Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Second Life Businesses Close Due To Cloning

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the el-camino-cloners dept.

DRM 409

Warren Ellis is reporting that many Second Life vendors are closing up shop due to the recent explosion of a program called "Copybot," designed to clone other people's possessions. From the article: "The night before last, I was looking around a no-fire combat sandbox, where people design and test weapons and vehicles, when an argument broke out; a thing going by the name Nimrod Yaffle was cloning things out of other people's inventories, and claiming he could freely do it because he'd been playing with Copybot with employees of SL creator/operators Linden Lab. All hell broke loose, in the sort of drama you can only find on the internet. Linden Lab's first official response? If you feel your IP has been compromised by Copybot, we'll sort of help you lodge a DCMA complaint in the US. Businesses started shutting down moments later." Update 20:43 GMT by SM Several users have mentioned that the Second Life blog has a few thoughts on this issue and quite a few comments from users already.

cancel ×

409 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

value (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856636)

And hence the "real value" of virtual goods is exposed for the umpteenth time...

tee hee (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856774)

artificial scarcity as a business model makes me laugh. i am a cruel man.

Re:tee hee (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858318)

artificial scarcity as a business model makes me laugh.
Hey, it worked for De Beers...

Re:value (3, Insightful)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856974)

Indeed, the value of such goods is based only on the recognition of others that they are valuable, unlike the case with, say, money. Wait...

Re:value (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856994)

That's why I keep all my money invested in tulip bulbs...

Re:value (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858006)

Which is backed by the US Government (or whatever country your money is from). Second life items are backed by who?

Re:value (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858376)

"Backed by the US Government" means what, exactly? What does the US Government guarantee about its currency? Is it a stronger guarantee than you will get from Linden Labs?

Re:value (4, Insightful)

Hawkxor (693408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858560)

Is it a stronger guarantee than you will get from Linden Labs?

UHH... YES... in the financial world, US government bonds are used as a riskless metric because if the US government ever defaults we all will have bigger things to worry about than our investments.

reason for copyrights (2, Interesting)

tigre (178245) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856978)

Sounds like SL needs its own version of copyright. To encourage innovation in object creation, grant the creators limited monopolies on creating said objects, and then after the copyright expires CopyBot to your heart's content. They could enforce with code, or they could simply enforce with Terms of Service/Use, depending on their philosophical bent.

Re:reason for copyrights (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857010)

Why special copyright? They just use the one that's on the books already, much easier to remember and not in threat of a lawsuit if someone's standard copyright was violated by SL's special version.

Re:reason for copyrights (2, Informative)

tigre (178245) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857422)

The one on the books is:

  1. essentially intentionally broken to prevent any reversion to the public domain.
  2. (even in its original form) geared towards a period too long to make it useful for SL to make much of an effort to help you enforce.

Copyrights benefit the game if the public domain (or an in-game version thereof) is enhanced at a reasonable point in time in the future. Otherwise, copyrights are a bad bargain.

SL can surely construct a licensing scheme whereby you are permitted to use their service to distribute your creations on a monopoly basis for a set period of time (I'm thinking months), after which you grant rights to anyone on said service to freely use it within the scope of that service. No violation of copyrights, just licensing within the scope of the game.

Re:reason for copyrights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858550)

Sounds like SL needs its own version of copyright. To encourage innovation in object creation, grant the creators limited monopolies on creating said objects, and then after the copyright expires CopyBot to your heart's content.

Or, instead of trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle (which is what any sort of 'copyright' of nonrivalrous goods tries to do) how about getting the genie do something productive instead?

SL should make it easy to hire creators on contract to produce new objects. Create an escrow like system where any number of players can commit to paying for a product that meets whatever contractural requirements the players and creators agree on. That way the incentive to create new objects will still exist without the economic drag of artificial monopolies.

Free copybotting of previously paid-for objects will serve as advertising for the creator's skill and allow him to charge an even higher fee for subsequent creations - that is if objects are any good in the first place. If done well, such a system would be the closest thing to the economist's utopian pure free market.

While the real-world is saddled with lawyers, special interests and banking regulation that makes that sort of escrow system dificult to implement, SL has no such restrictions and should be able to put together an escrow-payment system without a terrible amount of effort.

Self-value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857872)

"And hence the "real value" of virtual goods is exposed for the umpteenth time..."

You would get modded insightful around here, but your implication that physical goods have "real value" is as naive. All goods and services have an intrinsic vale to their creators but their value to others is more transitory.

Re:Self-value (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858326)

And what would the value of anything be if I could instantly create an unlimited number of copies of something for free.

Unless the item is of limited quantity or is protected by some means of duplication (like US currency), then the object is nearly worthless.

Objects are worthless, time is not. (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858542)

The copies are worthless, probably, but the original is not.

Let's assume we live in an all-digital, completely non-conservative world, where any object or piece of information can be duplicated instantly, at zero cost or energy expenditure.

