Designing Worlds visits Inworldz – and meets the people behind it!

Julia Hathor's Lands in Inworldz
Julia Hathor's Lands in Inworldz

Join us in our Northpoint studio at 2pm SLT today, Monday 1st November as we visit Inworldz – the new grid that is attracting content creators … and communities. We’ll also be talking to two of the key people behind the new grid – Elenia Llewellyn and Tranquillity Dexler live in our studio – a great chance for our audience to meet and talk with these two key people!

Koshari Mahana's Four Winds in Inworldz
Koshari Mahana's Four Winds in Inworldz

Inworldz is attracting a lot of attention from content creators, artists and communities dis-satisfied, for various reasons, with Linden Lab and Second Life. It has a flourishing inworld economy – as you can see here, and increasingly, as Elrik Merlin did recently on the Prim Perfect blog, people are asking – could Inworldz be a refuge for communities leaving Second Life? This show will give you a chance to see more – and to find out more – for yourselves.

Part of d'Alliez Estates' commercial district in Inworldz
Part of d'Alliez Estates' commercial district in Inworldz

The show starts at 2pm SLT, but you should be in our Northpoint studios by 1.30pm at the very latest to make sure of getting a seat – as this is sure to be a very popular show, with a chance afterwards to ta;k to the Inworldz developers and put your own questions to them!

Or tune in at 2pm SLT on Monday for the live show – where you can now chat with other audience members and even some of the participants during the show – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site

58 comments

  1. Inworldz: not connected to the Hypergrid and proud of it!

    Imagine if a website was not connected to the web and was proud of it. You’d think they were mad.

    “I can’t teleport over to visit my sister on Reaction Grid?”

    “No ma’am, that’s strictly forbidden. You have to log out of Inworldz and log in there, but don’t expect to have your Inworldz avatar and inventory over there. You may have bought those shoes, but we don’t care. We’re like Second Life, only cheaper.”

  2. You may have bought not those shoes, but a licence to wear those shoes in Inworldz. Just as you bought a licence to wear those shoes in Second Life.

    Until a way is found either to protect content creators’ intellectual property rights or to compensate them across grids, small proprietary grids are likely to be the norm rather than the exception.

  3. Inworldz is the exception. OSgrid is larger, and is also connected to the Hypergrid.

    The current norm with digital music sold online is iTunes: it accounts for more than half of all digital music sold online. Initially, the record labels demanded that Apple wrap iTunes music in DRM (digital rights management), but all that did was inconvenience legitimate users who wanted to do reasonable things. Criminals just avoided or stripped off the DRM. Now music sold on iTunes has no DRM, but there are still licenses and watermarks.

    Licenses are great! Some virtual worlds content creators even have the good sense to write a license (e.g. Textures R Us). Most don’t. So while you can *say* there’s a license associated with those virtual shoes, can you show me the text of the license? Probably not. In fact, the content creator might not mind if I take the shoes over to Reaction Grid.

    I applaud the efforts being made by the Fashion Research Institute to help people with licensing their virtual goods. That’s the kind of work that needs to be done. See http://shenlei.com/2010/10/13/content-licensing-in-virtual-worlds/

    Whenever a virtual goods transaction takes place, the buyer should either agree to the terms of the license, reject the license, or ask to negotiate the license with the copyright holder. Most will just accept the license. Right now, licenses for virtual goods are rare! Why? It’s completely normal to agree to a license when installing a new piece of software on your computer, or when registering for an account with a web service provider. What’s up with virtual worlds?

    DRM can be added as an enforcement mechanism, but it’s rather weird to have DRM to enforce a license that doesn’t actually exist.

  4. Troy,

    Have you pondered how a DMCA is handled on a standalone where you can NOT remove items from someone’s computer as it is invasion of privacy to their computer? Have you pondered how many versions of the Berne Convention you’d have to know, track down the right legalese for each country involved (187 countries to figure out), much less the content creator having to find out what country they are in in order to apply for legal protection? I made this a very clear topic in one of my blog posts.

    These are the things we ponder and why we are a closed grid. You have a right idea in your blog about export flags, but as of right now, the permissions system in OS is just not up to any par of protecting content creators.

    I understand you’re angry we won’t contribute back code to the OpenSim community, however, we’re not going to bend our morals or ethics on this topic to appease people who think we should not be in charge of our own grid or destiny. That’s the beauty of the metaverse, as I said this weekend on another comment: Each grid can develop as they need to in their own vision and have their own niche, and each resident can pick and choose which grid(s) they’d like to be a part of.

    You have your dreams, we have ours. They obviously do not mesh, and that’s quite all right. Can’t please everyone all of the time, and we don’t strive for anything other than pleasing our customers.

  5. Translation:

    It’s too hard to think about licenses and stuff. Our customers are happy so it must be okay.

    Yes we took the OpenSim code developed by others (as the license allows), at no cost to us, but we never intend to give back anything to the OpenSim community. We respect creators, except when we don’t.

  6. Us paying security experts to find exploitable code in opensim and feeding that information back to the opensim team via private channels doesn’t count either? I guess you’d rather us just use the code directly to make money and never make any changes at all. That’s somehow better in your eyes as there are a lot of grids doing that, and I dont see you trolling them.

    This is my first, last, and only post here. I think this went very well and I thank Designing Worlds for having us 🙂

  7. Mr. McConaghy,

    You have called us a “flash in the pan”, you have derided us for not contributing back, you have disparaged us for non-HG compatibility, and you have now gone so far as to ridicule us for actually protecting content creators.

    I want to make sure I have my facts straight here on your stance, then make sure you have your facts straight. You want to log into a grid, get whatever you want, put it in your inventory, take it wherever you want, and bedamned to the original content creator and what THEIR wishes are. Correct? Although, in all technicality, they are the copyright holder of their goods, you don’t care. But you’ll fling at us saying we do not care about creators. Interesting twist you would have everyone believe there.

    So, here’s a question for you, and yes it’s actually called research, something you should be very vastly familiar with. Do the research of which HG grids are actually DMCA compliant. And by that, I mean which grids that are actually registered agents, who are protected by DMCA-512 (or the Ocilla Act). Tell me how many of those standalones are actually enforceable for content a creators goods are on illegally. Then I want to you go through and find copybotted goods on a daily basis, and see what the creators legal rights are and how they are protected.

    Until you’ve had to deal with the process, it’s quite alright for you to sit back and rail at us. When you have to deal with the DMCA process almost daily and finally understand the technicalities, then by all means, feel free to try and tell us how to run our grid.

    As for not contributing back, we have our own methods of doing so, and we also have our own reasons why our code itself is not contributed back. You are sadly lacking in facts, again, and to be blunt, we are not going to air dirty laundry between the two code bases.

    Now, if you’re lost on how an ISP/OSP has to deal with these things daily, let me point you to this link:

    http://eleslilworld.blogspot.com/2010/10/so-tonight-i-was-supposed-to-go-and.html

    We are incredibly passionate about protecting content creators. And while you seem to be an intelligent man, you apparently have little clue on the law in this regards, or you just don’t care about it.

    I will not respond to you again on this or any other medium. Rail at us as you wish, but bitterness usually indicates one thing. I will leave you to figure that out.

  8. You register a DMCA agent by downloading this form: http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/agent.pdf (one whole page) and sending $105 and the form to Copyright RRP, Box 71537, Washington, D.C., 20024.

    You made it sound difficult!

