Once in a while there comes a moment. A defining moment. A moment perhaps marked by a line in the sand. A boundary that will not be crossed.
A moment where men and woman stand up and say, simply, “Enough.”
This is such a moment.
Today some of the most talented creators on the grid have had their entire sims stolen. They include Rebel Hope and RH Engel, Susan Ramos and Nonna Hedges.
For years content creators have endured the steady drip, drip, drip of losing an item here and there. A creation that may have taken days if not weeks of work suddenly appearing across the grid, priced cheaply (sometimes priced expensively) or given away for free. Venial people without morality making small profits. Stealing for the LOLZ or the small bits of cash. Stealing because … hey, information should be free. Stealing because it can be done, so why not do it? Stealing because the creation of the tools for theft was an intellectual challenge to someone somewhere – although they, of course, are certainly not responsible for the pernicious uses their tools are put to, oh dear me, no.
Quite. And so, in Robert Gittings’ words*, the mushroom cloud begins to grow.
What is the response? The convolutions of the DCMA process (which, among other things, demands the sending of faxes … I suppose we should be grateful the information is not required inscribed on vellum). After so long, a tentatively proposed Linden Lab road map for content management. And then, against that, the bleats that information should be free … how DARE content creators actually expect to earn money, to earn a way of supporting their lives, their families by the producction of their hands, their brains, their imaginations?
The facile advice to those content creators who’ve suffered theft that they should just make something else, something newer. So that it can happen again? But creation is a well that never dries up, after all. People never get so heartsick, so defeated, so burnt out that they lose the will to create and slip bitterly away.
Or so we are supposed to believe.
And now an action so outrageous, so appalling, so egregious that it must sure mark a turning point. For if not, why pretend there is a will to support content creators at all?
Whole sims have been copied. The content ripped and stripped and scattered across the grid.
Five years of work, lost. Families’ income, stolen.
This must be it. This must be the moment when enough is … enough. When Linden Lab, the behemoth itself, focuses its attention – its core attention – on protecting the people who have made, are making and who will make Second Life the leading virtual world. When a team from the Lab sits down with content creators and as a matter of urgency devises and puts in place a strategy that will end this for once and for all.
That strategy may be painful in some aspects. It will, very obviously, not please everyone. And it will equally clearly not cover every aspect of eventuality.
But a start must be made now.
One way could be a symbolic protest. No sales for twenty-four hours. No uploads. Content creators standing together and saying, “Enough.”
But another is saying here – “Meet us. Come and talk here on the blogs. Come and talk to us in world. We need to make this right. We need to sort this – now.”
* Robert Gittings’ poem – The Fox