You might think that this makes a lot of professions impossible. How could you be a photographer? Quite easily. Rather than trying to sell content that has already been created, you sell your ability to create new content. E.g., I would still pay you to take a portrait of me, because no pictures of me exist already (or none that I want / don't have already). After you take the picture, and I pay you for your time, I can then go and make a billion copies of it -- but you were already paid for your time. Rather than trying to be shady about it, and amortize the value of your time over 100 copies that you might sell me in the future, you demand the payment up front, you get it, and I take my new picture and you take your money. The transaction is complete.

In short, if you can copy goods already extant at zero cost, the demand that remains is for customized goods, or goods which don't already exist. Rather than looking at an artistic occupation as essentially a production/manufacturing job, turning out identical intellectual-property widgets, you have to view it as a service job, selling your time and skills in order to produce something which meets a customer's specifications.

Duping bugs happen in every game. (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857882)

What I find funny is that SL isn't treating a duping bug as a duping bug, even though this clearly qualifies as such.

Re:Duping bugs happen in every game. (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858428)

What bug? There's nothing to fix. The client has to download the prims and textures to display them, there's no way around that. There's nothing anyone can do about it. DRM is fundamentally flawed when you are talking about presentation output.

Re:Duping bugs happen in every game. (2, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858596)

SL is different from other games in that users are allowed to create objects - they're even encouraged to do so. If you can design an object, you can create it within the game, and everyone agrees that that's ok.

The problem is that people want to keep their designs secret, even while using them in the game. Obviously, this is impossible because in order to render the object, each SL client has to download the object's wireframe, textures, etc.

Most duping bugs are solved by securing data or fixing a bug on the server side, but that won't work in this situation because what's being copied is the same information the game client needs to display the game properly.

Value is in the ability to create. (2, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858044)

Unlike real goods which are never copied? Doh. Anything that can be made can be copied. Anyone with a copied item, bought or stolen, just has a lame bit of crap anyway. The interesting stuff is the original. Sure someone can buy a copy of a Picaso painting but that doesn't decrease the value of the original or the creator of the original.

If the Linden Labs people would give me a free account and land I'd be glad to let people copy my stuff for free.

Value is in the service. (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858398)

I think you nailed it.

The businesses that are closing were all operating on the wrong business model. Rather than try to make money selling the same object over and over, as if each copy had some value, they should have been figuring out ways to make money selling unique, individually created, bespoke objects. Selling the same stream of bits over and over is stupid. But if you could create something new for each person, then you'd not be selling bits, but your creative labor and skills -- it's not "bits" that you're selling anymore, but "service." That's a sustainable, proven business model.

I hope that Linden keeps the copying devices around, and lets people have free reign with them, because I think in time, you'll see the SL economy recover, and it would be a good demonstration of an 'information economy' that's not based on artificial scarcity or restrictions on information, but rather on mutually beneficial services.

Re:Value is in the ability to create. (1)

LittleBigLui (304739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858480)

Sure someone can buy a copy of a Picaso painting but that doesn't decrease the value of the original


Assuming it was a perfect copy (on the molecular level), how would you even know the difference between original and copy?

Re:Value is in the ability to create. (2, Insightful)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858524)

I'm a moderator and I'm really pissed of that there isn't a -1 completely wrong.

A copy of a Picaso doesn't lower the value of the original--but if it was the ability to make an EXACT copy, of course it would. If you couldn't tell the difference between the original and the copies, then the original is only worth what the copies are worth.

That's exactly how digital copies of digital entities work.

Re:Value is in the ability to create. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858570)

Sure someone can buy a copy of a Picaso painting but that doesn't decrease the value of the original or the creator of the original.
And I wonder why those horrible doodles are worth anything in the first place. Picasso is a TERRIBLE painter. He's in the bottom of the barrel. His best stuff is on par with Rob Liefeld's worst. If you want real art, check Alex Ross, Bryan Larsen, Travis Charest, Julie Bell...

Re:Value is in the ability to create. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858608)


The interesting stuff is the original.

The concept of "original" only exists when there is imperfect copying.

Sure someone can buy a copy of a Picaso painting but that doesn't decrease the value of the original or the creator of the original.

What if you could copy a Picaso painting down to the quantum level, such that it was completely indistiguishable from the "original" (by any current or future technologies). If you can't tell the "original" from a "copy", the two concepts break down. Are you trying to tell me that the "original" version of a piece of software is somehow better than a "copy"? The concept of original and copy don't make any sense in the realm of digital information. Uniqueness however, still stands.

I expect in a world where anything can be copied that you choose to copy, value will come from uniqueness. Designers will still be able to create new virtual crap, they'll just get limited value out of selling copies of something. The value will come from being able to create something unique. Sure the buyer could copy it however many times he/she likes, but that would diminish the value of it (since they wanted to be unique).

Re:Value is in the ability to create. (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858666)

Unlike real goods which are never copied? Doh. Anything that can be made can be copied. Anyone with a copied item, bought or stolen, just has a lame bit of crap anyway. The interesting stuff is the original. Sure someone can buy a copy of a Picaso painting but that doesn't decrease the value of the original or the creator of the original.