    Becoming a DMCA safe harbor isn’t the only way to go, especially if you are “incredibly passionate about protecting content creators.”

    You could have an approval process for every bit of content. Apple approves every app that goes into their App Store, and they have over 300,000 apps there now. RL museums make sure the provenance of every item is legitimate. Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal make sure that they have the rights to print whatever they do (or they get in trouble when they don’t). Books, movies, TV shows…

    If you think about it, becoming a DMCA safe harbor is essentially saying, “We don’t actively protect copyright holders. We just sit back and wait for copyright holders to contact us if they believe someone has infringed their copyright.” In fact, if you (Inworldz owners) go out and actively look for copyright infringement, you can lose your DMCA safe harbor status.

    Second Life also takes the DMCA safe harbor position. With all the rhetoric from Inworldz about protecting content creators, you’d think that they do more, but apparently not. Maybe they should take up a side job in politics?

  9. I think in avoiding the questions that Elenia asked, it is you who are giving a politician’s answer here.

    You are complaining a great deal about what Inworldz are doing but your suggestions of alternatives seem somewhat self-contradictory. For example – surely if they lock down the importing of virtual goods as tightly as Apple apps, they would be no way that they could ever connect to the Hypergrid?

    I’d also take issue with you on the question of licences by content creators. This was a problem that Linden Lab created post factum when they open sourced areas of the code for Second Life. When many content creators began work, there was no competition from other grids and, for many people, no reason to assume other grids would be created – although other worlds might be (e.g. Blue Mars). It hardly seems fair to deride content creators for not anticipating that one day there would be parallel grids to Second Life with the capacity to share goods.

  10. Ok, maybe I am just a simple girl but it seems to me, Troy, that if you want to come into Inworlds you can go to the webpage http://www.inworldz.com and sign up and log in. It’s really not that hard.
    Why anyone thinks that the grids need to be linked in the form of hypergrid is beyond me. I signed up for InWorldz because that is the grid I want to play on. I trust the company and it’s founders and as a customer I sure don’t want it being linked in any way to any other grids or stand alones.
    I have to admit that I don’t know a ton about this stuff but I do know that it’s really not that hard to sign up and log in, I mean… it’s not like you have to get up off your butt and get in your car and drive anywhere.

  11. @primperfect:

    I’m not suggesting Inworldz both approve new content (like Apple) and connect to the Hypergrid.

    I was pointing out that Inworldz claims to be doing oh-so-much-more to protect content creators when in fact, they are taking the stance of DMCA safe harbor: the same stance taken by Second Life and many other OpenSim grids.

    Another way Inworldz could differentiate themselves as a grid with more protections for creators would be to add a mechanism whereby the buyer of content must agree to the seller’s license before it appears in their inventory. (Inworldz wouldn’t have to write the license; that’s the responsibility of the seller.) Inworldz has nothing of the sort. Inworldz has nothing of the sort: the same stance taken by Second Life and all other OpenSim grids (AFAIK).

    (In order to buy a song on iTunes, I must agree to the license. Why are virtual worlds so backwards in this regard?)

    What extra thing does Inworldz do to protect content creators?

    They aren’t special in being unconnected to the Hypergrid: the same is true of many other OpenSim grids.

    Content creators want the biggest market possible. That’s why the Hypergrid matters. Dozens of disconnected grids is a royal pain for content creators: they have to upload their vendors and sales mechanisms to each one separately (and they have to pay rent in each grid too). Disconnected grids is also a colossal nuisance for content buyers. Believe it or not, people don’t like having to buy the same thing over and over again!

  12. <>

    Your positive that you have the full authority of all content creators within the VW’s to make claim to this statement?

    And your also absolutely positive that you can lay claim to this statement for all consumers within the VW communities?

  13. I’m breaking my rule here.

    To compare newspapers and museums, do NOT have to approve over 3Gb a day of information being uploaded to their servers. They have editor’s who approve all their content, museum curators who do the same thing. The concept of the DMCA, which you are so eloquently avoiding, is that the law decided that no ISP or OSP (OSP being the key term here as we ARE an OSP) should have to know EVERY byte of information being uploaded to their servers. Therefore, they also can not be judge nor jury in how the law chooses to handle when an infringement happens. The ISP/OSP has to follow that law. It’s not a cop out when you think of it. Let me paint you an example:

    You come to InWorldz who decided because of all your spewing to turn on HyperGrid. You as a content creator create a pair of shoes. You then sell that pair of shoes. Customer A comes along, buys said same pair of shoes. Customer A takes those shoes back to their standalone. Customer A then downloads those shoes to their hd. Customer A then reuploads it with their name now on it. Customer A goes to another Grid connected to the HG. They open shop there, and then sell your shoes, except they aren’t your shoes anymore, they are theirs. You better hope that grid is either US or Berne Convention country participant to get that content removed. So you get the content removed. Customer A decides to just leave their standalone up and sell the shoes there. They are NOT a participant of the Berne Convention nor US based, therefore, you have no legal rights to force them to take them down. Now you have to track down all the customers who HAVE bought those shoes and file against each one of them, and hope they are either US or Berne Convention participants.

    In fact, THAT is exactly what has happened with the HyperGrid. EVERY VW out there now is rife with copybotted goods. If not for the DMCA, EVERY OSP would be personally (another keyword there, PERSONALLY) liable for any infringing material in their service. Ocilla was created to be a buffer for that very reason. And any one connected to the HG who is allowing others access to their standalone is directly liable for infringing materials unless they check with their country’s laws on it. And in the case of a country who doesn’t care, well, content creators are out of luck.

    I credited you with the right idea earlier, in the fact of allowing creators to select whether their creations could or could not be taken out of that grid. You chose to ignore it. We enjoy good debates on things that should happen, we do NOT however, enjoy baseless accusations, false assumptions, nor derogatory remarks without merit being made.

    Are VW’s behind the times? Definitely, but then again so is the entire internet and our court system. But why are you railing at US to handle things like HyperGrid? We’re NOT doing HyperGrid. We didn’t code it. Licensing, IP protection and so on, should be railed at to the proper people. Not InWorldz. It seems this is an ethical / moral question you’ve chosen to blame InWorldz for.

    If you wish to discuss this further and have a real debate and voice an opinion to be taken seriously, we’re listening. If you simply wish to continue this as an excuse to vent about our lack of HG compatibility, then we will have no further discussions.

  14. Troy:
    I agree that a non-connected grid is doomed if it stays the course. At the same time, you’re not being as persuasive as you normally can be. The bottom line is Elenia’s right – if you have a different opinion, why bother pressing it? If they fail and other OS grids succeed, great.

    Personally, I take a slightly more nuanced approach. I realize that – as I infer from Troy – every grid on the outside slows the progress of a more integrated metaverse. Elenia speaks of taking the ethical high-ground, but on the other hand, if later on HyperGrid protocols satisfy InWorldz’ needs enough, and they join, then they reap benefits of the OS community without having to have contributed. Is that ethical? I suppose it’s not unethical, but it’s certainly not friendly. And in my opinion, since the idea of a connected set of grids is inevitable, at some point InWorldz will be forced to migrate that path.

    That said, OpenSim developers realize this when the participate in an open source project. Simply: Other people are going to reap rewards for their work. I use OpenSim professionally. Personally, my contribution is two-fold:
    1. By using it professionally, I’m expanding use-cases for the platform in general and expanding it to more people.
    2. I will speak positively about OpenSim which brings other users.
    I’m not contributing code, but I think it’s a fair trade. The thing is – I don’t *expect* others to do the same. And likewise, because I don’t have this expectation, it lowers my confidence in open source projects in general. It’s just, to me, the reality of open source, and no point in pretending otherwise.

