You probably know that in the Open source world of OpenSim they have a thing called Hypergrid. The basic idea is one can live in a grid and visit other OpenSim grids. The really neat thing is your avatar and it’s stuff go with you. So, if I put on my red dress in OSGrid and go to Kitely I look the same in both grids. My dress, skin, etc. came with me to the other grid.
IBM and Linden Lab were cooperating on building the Hypergrid. The problem was they could not find a way to protect Intellectual Property Rights. So, they gave up. As much as novices think: there must be a way, there isn’t. After 25+ years the movie and music industry have not been able to find a way to protect digital content from theft. They have spen millions trying to figure out a protection scheme. They have failed.
As long as people are free to use their computers as they choose, they will be able to copy digital content. The trend is to build in components that restrict our use of our devices. Chips in TV’s and video recorders prevent our recording of movies. Operating systems in our tablets and phones prevent our locking out the service providers snooping. Expect that trend to spread to our computers.
So, the opening of the Hypergrid markets is an interesting phenomena. Hypergrid Business’s Maria Korolov wrote about the new business in: Kitely Market now delivers to the Hypergrid. The Kitely version of the SL Market is open to Hypergrid customers and will deliver to a number of grids.
Maria points out a problem: “The permissions were set correctly as well — specifically, no transfer.[She is speaking of a purchase delivered to her in OSGrid] Yes, if I was criminally inclined, I could take this to a region I owned where I could give myself God powers, then reset all the permissions and do anything I wanted with that item. However, I’m not criminally inclined — which is why I prefer to buy the item legally. And if I was, I wouldn’t have bothered to pay for it in the first place. From what I hear, the pirates go directly to Second Life and copybot whatever they want without paying a cent.”
This is the underlying problem that likely contributing Linden Lab to drop the project. There are some things that are hard to copybot, not impossible just hard. But, if you have a region, like I do, that runs on my computer then I can bring anything into my region which places it where I have GOD control over it. I just need to change a simple setting in a user panel, way easier even than copyboting. Or at least easier than copyboting was when I last looked at how it works.
Maria points out the copyboting in Second Life. She skips over the OpenSim problem.
There is almost no copyboting in OpenSim grids. There is a reasons for that. A large amount of the stuff there has been stolen from SL and is often free in OpenSim grids. Plus one does need to go to the trouble to copybot when they can take something to their home grid and just change the permissions. Theft is easy in the Hypergrid.
So, while one now has an opportunity to sell into the Hypergrid market, do you really want to do that? How many will? We don’t know.
My thinking is that if I create and sell a product in SL I can use DCMA to protect it. That is a time consuming thing to do. But, in the Hypergrid the time and complexity of filing DMCA complaints multiplies as the complaints have to be served to multiple grid owners. I see it as being much more time consuming and far less productive.
Hypergrid owners tend to be rebels and often anti-SL or Linden Lab. Attend any OpenSim meeting and you will likely hear anti-LL/SL comments before the meeting is over. I believe getting the cooperation of a grid owner is really dependent on who they are and how they see the virtual worlds and IP rights. Much of their attitude is shaped by their RL politics. If they disagree with any of that DMCA stuff, your only recourse is going farther in court and that may be an international or foreign court with ideological biases against the free market. Expensive and possibly uphill.
We have enough problems controlling our content in Second Life. The incentive is to steal and sell in SL, because that is where the money is. But, there are real dangers in doing that. The dangers can reach out and touch a person in RL.
If a thief can steal in SL and sell in Hypergrid, I see that increasing the incentives without increasing the dangers. Possibly the dangers are even reduced.
For OpenSim grids to grow they need a market and some way to handle valuable content. That will give content creators a way to profit from their work, which to some measure the profits fuel the grid. Kitely is taking a necessary step.
Whether this is a good step, I don’t know. But, I do believe it is necessary. The paradigm of how to protect our stuff, rights, and profits is going to change or the methods small business people use to protect them have to change. Change only seems to happen when enough people share the same pain.
Of course if people did not take advantage of systems for their personal gain it would be much easier and supposedly nicer. But, thousands of years of human history firmly show that is not in everyone’s nature. So, we have to figure out how to deal with those anti-social people that always seem to be with us.
While I hope Kitely does well with their market, I will be on the sidelines watching to see how it goes.