I once briefly looked to play SL, but it wouldn't work over dailup so I dismissed it. I've kept eye on them because it sounds interesting. I've read copies of books and played warezed games. Um my enjoyment and/or usage of the works was not reduced because I couldn't pay $20 for each book or $50 for a legit copy of game.
http://www.baen.com/library/HLMyers.htm [baen.com] "The Creatures of Man" has an interesting short story where commerce is run by a variable apprecation amount that was determined by AIs. I eat the same thing from McDonald's each time I go there and it costs $6.09. Under the apprecation scheme some days that meal could vary from $.10 to $10 depending on how much that I apprecated the meal.

After reading about the premise behind CopyBot was just to give users import/export ability so that they could backup their stuff, I was kinda of stunned that they couldn't do that it some form or fashion esp. since SL seems to cost much more real world money to play around in if you aren't running your own shop there. I'm kinda surprised that a content creator couldn't backup everything that they've created. I'm kinda neutral about SL's DRM since I don't know how it works and haven't played around in that world. I'm kinda curious that the SL doesn't have way to for your content consumers to copy/backup your sold content and if they make copies for friends or what not for each copy to automatically give you the game currency amount that it was worth unless it was a restore from backup. I'm kinda confused though. This CopyBot is supposed to be for Content Creators and not for what I'd term Content Consumers. I'd want a backup tool of some kind for the content consumers, but they shouldn't be able to clone/copy and take ownership of content. It sounds like the CopyBot is a bit flawed to me. Though they did say that in one of those lines that they were able to copy the premissions, but it was a one line comment to remove that premissions copy from the program.

Re:value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858592)

Indeed... the "businesses" that are closing are those who used to charge extortionate amounts of Lindens for simple textures, models and scripts (stuff that any half-decent coder in the real world could knock together in ten minutes). They had absolutely NO WORTH beyond minor novelty. The people who will do well in second life are those who offer services. Want something scripting/modeling to order? Want sex? And so on... alternatively, use the place like I do... as somewhere to drop in and have a bit of fun for a while. Stop taking it so fucking seriously.

These people want to profit from the minute control of every bit -- and short of Microsoft's eventual aims for Trusted Computing hardware, THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN. You simply cannot control digital information at the level they desire, because it is ultimately sent to the user. It's like someone whining because people can save pictures from their web browser. GET THE FUCK OVER IT.

The idiots screeching at Linden Labs DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS.

Tax (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856648)

Will cloned items be taxed in the future?

FP (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856672)

second life, for the people who have no life to begin with

Re:FP (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857020)

As the Register put it, Second Life is a game where: "people who have sex with dolls in real life can have sex with cartoon animals in fake life".

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858088)

It's the Gay MMORPG! Really, SL is a huge blatant Web 2.0 candy-ass con job.

Good. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856692)

If these users don't want to freely share their creations, they should shut down their "businesses". Copyright is theft. The more Second Life culture moves away from the petty obssession with commerce, the better off the game will be. People can get back to what's really important (like yiffing ;) )

copyright is not theft (5, Insightful)

tigre (178245) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857106)

Copyright (notwithstanding developments of the past 50ish years) is an agreement that a government (which SL is in this case) makes with people that they can benefit from their creations for a time in exchange for everyone eventually getting to benefit from the creation.

Commerce is not inherently petty. Commerce can motivate wonderful creations (such as SL itself). It can also motivate horrible acts.

I create some because I like it. I create more when I have financial interest in doing so.

No Not Good... (3, Interesting)

Neo_piper (798916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857404)

Wrong. Patents are theft, Copyrights are for people who want compensation for their own legitimate original creations, or at least that's how it was intended to be.
If you want to make another item identical to mine that's just fine, No Patents, but you have to do it from the ground up not just cutting and pasting, Copyright.
This could be one of the "Big Bads" that eventually kill Secondlife outright.
BTW your simple analysis that "Copyright is Theft" is more than enough to peg you as someone too immature to be yiffing anyway.

Re:No Not Good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858662)

And patents are for people who want compensation for their original ideas, for example so that the people you try to finance your idea (non-digital stuff costs money to make) don't promptly take it and sell it on their own. Just because they're horribly abused and over extended now doesn't mean the basic principle lacks merit. Copyrights have also been extended to the point of stupidity, why the fuck does stuff need to be protected for 70+ years?

If I had a clue what the hell this is about (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856714)

(And no the article does not give me a clue), I might be able to post a decent response.

information wants to be free! (1, Troll)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856720)

right?!

Nimrod Yaffle, ex-con (3, Informative)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856762)

He was sentenced to the Cornfield back in january [secretlair.com]

Is he going back to the cornfield or is perma-banned?

Re:Nimrod Yaffle, ex-con (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857112)

They sent him to the cornfield, eh?

It's a good Second Life.

I knew it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856766)

Time and again, the Republicans have tried to pass a law to make cloning illegal, once and for all. But every time, they have been blocked by Democrats and a few Republicans-in-name-only. Still worse, in November, the state of Missouri actually passed an amendment to their constitution which declares that cloning is a human right!

Now we see that all the warnings have come to pass. Thanks to a band of technologists, cloning is here. It seems their only moral rule is that 'technology cannot be stopped.' Well, we shall see about that. Cloning must be ended if society is to continue.