    I will say this:
    Content creators are going to need to come up with new and better ways to protect their content. Elenia is somewhat misleading in implying that somehow not connecting to HyperGrid is going to protect content creators from theft. It’s a universal behavior online, like it or not, if the data’s out there, it will get copied.

  15. Troy said:
    Content creators want the biggest market possible.

    Actually, most content creators I know want the biggest market possible where they believe the grid owners will do all they can to protect what the content creators produce.

  16. Ron T Blechner,

    I really don’t know who you are but what “facts” do you have to make a statement like “And in my opinion, since the idea of a connected set of grids is inevitable, at some point InWorldz will be forced to migrate that path.”
    Even if it is your opinion that connected set of grids is inevitable saying that InWorldz will be “forced” to mirgate is just …. well…. wrong!
    I think you really underestimate IW. This is a company who are not followers. They take the path that is professional and in the best interest of they customers. It might not be the most popular choice for those on other grids but, believe me, it is the right choice for the people on the IW grid. The MINUTE they choose the direction that you seem to think they will be “forced” to take is the minute I leave that grid forever. They are not stupid. They know what they are doing and they have their customer base to back them up.

  17. IW is smart for not going the HG route right away. I’ve seen some of the feedback from that, and um…to say the least I wouldn’t want to deal with the issues from it not just on a content theft stance but on stability issues as well.

    Also, one question that I have is if they do choose to go HG and get on with everyone else. What happens if the whole project turns out to be an epic failure. Wouldn’t IWZ go down with the rest of the project? I think it is a smart move to not follow the rest jumping feet first into a pile of rocks.

    Some advice, if you spent more time minding your own business and less on IW. Whatever business you may have would run a lot smoother. 🙂 Have a wonderful day.

  18. Troy,

    It’s great to make all these assumptions, but as you can see, people see right through them, because you really haven’t done your homework, and therefore, are hardly an expert.

    I’ve been working with copyright for over 10 years in relation to online content. I was a volunteer manager of a roleplay area on America Online, and some of the research I did resulted in the amendment of AOL’s very own copyright language.

    Lately I’ve posted quite a bit concerning online copyright and I have backed it up with thoughtful research. Unless, and until, the permissions system is revised for Second Life and other grids similar to it, OSPs have no choice but to use the DMCA process. It simply isn’t possible to safely assure a person’s copyright across multiple grids connected via Hypergrid at this time. As others have said, this has resulted in tons of copybotted content on those grids.

    If you don’t like the way Inworldz is run, you are welcome not to participate there and you are also welcome to start your OWN grid and face some of these issues on a daily basis. In the meantime, get off our backs.

  19. I think far too many people are missing the main point here. I don’t think anyone is saying InWorldz will never be connected; the issue is a matter of timing, priorities and demand from the resident base.

    Frankly, the hypergrid (HG) is an early prototype of a potential future direction. It’s not yet at the quality level for inclusion into InWorldz, and is missing a proper peer-reviewed standard negotiated and agreed upon by the parties involved.

    But more importantly, InWorldz needs a proper physics (e.g. PhysX), a new script engine, better scalability and performance, and a few other fundamental improvements in high demand from the InWorldz residents.

    It doesn’t need the development plans interrupted in a major way with an incomplete and highly disruptive development initiative.

    The founders have chosen priorities appropriate for their residents needs, and are correctly not being distracted by the shiny object on the end of the string.

    There may come a time in the future when the fundamentals are nicely in place and InWorldz is no longer a beta, but something like HG support is clearly a 2.0 feature to anyone with any development experience at all. Ignore the distractors and just stay on course.

    As I see it, there’s no real policy again a connected grid here, only wise and appropriate application of priorities drawn from the residents, and even if InWorldz were ready for connection to other grids, there are months of negotiation and proper specification and peer review before it would even be considered.

  20. @Ayla:

    “I really don’t know who you are”

    Really? If you’re going to use a tactic like implying lack of expertise, you should do your homework. I’ve been a professional developer with virtual worlds since Jan 2006, blogger on the issues since earlier, and active in VWs since Jan 2004. I co-founded the Second Life Community Convention. I’ve launched personal profitable projects as an independent, and I’ve helped launch corporate, non-profit, and educational ventures with virtual worlds. The rest is just trumpet-blowing, but if you’re curious, Google me.

    “what “facts” do you have to make a statement like “And in my opinion, since the idea of a connected set of grids is inevitable, at some point InWorldz will be forced to migrate that path.””

    Well, since I stated it was my opinion, it’s not a “statement”. I base my opinion based on the 2 decade+ history of virtual worlds and that ones that isolate themselves are doomed and/or inevitably integrate into other areas. The same goes with the World Wide Web in general; the whole “Web 2.0” paradigm is about the fact that people prefer choosing behavior where interconnected websites are more valuable to them.

    “Even if it is your opinion that connected set of grids is inevitable saying that InWorldz will be “forced” to mirgate is just …. well…. wrong!”

    Fair’s fair. Same question back at you. What are your ‘facts’ that you can make this statement? ^-~

    “I think you really underestimate IW.”

    Please don’t take my criticism of a platform as criticism of the people behind it. Google Lively failed miserably, Sony Home is far under-delivered compared to its promises, other virtual worlds are still vaporware, and Linden Lab – who is the current virtual world king – is riddled with smart people and poor leadership. If these companies fail, with money and talent and professionalism, then InWorldz’ qualities aren’t really relevant to the discussion.

    “This is a company who are not followers.”

    As an entrepreneur and someone who has dealt with businesses large and small, I can say this: companies *NEED* followers. Furthermore, I think it’s naive to assert that somehow because someone is on cutting edge of technology means they’re naturally leaders. 99.9% of technological advance is on the shoulders of others.

    “They take the path that is professional and in the best interest of they customers. ”

    These are both subjective, both to individuals looking at the issue, and comparing short and long term goals.

    “it is the right choice for the people on the IW grid.”

    Folks here have stated it’s the *popular* choice here – that customers of IW grid like it. That is the basis for it being the “Right” choice. However, you then contradict this by comparing IW’s choices with other grids, and that their way of doing things is “unpopular”.

    What’s “right” for a customer absolutely isn’t always what is popular. A customer usually has no idea what they want, but is able to recognize what they want when they see it. A few are forward-thinking and have technical expertise to the degree where they can imagine and describe what they want, but they are in the minority. So leaning against current satisfied customers is not a measurement of long-term correctness in one’s business plan, only short-term success. It’s certainly *important* to have short-term success, but it’s only one part of a larger business strategy. What both Troy and I believe is that a long-term business strategy for a virtual world platform provider needs to include interoperability with other virtual world platforms.

    “The MINUTE they choose the direction that you seem to think they will be “forced” to take is the minute I leave that grid forever. ”

    Okay. This doesn’t invalidate your needs as a customer, but you actually missed my point. I *agree* that currently the Hypergrid standard doesn’t match all the needs of content creators as the author of this blog post describes. *However* it’s easily conceivable to imagine that they will. In fact, if they don’t, Hypergrid will fade as a better standard emerges that is both interoperable between grids and safe for content creators. In either event, it will become *logical* for isolated grids like IW to join as their concerns are met. If that’s the case, I imagine you won’t be so hostile to the idea, either. Your statement is based on the assumption that the standard will never change, and given how quickly technology progresses, I don’t think that’s a sound argument.

