Archive for the ‘Usonia’ Tag

Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum to Close Saturday

Me posing in front of Fallingwater at the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, September 2010.

Bad news comes in from New World Notes:  the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, one of the showcases of Second Life intersecting with Real Life, will be closing after Saturday, December 4. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which was created by Wright before his death to protect his intellectual property, has allowed the license they granted to Virtual Museums, Inc. (owners of the Usonia sim and the Virtual Museum) to lapse, and then issued a cease-and-desist order. Particulars above at Ham’s article, but it appears from my reading that FLLWF is holding VMI responsible for unauthorized use of Wright’s creations.

The irony here: the FLLWF’s actions are not going to stop, or even slow down, theft of Wright’s intellectual property. As I said in much briefer form in my comment on Ham’s article, the age of the computer and the Internet broke all the de facto limitations on transmission of visual or auditory material that made copyright law easy to enforce.  Everyone who has perhaps, at most, $1,000 — perhaps as little as $500 — can buy a computer and a printer/scanner/copier, scan photographs of previously published material from books, and republish it online in seconds.  This is one of the foundations of the World Wide Web as we know it today; not as Tim Berners-Lee intended it, but what the Web has evolved into.  Once something is available today, in almost any form, the genie is out of the bottle, the bottle is smashed, and the cork is burned to ashes.  The defenders of the copyrights — who I don’t deny have a perfect right to protect their work — seem unable to come to grips with this fact.  In the case of FLLW v. VMI, an innocent group who was attempting to play by the rules laid down has been punished in the process, and the over-zealous Foundation has tarnished itself.  The Foundation would have been better served by tracking down the scofflaws who are using Wright material without permission.

I’d like this question answered:  is the Foundation expecting VMI to do the policing of Second Life for them, issuing C&D orders in the name of the Foundation to other vendors using non-licensed works?  Was this part of the license issued to them?  Is that the cause for them to drop the ax on the Virtual Museum?  If so, I’d really like to know how they think a small, non-profit group can accomplish something better than their own foundation, who can more easily afford to hire lawyers to issue C&D orders?  I’ve been sorely tempted to call the Foundation myself and ask this question, but I’m afraid I’d open a can of worms in the process.

Paper Couture’s Seen By Moonlight

“Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

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Wright, probably the greatest American architect to date, had good reason to be arrogant.  Visionary, inspired, and controversial from the beginning of his career to the end of his life, FLW also did much to influence the thinking and taste of architecture in this country during the 20th Century, as well as many elements of American aesthetics in general.  He helped create a distinctly American style of building and decoration, the Prairie style, which shared many of its beautiful tenets of design with the Arts and Crafts movement, but brought a new, more modern language of form to the same concepts.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum in Usonia region (named for FLW’s designs for middle-class homes) exhibit reproductions of a number of his beautiful works, including one of his masterpieces — Fallingwater, the home designed for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, executed in another of his styles, the Organic.  The actual home is set in a well-forested plot of land, and seems to arise naturally from the surrounding limestone rock.  The creators of the FLWVM have achieved something of this effect here with their virtual Fallingwater; and it is this background that I chose to pose against in this new gown.

If anyone in Second Life couture could qualify for the right to be arrogant and controversial about their talent — though as far as I know, they never have been — the designers of Paper Couture would.  There is very little grey concerning Paper in the blogs, from what I’ve seen; either you love their designs, or you hate them, just like people did FLW’s work.  Bad reviews have little influence on their bottom line, though — hordes have rushed each fall to purchase huge chunks of Ava and Cora Lu’s collections.  I’ve lusted after them myself ever since I bought Magpie back in 2008, which I wore to New Year’s Eve that year.  This year’s collection has hit a similar home run, as has been shown elsewhere, and as I’m showing here.

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