Damn you! How dare you steal from 2nd Lifers! (4, Informative)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856772)

Don't these people know how much work it takes to come up with a crude polygonal rendition of Lindsay Lohan making out with Christina Aguilera? They should maybe spend some time creating their own disturbing and mind-warping objects rather than stealing other peoples! And if you think I'm kidding about the mind warping bit, check out Something Awful's 'Second Life Safari', a look at well, the less savoury objects to be found around Second Life.. http://www.somethingawful.com/secondlifesafari [somethingawful.com]

Re:Damn you! How dare you steal from 2nd Lifers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858154)

I've never seen what second life looks like until I watched those videos.

WHY THE FUCK DO PEOPLE PLAY THIS?

I'd rather shoot myself than have a life so shit that I'd rather play a game like that, and having sex with virtual furries or disco dancing on a polygonised dancefloor, or that paedophile playground, wtf!

And people complain about GTA, which is a billion times more wholesome than this game appears to be. Someone show this game to Jack Thompson.

Re:Damn you! How dare you steal from 2nd Lifers! (1)

MyEyesTheyBurn (908621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858640)

stairs?

could have been avoided (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856788)

and to think about 10 lines of code could have prevented it. Game makers need to stop thinking their game is perfect and will never be hacked and put in code to prevent things that are never supposed to happen.

You don't understand (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857500)

It's not a flaw. It was made with their help!

Property Rights (5, Insightful)

Sean0michael (923458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856796)

If you've ever wondered what it would be like in a world without intellectual property, trademarks, patents, etc. then you've found it. Programs like CopyBot do not serve the community interest, and in the long term will hurt the individuals using the program. If your business' products are entirely reproducible and then sold for cheap, you cannot sustain a living in such a place. It kills innovation because there is no longer a reward for it. There is no gift culture like in OSS, no list of contributors to your code. Without reward, few will continue to produce in SL. This, ultimately, means there will be little to copy, and so those who use it will lose the advantage they have.

Of course, the more the community respects intellectual property in SL, the greater the benefits of using CopyBot. It's the Prisoners Dilemma [wikipedia.org] all over again.

Re:Property Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857208)

Intellectual property is a myth.

Re:Property Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857270)

I don't know why this is getting marked troll, other than a knee-jerk reaction from the "information wants to be free" slash-mob. This is an interesting point, and it's at least worth an interesting, well-reasoned response.

Re:Property Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857506)

If your business' products are entirely reproducible and then sold for cheap, you cannot sustain a living in such a place.

Yet Microsoft lives on. Darn.

Re:Property Rights (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857824)

I am totally ignorant about SL, so maybe someone can educate me.

If your business' products are entirely reproducible and then sold for cheap, you cannot sustain a living in such a place.

Is SL intended to sustain businesses? AFAIK you can't make a living in IRC or most computer games either, but I don't consider that to be a problem.

There is no gift culture like in OSS

Why? If the OSS world can sustain a working gift culture and SL can't, maybe we can learn from the differences and improve SL.

I pee Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858114)

"If you've ever wondered what it would be like in a world without intellectual property, trademarks, patents, etc. then you've found it."

I've pointed this out in the past and will point it out again. IP laws put IP on an equal footing with physical goods even though they're not equal. Physical goods enjoy a natural barrier to their abuse that empherical goods do not.* That artificial barrier is their to make things equal, not unequal.

*Technology makes the situation worse for both, but the consequenses are unequal.

This is kinda what is happening in China right now (4, Interesting)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858424)

I heard a report on public radio a few months back (either NPR or Marketplace - I don't have time to search through their archives for the link right now), where they said that this same kind of effect is what has stopped any recognizable brands of products to come out of China.

They have all this manufacturing power, but because of weak enforcement of IP laws, as soon as some product starts to stand out, 50 other factories will start making the exact same thing, even using the same packaging and logos (clones, just like in SL), making them undiscernible from the real thing in the eyes of the consumer. Instant dilution of brand power.

It makes sense if you think about it and compare to some other Asian countries - Japan has a ton of well-known brands, Korea has several brands that are starting to establish themselves very well, like Hyundai and Samsung, but there really isn't any established/recognizable Chinese brand of any product. I think the report went on to say that Lenovo is one of the first companies trying to break out of this pattern, but whether they will be successful is yet to be seen.

Re:This is kinda what is happening in China right (1)

JonnyCalcutta (524825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858496)

Sounds good. Maybe the rest of the world should use that as an example. Instead of one rich company you get 51 companies making a living. No-one becomes big enough to abuse the advantage. Surely that is the free market.

Re:This is kinda what is happening in China right (2, Interesting)

glebfrank (58922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858654)

Yeah, and when you buy a bottle of your favorite beer, you'll never now know if you're getting donkey piss instead. No thanks.

Re:This is kinda what is happening in China right (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858616)

Most people that rail against patents and even those that want to water down copyright, have no opposition to enforcement of trademark law.

Trademark law is a valid protection for the company and the consumer. It is effectively not even "IP", it's more like an extension of anti-fraud laws.

Re:Property Rights (2, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858462)

Without reward, few will continue to produce in SL. This, ultimately, means there will be little to copy, and so those who use it will lose the advantage they have.

