Saturday, October 5, 2013

Farewell LEA

A 20 region build using only the cube
     A few CEO's of Linden Lab ago I was asked to be part of a committee whose goal was to
encourage the arts in Second Life.  I was, and am, a bit of a hermit so had no real desire to be involved.  But one thing I do try to do is promote virtual art when I can, so I accepted.  The original group, for those of you who might be interested,  was AM Radio, Bryn Oh, Bettina Tizzy, Chantal Harvey, Dancoyote Antonelli, Dekka Raymaker, Jayjay Zinfanwe, L1Aura Loire, Sasun Steinbeck and Werner Kurosawa.  Bettina Tizzy resigned almost immediately when Linden Lab said they would not allow megaprims on LEA land... you remember megaprims?  AM Radio, Chantal Harvey, Dekka Raymaker, L1Aura Loire, Sasun Steinbeck and Dancoyote Antonelli all left over time for varying reasons with only JayJay, Werner and myself remaining from the original group.

   The original members were given nine regions to work with and pretty much Linden Lab just left us alone to set it up.  We began planning out what to do and learned how to create an arts council.  None of us were experts and so had to learn how to create an efficient and fair committee.  People like Rowan Derryth, DanCoyote Antonelli and PatriciaAnne Daviau were key organizational people in those areas.  Others like Sasun Steinbeck and later Solo Mornington were instrumental in creating all the web infrastructure etc.  Later we approached Linden Lab and its shareholders and they agreed to give us 20 more regions which we then gave to artists to create content.

     Over time we brought in different advisors who came and left.  Dizzy Banjo, Zachh Cale, Chantal Harvey and Rowan Derryth.   The current LEA is comprised of JayJay Zinfanwe, Werner Kurosawa, Oberon Onmurra, Chic Aeon, Honour McMillan, PatriciaAnne Daviau, Lapiscean Liberty, Quan Lavender and Solo Mornington.  A nice mix of artists, academics, bloggers/media, planners and tech people.

    After the new TOS came out I had to decide if I still felt comfortable being associated with the LEA, not the members but rather the concept.  One thing I do in both first life and Second Life is try to convince artists that they and their art are worth something.  You see, artists are quite often taken advantage of.  People will pay a plumber to fix a sink or a roofer to fix a roof because it is a skill they do not possess themselves, and they accept and recognize that.  However, most people also can not paint pictures as an example, yet they will suggest that it would be great "exposure" to put things in their Law Office or Hotel.  When I was just out of art school I was convinced to do 25 pen and ink drawings for an expensive coffee table book.. for "exposure".  They thanked me in the back of the book.  And somehow I felt like they did me a favour.  They probably paid everyone else but me.

     Along the way the confidence of some artists can be beaten down to the level where they don't really believe what they do has value.   Many people believe that artists shouldn't take money or they will lose their "purity".  It's silly.  I mean really, a painter may create a family portrait that goes on a persons wall giving them and their family joy.  That painting can be passed down through generation after generation for around 400 years if taken care of properly and the original was done with quality paints and support structure.  So they really can't provide an artist with a bit of money similar to other skilled trades so they can continue doing this?  Grand Theft Auto just came out and made $800 million in a single day.  The vast majority of the employees for that game company are artists, and they didn't do it for exposure.  Hollywood's biggest movie this year has been Iron Man 3 at around $400 million for its entire showing.  That also has quite a few artists involved.  They also didn't do it for exposure.  Without the creatives neither of these would exist.  Linden Lab doesn't build the world the residents enjoy.  The give us the ground we stand upon and then try to make it work properly with varying degrees of success.  Their virtual world is built by its users and without content creators there is no second life.  They have an easily measurable value to the product.  Content creators in general appreciate what Linden Lab have created for us, and they don't demand much.  The population appreciates them.

     I have seen many times over my years in SL a media outlet writing a derogatory and poorly researched article on Second Life.  I have seen residents, who a moment before were complaining bitterly about Linden Lab, suddenly stand up loyally en mass to chastise the media outlet with thousands of comments in defense of their virtual world.   Much of the community, though rarely admitted, feel or felt that SL is a unique little niche in technology that they are a part of, and they feel a kinship of sorts with Linden Lab for creating it.  It is quite remarkable that SL has lasted ten years when most virtual worlds die out quite rapidly.   The reason is not the graphics nor exciting game play but rather the community itself.  Linden Lab have, over time, been determined to distance themselves from the community by removing support for community events and such.   They decided at some point that is it better for us to have a self sufficient community and to just be the provider of a platform.  The new TOS is strictly a business decision made by a company whose employees generally have far less experience with the virtual world than the average citizen of that world.  The proof is in the Firestorm viewer made by residents vs the Official viewer made by Linden Lab.



 The Path
 The Path is an Exquisite Corpse narrative created by virtual world artists. They were by order of scene.. Bryn Oh, Colin Fizgig, Marcus Inkpen, Desdemona Enfield, Douglas Story, Maya Paris, Claudia222 Jewell, Scottius Polke and Rose Borchovski.