    “They are not stupid. They know what they are doing and they have their customer base to back them up.”

    Of course they’re not stupid, but as I said before, lots of smart people doesn’t guarantee success.

  21. Troy and Ron, it seems that you are using your previous experience to form unfounded conclusions about InWorldz. I fully understand why you might do this, in the absence of other information, that is normally a benefit of experience, using it to predict how that experience might apply in “similar” circumstances. What you are missing here is that you are jumping to conclusions about the attitudes, and the people involved: both the founders and the residents.

    InWorldz is simply a grid that specifically chooses against connecting to other grids via the HyperGrid at this point in the development plan. There are many reasons for that, and you aren’t really hitting on them. Elenia responded to the one you seemd most interested in, the sharing or assets between grids. But that introduces the messy issue of IP protection, and the lengthy debates that neither start or end in a discussion in this thread. They are irrelevant anyway.

    >> “Elenia speaks of taking the ethical high-ground, but on the other hand, if later on HyperGrid protocols satisfy InWorldz’ needs enough, and they join, then they reap benefits of the OS community without having to have contributed. Is that ethical?” -Ron

    YES.

    Here’s one for you: Is it ethical to publicly badmouth other people and decisions you know nothing about? Did you for example ever ask if “contributing” is something they might have *wanted* to do under different circumstances? Do you know any of the history of this? Clearly not.

    Here are some of the facts you are missing:
    1. InWorldz is a fork that started a very long time ago. It is almost prohibitively expensive, from a development point of view, to try to port significant changes in either direction. Occasionally we can grab a fix from OpenSim code that mostly resembles InWorldz code, and occasionally one of our fixes might be able to be applied with some adjustments to Open Sim code. But that is not very common these days. So trying bring a major coding changes, spread all over the Open Sim code, to the InWorldz code is … prohibitively costly. InWorldz would have to choose to support HG over all other fixes and improvements for many months. Or alternatively — and this is probably how it would be added — it could be implemented from scratch based on HG specs. Again, very costly in terms of valuable and scarce development resources.

    2. As I mentioned in my reply above, it’s not one of the priorities of the residents. It’s a convenience feature in a world where there are much bigger fish to fry. I listed some of the higher priorities above. At this point in the InWorldz project plan, HG is a shiny object, a feature for products that care more about bells and whistles than substance.

    3. Open Sim is buggy. Not that InWorldz isn’t, but we have very tight controls on the code, and HG opens a pandoras box. Even just tonight, I was on 3rd Rock and also SL, checking whether the latest permissions bug was an Open Sim bug or one of ours. It was an Open Sim bug, and does not exist in SL, although SL was so unreliable tonight I could not fully complete the tests. We will fix it, and update the InWorldz grid as we have done many times already, to fix significant Open Sim permissions problems. Also, the fixes are generally not accepted at the other end. Open Sim has a rule that if you’ve looked at viewer code within the last 6 months (and we look at it regularly), you cannot submit Open Sim fixes. Given that it is a reverse-engineered product, this is an asinine policy. As if that wasn’t bad enough, one of our paid security consultants tried to notify other grids and was not only unwelcome but was actually banned within a few seconds of reporting that there were serious security issues. Reregistering and returning on another account to explain got that one banned as well. You can speak in glowing generalities like “contributions” but it doesn’t work that way in practice.

    InWorldz is a friendly, inclusive world, where residents are more like family. That sense of social belonging is reminiscent of the SL of old, and it is what is attracting new residents to InWorldz at rates of up to 50% growth per month. In the 5 months I’ve been involved, it’s actually grown by over 700%.

    >> “Inworldz: not connected to the Hypergrid and proud of it!” -Troy
    Not sure where you got that. Are you a fiction writer too? Is this kind of aggressive summarizing of others’ comments the norm for you? Then let me summarize your comments. “Troy: I don’t know anything about your grid, but I’ll still voice my opinion that it has no chance of success, because I know I’m right; any info I don’t have couldn’t possibly be relevant.”

    >> “I agree that a non-connected grid is doomed if it stays the course.” -Ron
    Ignoring the arrogant and presumptuous statement itself, what makes you think that it is appropriate for you to jump in here with predictions of doom (literally), as well as to call into question the ethics of some of the most ethical people I have ever met? Are you trying to promote alternative grids by turning a positive promotion of virtual worldz into some kind of negativity train? Congratulations, you seem to have succeeded.

    >> “OSgrid is larger, and is also connected to the Hypergrid.” -Troy
    I don’t think it’s actually larger in the sense of active residents doing things. But even if it is, are you saying InWorldz should throw away it’s development plan, based on a claim that another grid doing so is BIGGER? So the merits of a development plan are directly related to the size of the organization? (You haven’t lived in the real world if you believe that.) You two aren’t the only ones with decades of experience. I’m a 30-year veteran server software developer. The inability to prioritize fixes and features, introducing HG on an unstable platform base, is on the surface at least, a recipe for disaster. From my perspective (which may not be accurate), it won’t matter if Open Sim is connected to other unreliable grids if they get off course from fixes with another similar major distraction. But I know that I don’t know the assignment of development responsibilities there, and they may have sufficient staff to deal with this cleanly — I don’t know, so unlike you, I won’t predict their failure. I will instead wish them great success and hope that we can grow the virtual industry together. And maybe when they get stable, function and a connected grid, maybe InWorldz will be ready to connect as well. But not to something that hasn’t been properly peer-reviewed by others outside the one team, including the InWorldz architect. And maybe it will be possible that the OpenSim implementation can just be used in whatever form it’s in when that day comes, or some small changes will be needed, or maybe all parties involved will choose to redesign whole parts of it. We aren’t there yet. Don’t try to push a relationship on someone that sees no attraction. No means no.

    PLAIN AND SIMPLE, YOU ARE BOTH JUST OUT OF LINE. You owe the InWorldz founders a round of apologies. However I accept that this may not be coming. You have different opinions. And you have successfully derailed a positive article about a wildly successful virtual world, through uninformed and misguided badmouthing of the subject of the posting. I hope you are happy. Whatever.

  22. Guys, let me ask something fairly simple:

    What exactly are your goals here? Are you advancing those goals with this negativity towards InWorldz?

    Many InWorldz residents feel very strongly about their world, as well as feeling empowered. How they feel and what they want matters more to the InWorldz founders than anything else, and has for the year and a half it’s been in existence. The residents know this.

    Trying to tell them they need Hypergrid to succeed is like trying to tell a pro sports team they have no chance in the playoffs because of the color of their jerseys.

  23. Sometimes a disadvantage can become an advantage.

    I’m relatively uninformed about Open Sim code, virtual copyright, etc etc.

    That said, as I read the above, one thing appears clear. Some people may be mistaking “approach issues” for “moral issues”. It can cause useless wheel-spinning to make moral arguments about an issue that is merely one of disagreement about which approach is better.

    InWorldz has chose to pursue a particular strategy. Whether that’s wise will be determined as events unfold. Anyone who chooses to play by their rules may participate or not, as they choose. If any grid leaders (InWorldz or otherwise) act in ways that are unethical, illegal, or disadvantageous to many, they will eventually have to deal with negative consequences. The participants may lobby, organize or take whatever action may persuade them to change, but if they’re not persuasive, or the costs of change outweigh the benefits, change won’t happen. Participants can then take action in response if they choose, or tolerate what they don’t like if the costs of change are too high.