You can't be serious?

1. There is a demand for custom avatars and people will pay on commission.
2. A great deal of these "works" are actually infringing on real life trade marks and various real world intellectual property as it is.

If you hang out at various hot spots, you may see anything from famous people copycats, to Smurfs, to replicas of various Anime characters.

Innovation will happen in SL much like it did during the Feudal days of Leonardo and Michelangelo where people wrote books on commission and did works of art and science for their patrons.

We appeared to do well enough without copyrights for the majority of human history.

Re:Property Rights (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858556)

You've contradicted yourself by linking to Wikipedia. What is the benefit to Wikipedia contributors, editors, fact checkers, and proofreaders? These people have donated their time and expertise for the greater good, never expecting any sort of compensation, and the project is flourishing. Furthermore, material copied from Wikipedia and duplicated elsewhere only strengthens the usefulness of the content.

Binary can be duplicated. If something is valuable due to its uniqueness don't put it in binary. Anyone selling something that can be digitally duplicated should plan for their business model's demise from day 1.

Big business (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856798)

Silly individuals, didn't anyone tell you that since big corporations were the ones who pushed the DCMA provisions through congress that they can only be used to defend those big corporations? Equal protection under the law is _so_ 20th (or perhaps 19th) century!

No need to RTFA... (2, Informative)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856800)

... when the quote in the summary is 3/4s of the article. Wouldn't it be nice if there was some more meat there to actually expand upon the summary? Maybe give us an idea how many shops closed? Perhaps even get the letters in the acronym "DMCA" in the right order? I usually support the idea that bloggers should be extended the same protections as print journalists, but then I see posts like this...

Re:No need to RTFA... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857174)

You mean the summary is a modified clone of the article?

Second Life in Education (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856850)

Second Life has been getting positive press in the EDU sector [edu-nix.org] . Hope this doesn't have a chilling effect.

The world's smallest violin is playing for them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16856892)

Who gives a rat's ass. The graphics are almost on par with Atari 7800, and the people are more moronic with no lives than the chinese gold farmers in WoW.

Get a real 2nd life, get out and enjoy nature.

Details (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16856950)

TFA is seriously lacking in details, so I went to the google, which kicked up a few links to blogs http://sr.wordpress.com/tag/secondlife/ [wordpress.com]

One [wordpress.com] & Two [wordpress.com] ,
etc

Basically, this CopyBot program was created with the aid/knowledge/acceptance of the Linden Labs folks.

Here's some discussion straight from Linden Labs [secondlife.com] or you can read what the CopyBot creators have to say http://www.libsecondlife.org/ [libsecondlife.org]

Summary: "if it's this easy, we should tell people that relying on the Second Life systems to protect content is not feasible any longer."

Re:Details (1)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857484)

Also covered by CNet [com.com]

Re:Details (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857816)

So LL said "if we catch you using Copybot we'll cancel your account [secondlife.com] " and you took that to mean "acceptance"?

Frankly, these sorts of things have been around forever in SL, but Copybot was the first to gain a lot of notoriety. If people are closing their shops now (I doubt this is more than a small handful of vocal protesters) then they're just late on the train. Ultimately your client needs to be able to display the data, and the client is in the hands of the users, so as LL rightly pointed out, no technical means will ever make your creations 100% secure. If you can't handle the thought of that, then not only should you step out of Second Life, but you should probably step out of your Real Life, since that also holds true there as well.

Being able to report someone for using a Copybot and having his account suspended is probably the best solution to this problem. You'll just have to accept that a few people may slip through the cracks, but given that SL is a largely lawless society anyway I'm not sure why you'd expect strict enforcement on this one thing.

An important moment in history (5, Insightful)

Unoti (731964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857008)

I'm a developer of scripted animals in SL, the number 1 developer, depending on how you count such things. I clear a a few hundred dollars profit every month after paying for my property. This copybot thing hasn't hit me too hard directly because the copybot doesn't copy scripts, only models. But it is hitting me hard in the sense that most of the content creators in SL are closing shop, which closes down the whole world as we knew it.

I get the sense that this will be remembered as an important battle in open vs. closed development models.

We have content creators that were thriving because of DRM-- the content creators wouldn't have put the same kind of time and effort into their creations if they couldn't be protected. And we have all that business coming to an abrupt close because of open source development.

I'm not saying open source is bad, or that DRM is good. I'm just saying that this is bringing to forefront the fact that people are going to need to change in the future how they think about work and ownership.

Industrial Revolution (2, Insightful)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857532)

This sounds to me like the equivalent of hand-crafted piecework being replaced by mass production. If I understand you correctly, creators of content-for-pay are closing up shop, but there's still no shortage of content, because the bots are building stuff. And, just to carry on with my devil's advocacy, the "time and effort" (implying quality) complaint further enhances the idea that this is the craftsman's complaint against the factory.

If the analogy applies, then macroeconomically speaking, this is good -- now SLers can have in-game content and their money too, instead of having to choose one or the other, having been liberated from this choice by open-source development.

I'm not so sure this requires a new way to think about work and ownership, although it may require content creators to think of new ways to get at the money. You'll have to invent a new shiny to get it from them.