The artists were given a random order and upon composing a short narrative would then pass it on to the following artist in the sequence who would then add to it and continue passing it on until reaching the final artist.

     In the LEA there are a few who feel Linden Lab are justified in owning everything.  They argue that we can complain all we want but Linden Lab wont care.  That might be true.  Others say we shouldn't fight Linden Lab because our work only exists due to their platform, if they closed it then we would be hurting ourselves...  so essentially lets not rock the boat.  Some are completely quiet on the topic.  Others like Chic Aeon are quite annoyed over the new TOS and Honour, Patricia and Solo seem critical of LL.  Though I never got along with Dancoyote Antonelli I must admit he would be fighting LL vigorously if he were still part of the LEA.  Anyway, long story short I have decided to resign from the Linden Endowment for the Arts due to the current TOS.  If they rolled it back I would return perhaps, if the door were still open, and would work to promote and encourage the arts in virtual worlds, but I don't expect they will.

     As it stands now I don't feel comfortable luring artists into creating content for Linden Labs who can pretty much do whatever they want with it.  I will take the risk with my own content but I wont encourage others to do so.  For example, if you developed a revolutionary method for treating people with Schizophrenia by using specific techniques combining art, original music and the virtual space then built or demonstrated it in SL, it would no longer be yours exclusively.  Linden Lab could scoop it up and put their money behind it, while you struggled to promote it from your basement.  The TOS is at the bottom for you to view.  It is just another indignity artists and thinkers must suffer and I don't want to be a part of it.  People say "Oh but Facebooks TOS is just as bad" as though that is a reason for us all to just roll over and expose our bellies.   I don't honestly believe Linden Lab would do these terrible, immoral things yet they have not explained anything to the community.  They have not said "Oh hey I can see how it looks alarming but really we just need that wording to help us market the product easier etc ect.. and we needed to add "sell" and "re-sell" to the wording for this reason.."  Do you want to sell our content through Desura your new digital distribution acquisition as some have speculated?  If so then explain and share and you might have a willing partner.  But right now there is a lot of speculation, distrust and no clarification.

     Banks pretend to love us individually when we all know that we are just account numbers.  Linden Lab is currently straddling that awareness with one side of the precipice a big smile not seen in the eyes and the other the chance to show they appreciate the concerns of the community.. that they are the Linden Lab some of us still remember.  If they adjust the TOS then simply put, they still appreciate us and have listened.  If they don't then its business as usual and fuck the community and their wants.  They saw that Facebook users raised a cry of outrage over that TOS yet they desired the service more than they were willing to make a stand by leaving.  Lets watch.  If in a few weeks they still have not addressed the concerns from the community then perhaps its time we preserve our avatar names in other virtual worlds as well.  Cloud Party has sent me some really nice emails lately and they are advancing rapidly with unique features.  I have a Bryn Oh there now.  Inworldz is a user focused version of SL.  I have a Bryn Oh there now too.  Perhaps spend an hour in a different virtual world each week.  Check out Kitely and Opensim in general, make an account so nobody else gets your SL name which everyone knows you by.  Hopefully it is all just a big misunderstanding and we can be reassured that our ideas and content are safely our own even if they need to claim partial ownership for legitimate yet not obvious reasons.
 
   Here are some of the events that I curated for the LEA over the years I was there.  I wish good luck to the remaining members and may they lead the art community to bigger and better things.



The Avatar Games 
With thanks to Crap Mariner, Honour McMillan
Galea and Sasun Steinbeck for their help



 The Cube Project (Bryn's portion)

Bryn Oh, Cajska Carlsson, Charlotte Bartlett, Dancoyote Antonelli, Giovanna Cerise,  Haveit Neox, Kicca Igaly, L1Aura Loire, London Junkers,  Maya Paris, Misprint Thursday, Nessuno Myoo, Oberon Onmura, PatriciaAnne Daviau, Pixels Sideways, Pol Jarvinen, Rag Randt, Rowan Derryth, Sea Mizin, Secret Rage, Solkide Auer, Remington Aries, Solo Mornington,  Tony Resident, Werner Kurosawa and Xineohp Guisse.



Further Along the Path (Bryn's portion)

 The Path is an Exquisite Corpse narrative created by virtual world artists. They were by order of scene..
Glyph Graves, paramparamm Papp, Alpha Auer, Bryn Oh, Oberon Onmura, 
Eupalinos Ugajin, Ux Hax, romy Nayar and Ub Yifu.

The artists were given a random order and upon composing a short narrative would then pass it on to the following artist in the sequence who would then add to it and continue passing it on until reaching the final artist.


Except as otherwise described in any Additional Terms (such as a contest’s official rules) which will govern the submission of your User Content, you hereby grant to Linden Lab, and you agree to grant to Linden Lab, the non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, re-sell, sublicense (through multiple levels), modify, display, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. You agree that the license includes the right to copy, analyze and use any of your Content as Linden Lab may deem necessary or desirable for purposes of debugging, testing, or providing support or development services in connection with the Service and future improvements to the Service. The license granted in this Section 2.3 is referred to as the “Service Content License.