    Bickering generally isn’t particularly persuasive. Thoughtful organized dialog and action usually is.

    A blessing on all your houses.

  24. @Jim:

    I’m clearly not making my point in a way that’s clear for you. I’ve been *very* clear that my questions and criticisms are about a platform and not the people behind it. If questioning a piece of software makes someone “OUT OF LINE” (in caps, no less), then I don’t know what else I can say? I don’t believe you took the time to understand my comments. (If only because you took my “Is it ethical?” question out of context and skipped the part where I answer myself.)

    Perhaps one more question I could ask, Jim:

    Is there *anything* I could say about InWorldz the platform that isn’t 100% positive that you wouldn’t think warrants an apology? What am I allowed to criticize, and in what ways? What would make me qualified to make comments? Clearly my experience doesn’t warrant it for you, so… what then?

    And then, lastly, I’d just say – if I’m unqualified to criticize InWorldz the platform as an outsider, or whatever, then certainly that invalidates any qualifications for you to claim to be able to criticize the OpenSim / Hypergrid platform.

    @Diva:

    Thank you.

  25. @ Ron T Belchner

    Thanks for the little resume you posted.(yep that was sarcastic) I read your very defensive reply to my post and honestly found that I lost intrerest in it about half way though.
    The bottom line is I am not all smart and techie and stuff like you are. But (and this is a big but) I am observant and I have watched and paid attention to the decissions that the InWorldz founders have made. I trust them. I do not trust other grids (including SL) at this point and I do not want the world I have joined to be connected to other worlds. I am not saying that I wouldn’t change my mind if (and this is a big IF) someone could assure me that my content/creations/hard work would be secure. In no way do I see that happening anytime soon.

    The one thing you did say that stuck out at me was “As an entrepreneur and someone who has dealt with businesses large and small, I can say this: companies *NEED* followers.”. What I was saying was the IW company are not followers themselves. Meaning…. they don’t follow blindly what the other grids are doing. They are focused on their task at hand and their customer base and doing what they believe is right. I can tell that they study, research and go through any possible senerios before they jump in to something. And as an “entrepreneur and someone who has dealt with businesses large and small” I am sure you would agree that this is a “GOOD” thing.

    I am sorry that you think I used a “tactic like implying lack of expertise”. We are not all as educated in this stuff as you apparently are. Some of us just use our own knowledge from our own experiences and then we put our trust in those who we believe understand our needs.

    Now, with that said (and because I am sure you will find a way to blast me) I am bowing out of this topic.

  26. @Ayla

    Did you seriously just give me “TLDNR”?

    I really don’t get the whole “Hey, I’m not technical, but your technical expertise means nothing to me, so I’m not going to consider your arguments.” I believe that’s the same logic global warming deniers use. This is really frustrating, so if your goal was to get me to not post here anymore, congrats, you won.

    If your goal was to perhaps persuade me (a virtual world industry professional whose opinion *does* matter to other colleagues) that InWorldz is a great platform, well, then, all you and Jim have shown me is that the user base includes the usual Kool-Aid drinkers. No surprises there. (Ironically, that’s one of the complaints you and Jim lay toward OpenSim users.)

    Fortunately I don’t judge a platform by a couple of its users, so you haven’t hurt InWorldz as a platform either. But I do judge a blog by the comments that are laid. So … *bows, exits*

  27. @Ron

    If you truly had good intentions in your “questioning” of inworldz you would not be sitting here picking apart a resident’s response instead of speaking nicely with the people who run the grid in question. Truth is you may THINK that everyone has heard of you, after all you are on Google search. *note sarcasm* Anyone who has posted on the web is a part of Google search.

    I think Ayla was right in giving you the “TLDR” blow off because you are using your “experience” to gain leverage in an argument that you have based mostly on opinion or assumption. Along with Troy, you seem to be missing the entire point here as the Inworldz team has made it completely clear to you several times.

    Numbers speak for themselves, and if that is too hard for you to handle than maybe you should go back and evaluate whatever it is that has drawn you to share your “expert opinion” here. The theory is correct, however. In every joyous occasion is always someone out there to put the negative into it. Nice job there fanboy, but you have not succeeded in screwing up our day. I am willing to bet you got a bit hotheaded though, red in the face at the least.

    You may believe that you are big enough to TROLL people as you have done here, you cannot justify speaking down to someone by spitting your resume to the masses. Remember that truly intelligent people lead with their brain and not a hot head. The “my credentials are bigger than yours” argument will not hold up in an open forum of intellectual beings.

    Enjoy your day and I hope you find peace with your inferiority complexes.

  28. <>

    1. If a customer wants HG, they go to OS, correct?

    2. If a customer does NOT want HG, they go places like IW, correct?

    I’m not really sure why this debate is even being continued.

    Each person has their own individual wants and needs.

    Each VW supplies different types of needs and wants.

    Each customer who is looking for alternatives does their research on all these different grids and settles into the one that best fits their needs and wants.

    So again, I need to refer to you 1. and 2. and state very simple “Let the customers decide where they wish to go based on their own wants and needs and stop trying to decide for companies what should or not should be done and your time line.”

    The customers of IW currently do not want HG for a myriad of reasons. If they wanted HG right now, they would NOT BE IN IW. Or they would ALSO BE IN AN ALTERNATE GRID.

    Will the customers want it in the future? Possibly and possibly not.

    Will IW provide it in the future if it’s wanted by customers? Dunno and honestly? I don’t really care.

    The main reason I don’t care is because I’m not in IW FOR THE HG. I can go elsewhere for the HG.

    If they bring it in eventually, I know it will be secure. If they don’t and I change my mind…I know where to find it.

    So how simple that is?

  29. @Ron, not sure why you want to keep coming back to experience as if you’ve been involved in these decisions and understand why they have been made. It’s simply a matter of doing the best possible under the real-world constraints.

    Both you and @Troy having one opinion, which seems to be that InWorldz must support HyperGrid, and now, or it is doomed, and others disagree. You can cloud the issue with a series of other considerations, and I respect that you are drawing on your experience to reach that conclusion but it is simply a prediction that others disagree with. There are many considerations and factors that will lead to the sucess or failure of any grid, and it is always a struggle at the best of times.

    Alternative virtual worlds are growing at a tremendous rate. My rough estimate for InWorldz is about 50% per month, compounding, but I expect that to taper a bit over the next couple of months. I hope it does, InWorldz is not advertizing and it’s still a beta and everyone there needs time to catch up on their To Do lists after months of exceptional growth.

    Now just think for a moment about the day-to-day, rather than some top-level view that only grids connected now will succeed: Sim networking stack is unreliable, regions need fixes, scalability has major holes, the script engine has no real constraints on scripts and needs a major overhaul, there is no physics, some LSL functions are not yet implemented, … I could go on. How does HG fit into that, given it will destabilize the code for a few months, as well as cost a few months effort? It’s not a checkbox that says “support HG”. It’s not a question of failing to see or agree that private hosted grids might one day all be connected. It’s a matter of giving development the focus requested by the residents, within realistic constraints provided by the developers.

