OpenSim News: Hypergrid Market 2014-12

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.

OpenSim - OSGrid - By:  Linux-Screenshots, Flickr

OpenSim – OSGrid – By: Linux-Screenshots, Flickr

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.

28 thoughts on “OpenSim News: Hypergrid Market 2014-12

  1. Dear Nal,
    I think it is unfair to blame Hypergrid owners (whatever that may be) of being rebels. And to be honest on quite a lot of meetings in SL, Blogs and Forums you’ll get to hear critic remarks regarding LL – so that can not be an argument against OpenSimulator. I am really fond of the constructive approach Heart botanicals has taken: instead of grumbling over the stolen content they just sell it now. And quite some people are now able to legally purchase it – and they seem to do. So while there surely will remain some stolen things a lot of them will be replaced by legally obtained items. And I don’t think it is much different from the way it is in SL. There is a lot of ripped content in SL too. Give the people a means to legally obtain the things they want and most will buy it instead of ripping it.
    Regards

    • I don’t disagree with your points.

      Trying to be fair is something I consider pointless in most cases. I do believe in being accurate and I think my statements are. I also do not hear the slams about OpenSim worlds in SL places that I hear in similar paces from the OpenSim crowd making about LL.

      I think the market in Kitely for the Hypergrid will advance things. I also think it will be painful.

      You may be right that people in the OpenSim grids will prefer legitimate stuff and purchase it. I suspect many will. However, like SL most will never know what is or isn’t stolen merchandise being sold by the thief.

      The OpenSim world is going to complicate things for creators finding thieves selling their products. I am skeptical that the abuse will be reduced in any way by a market in Hypergrid. I expect to see theft & IP abuse increase. I do think the introduction of the market will advance OpenSim and drive demand for better IP protection. But that really depends on how many people are willing to sell via the Kitely market and whether they can prosper in free but what is likely to be a pirate ridden market. Time will tell whether Kitely can do a better job than LL at policing the market and protecting IP. But, I seriously doubt they have the income and personnel to keep up with the pirates.

  2. Wow!

    Trying to be fair is something I consider pointless in most cases. I do believe in being accurate and I think my statements are.

    I respectfully disagree…

    • The idea of fair is used by political propagandists as it is easily used to divide people as few agree to what is fair in any given scenario. It is far more just and equitable to be accurate and intellectually honest.

  3. Nalates —

    I agree with you that the DMCA issue is a big one in OpenSim. But the Kitely Market actually helps with this problem.

    Right now, if you want to take down infringing content, you have to contact all the grid owners where the content exists individually. (I haven’t heard of any grid owners refusing to take content down — they’re run on a shoestring, and the last thing any startup wants is a lawsuit to deal with! And you never know which content creator has a lawyer in the family.) But it’s a pain, and you have to find the infringing content in the first place — and some grids have hundreds of different stores and malls! You could spend you life just wandering around seeing if your stuff is on sale anywhere.

    With the Kitely Market, you just have to go to one place to check.

    Now, sure, all those stores on all the grids aren’t going to disappear overnight. But the marginal ones will, since their customers will switch to online shopping. So the more successful the Kitely Market gets, the better for creators.

    You see this happening already with pirated movies — Netflix, a legal distribution channel, now accounts for the bulk of Internet use around the world. iTunes has done the same for music.

    Sure, pirates are still pirating. If anything, iTunes and Amazon, by switching to a DMR-free model, have made piracy easier. But piracy was already pretty easy — the hard part was finding affordable, convenient and legal content!

    In order to be successful with digital sales, content creators and merchants need to let go of the idea that they can control what the users do with the content, and focus on making the legal channels as full of stuff as possible, and as convenient as possible.

    • Rational response and I mostly agree. The challenge is in how developers see the issues and how pirates find ways to exploit the system.

      While Kitely may be willing to pull things from the MP, that just creates a channel for abuse. Pirate, DCMA legit competition, ties things up as long as possible, and sell as much as possible before repeating. We see this in SL. I don’t know that Kitely has the staff to devote fighting such abuse.