Re:Industrial Revolution (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857718)

It sounds to me that the mass producers are putting the designers out of business, so the "new" content is just more of the same.

Re:Industrial Revolution (1)

Unoti (731964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857742)

but there's still no shortage of content, because the bots are building stuff.

Actually that's not exactly what the situation is. One of the biggest industries in SL was clothing. People were buying new outfits all the time, and there was a thriving fashion industry. Most of the people making new clothes are stopping because of all the turmoil and rampant copying. Sure, there's no shortage of clothes. But there will be far fewer people making new and interesting clothes.

Re:Industrial Revolution (3, Informative)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858370)

It sounds to me like you are a moron with no clue what you are talking about.

This isn't mass prodution versus custom creation. It is buying CDs versus DLing them for free on Napster.

The original artist can create an unlimited number of his product in a very short time and sell them. Until now they came with DRM - so he could invest the time in making the first one and then profit by selling the clones that only he could make.

Now, since anyone can clone anything, he has no reason to continue to invest the effort designing them.

It works EXACTLY like DRM and breaking DRM. Not at all the way you try to describe it. Not at all.

Re:Industrial Revolution (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858402)

except that it was never difficult to copy/clone their models to begin with... all digital remember... so why would anyone go to the effort of making anything new (excepting personal joy in doing so) if everyone can have one just like it instantly.

Also what's the point of in-game money if not to buy in-game stuff from in-game shops??

Re:Industrial Revolution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858544)

If the analogy applies

But it doesn't. You're talking man versus a machine which can do his job. This situation is about the creators leaving, not the manual laborers. In the real world, profit is made by volume of sales, everyone wants an iPod. In this game, the driving force is uniqueness, so if there are no longer creators, then the economy dwindles.

Re:An important moment in history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857628)

Firstly: It's not a matter of copyright or licensing or DMCA - the problem (I think) is that Linden effectively promised content creators that they'd retain the IP rights on stuff they sold and to be protected from people copying their virtual items. Copybot breaks that trust and I think Linden should work hard to prevent it (or anything similar) from working in the future.

You can argue that this right should never have existed in the first place - but given that it did - and people expended time and money to establish a business model within it - it needs to be fixed.

Secondly: Second life isn't like the real world in one very important respect: You don't have to live in it if you don't want to - you can (in principle) make a virtual world with a different set of rules if you don't like these rules. The real world needs laws because "going someplace else if you don't like it" is not a particularly viable option. Within virtual worlds, I don't see why the owner of the world can't make up whatever rules they like - and they don't have to conform with the rules in the real world at all. But similarly, denizens of those worlds shouldn't expect to have the rights they have in the real world. The right not to be assaulted or killed or to have things stolen from you, for example, would be a law we wouldn't want to have in most virtual worlds. There is no reason to assume that copyright or patents or any analog of them should have to exist either. But in this case (I believe) Linden set out rules and copybots are a violation of those rules - and Linden should police them rather than trying to get the real world to clean up the unholy mess they create.

Re:An important moment in history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857710)

Oh no, artificial scarcity loses again. I suppose that's what happens when losers play video games to sell crap. Oh if it wasn't for DRM your 3D MOO could never exist1111

Really sad to hear (1)

^Z (86325) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857770)

How sad it is to learn that people don't enjoy things becase they have these things; they value them because others don't have them.

Re:An important moment in history (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858232)

Why are you calling the use of this Copybot "Open Source"???

Open Source is not stealing another person's creation, it's choosing a license that frees YOUR creation. Your post sounds like a very subtle troll, unfortunately...

An important moment in work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858268)

The principle of benefitting from the fruits of ones efforts is older than commerce itself.* The only wrench that technology throws into the works is the ease that it allows one party to abuse another. Work and ownership doesn't need to be rethought, but the ease in which one party can abuse another should be.

*Keeping in mind that a benefit can take many forms.

Re:An important moment in history (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858638)

Actually, all it shows is the inherent flaws in the whole DRM system to begin with. The simple fact is, no matter how hard you try, no matter what method you use, the only way you will make sure no one can mimic your idea is if you keep it to yourself. If your idea is of any real value and you use it in public, eventually someone will copy it. Whether it's "legal" or not won't stop it from happening. How your post got modded "insightful" is beyond me... you show a pretty hefty lack of insight.

This will be a major turning point for our society (5, Insightful)

CokeBear (16811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857070)

I don't think people are quite grasping the significance of this.
What will happen when we have replicators (like the ones on Star Trek) that allow us to replicate everything in the real world quickly and easily? (not just music)

Think about it... the end of scarcity. A fundamental shift in the nature of the world economy. I'm not sure where it leads, but life sure gets interesting right around then...

Re:This will be a major turning point for our soci (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858680)

The interesting part is that it's partial scarsity. Some things have almost zero value, while everything else retains its normal value. Imaging what would happen if, say, a precious resource taking a great deal of effort to produce - say cotton - could suddenly be created with 1/100 the labor? Nobody would make cotton, right? Or would those people with the tools to make it cheaply produce it for everyone else, at commodity prices? In some ways, the cotton gin did this. The cotton market did not collapse, it merely evolved. Any modern widget might be the same way.