    Now it’s one thing to throw this opinion out there, that InWorldz is not connected and therefore doomed (and probably get a contrary response back) but another thing to keep pushing it as fact, calling the founders ethics into question, and yes, you actually only called them “unfriendly” for not “contributing” after complaining they were “reaping benefits”. Anyone with any intelligence will read that paragraph and know in your heart that when you ask if it is ethical, you feel it is unethical, even though you add a phrase at the end that says “I suppose it’s not unethical”, and then several paragraphs on how you are contributing and InWorldz isn’t (even though that’s uninformed and not relevant to HG in InWorldz).

    Unfortunately you are missing several major considerations, first and foremost is that the InWorldz team’s #1 priority is to their own residents. And you underestimate the cost of more direct involvement with Open Sim. I have tried to explain that above, you have chosen to just ignore that. The root issue here is the decision to fork the code. You can disagree with that, and everyone agrees that a fork is a last resort, but at no time are you asking why that was necessary, or approaching this with an inquisitive attitude, but rather one of condemnation.

    And you are not likely to get any real answers on why a fork happened; forks are messy and negative, and people of sound character usually avoid rehashing that kind of dirty laundry especially in public. It’s not beneficial to anyone, especially when we want to see all parties succeed.

    If you have a more general opinion that only interconnected grids will succeed in the long run, and that non-connected grids must make it their #1 priority, even over stability, reliability and performance, then by all means post such a general opinion somewhere. That sounds like an excellent blog entry. Personally I disagree, I think the foundation should be stable and secure before the house is built on it, and maybe you are only arguing the urgency of those secondary priorities. Yes, I know, we need to get that foundation stable as soon as possible. We need to get to 1.0. I also think that you are missing the point that InWorldz residents feel they need to get their own house in order before taking field trips elsewhere, or inviting others into their home, and also that many InWorldz residents feel they have everything they need now, and that is growing so fast that anything missing is usually there a week later anyway. Travel abroad is not a high priority for us. Many never even consider it. Yes it broadens your horizons but that’s not as urgent as putting out the fire in your kitchen. It is natural for us to get defensive when you are so insistent that we are doomed, because you have experience. I think that’s the point Ayla was making, she was not questioning your experience. She was questioning how that relates to the strengths of InWorldz, and how that allows you to feel you can question the business and development plans of the InWorldz team.

    “I realize that – as I infer from Troy – every grid on the outside slows the progress of a more integrated metaverse.”

    Personally, it’s this needless “us vs. them” attitude that hurts everyone. I try to talk about the positives of alternative virtual worlds in general. I feel there are so many people out there who have not joined one that if we promote any one of them, we will grow the industry as a whole. I think there’s no question that promoting use of, say, Netscape, or the Opera browser back in the 90s has helped to grow the web in general. The fact that neither is still around shows that these industries are bigger than the products within. Promoting Open Sim promotes InWorldz and promoting InWorldz promotes Open Sim. We are still at the education phase for alternative worlds. It’s the 90s all over again, just a new industry. Ease up, give things time to get coded and to shake themselves out. Just because Open Sim has made connecting to other grids a priority doesn’t mean that is the most appropriate priority for all grids. I agree it is likely to happen in the long run, but don’t condemn those grids that have chosen to avoid that at this time.

  30. “@Zero Awww how sweet…penis envy. ”
    SouthieAllen
    Southie Allen

    I wasn’t going to reply again, but … you followed me to Twitter to insult me? (Don’t give me the “you did first” because I 1: left out any specifics. 2: Did not make personal attacks)

    This is just not adult behavior. Jim may not understand me, but he’s civil. And Ayla may not be civil, but she kept it to this comment thread. Taking it to another forum? After I said I wasn’t going to post? Jesus, leave me alone.

  31. This blog allows people to comment freely, regardless of their views. Comments will be moderated if we believe that the posters are being abusive. In this thread, posts have become heated. However, no-one has descended to the level of personal abuse that I would call time on.

    Ron, if you choose not to read a blog based not on the quality of the posts (although, to be honest – and somewhat to my surprise, the original post in THIS case was just the notification of a TV show and not one of our think-pieces) but on the responses in the comments, I fear you will be curtailing your blog reading considerably.

  32. Ron – thank you for alerting us to the cross-posting on Twitter. I’m afraid we can’t take responsibility here for what people choose to do elsewhere. I am sorry that this issue has led to attacks of this nature.

    To those making such attacks, I would point out that personal abuse never helps your own cause. Any attempt to repeat such abuse in comments here would result in a ban.

  33. @Ron, if you look closely, you will see that I am not disagreeing with the generalities you make, only with the specific conclusions and how that applies (or does not apply) to InWorldz, or even if it does apply, then we have to continue to do what we need to do to get by and to wait and see whether it succeeds in spite of those generalities.

    There is no sense in arguing over predictions, and this isn’t a very good forum to discuss the specifics of of the pros and cons of implementing HG in InWorldz, nor is the timing right for that discussion.

  34. @primperfect Thanks for reaching out. I was a bit upset earlier. Of course I won’t stop reading a good blog; I may just not feel comfortable commenting. (I read the Alphaville Herald, but I don’t post there in comments, somewhat similar situation.)

  35. Fascinating debate, if one glosses over the rancour.

    The push-me, pull-you between those that want things open and free and those that want things closed and expensive is nothing new. It’s been a running battle that defines two poles of digital culture ideology since before the Internet was called that.

    It is worthwhile to note that the slogan “Information wants to be free” is usually quoted incompletely and out of context. I find it’s original use much more interesting … Stewart Brand at the first Hackers’ Conference in 1984:

    “On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”

    How does this manifest in the current wave of Virtual Worlds and assorted grids? Well, some folks are more interested in the result of information (virtual property), and the value of using it, than the virtual property itself. Educational institutions for example. The point is to create a place that produces learning, and the place only has value in that learning occurs. A network of VGs that can share things that facilitate that learning is a fabulous boon to them.

    On the other hand, some folks are interested in the fact that virtual property is intrinsically valuable, and wish to conduct commerce in that information. Fashion designers, artists, etc. In this context, the grid becomes their store – they despise shoplifters and the commerce system had best be bank level secure.

    Thus far, the only grid I’ve put real money into outside of SL is Inworldz. I participate in other grids, yes, but hey – I don’t care what happens to anything I make in that context, and I’m not constructing anything that I feel has intrinsic worth.

    If some grid wants me to put money in and create stuff I feel I want to trade in, they have to establish a trust relationship with me – and if they want me to do fun stuff or contribute out of the goodness of my heart or some kind of altruism, all good too.

    I don’t see a conflict really. I choose door #1 AND #2, thank you.

  36. Very interesting post Raven, and for what it’s worth, I fully agree. However I think as it applies to InWorldz, I’m not sure.

    > “The push-me, pull-you between those that want things open and free and those that want things closed and expensive is nothing new.”

    That’s seems like an entirely different trade-off; the one we’ve been debating is “open (connected) and now” versus “controlled and caring”. I see InWorldz as the grid that might attract those who want to be part of a family, and be “mothered” by the grid owners rather than controlled, ignored, or merely counted. One might just as easily argue it’s cowboy versus professional, although that probably exaggerates both extremes somewhat.

    > “If some grid wants me to put money in and create stuff I feel I want to trade in, they have to establish a trust relationship with me – and if they want me to do fun stuff or contribute out of the goodness of my heart or some kind of altruism, all good too.
    I don’t see a conflict really. I choose door #1 AND #2, thank you.”

