Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Raph's view on the copybot.

Raph Koster has made a very well witten post on his blog about our current copybot issues.
"Raph: All this is to some degree beside the point; the issue here is not which side is right, but which side owns the soul of the stream. You see, in something like Second Life, it’s not the megacorps who are having their stuff copied, it’s us. It’s not the big companies that are trying to profit, it’s the little guys. And all of a sudden, the same folks who likely argue cyberliberties and donate to the EFF and have gigs of video stored on RAIDs they keep in their garage suddenly feel the sting of perfect digital copying. CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us."
Eric Rice pointed this out as well. It is easy to steal from Microsoft or miljonair artists, but when we our selves are trying to earn a living selling digital goods, the matter suddenly looks a lot different when someone copies your wares.

Partially this a repeat of steps of the early web, when people started to copy whole website designs, html, images, javascripts, etc. And this made it impossible in some form to sell simple website designs, but it didn't stop the growth of the net. New technology and designs where still created, and the webdesigner became proffesional, working for clients making tailored sites.
This shift would have happend anyway and is already happening, just look at the work The Sheep or MuO is doing.

But even the wholesale of webdesign didn't stop, with newer tech it became possible again to create templates and to just sell them multple times, just look at the flash template sites.
"Raph: The issue is that at its core, the underlying philosophy on which virtual worlds are built is one that encourages copying. The further we move towards the inevitable world of streaming rather than cached worlds, the more of this we will see — just as stylesheets, images and whole websites are rather indiscriminately reused, remixed, and repurposed all over the web, quite without the original author’s permission. Just as tools that we find incredibly useful are built out of scraping data off of someone else’s screen. In fact, the whole Web 2.0 philosophy, which is many many ways MUDs anticipated by a few decades, is based on spitting out data streams for this express purpose, so that new uses can be barnacled on them."
Offcourse you can move away from SL and go to There or ImVu where content creation is much more regulated, but that comes with the price of a lot less freedom and a regulation that prevents growth. And what you make there can still be stolen as well.
Just like people are still buying legally music and software so will they do in SL. Our tasks for now will be educating the customer on why there are copyrights and what is the limit of fair use.

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