[21:29] Bære (semaj.ivanovic): LL TOS would have been much shorter if it just said MINE! MINE! MINE! ALL MINE!

BTW a new group was recently created called United Content Creators of SL which you are welcome to join if this cause interests you.

36 comments:

Mr. Crap Mariner said...

/me salutes

-ls/cm

savemeoh said...

In these dark times know that your family will be there for you!

Toysoldier Thor said...

Very well explained and truly the right an honourable decision Bryn!

The recent LL TOS is disrespectful assault by LL toward upon its own customers and especially those that have made SecondLife the success it has been over 10 years. Its an insult that the growing voices from the SL Art & Content Creators communities will not accept.

As you mentioned, there are some that are saying "What's the big deal? This is nothing? Don't be a bunch of complainers. Be lucky there is an SL for you to create in". To those I say, you are either the naive or among those who has little respect for the amazing creations within SL and to those that created it.

If you are an Artist or commercial content creator within SL, this TOS cannot be something you should accept and should fight against.

Again to Bryn, I bow to you for taking such a public stand against the LL TOS. It was the right and honourable action to take.

Panther said...

It's a sad day to find that you, Bryn, will no longer be one of the highlighters of arts in SecondLife. I have, over the years, so thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated your creations on the LEA sims (btw.. I do so miss the fun times with Avatar Games!).
I, too, am confused by the latest TOS changes (I simply cannot believe their legal department would advise of such an invasive IP noose). Even the laymen get the gist of LL making the blanket determination that what is yours - is ours 100%. Just makes no sense.
I do hope to continue to see your works in SL - as a complete nincompoop when it comes to creating art myself, I marvel at what you and other creators do every day.

Wizzy Gynoid said...

Bryn, you say "I don't honestly believe Linden Lab would do these terrible, immoral things yet they have not explained anything to the community. They have not said 'Oh hey I can see how it looks alarming but really we just need that wording to help us market the product easier etc ect.. and we needed to add 'sell' and 're-sell' to the wording for this reason.."

Actually Linden Lab *did* respond to the furor with this statement: "Recently we updated our Terms of Service to unify the existing terms of service for our various products into a single version. This updated version included a clarification with respect to the specific rights which a user grants to Linden Lab when submitting user-created content (referred to as the 'Service Content License') and, except as set forth in any related Linden Lab policies (referred to as “Additional Terms”), the right to “re-sell” such user-created content.

"As previously indicated, the updated Terms of Service encompass a wide variety of Linden Lab products and services. We made every effort to incorporate Second Life’s existing policies in a distinct manner. We realize that the general nature of portions of the new Terms of Service may have led some individuals to believe, mistakenly, that Linden Lab was renouncing existing Second Life policies and practices or attempting to expropriate content created by Second Life residents. To that end, we want to further elucidate and reiterate our practice with respect to the Service Content License (and specifically Linden Lab’s right to re-sell user-created content) in Second Life.

"As an example, Linden Lab’s Second Life Mainland Policies (cited as 'Additional Terms' in the updated Terms of Service) have long included Linden Lab’s right to 're-sell or otherwise alter abandoned parcels of SL’s mainland,' including, if and to the extent necessary, any user-created content incorporated into such parcels.

"Additionally, Linden Lab often acts as an intermediary between Second Life residents (for instance, in its capacity as the operator of the Second Life Marketplace) which necessitates that Linden Lab have certain rights (such as the right to re-sell) in order to effectuate such exchanges or transactions.

"As evidenced by Second Life’s extensive history, functionality and well-documented policies for providing a platform on which users can create and profit from their creations, Linden Lab respects the proprietary rights of Second Life’s content creators. We regret that our intention in revising our Terms of Service to streamline our business may have been misconstrued by some as an attempt to appropriate Second Life residents’ original content. We have no intention of abandoning our deep-rooted dedication to facilitating residents’ ability to create and commercialize such content in Second Life. In fact, we strive to provide Second Life’s residents with evermore opportunities to do so."

Bryn Oh said...

Thanks Toy and Panther. Wizard that is encouraging thanks, hope they will explain more. Funny I pasted that text segment you provided into google and came up with it on a few blogs which stated Peter Grey sent it to them personally. However it doesn't seem to be on the Second Life blog where you would expect concerned content creators would go to look.

Tuna Oddfellow said...

Why is Linden Lab's statement comforting to you? I don't think it should be a comfort.

The Lab has been asked why this has not translated into new clarified TOS by more than one set of creators since the TOS took place.

Activist artists have been directly responding to this by sending notes to Rod Humble and open letters to the Lab. Did they respond to any of you? Do let us know if they do.

The only correct response that truly corrects the TOS is rewriting it. They have the lawyers It would have taken a few hours to redraft.

If the lab decides they are not profitable and goes belly up tomorrow it will be our assets and inventions that they can attempt to package to their creditors or anyone who takes on Linden Lab as a financial acquisition.

Most people in this world are consumers. It wont change their world and they won't notice what has been gutted.

