Archive for the ‘Ari Blackthorne’ Tag

Ari Blackthorne Waxes Deeper on SL Content Theft

Last week, I did a pure news piece (no opinion on my part in the main article) on the launch of a movement and linked blog called Step UP.  The purpose of this, founded by Saffia Widdershins of Prim Perfect, is to urge Linden Lab into what sufferers consider meaningful action on the problem of content theft.

I received 3 responses to the article, including a long thoughtful one from Ari Blackthorne of Common|Sensible.  His basic take was that, unless a meaningful alternative can be offered, all of this is simply sound and fury, signifying nothing; and this is the way it will remain for now, due to the nature of the Internet and the World Wide Web, on which basis Second Life is erected.

It comes down to the whole reason DRM (Digital Right Management) is a useless farce. Because if you can see it or hear it – you can copy it. The same is true with anything and everything on the Internet – including inside any virtual world (Second Life, too).

Ari has since expanded on this comment, as well as his response to my response, in an article of his own at Common|Sensible.  It makes for some thought-provoking reading, and I would urge anyone who is taking a side in the debate to read, digest and consider.

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Events on the Grid

Shuffling through blogs this morning, I came across a pair of art items, one quite a nice opportunity, and the other almost sure to generate controversy in light of previous happenings.

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First, the easy. Prim Perfect magazine and blog have joined with the Orange Island community to sponsor a fashion photography contest, which will run across five days during the week of August 25. Competitors must shoot to a different theme each day, at a location specified by the judges, for daily prizes. There will also be a Grand Prix for the Most Consistent team, available only to those who participate across all five days.

For more details, you can read at the Orange Fashion Photo Contest blog, or on page 48 of Prim Perfect’s issue 11. Get yourself warmed up, get a good model (or spruce up your own avatar), and go for it!

Thanks to Maggie Mahoney of Runway magazine.

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And now, the rough.

The word has gone out on the Big Blog.  Volunteers are being solicited for this year’s Burning Life Festival, the in-world equivalent of the famous Burning Man art festival in the Real World.  It’s said that Philip Rosedale got his idea for Linden World, the predecessor of Second Life, from attending Burning Man in 1999.  (That may be, but there must be a dollop of Neal Stephenson in here somewhere, too….)

So what’s the problem?  They’ve done this for several years now, with no complaints from anybody.  Well, Ari Blackthorne examines the festival in light of Linden Lab’s apparent current policy of sanitizing — some would say “Disneyfying,” as Manhattan did to a good deal of Times Square — the Grid.  Remember that Burning Life emulates Burning Man in many ways; and one of them has been a general casualness about clothing.  Ari is suspicious about what will happen to Burning Life if the Lab decides to go after the exposure factor, as it did with ageplay and other matters during the planning for the recent SL5B celebration.  Ari notes:

No one twisted anybody’s arm to go running around to the pr0n clubs, or to put their money into these banks, or any of all that other crap, yet it was the shrill vocal minority that whined about it all. And remember, the alleged trading of RL photographs of child porn in the sensational news story that seemed to be the catalyst for all the bad press about Second Life is alleged. The last word from Linden Lab is that they have not been able to find these assets in the system, thus the media company fanning those flames may also have been blowing smoke up Linden Lab’s ass – just to ‘validate’ the sensationalism of their so-called news story.

If this is the case, then the funky lab on Linden Street, where you could get away with about anything in its virtual world, is definitely adopting a policy of reaction to bad press similar to many normal businesses.  To borrow from an old television program, the new management is getting measured for a team jacket, size 54 extra-uptight.  Virtual nudity isn’t particularly my thing — I ran off last night from someone who was pretending to be a body model at Alady Island and asked me if I’d like to have some fun — but that kind of trolling insanity does not happen routinely in Second Life, despite what the press has to say.

Burning Life doesn’t fall under the canopy of “what you do in the privacy of your home is your affair,” but my understanding is that it’s usually been clean, safe and fun.  It isn’t a mass meet-for-meat market, but a place to display your creativity, just like the celebration of artists in RL; and what is SL but a whole mess of artists at one point or another, shaping a new world for research and enjoyment?  I think the festival should come under the rubric of “If it doesn’t hurt your neighbor or yourself, go ahead and do it,” advocated by such as the ever-lovin’ Spider Robinson in Callahan’s Lady.

The question is, will the new Linden Lab mentality allow that this year and in future?

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