  4. I have to chime in here and point out something. The concept of Export Permissions was forwarded a couple of years ago to the OpenSimulator & Secondlife developers / communities. The purpose was to develop the required mechanisms for creators to have better, fined grained options & controls for product distribution. The initial reactions from LL, Firestorm and the other TPV’s was almost shocking, with many claims of \impossible, will never work, too much effort, no one will do it\ and worse. I worked with the Aurora-Sim (fork of OpenSim) developers and with imprudence developer Armin Weatherwax who incorporated into a prototype viewer… IT WORKED !

    After further delays and much resistance, the folks at Kitely decided to look at implementing such on their branch of OpenSim and to incorporate such into their current Kitely Marketplace. During that same timeframe, Melanie Thielker of Avination & OpenSim core dev was incorporating similar controls with the cooperation of Siana Gears / Singularity viewer.

    The Export Flag and it’s current variants on implementation still have to be \shaken down\ and tightened up somewhat but this is the correct & appropriate approach that should have been adopted a long time ago. Had it not been for the closed mindedness of some and the utter resistance to address the issue by implementing & refining a solution the entire Metaverse Community would have greatly benefitted. One should appreciate & support such an initiative being brought into the community and give appropriate props to those making it happen. As for Linden Labs position and intention one can only postulate but failing to address the issues of creators / developers is a failing on their part, resulting in greater animosity and even hostility much to the detriment of expanding the technology.

    For OpenSim you can see it here but it was brought up @ LL and with viewer devs previously: http://opensimulator.org/mantis/view.php?id=5892 I cannot locate the old LL Jira from way back when.

    On a final note, I would point out that anything that becomes visible on-screen in any world / game etc, be it SL, WoW or whatever, can be scraped with the appropriate OpenGL tools and other capture utilities. The only \secure\ computer / data, is that which is either never turned on, or plugged into any network.

    • PS: Cool VL Viewer, Singularity, Kokua, Firestorm OS now support the Export Perm flag along with Copy, Mod, Trans.

    • I am left wondering how you define WORKED.

      I think many of us believe that the effort required to add Export Permissions isn’t balanced by the return. I doubt anyone thought Export Permissions could not be technically implemented and become functional. But whether those permissions could accomplish their purpose or not was the question. If it does not accomplish the goal, does it really work?

      As you point out, anything I can display on my computer can be copied. My point is such copying in OpenSim is easy because of the ability to access and change both sides of the system, server and client (viewer).

  5. Hi Nalates,

    Kitely Market has a 45 day withholding period on sales revenue before it can be withdrawn. This makes it very easy for content creators to periodically view the newest items in the relevant categories and quickly report thieves who try to sell their content. If it’s a well known merchant then other people in the marketplace will likely notify them of this attempted fraud even without this periodic policing. Once the attempt is detected the money won’t be released to the thief and may even be transfered to the proper content creator.

    This high likelihood of being caught and not profiting form the sale makes Kitely Market an unattractive option for trying to sell stolen content. This in turn makes our marketplace into somewhere people can get content which has a high assurance of being legitimately sold by the content creator and not a thief. The result is that people who want to acquire legally licensed content will, over time, learn to head towards Kitely Market and not buy inworld in places which they aren’t sure are being run by the true content creators.

    As for content creators they have two options if there is demand for their goods in hypergrid-enabled grids. They can either avoid selling to these places and ensure that the only places people will get their content is either from copybotters or by copybotting the content themselves from the closed grids where it is sold. Or the content creators can decide to sell to the hypergrid in reputable marketplaces such as Kitely Market and get paid from some of the people who would use their content in the hypergrid.

    It’s like iTunes, it’s very easy to find mp3 files of any song you like on illegal sites but a lot of people buy music from a store they know is legit. The music industry even started selling their songs without copy protection once they understood that those that want to steal will do so regardless of the protections and those that want to buy don’t need the protections to prevent them from stealing.

    If I had to summarize I’d recommend merchants focus on increasing their sales instead of trying to minimize theft. You can’t sell to a thief that has no problem taking your content without permission, but you can make money from honest people if you give them the option to pay you. Kitely Market is that option in the hypergrid-connected OpenSim metaverse.