Many famous cities that are known for their arts and culture get taken over by big chains and corporations instead of mom and pop shops. The cities lose a lot in the process to those who were there forever but new people keep coming based on reputation.

Most artist will continue to devalue their art as we are all trained to do so and stay in the world without giving this a thought.

Still other creators see a profit from the world too great to rock that virtual boat you speak of.

Bryn Oh said...

It was "encouraging" to me Tuna not comforting. It means they have not completely ignored the issue, but yes hopefully things will keep progressing. As I said there is a group called United Content Creators of SL who are going to see what they can achieve. You might like to join with them.

Chantal Harvey said...

Call it ego, and I am sure it is; but I was in the original LEA group and the very first member that started a machinima art project. MoM, Month of Machinima, for which Werner built his beautiful theater.

Chic Aeon said...

I respect your decision Bryn and certainly understand it. A very well written post with some lovely memories highlighted. No matter what happens we WILL have many good times to look back on, preserved in our virtual keepsake books of film and photographs.

Regarding the Linden Lab "response" -- that was a PR statement sent out to ONLY a few select blogs including Living in a ModemWorld and New World Notes. Many felt that if The Lab was REALLY responding rather than simply spinning, it would have been published on their official blog; something you noticed.

And about those other worlds... While I am not leaving SL -- mostly because I love MOSP too much to let go, I would like to put in a giant plug for Cloud Party. I have been over there three weeks now and have published three builds (sort of like opening sims to the public, just different terminology). It has many things going for it among them unlimited FREE building areas the equivalent of four sims. Uploads are also free and it is browser based so no viewer to install. The tech is outstanding, but there is a learning curve as this is NEW technology and not simply moving over to an OpenSim world which is pretty much like going back in time in SL (not a bad thing if that is what you want). There is virtually no commerce so is not a place for those needing to make money. It IS however a mesh making artist's dream.

storm said...

Thank you for you contribution to both SL and the LEA. You have helped make SL a more special place. Again, thank you.

-storm clarence

Bryn Oh said...

Ah sorry Chantal I thought you were but I went to the Linden Labs site to make sure I didn't forget anyone and your name wasn't there, so it confused me. I have a memory like a goldfish. Thanks Chic and yes Cloud Party seems to really be taking off.

Vanessa Blaylock said...

I'm sorry to see you leaving LEA Bryn. Congratulations on a wonderful span of time and projects there. Artists, and I suppose cyberspace denizens generally, never last in these sorts of positions very long. The standard presumption is that you'll be gone soon. So leaving now, while bittersweet to be sure, is nonetheless a real triumph for staying so long.

For myself, everything I create is Creative Commons Attribution. (iRez is CC Non-Commercial because it has 3 dozen authors and many of them prefer CC-NC over CC-A) Whatever rights LL or FB or anyone else want to take, I was already giving away.

We have is a century where most practices come from the previous century. For Copyright, in the 20th century most people never created copyrighted works and most people were never in a position to violate anyone else's copyright. In the 21st century, everyone creates copyrighted works and everyone is in a position to violate someone's copyright every day. In spite of this our laws have in no way addressed this new reality. Culture itself, through various tools like Creative Commons, The GPL, The MIT License, and others, has found a way around our bad copyright laws, but the general structure still refuses to appreciate that there even is an internet. Except for the RIAA which has exploited the cynical model of suing its customers.

TOS are really analogous. In the 20th century most people did not enter into binding contractual agreements on a daily basis. The few that did had lots of lawyers to argue about it with the other side's lawyers.

Today we all enter contracts every day, and "we" almost never have a lawyer at all. Yet lawyers write unreadable 15,000 or 30,000 word TOS. These TOS generally appear on reading to be vastly overreaching. It's a great irony of this 20th century practice not having accommodated the 21st century we actually live in that we now have the "feature" of TOS Overreach accompanied by non-binding "explanation" / "apology" clarifying that the legal documents our lawyers wrote only sound like we intend to screw our users, but even though we reserve the right to screw our users, honest, it really isn't our intention.

I'd hate to think that I'd not use a platform because of something some lawyer somewhere wrote.

I have not seen any examples of platform providers "stealing" user content and selling it. The TOS are annoying, but what we think we read in them is not the business practice of any platform so far. What IS a real concern is that these platforms will "burn our wedding photos." I wrote about this on Medium (but Blogger won't let me leave the link)

Pownce, Posterous, Memo Lane, Daily Booth, and so many other platforms have allowed millions, including me, to take time and effort to create content on their site. Then when they either succeed and get bought (Memo Lane) or fail and give up (Daily Booth) the almost gleefully announce, "we don't need you anymore, we're deleting your precious memories." Sometimes you get a week or two of notice. Memo Lane didn't even give a full 24 hours. Content destruction happens all the time. It's one of the reasons I'm so pleased to have a free and open platform like WordPress.

