Can content creators be safe in Open Sims?

The problem is an increasingly urgent one – and from both sides of the equation.  Faced with declining markets in Second Life, and high tier costs (in comparison with Open Sim grids) many content creators are eager to explore alternatives, especially if there are worlds where they can make a modest profit.

And, conversely, many Open Sim environments are realising that if you build it and don’t have any content there, people won’t come.  So they want to attract people to their grids with content … legal content.  Can this be done? And can content be added safely to Open Sim grids?

These were the questions that we asked on this week’s Designing Worlds – and we had some interesting answers – as we as some thought-provoking ideas from our guests and from the studio audience.

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We were joined on the show by by Maria Korolov, the editor of Hypergrid Business; Elenia Llewellyn, the CEO of Inworldz; Mal Burns, gridnaut and metaverse commentator; and Pathfinder Lester (formerly Pathfinder Linden), Director of Community Development at Reaction Grid and Raven Haalan, artist, photographer and content creator.

Ideas explored on the show include the possibility of  a hypergrid market – and whether such a thing could only work in ‘closed garden worlds’, like Second Life, Inworldz, SpotOn3d etc.  Closed garden worlds, which do not connect to the hypergrid, have the power to enforce their our Terms of Service in ways that can make content creators feel safer – particularly if they are sure that there are rigorous systems for dealing with abuses.

Designing Worlds - 2011 Apr 11 - Photo by Wildstar Beaumont
Designing Worlds – 2011 Apr 11 – Photo by Wildstar Beaumont

Another issue raised was whether additional metadata could, or should, be added to supplement the permissions system.  When goods are transported on the hypergrid, metadata such as the name of the name of the creator can be lost (and replaced with the name of the person transferring the material).  In addition, the date of creation can also be removed.  Could additional data be added that could not be removed?

We also discussed was the role of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and how that may offer other possibilities for protection.

At the same time we looked at the possibilities of new hypergrids opening.  With the advent of having your own grid on a stick, the possibility openes up that content creators might, for the purposes of working on their own material, be able to create private grids – which they could share with friends for joint projects.  Here they would possess what are sometimes called God Powers – the ability to do anything with their grids – and create objects and goods that could then be imported into closed garden grids, or, by connecting, into the hypergrid.

But then, on the show, Gwen Carillon of the Content Creators Association, raised a fascinating point …

How does the hypergrid deal with the huge security risk for content being downloaded without permission by anyone with God Powers on grids linked to the hypergrid – who will then have God powers on the hypergrid? Recent events in Second Life have taught us how easy it is for data to end up in hands that we might not find trustworthy …

Watch the show to see the responses!


  1. Considering the number of content creators who currently have shops in both SL and other OS sim grids such as InWorldz, I was surprised that there was no real representation from them in this discussion. I would also be interested in hearing from those large SL creators who have made the decision to specifically restrict their content to SL only and what their rationale is for making that decision.

  2. A web-based marketplace for 3D mesh models already exists. In fact, there are dozens. TurboSquid is a good example.

    There are similar marketplaces for stock photography, music, movies, fonts, textures, clip art, Android apps, e-books… you name it… there hundreds of good examples of how marketplaces in digital content can work.

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