    That pretty much describes InWorldz to me; I see the people of InWorldz as a team of volunteers helping each other as much as possible, many volunteering long hours to make the lives of others better. That the assistance to other grids may only be indirect (and that’s not entirely true), doesn’t change that fundamental nature. The founders are investing the moneys raised in professional hosting, proper redundancy and load balancing, planning and investing for the future, including paying their chief developer for his full-time professional attention now. It’s more than a full-time job, it’s a demanding and exhausting labor of love, but it is all done out of a desire to help with the project. The fact that it is being run as a professional closed managed development rather than a looser open source project is a management choice that matches the current project goals and real-world constraints. It may seem “selfish” to focus on the needs of the InWorldz residents but it is a necessity borne from that desire to help those closest, while welcoming others, both visitors and residents, and to provide both door #1 and door #2 to those in that world.

    Frankly, I just don’t see anything wrong with that, and have plenty of faith and trust in the InWorldz founders. And I want to shout that to the world, after the experiences I have had in SL.

  37. Oh, I’m with you Jim – with respect to Inworldz – the desire for virtual goods to be valuable and protected is what that grid’s user’s desire (similar to many in SL) and Inworldz’s staff is doing a fabulous job of caring for and protecting that interest and keeping their user’s priority front and centre.

    That they should approach it as a means of achieving their daily bread is just fine by me.

    Certainly there are a great many social spaces and technologies that support community building. A sense of belonging is hopefully what we all gain, regardless of whatever interest we pursue.

    Where’s the group hug icon when you need it? 🙂

  38. I think protecting virtual goods is a key to the growth of any virtual world. It is that security blanket that content creators need in order to begin, and content creators are critical to virtual worlds. Sure, some will create content without it, and may provide high-quality items, but they will tend to care less about the commerce, and not help to feed the virtual economy. The protection of virtual goods opens the world to those serious about a virtual business, as well as the mainstream content creators. Collectively, these content creators are the leading edge that bootstraps the process, opening the world up for the rest of the residents, club owners, landlords, entertainers, resellers, and provide the foundation for the general population who go there for fun. The InWorldz economy is there now, but we still have a lot of work to do technically to make sure we can have that fun reliably. And then we can move on to the parties (and the group hugz)!

    I tend to avoid group hugz with people with more facial stubble than me, but /me throws you a digitally encoded one over the wire. 😉

  39. I suppose as an original builder and developer for some of the first VWs (Alphaworld, Blacksun, Cybertown, et al) I should chime in.

    Having watched the VRML 2.0 worlds be destroyed by relying on a monoculture tech (which was then subject to code and standards sabotage), I’ve been through the “someday, in the future, everything will be great!” theoretical approach. It didn’t help then and it won’t help now.

    Future projections always rely on a questionable assumption: that things won’t change. That is always a fatal approach, given that nothing in the world is ever static, especially theories.

    We should all wait until everything is ethically, theoretically and spiritually aligned before we do anything? I think not; Xeno’s Paradox already showed this as a ridiculous approach a thousand years ago.

    In biology as well as tech, proliferation of seeds is always beneficial. If a plant/tech is successful and meets the needs of a segment of society it will be adopted and adapted. Trying to force everything to comply with ideological lines before any progress is made is not a very good evolutionary strategy.

    As a content dreator myself for many years (physical artwork, graphic design, sound engineering, playing in a band and writing music), I can say that the way “copyright law” has been twisted, distorted and bastardized in the last 15 years (thank Disney/Eisner, Apple and MS for that) is directly responsible for much of the ridiculous, predatory and Darwinian “business models” of the present.

    Trying to “monetize” everything to the point of locking up common culture is an obscenity in direct relation to the original aim of copyright from both a legal and an ethical viewpoint. I don’t have the space to delineate this argument here; just google around a bit. Suffice it to say that MANY artists and creators are finding out that this approach is stultifying, creatively obstructionist and really doesn’t end up truly benefitting creators; only the middlemen and bureaucracies gathered like remoras around the creative arts (or perhaps leeches).

    If you don’t like one world… or its approach… go to another *shrug*. But don’t ask me, as an artisan and crafter, to be ideologically compliant with the aims of shopkeeps and land barons. Don’t expect me to think of a dime first before I begin to create, or not give away things as it pleases me.

    Don’t expect that a new technology will not engender certain common approaches to working in and with it (for example, electronic music/photography/painting) and then sue me for some supposed “idea infringement.”

    The whole field of current “intellectual property” law is a stew of garbage ideas promulgated by attorneys and not at all reasonable, rational or fair even to creators. It is a mockery of both traditional copyright law and the idea of ciopyright enshrined in the Constitution. You can’t lay copyright claims to ideas; that way leads quickly to the absurdities of Thought Police. And I am speaking as a “content creator” here, with at least 2 decades of practical business experience in the arts and technology fields.

    I think Inworldz is fine; so is Blue Mars, Opensim, OS Grid, all the rest; hypergating is cool, and so are standalones. The community will vote with their actions and involvement.
    The more proliferation of these grids and technologies can only be a good thing; there is room in such a wide field for much diversity, and diversity makes an organism strong, flexible and healthy. Trying to dictate who should take what approach to these technologies or worlds smacks of self-aggrandizementm hubris and fascistic thinking.

    to quote ee cummings:

    “Listen
    there’s a hell of a good universe next door
    let’s
    GO”

    or Stephen King

    “Go then. There are other worlds than these.”

  40. Excellent post as usual Miso. I think I could sit and listen to you talk (or type) for hours.

    When people discuss IP rights, it’s often under the context of IP protection. In some cases, the forced protection by third parties is actually usurping the IP rights of the creator! I’ve been on both sides of this trouble, and blogged about the problems of automated enforcement of IP rights in the LL export system, which to me was a premature and incomplete approach that solves nothing. http://jimrantsnraves.blogspot.com/2010/10/linden-labs-its-my-stuff.html When implementing any form of IP protection, it’s important to also implement IP distribution enabling.

    > “The more proliferation of these grids and technologies can only be a good thing; there is room in such a wide field for much diversity, and diversity makes an organism strong, flexible and healthy.”

    My feelings exactly. Encouraging any or all of these grids helps them all. We are all part of the larger ecosystem that is growing, and whether the individual organisms flourish or die, the industry/genre/ecosystem will grow or die independently. If we care for each one, and encourage each, they will contribute to the overall success of the entire field, which will spill over to the weaker ones, strengthening them all. Some will bloom, some will wither, but we’re all on the same team here, assuming we want the use of virtual worlds to grow, and the technologies to advance.

  41. as usual, miso and i see eye to eye. this IP argument is specious and paranoid and reminds me of attempts by record companies to prevent kids from recording LPs onto cassettes… the long history of attempts to maximize profit, and limit the communication of the information. enlightened musicians (and a few record companies) recognize this today and encourage the dissemination, because it makes their artists more popular!

  42. I think a key difference between the musicians and the online creators is that if musicians become more popular through wider dissemination of their goods through free models, they can take advantage of their increased popularity through live concerts, and perhaps the marketing of associated goods.

    Someone who makes a skin or hair or clothes in a virtual world may not have this option. They can’t take their work ‘live’ as musicians and some artists can. Therefore increased popularity of goods freely disseminated gives those creators only the satisfaction of producing things that people like. That’s not a negligible reward – fame is the spur to many ambitions. But it is limiting creativity to those who can afford to create, rather than opening it to those who create to afford … maybe a decent level of income. Or maybe just to cover the costs of their hobby.