TOS should wake up and deal with the century we actually live in. A few companies have tried to do this, most have not. Still, I wouldn't let anybody's TOS prevent me from making work. In the 21st century I'm convinced it isn't even about copyright or paywalls, it's about communities. If you can really engage a community of people, it doesn't matter if somebody else knows your trade secret, because your "product" isn't secret recipes, it's open, responsive relationships. If a platform works with and deals above board with participants, they have something far more valuable than secret code.

I'm glad to hear you'll still be creating Bryn! Congratulations on a wonderful long run at LEA.

Arri said...

I agree with Bryn too. I'm not in her shoes but I'd be inclined to do what she did. Pull back.
The PR doesn't change what the TOS says. The TOS is after all supposed to be the binding truth which is why it's written in legalese.
IMHO LL needs to revisit their TOS remembering what the nature of SL is. Resident created. And the whole reason people participate in SL.

Noke said...

Aloha Bryn ;)

Quite agree with all.

Stefan Buscaylet said...

god bless you and your decision.

I agree with comments that most people will bitch and complain about LL but when it comes right down to it, they are more than willing to stay and complain rather than vote with their walets and eyeballs and go do something else.

If you've ever had to work for a small high tech company you'll learn that everything is done in a knife edge of marginality and frankly people just don't have the time to conspire in evil and terrible ways. Its not in Liden's interest to do these things. They don't have either the time or the money to hire lawyers to write fabolous TOS nor the time to have 100s of meetings in confernece rooms to debate all the fine points. Like the rest of us they want to make enough money to send their kids to college, work hard to prevent having their lunch eaten by a competitor, and try to have a little quality of life time to spend with family and friends.

I will be voting with my wallet and commitment to continue to develop this wonderful world linden and his lab has offered us and will continue to work to continue to making content that is compelling so that others will also continue to vote with thier wallets to keep the company viable. Am i worried they are going to take my content and do something with it. Hardly. It takes all their effort to keep the "ether" alive so the content can florish. They can't and dont' have any time to steal our content. And just like the NSA, FBI, or CIA, if they want to they can. I don't live my life this way.

I wish you well. But in the words of my beloved father "dont be dead right".

---Stefn

Toysoldier Thor said...

Exactly what Arri stated regarding LL's ONLY response. LL showed no value to credit to their only response on the TOS issue. They posted it OUTSIDE ALL THEIR FORMAL COMMUNICATIONS. And.. even if they would have, their TOS clearly states that their TOS is the master of all positions and trumps any other LL statements (with only a few expressed exceptions). This LL statement on a 3rd Party blogger site surely does not qualify.

The only value LL would have would be to make their limitations of intent statement IN THE TOS. Stated anywhere else has no value. It was only PR and trying to calm the growing anger.

Teal Freenote said...

I have been making all my virtual sculptures in InWorldz for over 3 years. It is a joy to create there. For the price I paid to rent my gallery space in SL, I paid for half of a scenic sim in IW. Last year I converted that scenic to a full sim and have 40K prims to play with. I can show my entire collection of 6 years of sculpture making, plus a gallery for 2D, with room for guest artists, and still have tons of prims left over (for $75 a month with no set up fee). Well phooey :) I closed my gallery in SL last year an never regretted it.

Up until the new TOS, I was importing my sculptures back to SL for exhibitions. But since the TOS I will not bring in anything anymore.

There is a lively and growing art community in SL with many festivals to participate in. I have sold more art in InWorldz than I ever did in SL. And I thoroughly enjoy all the lovely benefits IW gives, like free uploads and affordable land.

The TOS was the last straw - will not bring anything new into SL. It had stopped being fun (much less affordable) quite some time ago. I didnt realize how constricted I felt creatively in SL till I discovered InWorldz.

Wizzy Gynoid said...

I've seen this hubub and reaction to ToS changes before. This issue is not a new one. For years now, I and my friends have been backing up our inventories onto our hard drives. That was in the old days of the pioneering product - SL Inventory. Then the third party viewers started offering the "Export" option and I started systematically exporting my content out to my hard drive and from there to the destination grid, which now is usually Inworldz. The presumption was, and still is, that the best thing to cover all of our bases is to back up our content. And to have everything marked with a Copyright notification. If Linden Lab, or its purchaser, should ever try to use my content they will be sued.

Pixels Sideways said...

Three words: CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT

If Linden Lab attempted to over-ride copyright rights of original intellectual property created by anyone, regardless that it exists on their platform....

I don't think they're that stupid and/or smarmy. Albeit, their "boiler plate" letters they send re: copyright violation issues are from dumbfuck central (I worked for years in entertainment legal and business affairs -- I think the LL legal / IP dept has a pneumatic tube connected to the Humboldt Growers Cooperative).

All snarkiness aside, what I gleaned from the new TOS hooplah is LL is covering their ass and assets should they decide to sell SL or shut it down or possibly merge it with something.

I really can't imagine they would try to steal everyone's stuff and/or sell it off piecemeal or through and online library. That would be such bad collective juju karma LL would have to operate from a bunker.

But I do agree that it is good to branch out and look at what other VR worlds are out there and what is happening with them.

None have the population that SL does and they all have issues to iron out but they are gaining in popularity.

