SL8B Logo Raises IP Rights Question

The SL arts community was rather outraged this morning upon reading a blog post by the talented and respected artist Miso Susanowa.

The post is worth reading for the entire story but the nutshell is this: Miso was approached to design the logo for SL8B. Despite her apprehensions (based on past design work for Linden Labs), Miso agreed. After what was a rather typical meeting with the client (she showed them her design, they liked some aspects and wanted others changed), Miso requested further guidance regarding the colour choices they preferred.

Six weeks passed with no contact.

Finally, she was informed by a friend’s congratulations that the logo was out. Upon seeing it, she was alarmed to discover that it was not only a flattened, watered down version of hers, but that design credit was given to  Jillian Linden (this can be seen on the official SL8B wiki). This is logo:

SL8B logo?

Miso includes a description of her design process and how this logo matches hers. From her account, her ‘draft’ version sounds much more dynamic; the Linden copy seems blurry, and the flat shine renders the lettering more difficult to read. In fact, Saffia pointed out to me that the ‘8’ slightly appears like an ‘O’, which would of course make the logo read SLOB; not the idea the Lindens are going for, I think.

Many content creators are commenting on Miso’s blog and encouraging her to file a DCMA against Linden Labs itself, stating that they need to be the foremost role-model in protecting creator’s intellectual property rights. Some are even threatening to boycott – a rather fruitless tactic which someone seems to encourage every year for one reason or another.

Is this a misunderstanding? Some embarrassing oversight on the part of Linden Labs? Whatever the case, let’s hope it gets resolved very quickly.

Maybe the best way to express the SL8B theme – the ‘magic of Second Life’ – would be to show that Linden Labs does, in fact, care about and champion IP rights; and follows an ethical course in terms of crediting artists who work for them voluntarily.

What are your thoughts?

_____

UPDATE

Because the blogo-twitosphere has exploded a bit over this post (including a ‘SUE THEM!’ mentality in some cases), Miso has posted a bit of an apology/further explanation, and as well expressed her level-headed opinion that while she is unhappy at what transpired, legal action, to her, is a bit ridiculous.

As some have suggested, it may well be a big misunderstanding, but in my opinion, it might just signal a larger problem of artists and designers not being taken seriously for their contributions. If Linden Labs doesn’t treat content creators with professional courtesy, how can we expect the ‘real world’ to do so? Is it really ‘just a game’?

UPDATE THE SECOND

Linden Labs has finally responded in a comment to Miso, which possibly explains the mix-up, but which also opens doors for further questions. You can read Miso’s response and see the issue.

And NWN  posted on the topic little while ago (Hamlet Au was social networking all over to get a comment from Miso, who no doubt had her hands full managing the hoopla on her own blog.) You can read the inevitable anti-LL fallout in the comments over there.

7 comments

  1. Interesting.

    Very disappointing last year and now this year something like this has to happen around the Second Life Birthday month.

    We will have to wait and see what happens next.

  2. omg SLOB I didn’t even see that! Nooooo I’d never make such a stealth-crazy as that in a design; that’s the kind of thing people do to Disney!

    As I replied to you in my own blog’s Comments section, I agree wholly with your “signalling” statement. This unexpected reaction to a particularly stupid hissy-fit of mine (and regardless of whether this is a “valid” issue or not) is the kind of thing that reveals a whole bitter and ugly undercurrent (with valid historical reasons) that I would be most concerned about if it was my own company. As I’ve stated before, I think the biggest problem LL has as a company is PR.

    The issues of “copyright,” idea, concept and execution are hot-button issues not only for LL but for everyone these days. We mustn’t expect LL to know any more than anyone else does now in this insane rush to lock up, protect or profit from common culture.

    I didn’t go to a lawyer, I went to my blog and threw a fit. It probably wasn’t the smartest decision.

  3. Thanks for a very balanced assessment, Rowan. It’s a topic that resonates for many and in an IP landscape that’s been fluid for a while. I find it heartening that efforts for detente and clear conversations are happening in this brave new world of real time media.

  4. they were fire of a logo? thats just silly.. a contract for it? a shame amanda and courtney are fired!

  5. I don’t think we can assume that Courtney and Amanda were fired, still less that they were fired over a mis-understanding over a logo!

    As I understand it, Courtney left for another job; I don’t know about Amanda, but I assume it was for similar reasons.

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