So, our worst fears came to be. The legacy content lobby, using a lot of lobbying (read: bribes) muscle and about as much appeal to MEPs’ and people’s sentiment, as it always had, managed to pass the draconian EU Copyright Directive, in the name of “protecting creators’ rights”. Funnily enough, it’s the legacy content lobby (i.e. publishing houses, record, TV and film companies) that’s historically:

  • sought not only to monopolise and control what content you access, but also who gets to have his / her work published;
  • stopped technical and scientific progress through the patent system that’s always been rotten to the core from the very beginning;
  • made sure that the multitude of cases where perfectly legitimate content gets pulled down through fraudulent and frivolous copyright infringement claims goes entirely unpunished;
  • made sure artists get only a miniscule portion of their work’s worth – in many jurisdictions, an author gets 6% of his / her book’s shelf price and, more often than not, the publisher demands that the author foots the bill for the proofreading, copy editing, and publishing costs – in the music world, many record companies nowadays will tell you to pay for studio time, recording, mastering, and printing yourself, and then they’ll pay you a pittance from the sales of the record, if they even bother to promote it, that is.
  • scientific publishers like the Axel Springer / Elsevier / John Wiley etc mafia (yes, it’s a mafia) keep taxpayer-funded research out of the public’s reach by putting it behind paywalls, charging exorbitant amounts of money for article downloads and journal subscriptions. Interestingly enough, they don’t foot the bill for the research, proofreading, or peer reviewing of the scientific articles they sell. And they don’t pay the authors a single penny from the download price.

Yet, the fine gentlemen and gentlewomen in these “pillars of our culture” have convinced MEPs, EU commissioners, congressmen and congresswomen (in the US), senators, MPs, ministers, and – of course – you, the public, that they are the only ones who care about the rights of the creators, and that their interests are 1000000% aligned with the interests of the creators; the very creators that, as I’ve demonstrated, they’ve been ripping off for ages.

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linden-lab-logoThis post is certainly going to be one of the most difficult for me. No, it’s not personal, intimate or anything. It’s just that what I see makes it very difficult for me to maintain a civil tone – and it’s not only about Linden Lab’s decisions, but also about the way things are affected by the appalling mode of discourse in SL forums and blogs on important matters. I’ll try to do the best I can, though.

It’s already well-known to pretty much everyone that follows SL-related news that the changes incorporated to LL’s ToS on August 15th, 2013, caused significant controversy among SL users, most notably certain content creators. They also spawned two controversial announcements by CGTextures and Renderosity, which I have covered rather extensively here. It’s been nearly a year since then. Throughout this time, much was said, and very little was done. On Wednesday, the Lab announced (in an almost self-congratulating way) that they amended Section 2.3, which caused the controversy. For comparison’s sake, in my previous post, I covered the announcement and also linked to a Google document where I present both the post-8/15/2013 ToS and the new ones side-by-side.

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As everyone who hasn’t been living under a sculptie rock knows, LL has changed its Terms of Service on the 15th of August. This change has been met with a copious flow of virtual lachrimal fluids and pretty much equal amounts of drama w.r.t. the modifications to Section 2.3 of the ToS. I’ll be honest and blunt from the outset: I don’t like the wording in Section 2.3 at all, because it’s reaching too far; much farther than necessary or meaningful.

However, this is no excuse for drama-whoring. Drama-whoring is, to put it politely, counter-productive. To effectively oppose something, you need to have arguments based on solid logic and not on false assumptions. You need your arguments to be structured and well-supported by facts. And, if you are given a chance to negotiate a change in what you don’t like, you need to go to the negotiations with a number of proposals that are likely to be accepted by both parties. At least that’s what real professionals do. That said, I am not even going to pretend that I’m satisfied by the SL community’s response and the coverage of this issue. Honestly, most of what’s been written is complete and utter hogwash.

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I know Tzimis Panousis didn’t have Second Life’s users in mind, but this sketch sums up the mindset and actions of quite a few people.

Offended? You shouldn’t be. After reading Inara Pey’s transcripts of the legal panel regarding the ToS changes, I think no one has any excuse for being a nincompoop anymore. All this time while blogging about this issue, I have been trying very hard to remain polite regarding much – actually, most – of the debate on the 15th August change to Linden Lab’s ToS, all the while facepalming like nobody’s business. Far, far too much of what is still being regurgitated comes from people who:

  • Lack basic text comprehension skills,
  • Have a propensity for drama-whoring,
  • Have axes to grind and want to agitate others,
  • Are hypocritical turds; although they go out of their way to offer everyone who never asked them a TL;DR tirade about how much they hate Second Life and the “evil” Linden Lab (if we believe them, we’ll end up believing that the Lab is what caused the Cataclysm as described in the Bible), they stay in Second Life and troll the related blogs and forums with one intention: to spew their bile.
  • Are idiots who mindlessly reproduce all the bullshit that comes from the people that exhibit any (combination) of the four aforementioned attributes.

Of course, I don’t expect the dramacrats, the “OH NOES! THE SKY IS FALLING!” idiots, the prokanoids and the agitators to sit down and honestly review their words and actions. Of course, that’s not to say the current ToS don’t need to be improved. But, as I’ve said before in a far more (undeservedly) polite manner, all this drama is sheer idiocy. Oh, do read Tateru Nino’s take on the matter too. But I digress – she’ll be summarily dismissed as an “LL groupie” or an “FIC member”.




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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-mc

On 9 September 2013, stock content provider Renderosity followed the example of CGTextures and responded to LL’s recent ToS change by announcing that it prohibits use of its products in Second Life. This, of course, triggered yet another round of “LL IS TRYING TA STEAL MAH STUFFZ” drama, including various snarky comments from Renderosity users against Second Life users and content creators. In my original post on the ToS change, I have also quoted their announcement verbatim (in case they decide to rephrase or delete it). In that original post, I also quoted CGTextures’ announcement verbatim and commented on it, so for my thoughts on CGTextures’ announcements, this is what I’ll refer you to.

In this post, I’m going to focus on Renderosity’s announcement. As a reminder, you can find it on their website and here. What I wrote about CGTextures’ announcement holds in the case of Renderosity too. Determining how extensively a texture has been modified is not impossible at all. A .PSD (for Photoshop users) or .XCF (for GIMP users) file contains all the layers that were added to the original image, and it is really not impossible at all to determine if a whole texture or a small part of it has been used, or if it has been mixed with other images (either originally created by the user or bought from other sources and adapted to suit). However, this would need a thorough analysis, which could be costly to stock content provider that would want to take legal action against a customer that decided to use a texture of theirs in an SL build. This is something that holds true for both announcements.

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