I see other worlds/grids as more affordable options for doing things like machinima or huge art installations or for edu purposes -- especially when you can get a full sim w/45K prims for $60 or less USD per month (and no set up fees) or other cheap or free places such as Kitely and Cloud Party -- the latter which is accessed via a browser rather than a downloaded complex viewing client.

I've just started working on a major project at AVN -- the terms for this specific project (contractual) are whatever we create for this project is exclusive to this group within AVN but we can take whatever we create and sell elsewhere (except within AVN) and what we create for this build in AVN cannot be resold by AVN or the group associated with the project anywhere else. This is an entire detailed mesh build spanning 40 sims (with 45K prims on each one). So it's kinda awesome -- something that couldn't be done in Second Life.

I'm participating in the project to beef up my 3D mesh modeling and texturing skills, learn from more experienced content creators and work with new peeps and have some fun.

But I will continue create content in SL and hopefully participate in future LEA and other SL art related projects.

My advice to people who are freaking out over the TOS, seek out an IP expert -- maybe someone at a university -- and have them look at the new TOS language and read it in the context of the entire TOS. (You'll have to buy them lots of Starbucks Coffee gift cards).

BTW, I hear the next LL/SL TOS will require that all content creators provide a stool sample. :)

Anyhoo, Bryn, thank you for your thoughts on the subject and thank you for lending your time, experience and imagination to LEA.

Minethere Always said...

As an observer of the tech of virtual worlds and the tech some are doing with it, Kitely is one I watch closely.

I am more a free metaverse proponent and truly think Artists should consider grids such as Metropolis Grid where there is a growing Art Community. There is a learning curve with the tech if you wish to run your own simulators but the payoff is you will be able to save your entire regions in various iterations to your computer in the form of OARs, and share them if you wish with others. You can also learn to save your entire inventory to your computer in the form of IARs. There is no inworld currency in Metropolis.

Kitely, as a commercial grid, is pushing the tech to new heights and is not only pushing opensim core code with improvements but offering exceptionally good pricing models. Kitely offers up to 100k prims for example, and very low pricing on regions due to their cloud-based simulator model tech. They also offer web-based region backups.

Both grids you can google easily and both offer top notch and cutting edge tech that the greater Metaverse is going forward with now.

There are some very good options for creators that this situation should give people pause to consider.

Good luck-))

Nettrice said...

In 2009, I wrote a series of posts for the Art21 blog highlighting your (Bryn's) and other SL artists' works. The posts were highly successful and brought at least two art communities together. I kept silent that I was an artist in my own right because I felt it complicated my role as a writer.

Then, in 2010, I had my first and only exhibition in Second Life. It was sponsored by IBM and I was given more time that initially agreed upon to create what is likely the first and only sim dedicated to afrofuturism which is now on the rise in the art world. I also started work on a Ph.D. in Digital Media. It was a dream/goal I had been sustaining for nearly two decades.

In the fall of 2010, Linden Lab shut me down claiming it was a billing issue. I thought we had resolved the problem. Then, in early 2011 I logged in only to discover that the land I was renting (and its contents) were gone. There was no notice or warning. Once again, Linden Lab claimed it was about billing but (truthfully) they had simply stopped accepting my payments. I saw the handwriting on the wall. I was a full-time Ph.D. student trying to stay afloat and I had no time to tangle with Linden Lab.

Life went on for me. I explored augmented reality and did a cool project for ISEA in 2012. I finished my coursework and exams and I still write for Art21. It's been 16 months since I've been in SL. It makes me sad that artists like you (Bryn) have been treated with such disregard. I'd argue that it was the artists, not corporations that brought people to SL. Educators, too, have used SL as a hybrid teaching model with some success. If you ask me I think Linden Lab blew it a long time ago but I thank you and the others for trying. All the best to you.

Jimmy Debruyere said...

Thanks, Bryn. I will be following yours and others advice to explore different communities with greater attention. It's not that I feel particularly put upon by LL, it's more I'm uncomfortable that many artists I respect feel put upon.

Timo Gufler said...

Thanks for the encouraging post and example, Bryn! It's great to see, that talented artists care.

cesoirarts2011 said...

