Monday, July 9, 2012

our safe hearts feeling dangerous; missing truth frozen in lies

Lucie Bluebird put up an expressive post on why One Voice is so important. I'd recommend you check it out.

The Dani 4G blog has more pictures, and a SLUrl to the One Voice event itself.

Why you should support One Voice: forget about Gala for the moment. Yes, the fundraiser's for her legal fees, but seriously, set her aside for right now. The issue is much larger, and much more serious, than just one designer.

Why? Because Gala Phoenix did what we're told we're supposed to do: when we suspect copyright tampering, or IP infringement, we're told to file a DMCA. Because that's the first step, right? Filling it out completely and accurately is how we solve things.

Only...that didn't work in this case. Hush Darkrose--who's been in trouble regarding copyright before, and who's currently lifted digital items from more than just Curio--filed a counter-DMCA, then filed for copyright on her skins, then wrote the malicious blog post which started all this off...ultimately, which severed Gala's ability to keep creating--while still being forced to pay tier to the Lindens for a sim from which she cannot make sales, nor currently access.

And Hush turned in a document from a country where the Lindens don't know the legal structure; even though all claims of legal action on copyright infringement (we're not talking DMCA filings here, we're talking actual court cases) must, by the Lindens' own Terms of Service, be filed (or at least, co-filed concurrently) in San Francisco, California; they received a notice which looked like a court case had been decided in Hush's favor. From Canada.

What did the Lindens do? Again, they did what their Terms of Service told them they must: they banned Gala (temporarily, at least) from the grid, and shunted everything else over to Legal. (Though the last I'd heard, the Lab had fired their chief legal counsel, so do they even have a legal department at this point?)

And that's where we sit. For Gala to get the right to sell her skins again in Second Life, she has to file a court case against an insane woman. Someone who's clearly delusional, or she wouldn't be pressing this so hard. And she has to file it in Canada, which involves at the very least finding a legal team in Canada to represent her, up to going there herself to testify.

That $20,000 figure you're hearing being tossed around--that's not the total. That's the low end. As in, it's going to cost at least twenty thousand, US, to file the report, retain counsel and pay legal fees--and none of that includes travel fees, lodging, food, making copies of her digital proofs, and contacting witnesses. With potentially their travel fees, lodging, food, and any counsel they may feel they need.

And all of this must be paid before Gala can sell again, even though the original "Supreme Court" notice was just a notice of a claim made, not an actual court case that was decided in Hush's favor. Because so far, nothing has been decided in Hush's favor.

And all of this has to be paid while Gala's not receiving a dime from sales in her sim (because it's still closed) or on the Marketplace (because she's still banned from selling there). And her biggest source of income? Second Life.

So here's the thing: put any other designer in Gala's place; it's still scary. This is proof positive than any malicious, jealous soul can stop the process that helps feed us, clothe us, and keep us sheltered from the storm--literally, because if we rely on what we make in Second Life to pay rent, to pay hospital bills, to put food on the table, to pay utility bills...then all of that can go away with one action from the Lindens.

It happened to Azriel Demain. It's happened to Solange Cerveau. It's happened to Maxwell Graf. It's happening to Gala. And it could happen to anyone.

This is not just a fundraiser for Gala Phoenix. It's a banding together of every creator, even those not participating. Because every creator lives under this threat. Every creator could have their life and livelihoods stripped away with a single act.

Unless, y'know, you're actually Hush Darkrose. Then you're just another online predator.


Lucie said...

Thank you so much for your nice words about my post! Your post is also so true and very powerful... <3

Emilly Orr said...

Thank you. I'm also taking it as a good sign for the fundraiser that for nearly two full days from the event's opening, I still can't get in to the sim. It's too full.