When reproduction costs are near zero, the number of different bulk items goes down because the return only justifies a certain smaller intellectual effort/cost. What happens then is a new industry springs up - offering higher priced "custom" items - ones which are specifically tailered to meet the original buyer's requirements. Software and music are two examples of this happening, and OSS is probably the best comparison. Anyone can copy the generic application for free, but if you pay to have a particular application created which exactly matches the needs of your business, you pay the entire cost of development. Customization is the new value.

Re:This will be a major turning point for our soci (3, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858698)

"not just music". I don;t think you need to point that. What happened with Music is exactly it. In Star Trek, the invention of replicators set the world in a kind of golden age, where people work only for self fulfilment ('m not the ultimate trekkie, but i'm pretty sure its how they put it).

In the real world, everytime something gets copied easily, all hell breaks loose. Music, games, videos, books... Someday, it will be real objects, and if the world doesn't change (hahaha, world, change? ROFL), there will be equivalents of DMCA and entities like the RIAA to bitch and complain, instead of embracing this as a way to throw society in a world where money doesn't matter anymore... It is kind of sad, and i'm glad i'll be dead before it happens.

And I'm not putting any kids in that world, either.

Second Life was Hype (0, Offtopic)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857118)

I tried Second Life for about 15 minutes, and then realised exactly how boring it was.

The interface was more complicated than most MMORPGs, and there wasn't anything interesting.

Re:Second Life was Hype (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857884)

Try out the building system. That's the real meat to SL IMHO. Think of it not as a game, but more as a toy. There will be no rats to smite with your +1 Stick of Noobness when you first start out, but you will be able to head on over to a friendly neighborhood sand box and build weird stuff.

Caveat: If you were the kind of kid who thought Legos were dumb and boring as a kid, uninstall your SL client now.
Caveat 2: Unless you're into polygon sex

Re:Second Life was Hype (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858580)

It's a game for non gamers.

I hated it too because I couldn't find anything to kill in the first 30 seconds.

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot (5, Insightful)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857436)

So say everything can be cloned. What do you barter for? It would have to be services, experience, wisdom. How do you reward these things then? It's hard to imagine a world without trade of physical items (money, good, etc). The "price" for doing things would be just cost of labor, as parts are free. But then you need to put a value on services, education, knowledge.

"I'll fix your roof if you fix install my dishwasher."
"I'll do research on fuel cell membranes if you build the rest of the car..."

Head...hurts...

Re:Tea, Earl Grey, Hot (1)

Marsmensch (870400) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858262)

Yeah... you wouldn't be able to pay for my services with your own services most of the time... but maybe your wife/girlfriend and I can work something out...

a cloned economy (1)

boarder (41071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858512)

To clone something in the real world requires energy. This energy can be sold. The people who own the means for energy production will essentially set the cost of items in that society.

If you are an inventor, you will sell your creation to the energy company who bets on how many people will pay for the energy required to clone your creation.

This is a far fetched thought experiment that is entirely unworkable, but if we ever make some kind of transporter/cloning machine we're going to run into a drastic shift in our economy.

Businesses Shut Down? (0)

sottitron (923868) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857574)

So what does this look like in Second Life? I mean, could it be that 2 or 3 people have logged off yesterday after this happened and not logged back in yet and you could say that those businesses have shut down??

Just merge with Vice City... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857608)

...I'd actually go into Second Life once more if I could stage some massive heist. Nothing would be finer than blowing away some nerds' avatars and leaving with a fist full of Linden Dollars. Virtual Hookers, here I come!

Linden Blog, update: (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16857720)

Use of CopyBot and Similar Tools a ToS Violation
Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 at 3:47 pm by corylinden
Tags : none

Second Life needs features to provide more information about assets and the results of copying them. Unfortunately, these are not yet in place. Until they are, the use of CopyBot or any other external application to make unauthorized duplicates within Second Life will be treated as a violation of Section 4.2 of the Second Life Terms of Service and may result in your account(s) being banned from Second Life. If you feel that someone has used CopyBot to make an infringing copy of your content, please file an abuse report. Note that this is completely separate from any copyright infringement claim you may wish to pursue via the DMCA.

Like the World Wide Web, it will never be possible to prevent data that is drawn on your screen from being copied. While Linden Lab could get into an arms race with residents in an attempt to stop this copying, those attempts would surely fail and could harm legitimate projects within Second Life.

There are features to allow Second Life residents more choices about how they respond to potential infringement beyond the DMCA. Specifically, we will add data to allow residents to compare asset creators and creation time; incorporate Creative Commons licenses so creators have the option to create content that allows free copying, modification, and exchange without having to utilize outside applications; expand ban lists and reputation so residents can share information about those who abuse copyright; and, publish additional statistics on the website so creators can make rational decisions about the health and strength of Second Life's economy.

These are important features because the implications of copying should not be about Linden Lab's approach to copyright enforcement. We are not in the copyright enforcement business. The communities within Second Life should have the tools and the freedoms to decide how and when they deal with potentially infringing content. Many will decide on less restrictive regimes in order to maximize innovation and creativity. Others will choose more restrictive options and ban visitors who do not respect them. Consumers, creators, and all residents need to have the final say about which approaches work best for them.