Bryn, thank you for sharing your perspective on the recent TOS. I value what you have to say, as I trust your awareness and instincts. I thank you for all you have done in serving with the LEA to bring other artists to VR worlds; this is a service to everyone and to the future. What I most thank you for is the beautiful art you have brought here; I have followed your work since my arrival in 2009 and I've enjoyed it all. Such intellectually enriching, emotionally touching work is a treasure, and you offer that - and more - routinely.
In SL, I am a fledgling artist, learning to use in-world tools to express myself. In RL, I write and work in mosaics; I also explore what I call "Words and Pictures," the same title I am using for my in-world efforts with the camera and pen. It is an exciting time, for now that I have begun, I can’t stop.
In SL, Aeon’s and my focus is shifting towards theatrical expressions; we are educators and students benefit by exploring the virtual plane. While we actually create few items, we deeply appreciate the work of others. Our sims are filled with beautiful pieces created by some of the most talented content creators, and we enjoy organizing them into (what we think are) interesting environments or backdrops.
We were a bit taken aback by the recent ToS update, as well. However, some who have joined us here (some work in law and related fields) have told us not to worry quite so much about the language. While it is unfortunate that “the Lab” is not responsive enough to our queries (by coming out in an obvious way with a clear statement and/or revising the language of the ToS – in addition to their response at New World Notes by Wagner James Au that Wizzy Gynoid shared), it seems to us that Vanessa has the most accurate depiction of the problem: the surprising rate of technological development and (dare I say it?) our (we denizens of the virtual world) brilliant use of what LL initially created is truly the root of the problem. It has all gone so quickly that as we’re rewiring our brains (lickety-split!), our more practical, cognitive capacity to take it all in and manage it is not keeping pace (just yet).
Anyone’s work in digital space belongs to the creator; it lives in the heart, mind, soul, spirit – even as it has been created at the computer keyboard. How we are to ensure that it belongs to each one in a practical sense requires that we bridge the gap that yet exists between the virtual and the real. I think that eminently possible, we just are unsure as to how to accomplish it at this moment, and our language reflects that. Soon our cognitive capacities will catch up and such concerns will fade. (Yes, I really do believe that.)
Perhaps, one day, this gap between the virtual and the real will no longer exist as our dual worlds become seamlessly connected. Until then, everything is in play including language as we attempt to mine this incredible idea (VR/virtual worlds and our lives in them). Ideas are notoriously unmanageable. This is where artists of all kinds come into the picture, expressing the idea(s) as the first step (or the next) toward understanding. That different artists find different expressions from different perspectives allows us to go deeply into this idea to see its inner connections and multitudinous ramifications. It is this clear view that is both complex and elegantly simple at the same time: the gift of true art.
Thank you for so wonderfully leading the way with your work, insights and questions. Without excellent questions, answers can be so empty. My beret is off to LL and others who ventured into the digital chasm to make all this possible (even these stunning concerns). Indeed, my beret is off to all artists and creators who make these worlds so habitable and new. I cannot wait to see what you come up with next on this journey!
NOTE: I am posting this response (adapted including some links to recent brain studies) at our blog. Do visit if so inclined:
http://cesoirarts.com
Mireille Jenvieve

Bryn Oh said...

Thank Mireille,

I have read Peter Greys message sent to a few blogs as well and it does seem quite as though it is all a misunderstanding and in my heart I believe they simply wish to create a new type of marketplace to sell indy game content to developers similar to that of Unity 3D. They have made a few games themselves, like patterns, and I wouldn't be surprised if their intention is to offer basic tools to make games then to offer content while taking a cut. The problem is that though I do like Peters comments and find them encouraging they are not legally binding. The TOS is legally binding and the way it is written right now should be adjusted to ensure they are our "agents" working on our behalf. While I am glad to hear some lawyers you have as friends feel there is nothing to worry about, I have been in contact with far too many IP lawyers who suggest to fight it. In the end nobody knows their intention, bloggers can write in an authoritative air, such as myself, but its all speculation and conjecture.

Mireille said...

You are right, Bryn, and I too hope (and will advocate for) a clear change in the ToS itself. Why LL would be hesitant to do that is an important concern. Most of my attorney friends (only one works directly with IP) also agree.
My hopes are high that consistent, even-handed and respectful attention to the issues in contact with LL (that is also clear about concerns) will yield results.
I remain, ever the optimist, but time will tell.
Mireille

eurominuteman said...

It's a Buyer's market, not a Seller's market > Cinema Class Gaming Industry offers a service to combat Intellectual Property Piracy: The ESA's Intellectual Property Policy Department serves the public policy needs of video and computer game companies on a variety of domestic and international intellectual property issues
http://www.theesa.com/policy/intellproperty.asp

eurominuteman said...

According to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author" http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a27 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property#Infringement.2C_misappropriation.2C_and_enforcement Report Your International Complaint at eConsumer.gov http://www.econsumer.gov/english/ Intellectual Property Piracy in conjunction with violation of Article 27 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights > If you are in the USA...here's the link for anybody else that wants to lodge a complaint. https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/GettingStarted

Lacy Muircastle said...

Bryn I wrote a small piece on the TOS shambles in the SL Enquirer - quoting you. A long assed comment was posted finishing with a question to you - would you mind replying at all? See below

My name is DeNovo Broome. It's not a name to conjure with, but it is my own and it matters to me. I made it. I am a work of art AND I am a person. You may believe it or not, but there it is, believe it or don't. I really do not have an alternative than to celebrate the obvious; "ego, ergo sum."

So this feels as if a slave collar were snapped around my neck. My reaction is not based upon law, nor culture, nor abstract discussions over copyright - my objection is nearly identical to the sudden intrusion of an ice cold speculum.

I'm not going anywhere that is likely to happen. Not even if I were uninclined to worry overmuch about whether I was wearing panties.

Let's leave the personal metaphors aside. I'm more than happy to share content. I'm not particularly worried about MONETIZING content. I'm simply bored with the idea of hunting down miscreants who "steal" my "intellectual property."

