Under the Big Tent

In the 3rd Party Viewer Policy discussion, I asked Linden Lab to "draw a line in the sand" with regard to import and export of user created content, because, at the time, it was my understanding, per Emerald folk, that they needed an explicit "thou shalt not download or upload content that the user did not create," in order to convince them to change their import/export "feature" from what it is today (i.e., it checks for owner as opposed to creator). While I was admittedly disappointed with regard to the Emerald devs’ stance (which goes to a deeper issue that few, if any, seem consider), I was not surprised. Esp considering their circle jerk on both the Jira and in the comments section of the Cryolife papers. Still, I had hoped that they would at least be willing to change their viewer code once it was spelled out by the lab.

So much for that hope.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the second 3rd Party brown bag meeting. We were asked to send in our questions before the meeting. Three out of the six questions I sent in were read by Blondin. Of the ones that were not covered—specifically my question regarding import/export rules—someone else asked it as well. From the audio recording, their question and the resulting discussion is as follows (emphasis added, mine):

Blondin Linden: Okay, we have another question: I’m curious where the Linden’s vetting will draw the line on content import and export.

Marty Linden: Well, um… that will be in the establishment of the guidelines. So, what we said in the past is, you can’t export things that you aren’t the creator of and use functionality in one of those viewers or elsewhere to do an end run around the permissions system. So, you can bet that that will be in the guidelines. But people with intent are going to do whatever their skill level allows them to do. And, we’re gonna do our best to make it hard but I can’t tell you that anything we do is going to be 100% effective. Um, and I think you all know that. So, what we want to do is what I said a few minutes ago, is allow people to build up reputation as being respectful of 3rd party intellectual property rights. And that, over time the permissions system will grow to be more robust and you’ll be able to tell by looking whether somebody’s stolen content. But we aren’t there yet. So, I’m not sure if that answers your question but that’s as far as we’ve gotten.

LordGregGreg Back: I’m just curious, before you draw the line and say that you must preserve the creator integrity can you at least provide the creators a way to preserve the creator integrity. Because right now, we have nothing except the name as what you uploaded as. Right now I can do everything I can to keep content the same but you don’t provide us any methods.

Tenshi Vielle: And that goes to what I was saying earlier. I think that’s a question possibly only Soft can answer.

Angela Talamasca: I’m of the contention that they’ll have to modify something on the server side to do that. And until then it is up to the client developers to abide by the spirit (of the law) and not download things that they didn’t create and not upload things that they didn’t create. And if I heard Marty correctly that sounds exactly (like) what they’re saying but he can correct me.

Marty Linden: No, that’s right. I mean the permission system is limited by what you know it’s limited to and a more robust licensing scheme is in our futre but we don’t have it now. So, that’s what you’re asking me isn’t it?

LordGregGreg Back: Well, that, except um, I would think that your permissions system change should happen before you put restrictions on what a client can do. Else it’s just not even feasible because there are many times when breaking the creator name is absolutely necessary. So, before you restrict that completely, you should allow a way to do it legally as well.

Marty Linden has made Linden Lab’s position quite clear. The above response by LGG goes to the very core of what I have been stating all along with regard to the Emerald team’s unwillingness to engage in responsible coding practices. Their position that the Lab should not impose restrictions it cannot enforce with code (i.e., a more robust permissions system) is sadly, unsurprising. Of course, by their argument, the Lab should not impose restrictions on, oh, say, collecting user data either (i.e., user names & passwords).

Otherwise put, in their very own words, they feel that they are entitled to engage in appallingly irresponsible coding practices and with blatant disregard to not only second life content creators, but to the second life community as well. And yet, they wonder why I made this comment on the 3rd party discussion thread? Please.

Oh and. By the way, for those of you who still don’t get it, or perhaps, have simply been blinded by drinking the kool-aidW (ala the bells and whistles that are designed to get you hooked)? Here is a little beauty also raised by Emerald devs.

