which was a problem with the Babelfish translator).

So, when I wear it, I see a little first-name scan of everyone around me (to 20 meters or so), with their country or language of origin.

So it will show me things like:

BillX (Finnish)
Jeremy (English)
Asot (Arabic)
Giri (Dutch)
Naruto999 (English)
Jacqueline (Japanese)
SexiiLadii (English)

and so on.