Please recognize that using the Terms of Service is not a permanent solution. Nor is it shift in Linden Lab's support of libsecondlife (who have removed CopyBot from their Subversion repository), machinima creators, or others who have explored Second Life beyond the features of the Second Life client. I continue to feel that libsecondlife is an incredibly important part of Second Life's development and community.

I do not extend those feelings to residents attempting to profit off of infringing use of CopyBot.

To the community, I am very sorry that we have not already completed the features needed for you to address these concerns yourself. We are working very hard to complete them and will release them as soon as they are ready. In terms of prioritization and scheduling, additional asset data will be deployed in Q1 2007. Adding in support for CC and expanding the ban lists will be deployed 3 to 6 months later. Until then, as described in the first paragraph, use of CopyBot or similar tools to create infringing copies within Second Life will be treated as a violation of the Terms of Service.

http://blog.secondlife.com/ [secondlife.com]

Coroborration? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857756)

When I click on the link in the summary, all I get is a short blog post with hardly any more detail or description. Do we have any other details or coroborration? These are some pretty bold claims which need coroborration.

RIAA member businesses close due to cloning (5, Insightful)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16857774)

Some Shmuck is reporting that many musicians are closing up shop due to the recent explosion of a technology called "file copying", designed to copy other people's files. From the article:
"The night before last, I was looking around a music store, where people buy and sell music, when an argument broke out; a person going by the name Average Joe was copying tracks of musician's CDs, and claiming he could freely do it because he'd been playing with the copy command produced by the maker of his operating system. All hell broke loose, in the sort of drama you can only find in music stores. The RIAA's first official response? If you feel your IP has been compromised by "the copy command", we'll file a lawsuit against the copier and not give you any of the profits from the suit. Musicians started committing suicide moments later."


Seriously... think about it. Music won't stop being created in the real world just because people can copy things. And objects won't stop being created in Second Life just because people can copy them. All it means is that one thing that used to be a valuable service to people (creating copies of things) is no longer valuable because people can do it themselves.

The other thing (creating new content, or unique content (such as live performances)) is still of value, and always will be, as it will never be the case that all people are equally able to be competent creators or artists. Change your business model. Instead of selling copies of your thing, sell your creative services under contract. It's a model where people hire you to create something new that has never existed before, rather than paying you for a copy of something that already exists elsewhere.

This could actually be the best thing that ever happened to Second Life, because it can result in a more innovative and open "society" and a fairer "economy", and serve as an example for the real world.

Work for the glory, only? (3, Interesting)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858352)

Okay, so I've just paid to have some unique content created for me and someone comes along with a copy tool and duplicates it and gives it to all their friends, and puts it in a freebie store for everyone to share. I've paid for something that exists elsewhere, same as before, but I've paid (say) $50 instead of $1. This is progress?

People who are not creative undervalue creativity. This is not surprising.

I've created content for Second Life. Despite the trivializing that comes from the "information wants to be free" crowd I will say with firsthand experience that it's a lot of work. Linden Labs' business model explicitly (as in, from the horse's mouth, in writing, in its mission statement) relies on the hard work of people creating content for them. They've now changed the terms of how this work will be compensated. It's now for glory only, and that will draw a different crowd. Certainly nothing wrong with that motivation or that crowd, but frankly, as evidenced by the quality of freebies available compared to for-pay items, the game will suffer.

On Second Thought (1)

amyhughes (569088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858548)

On Second Thought, there isn't even glory in it, anymore. Since the bot puts its own name on the copied object the creator doesn't even get credit for making the thing. As in-game others have pointed out, the creator may even be accused of re-selling freebies (it happens in the game).

What if this happened in the real world? (1)

Anonymous Howard (18288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858042)

The book "A for Anything" by Damon Knight jumps immediately to mind. The book centers around a real device that could duplicate anything. Is it the end of world hunger and need - or an evil machine bent on the destruction of our way of life, one that must be destroyed immediately?

Re:What if this happened in the real world? (1)

Net_fiend (811742) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858304)

Gee. See movies much? This exact device was in The Prestige. Matter of fact a character portraying Tesla creates the device. Its very interesting and brings around a dark twist to the movie.

mod 04 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858282)

brilliant plan already aware, *BSD A losing battle; End, we need you

Lay off the crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16858502)

"a thing going by the name Nimrod Yaffle was cloning things out of other people's inventories"

Replicators! (1)

payndz (589033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16858674)

So we get to see in a virtual world what would happen if replicator technology appeared in the real world (and *wasn't* laden with mandatory copy-protection). The capitalist economy based on supply and demand of limited resources, controlled through financial transactions, is destroyed almost immediately. Cool!

I guess the difference is that, unlike real life, in SL land can be added infinitely just by adding a new server. Not even replicators could give everyone their own luxury home on a private tropical island.

(Something this apparently does expose is the number of people in SL creating objects solely for money as opposed to those who do it for the sheer pleasure of making something they want to share with others...)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?