    IP rights are clearly a mess. I’d go so far as to say a ludicrous mess where you can have over-zealous Linden staffers going through people’s inventories to remove everything that bears the name “Marilyn” in case its infringes the copyright of the late Marilyn Monroe …

    And yet …

    Should we just accept that protection is impossible and give the opportunity of making profits only available to those who do contract work, and assume that other creators must accept their work should be freely available to any who want it?

  43. Thanks Jim, Soror and Wizard… I am neck-deep in this information lately, being a musician with experience in punk (when we had to learn to route around obstructions like no clubs to book, no press coverage and very little support from the “music industry”) and DIY distribution.

    Techdirt and other musical/arts blogs have had many fascinating articles backed with hard market statistics that show an increasing profit made by musicians, as opposed to the middlemen of “the music biz”.

    They are embracing digital culture and using giveaways (because the industry has cleverly killed traditional radio formats), viral marketing techniques and “value added” approaches which skirt the traditional methods of the entertainment industry and are finding success with people tired of the homogenized and monoculture spew that BigRecordCo. keeps trying to shove down people’s throats.

    As Wizzy mentioned, the “tax” on blank cassettes and tapes hurt me as a musician, as I did not use that tape to “bootleg” or “pirate” radio music, but to make my own. That “tax” didn’t help or save any musicians; it merely increased the profit-bellies of the entrenched system.

    An interesting set of statistics can be found with a little research: in no single instance of RIAA actions and lawsuits against an individual have the musicians profited in any way: the money has gone to the RIAA lawyer-enforcers and record companies and not the musicians. This immediately makes you question the rhetoric, approaches and strategies of Big Media when they fulminate against “all the little artists being ripped off by teh piratz!!!”

    In the ancient days of freedom, we had a thing called “radio.” You were free to tune into a “radio program” which was produced by “disc jockeys” who had their own styles, likes, areas of knowledge and interest. Through these “radio programs” you were exposed to many different and interesting types of music. If you heard one you liked past the first 10 hearings, you generally were motivated to go out and buy the album for more content from a band.

    These “radio programs” were free. I know; take a breath; it’s a shocking concept. By giving away content, these “radio programs” actually increased sales. Of course, that was in the days when an album generally included an array of tracks that were excellent, well-done and not a bunch of studio wannabe songs and filler junk hanging off the success of a top-40 song hit.

    Radio, despite being able to be taped (and I did so myself, as a music mix or thematic notebook to remind me to go get these records), resulted in increased sales of product. Having worked in retail records when the phasing out of the single format was happening, I know that almost every retail record distributor begged the BigCos not to kill this format, as it was the single-most important advertising and sales leader available; it got people into your store out of curiosity and desire. It was then your job to know what they liked, to recommend/turn them on to similar artists and music and perhaps even expose them to music they didn’t know was out there.

    The bald and bare facts as we know them are that it is not the college- or teenaged kids carving holes in the profitability projections of MediaCo. It is the illegal bootleg factories in China, Taiwan and Korea that churn out hundreds of thousands of music, film, program and OS bootlegs. We don’t raise this issue because it affects our trade agreements with those countries. This is the dirty little secret that is left out of all these arguments about “pirating” and “theft.”

    There is a lot of hard-business sense in giving away product for free; promotion, word-of-mouth, exposure, interest and availability. These traditional methods and approaches have worked for business for hundreds of years and proven their worth. Free samples, trial memberships, special events…

    I’m not saying “everything should be free” as in “free beer.” But the efforts of the media companies to tell me when, where and how I can access content that I have legitimately purchased are obscene and absurd. The crashing of movie and music sales can be directly correlated with this hysterical effort to “stamp out piratz” which only results in making it more difficult for the consumer to use content they have bought. Copiers will always find a way to defeat such content protection schemes – you cannot prevent technology. It just is a little more difficult to do.

    I do not advocate this kind of bootlegging. But when I have to search the net for a cracked copy of a game or a film I have already purchased legally and legitimately because it won’t play on my laptop due to some funky and broken Content Protection scheme and the crack works fine, there’s something basically flawed with this model.

    As an artist, I wish to get paid for my work. At the same time, if someone sampled my work with full attribution and acknowledement to make something new and interesting, I would happily give them permission to do this. I’d think it insane to sue someone for writing something negative about me or my work (as long as it wasn’t a personal attack) as part of an honest review; if this is their opinion, then it is legitimate critique. Using copyright or trademark law to intimidate or attempt to squeeze money out of someone (Google the latest lawsuit against Dido for using a stock NASA photo of an astronaut) is morally suspect and reprehensible and has nothing to do with “protecting my interests in my creative efforts” and, in a sane world, would be laughed out of court (and then billed for wasting the court’s time in a frivolous lawsuit).

    No, everything should not be free as in free beer… but locking up everything with dubious methods of protection, using lawsuits by patent trolls to bully a company into submission by claiming some “copyright” on a widely-known or historically-protected idea or attempting to patent or copyright things forever do anything but kill innovation, experimentation and research.

    There is a crisis in creativity happening now in the tech and arts sectors which can be traced to this absurd approach to ownership of ideas and even products (do some research into the original intent of patents and copyrights sometime). These laws have been twisted and distorted far from their original framing and intent and are hurting our progress and advancement in many fields.

  44. Hi Miso,

    I agree with many of your conclusions on copyright. I think this discussion in general will continue long into the future. As far as InWorldz, we’re only the host. Our job is to respect the wishes of the copyright holder and do the best we can to help them in their job of enforcing it.

  45. Wonderfully said Miso. And extra props for weaving in ee cummings! Copyright is an interesting and intriguing issue for me as an art historian – and I am a total Nazi about acknowledgment! You’ll notice that in my posts. It makes me crazy when people don’t acknowledge artists. Now I’m thinking of the horribly misguided Cook’s Source editor.

    But it is something that I encounter with the whole wiki commons thing, and ‘faithful reproductions’ of art works. Museums and galleries trying to make money off of image rights for artworks that are CLEARLY out of copyright (I have to pay you £90 for this image of a Turner?!). And I am ALL FOR them making money – they need it. But that particular way is a bit suspect, and is certainly a drain on scholars. It is a murky, messy area all around and I find this thread fascinating in it’s swing to that discussion.

    Also, Miso, Jamie Reid is a hero. Let’s talk!

  46. Revise this thread. facts speak for them self. No grid is secure. I spent over a year investigating and watching how it was happening.

    So there is only a very select few that have the god powers. And did they use them correct most of the time. Are there full OAR coming out of Closed grids with complete third party vender stuff. Yes Are they the people that some how got a full OAR of closed sim then sent to Open sim yes. Is there content creators pissed off yes. can this be tracked back sometimes.

    So here I am in open sim looking at all these third party contents that are from a OAR from a closed grid. CLOSED grids. your going to need a bigger Hammer Bal.
    This is not a put down to open sim. because the people that choose to use open sim only have god powers over there sim.
    Still does not let the Closed grid owners off that allowed closed sims stuff to be copied for use of another grid as an OAR. we are not talking just a script or a object we are talking the complete sim and it clubs and it third party contents. whether it was closed or abandoned.

    I planted that seed 18 months ago and waited for it to grow on another sim.

    There was a small voice years ago from the SL grid that watched his stuff leave SL after he closed his sim and his stores. Everyone thought he was just angry at SL. No he was angry at certain few employees there. that finally got sent on there way.

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