    • Thanks for the information you provided. This is information I had not come across. I suspect many of the merchants in SL have not heard it either.

      I find the 45-day hold interesting and reassuring. If that information is well disseminated we may see more merchants willing to try the new markets in OpenSim.

      I think your iTunes comparison is valid. I am not sure the profit and loss to theft ratios will be the same. Time will tell. But, your information and points does make it sound more appealing.

  6. I have to respectfully disagree. Anti LL sentiment is held by both people in and outside of Second Life. And as a result you hear it in both places. For whatever reason people complain about open sim people being anti SL as though 1. People in opensim didn’t start off as SL residents and 2. People still in SL also complain incessantly about the same things that opensim people complain about vis a vis Second Life.

    Meanwhile there’s a lot of people who go out of their way to bash open sim every time there’s an article written about it. The difference is that open sim people don’t really have to go to Second Life to complain about Second Life or Linden Lab. People in Second Life do plenty of that on their own without prompting. Meanwhile those with an anti opensim bent take their pleasure out of trolling places where open sims are discussed. Something I have not seen open sim people do at all.

    I also wouldn’t say that open sim people are anti SL. There are things that I do not like about SL for which opensim grids are more suitable for me (especially where it comes to building) and I do those things there.

    As to the security, it seems to me that you’r holding open sims to a higer standard than you’re holding SL. If the goal is to stop theft entirely I don’t see that as remotely reasonable. No one has managed to stop it. The point is to make it easier for people who want legitimate content to obtain it. Most people will buy rather than steal and those who will steal do so anyway. The copybotters are selling their stolen items in SL both inworld and in the SL marketplace. But I don’t see anyone saying that having a market in SL is a bad idea.

    And lastly, about the hypergrid and security, given that LL hasn’t exactly made SL entirely secure it seems to me a tad self serving on the part of the PR people to say that LL stopped work on the hypergrid because they couldn’t keep things secure. It seems more likely that they didn’t continue work because they saw the potential of other grids cutting into their profits because as we all know a monopoly can make more money offering fewer services than it can when there is competition.

    • You are welcome to disagree. Your points are well taken and reasonably accurate. So, I approved the comment for posting.

      But, my experience is the proportion of attitudes and visceral responses are not equal, OpenSim vs SL. I do not see the hate for OpenSim that I see for LL/SL. Nor do I see people with negative attitudes for OpenSim gravitating to SL. May be they are hidden in the crowd. I do see a mind set that is prominent in OpenSim grids that feeds on itself and grows.

      In SL I do see people fighting the hate. The tolerant are a majority. I see it being the otherway around in OpenSim. That is my personal experience. While it may not be completely or precisely accurate, it is my first hand experience.

  7. Actually, your article is fairly typical of the kind of attacks Opensim has suffered for years from SL folks who seem to have a phobia about freedom and prefer to pay a premium to feel safe in the comforting illusion that Linden Lab can give content protection – there are products on SL MP which have been copybotted in SL and even taken from Opensim grids! You claim Opensim folks do all the attacking but you will find plenty of attacks on SLU against Opensim and in the comments on Hypergrid business articles as well as SL blogs and also in Second Life forums pretty much any time Opensim is mentioned. Not just that but SL residents are perfectly capable of attacking Linden lab themselves and, in my experience, attacks that appear to come from Opensim residents are often enough just echo’s of the current outrage at issues like the LL TOS business since so many Opensim residents remain Second Life residents as well. Now I don’t suppose you figured that either.

    But worse still your article fails to mention Kitely’s export permission whereby it is up to the merchant to decide if they want their products to be available on other grids. As for avatar appearance while Hypergrid teleporting that appearance is drawn from the home grid and not available on to be copied at the visited grid.

    Sadly, I think your article is just scare mongering out of fear the free Metaverse is catching up with Second Life and posing a growing threat to its market dominance. However, that is not how more enlightened folks see it. There is growing cross grid cooperation between residents in Second Life and Opensim grids in the arts, role play and other entertainment events. Opensim creators make a lot of free content which is shared in second Life as well as Opensim.

