On Intellectual Property, Stupidity and Paranoia

In Real Life, we have all witnessed the paranoia and even maliciousness of the corporations that “create content”: from the likes of Kluwer and Elsevier to the companies behind such organizations as the RIAA, the IFPI and the MPAA, they have all been going on about how “piracy kills music”, about how even a single photocopy that a student might make of a single page of a scientific book “hurts their business” and “deters innovation” and such.

Of course, as proven multiple times by such great resources as TechDirt and Ars Technica, this is all bullshit. Pure and utter bullshit. First of all, the RIAA has been proven to be lying off its teeth about the supposed impact of piracy. Matthew Lasar of Ars Technica called the RIAA on its lies here. TechDirt debunked the bogus data of the US Chamber of Commerce (fabricated at the request of the “content industry”) here. Even the (overly) conservative Cato Institute called the copyright industry on its bullshit, in a seminal article titled “How Copyright Industries Con Congress“.

In a nutshell: As proven by proper research – and even by the US Government Accountability Office, the copyright industry, or content industry, lies off its teeth. Why else do you think the MPAA refused to let the US Government Accountability Office see how they came up with their “data”? When you make a claim, the burden of proof is on you. When you present us with statistics, you must tell us what initial data you used, what methodology you used to analyse it etc, so we can evaluate your methods and see if you’re indeed telling the truth or if you’re bullshitting us.

The content industry does not reveal its statistical methodologies. This makes me suspect that their data – as proven by organizations and people better suited to this task than I am – is bogus, i.e. bullshit, i.e. LIES.

However, it is with these lies that it scores wins before courts of law – not least thanks to judges who once were lawyers for these industries (conflict of interest anyone?). It is with these lies that it pushes its deeply anti-democratic, pro-censorship agenda: HADOPI (in France), SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and now CETA.

In Second Life, we once had the “Copybot” affair which supposedly harmed content creators no end. I’m not sure how much damage Copybot did – I suspect the whole issue had more to do with a panic amongst content creators than with actual use of Copybot. I’ve yet to see any data documenting and proving the damage allegedly done.

In any case, this set a precedent. Many content creators have become utterly paranoid about their intellectual property. This led to the RedZone scandal. Many, many content creators decided to use a piece of malware called RedZone. What RedZone did was in clear violation of Linden Lab’s Terms of Service regarding user privacy. For the record, RedZone’s creator is now in custody. For fraud. And then came the “Client Detection System” (CDS) from Skills Hak. Who is Skills Hak? One of the people who were involved in the Emerald Viewer controversy (to cut a long story short, one of Emerald Viewer’s developers was an ex-LL employee and he used the Emerald Viewer to launch a DDoS attack on Second Life). I’m going to talk about the much-ballyhooed CDS elsewhere, but I am really going to have to ask one question:

Isn’t it utterly stupid to recruit the (ahem) services of a person who has previously violated the Terms of Service of Second Life and has been involved in a major malware scandal, believing that they will protect your… intellectual property?

And we have also seen vigilantism in Second Life, connected to RedZone (and be sure that you’ll see such bullies being connected to the CDS). Vigilantism of the kind and “ethics” that fuels violent, thuggish militias like the Ku-Klux-Klan or the neo-nazis of the Greek “Golden Dawn” (a para-state criminal gang of neo-nazis that, due to a number of disgusting contributing factors, is considered a “legitimate political party” instead of the terrorist group that it really is).

That said, I must also go on record for saying that, if LL really meant business, they should have banned everyone involved in the Emerald Viewer scandal (including Skills Hak) and their alts. I must also say that many “content creators” in SL are anything but that. Buying full perm UV maps, meshes and texture templates and then, without the slightest modification, selling them on the Marketplace is not “content creation”. To create something means to actually do some creative work. Even modifying a pair of full perm boots by using a better resizer and a custom HUD to change textures qualifies as creative work. Adding stuff to an existing full perm product is creative work. But selling the exact same product under a different brand is not creative work. In fact, it downright violates the user license of the product you bought.

I suspect that the most ardent supporters of malware like RedZone will be exactly the copycat type of “content creator” (such as a well-known agitator and troll in Second Life who just so happens to advertise “free” Borg-themed ringtones, infringing on the rights of Star Trek’s creators)… These are the ones who are most afraid of being “copied” by others, because they have based their SL existence on copying others and reselling other people’s work just by plastering their own logos on the boxes.

I am going to leave you with another article from TechDirt. And another. Just a little food for thought.

UPDATE: It seems that Gemini CDS and RedZone-using “content creators” in Second Life are even less intelligent than one would think. You see… OK, the creator of RedZone, zFire Xue (RL name: Michael Prime) is a convicted fraudster. But it also seems that skills Hak herself (or himself) has an even shadier past than her (or his) involvement in the Emerald Viewer malware scandal would have us know. You see… Skills Hak (formerly Skills Hax) has allegedly used Copybot to infringe on the intellectual property of JC Hill; Skills Hax/Skills Hak used the copybotted stuff in the Insilico sim. See here for evidence.

So, I guess I have to rephrase my question above…

Isn’t it utterly stupid to recruit the (ahem) services of a person who has previously violated the Terms of Service of Second Life, has been involved in a major malware scandal and has (allegedly) used Copybot repeatedly to steal content from a content creator like you, believing that they will… protect your… intellectual property?

You can be sure I will get back on this issue pretty soon. It deserves coverage and I am not going to just “let it go”.


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