Blondin Linden: Okay, we have another question: What is the Lab’s position on extensions to the client that themselves are open source but draw upon 3rd party server functions that are proprietary?

Marty Linden: Um, that’s also a hard question to answer in a vacum, and about getting into the vagaries of the GPL which I am certainly not an expert on. Um, can you give me an example of what 3rd party functions?

LordGregGreg Back Valiant Westland: Sure. If I may. If we um. If we were to the extend the viewer and uh, um, build into that viewer, for instance, calls to data that existed on a 3rd party server, as well as existed or was mirrored locally in the client, that allowed for interaction with in-world functions. The idea is that there would be a for profit motive. Um, the functions within the viewer itself would be available to anybody complying with license but those functions would be useless for anybody who was not subscribed server side component that supported them.

From where I sit, it appears that Emerald devs want to be allowed to continue providing what basically amounts to a "ripping tool" (i.e., it allows users to easily export content they did not create and import it as if they created it). And then, lo and behold! They will come in and "save the day" by providing a subscription service to protect your user content. Otherwise put, they want you to pay them to protect you and your content from their very own viewer.

We’ll ignore the fact that, if this is indeed their plan, it will involve uploading your content to their server (ala LGG’s comment about mirroring data). We’ll ignore their past history of creating and selling a rogue viewer (you know, one of the very viewers that was used to steal your content in the first place?) for USD$250 (which is really what all this is about, anyway) while at the same time, violating the GPL. We’ll ignore the fact that old habits die hard. Especially, the nasty ones.

As for their very public fight against Neil Life? Well, all that I can say is, whether intended (or not), it certainly seems to be accomplishing one thing: to instill fear of having your items stolen, so you will gladly hand over your money on a silver platter. But hey, if you’re comfortable with the idea of giving them your paypal info, go for it. It’s your choice and your money.

As P.T. BarnumW used to say, there’s a sucker born every minuteW.

NB: Of course, if I am wrong in this assessment, they will no doubt be more than happy to correct.

15 Comments

  1. CommentsProkofy Neva   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 00:43

    Well done! I'm glad Blondin let you get in these questions. I can retire from blogging now that you're here to do it better and smarter.

    I'd love to know what the legitimate purpose is for removing a content creator's name from an object. I realize that if I copy a script off the library, and make a new script for it inworld, it will show me as creator by default. I realize that if a prefab gets messed up, and the creator no longer exists or never logs on, you might have to disassemble the house's pieces and knit them back together and it may wind up showing you as creator due to the way things get linked — although "inspect" should show the original person, no? I'm trying to think of the use cases when a creator's name really would "have" to get wiped.

    As for this Tupperware-style club these folks are creating with the paid subscription to access content, you're more clever than me by half. I didn't think of it as a protection scheme, although it might very well be that. I just thought it was Restrained Life or Furry Times or some sort of role-play or niche sort of viewer that would have basic generic pipes that anyone could create, but would result in the pipes having "gag my mouth" or "deliver me gigantic walrus phallus" or something if you were subscribed to the right group. TBH, I don't know the mechanics of how the Restrained Life does things like forces people not to be able to talk if they are subs and such, but that's what I was thinking P.T. Crystal here was trying to put over on the public.

    I've long thought that there would be shopping clubs to protect content whereby the top divas would just stop selling inworld and on Xstreet where they can be copied, and would only sell to their groups. You can move inventory in groups, after all — but only if you can put it on a notecard all perms (now). Perhaps people are willing to risk doing that and thinking physical limitation to one sim or one event or one group will prevent copying? Or maybe you only get in the group and get the TP if you are on the list then you can buy the content, but it will be permmed.

    At one point I used to get glimpses into the closed sims and the world of closed content made by special consultants to high-flying patrons neither of whom eever advertise themselves and who were completely invisible to the blogosphere, etc. There is such a world of SL anyway. It may become more so.

    Did they deal with the question of encryption of chat?