    It really would be nice to read articles that preach good will and promote an open market especially as no grid can ever hope to guarantee absolute content protection. Money is not the be all and end all in virtual worlds you know.

    • I disagree. Export permissions only address a small portion of the problems and their effectiveness is at question.

      While my article does throw a negative light on OpenSim and the Kitely market, characterizing the article doesn’t address the points it makes.

      Preach… I suppose you think pushing propaganda to promote what you want seems like a way to a better world. Its sort of an ‘if people would just do what I want and BE POSITIVE all would be well’ type thing. History shows that doesn’t work. Practical people know we address the problems and peoples fears as Ilan Tochner did in another comment. I think his comment addressing points and providing information will do more to change people’s minds than your trying to simply discount my article.

      Telling people what they should do is common. I think it generally shows a lack of understanding human nature and how the world works.

      Ilan believes people would be better off building sales than focusing on preventing theft. His iTunes example is good. Solid math and actual examples of what people are doing in virtual world markets would have been better. It will be a time before we have that information.

      As it is we are left with mostly opinions. Merchants will make their decisions based how they see things. They need both sides of the stories. I’ve seen lots of coverage promoting the Kitely market. But, it does have problems. As yet we only know they are there. We do not have good data to place them in perspective. Until we do merchants will decide based on their personal experiences and similar SL problems.

      • If anyone is pushing propaganda here it certainly isn’t me and anyone reading your article with an open mind can see where your loyalties lie. But it’s your blog and you’re free to misinform, color the facts when you use any and, of course, have the last word.

        • At least you are consistent.

          People that cannot debate the facts attack the messenger, which you once again try.

          People that are informed learn about propaganda, the tactics of propagandists and politicians, and what what intellectually honest debate sounds like. Maybe you could try for a clue.

    • Talla Adams shows exactly what Nalates has addressed in her article. There are countless OpenSim blogs that constantly try to discredit Second Life. But if only one well-known SL blog writes something negative about OpenSim, then the propaganda machinery is immediately fired up and they try to twist the facts.

      In my opinion OpenSim has such a small number of active users, not because the technology is bad, but because their self-appointed spokesmen act as a deterrent with hate-filled polemics.

      • Well, that is the point I was making in a less direct way. I guess I can mark you down as not being concerned about being PC. 🙂

  8. Kitely Market opened just last September, it doesn’t sell to the SL grid, and we’ve yet to advertise it in sites that interest most SL content creators. It is therefore very likely that only a few SL merchants are fully aware of how Kitely Market works.

    You can see a presentation I gave about Kitely Market in the OpenSim Community Conference last year. I start discussing money and how Kitely Market addresses the various concerns people have about it at the 21 minutes mark: http://www.kitely.com/virtual-world-news/2013/09/08/kitely-market-presented-in-opensim-community-conference-2013/

    It is bloggers like you who will decide the direction Kitely Market takes. If you help disseminate the information you know is important to SL merchants then SL merchants will feel more inclined to try selling to OpenSim grids as well. If Kitely Market becomes big enough then LL might take note and upgrade the SL Marketplace to include Kitely Market’s more advanced features. There is nothing like competition to drive progress.

    • I appreciate your comments. I doubt bloggers will make that much difference, other than to get information out.

      I plan to look at the video and will probably follow up with another article.

  9. Thank you Nalates, please let me know if you have any questions after watching the video. Please note that we’ve already added a few features that aren’t mentioned in the video. See for example the search result grouping/ungrouping option here: http://www.kitely.com/virtual-world-news/2013/11/23/updated-to-opensim-0-7-6-fixed-many-bugs-and-added-user-requested-features/

    We spent a lot of time talking to SL merchants before we started designing our marketplace so we should be able to provide satisfying answers to people’s concerns. The main challenge is getting that knowledge across to as many SL merchants as possible. Blogs are a good way to do that.

    The successful merchants in Kitely Market are making hundreds of dollars per month. You can see some early testimonials in Hypergrid Business and in our forums. That is less than what these merchants make inSL but I think it’s a nice addition to their income and this was before we opened the Hypergrid delivery system so I expect these numbers to grow over time as more OpenSim users start using our marketplace.