But at the same time, I'm stunned that anyone would have the breathtaking arrogance to simply dismiss my rights entirely. And yet, it has happened and it would appear that I have no legal recourse, save not logging in at all. I would be content with that save for the fact that I have personal objections to suicide as a form of protest.

Many would argue that it's just a game and just an account. I do understand their position and I hope they understand my feeling that they deserve the sort of experience that they assumed they were paying for. We shall see if their expectations congrue with reality. Perhaps my own assumptions about the broad importance of my own approach were ... well, I'm sure some would view it as being an expression of questionable sanity. As an artist, I can only smile as a response to that.

Still, I was more than willing to pay for the indugence of my..... eccentricities. I was more than happy to live with the fact that my efforts rarely resulted in a positive cash flow. I was and remain unwilling to have a "business plan" to justify my existence or my tastes.

It's the insult, the implication that simply by logging in and paying for my access, I have my reward and none of my contributions to second life matter now or will ever matter save as something like an oil reserve to be tapped.

And that is why I'm giving Kitely an second look. Because simply NOT logging in at all seemed like an *inadequate* response. I would very much appreciate advice as to what grids are open to people who wish to explore individual artistic exploration without more than the legally unavoidable limits on artistic expression.

Bryn Oh, I'm looking at you. You have complained, now volunteer. Find a place you are comfortable and let us know where it is. I am likely to be swayed by your choices - even as I explore my options. I have quietly enjoyed your works and I would miss them.

Mireille said...

The resources shared by eurominuteman (thank you, sir) have me intrigued. It makes me wonder how the route LL chose to take with SL is being viewed: was it a business mis-step - or a stunning move into a brave new world? By their own advertisement, SL is a game, although I don't view it that way - and it does not seem to be handled the way many other games are managed.
Again, we're in a unique position because of the nature of SL. We don't "buy" the game, we simply login to it (either with a paid or free account). We don't land in a ready-made world, we make it ourselves. Some people play and some people work in SL (or a bit of both). Some create and some just enjoy the creations of others (or a bit of both). So where does SL fit? It truly seems to have made its own niche "out there," that has now been joined by others more like it than like the X-Box games - or is SL a "social networking game?" This, it seems to me, is a big part of the question.
But then...
My head hurts. I think I'll stop bothering you nice people and login to sit by the virtual sea for awhile.
Thank you Bryn, for your inspiring work - and for hosting this important exploration. I have learned much: mostly, that I have a lot to learn.
Mireille

fanciful-muse said...

Thank you for sharing this with the community, Bryn. I have always enjoyed your artistic endeavors.

I see a lot of people saying, in general, "They couldn't have meant this the way it's worded, they wouldn'd dream of doing this." Yes, they would dream of doing this. Take the words as they are written because that is what will stand up in a court of law. If you agreed to this TOS in order to access your account, you HAVE handed the rights over to LL as stated in the TOS. Merely "hoping" they "didn't mean it" or that they will change it is not enough to protect you.

I, for one, am looking into moving back to Inworldz, which never did, and never will, claim unrestricted license to my content. I may not be a big-name artist but my efforts are my own, and I want them to remain my own.

Tuna Oddfellow said...

Thank you fanciful-muse.

The Lab is not living under some rock. The negative press has been hitting thousands of uses and thousands upon thousands in the blogoshere.

At this point the lab is choosing not to respond. They are choosing not to address this change. They chose legal terms with help of their attorneys who they chose.

The languge of the contract is really not open to much interpretation even if we would like it to. A judge could challenge the terms but most creators will never afford the legal battle. If they did the creator would have a stronger case having never signed the TOS.

I know an creator who has not signed in to accept the TOS since this happened, anyone got a 100,000 dollars for a good legal counsel against the lab? (0;

Solkide Auer said...

I agree with you Bryn

anchailinalainn.com said...

I am a silent but long time admirer of your work and though I am saddened by your need to pull back from LL I certainly understand how you feel. I've felt much the same, especially about photo's I commissioned an artist to do. I feel like in that instance I pay an artist for their work and the "government" takes it for their museum, so to speak. (reeks of communism). Thank you for how you have inspired me over the years to do better. Have a gorgeous week!

JeanRicard Broek said...

Jan 24, 2014
Cloud Party Joins Yahoo

Sam Thompson Uncategorized

We’re excited to announce that the time has come for the Cloud Party team to start our next adventure. We are joining Yahoo! The last two years have been an incredible experience for everyone here. We’ve been continually amazed by your creativity and the worlds you’ve built and shared with us.

Cloud Party will continue to run until February 21, 2014. We want to support our community during this transition. In the interest of preserving your extraordinary Cloud Party creations, we’ve added export tools and written this guide to help you export your content. If you have any questions, please contact us at support@cloudpartyinc.com.

We are privileged to have had so many wonderful users share ideas and creations. We are excited to bring our vision and experience to a team that is as passionate about games as we are. Thank you all for sharing in this journey with us, and we hope you stick around for what’s next!