  2. CommentsAngela   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 02:59

    We discussed encryption, which I think is fine, by the way. Though, they did not address whether or not there will be anything in the 3rd party viewer guidelines. I, personally, suspect they'll forgo the encryption bit and let it stand as "okay". I guess it all deps upon how much they rely on IMs to deal with ARs.

  3. CommentsDusan Writer   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 05:56

    […] Third party viewers in SL and why Emerald maybe isn't so valuable http://ow.ly/BisQ […]

  4. CommentsAfraidOfLLSpies   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 12:17

    The exported data is stored in xml files which is effectively a text/ASCII file and the "creator" or "owner" data is simply a UUID that can and most likely is changed with a search and replace operation.

    Any, and I repeat, ANY export/import scheme will be subject to this and the files can and are published for download on the internet.

    The only solution to this problem is to track down, sue, and publish into the public record the names and addresses of the people writing these theft systems and let nature take it's course.

    What are the odds Linden Lab will go after these criminals? Zero.

  5. CommentsPeter Finn   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 06:37

    […] RT @Dusanwriter: Third party viewers in SL and why Emerald maybe isn't so valuable http://ow.ly/BisQ […]

  6. Commentsanon   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 06:38

    Why you guys keep talking about Emerald that has permission checks just like Second Inventory? I could name loads of viewers here that can rip everything simple and quick will you stop going out and start talking sense argh.

  7. Commentsanon   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 06:42

    p.s you are wrong do some research.

  8. CommentsDawnyCinquettiDaviau   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 07:27

    […] And another brown bag meeting about 3rd party viewers of which KLee was not invited!!!! Shame on you LL……. http://ow.ly/BisQ […]

  9. CommentsDawnyCinquettiDaviau   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 07:33

    […] And another brown bag meeting about 3rd party viewers of which KLee was not invited!!!! Shame on you LL……. http://ow.ly/BisQ […]

  10. Commentslordgreggreg   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 19:31

    ffs.
    "NOT ME: Sure. If I may. If we um. If we were to the extend the viewer and uh, um, build into that viewer, for instance, calls to data that existed on a 3rd party server, as well as existed or was mirrored locally in the client, that allowed for interaction with in-world functions. The idea is that there would be a for profit motive. Um, the functions within the viewer itself would be available to anybody complying with license but those functions would be useless for anybody who was not subscribed server side component that supported them."

    That was the imprudence guy. NOT me. -.-

  11. CommentsAngela   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 21:01

    After reviewing the tape, it appears to be Valiant Westland speaking as opposed to you. So, are you saying he is not an emerald dev? Forgive that it's hard to tell from your developer page that reflects only a few SL names out of the list of names that cannot be match up with SL names. As for the Imprudence team? Jacek Antonelli stated early on he did not have voice. And Thomas Shikami was having mic problems.

  12. Commentslordgreggreg   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 21:06

    well, i may have misread his group tag, but he defiantly has nothing to do with emerald.
    Also, the content protection system is not going to charge any money either.

    I don't know where you get these things. You seem to have some mental block in your head where emerald, somehow someway , MUST be evil. Even to the point where you jump to ridiculous conclusion based on false evidence.

    Please, before you go post something to mislead others, talk to one of us first and check your facts. We have never been hard to contact.

  13. CommentsAngela   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 21:18

    There is not a thing in his profile about Imprudence. He does however have this in his picks: Emerald – Emerald Client / Viewer by Vuturus and he is the founder of Vulturus group.

    Btw, I guess my fact checking wasn’t too off, since, from your confirmation above, I was correct about the content protection system. As for your claim that you do not plan to charge money for it? That only solves half of the problem. That is, my view of the problem. Which involves storing user content on your servers.

  14. Commentslordgreggreg   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 21:22

    I've never heard of him. Pretty clear what his intentions are though.

    http://modularsystems.sl/index.php?option=com_myb

  15. CommentsLalo Telling   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2009 at 14:40

    […] Dusanwriter

    Who's drinking whose Kool-Aid? More paranoia re 3rd party #sl viewers http://ow.ly/BisQ (via @Dusanwriter) #secondlife […]

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