  10. So, in your opinion OpenSim is a small community with countless blogs. That sounds quite amazing really if you actually knew what you were talking about and clearly by that comment you don’t. But, anyway, so it’s okay for Nalates to say negative stuff about Opensim and a soon as anyone challenges that you chime in and claim this small Opensim community is so well organized it can fire up propaganda machinery to twist the facts. Now that is even more amazing!

    If you really knew anything about Opensim and the free Metaverse you would know it is made up of many small independent communities who do not all speak with one voice (as witnessed by other Opensim comments above) and very few attack second life actually – more like some fall in with the general negativity on the part of the SL community towards Linden lab’s constant failings. That much I would concede but it is not an attack on the Second life community. Opensim folks just have a broader horizon and enjoy the best of both worlds.

    I don’t know where you get the hate-filled polemics from either but I can understand you defending your friend, Nalates, as wrong she is on this issue.

    • You truly are consistent.

      You don’t address the points I or others make. You go defensive and attempt to deny/discredit what people say by attacking the people you disagree with, not their ideas. Your transference is obvious. It is all about what we don’t know this time. And actually you don’t seem to recognize you are exemplifying our points with your comments. I keep approving the comments because they are such good examples of my points. Gordon got it. You seem to be oblivious to what you are doing. But, you claim we don’t know what we are talking about. Transference.

      Really, if you want to claim I don’t know what I am talking about you should try to debate something other than my firsthand experiences in OpenSim worlds. Study up a bit on debate tactics. Try learning something from Ilan. He may well change my mind on the market place. But, you have confirmed and continue to confirm my experiences of the negative people I believe gravitate to OpenSim worlds.

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  12. Hello Nalates,

    Please forgive my intrusion if it is not wanted. Not allowing the comment to post is not a problem for me, allowing it to post may result in further attempts to clarify the matter.

    “So, the opening of the Hypergrid markets is an interesting phenomena.”

    It is much more than an interesting phenomena, it is more in line with a paradigm changer.

    “Maria points out the copyboting in Second Life. She skips over the OpenSim problem.”

    Maria, if I may be so bold as to presume, often speaks to copybot and theft issues, throughout the Meta. She tends to speak to things in particular articles as simple “extensions of the article”. A look on her disqus commenting history would find such other comments.

    “A large amount of the stuff there has been stolen from SL and is often free in OpenSim grids.” If I might, for purposes of trying to set up proper debate stipulations, could this be better stated to include 1) that also many people who have left SL or who are in both systems bring legally obtained content out for their own use, and to give to friends, that either they created or have obtained permissions to do so. [ex. Arcadia Asylum, Vbinnia Radek, Ferd Frederix, Josina Burgess, Benito Valesquez and the list goes on and on, and is very extensive. One must ask themselves where people go when they leave SL or when they stop participating as much as they once did. There are, of course, several reasons, but one is that they found the expanding Metaverse more interesting, or interesting enough to add their time and efforts to it. Similar to you mentioning your own regions in OSG. 2) We are all limited to only what we know “at the moment”. ex. Ilan pointing out the 45 day wait period you did not know about, and that interests you.

    “Hypergrid owners tend to be rebels and often anti-SL or Linden Lab.” This comment is actually what piqued my interest. It appears that this may be based upon where you read or what you are involved in personally [which while being an obvious statement, often is not so obvious to everyone]. So for the purpose of moving a proper debate forward, may I ask where you hear of or read such sentiments, specifically? Then perhaps some further clarifications could be addressed properly based on factual information.

    There is more I may wish to add, but when I saw in your comments relating to debating properly, that though I had been content to sit back and read only, I do love a properly done debate and it is very hard to find people who can do so. To be clear, I do not create content, per se, so the content specific items are not really of much interest to me. I would rather discuss other points raised, specifically to such as above noted that are non-content related. However, I do sell terrains to the Metaverse, as noted here: http://minethere.blogspot.com/2013/05/region-creations-portal.html but it is little unimportant income and most I give away via other blog pages on that site.

    My best times to comment are in my mornings, so I may not respond back if you do respond to this until the next day. In any case I wish you well and appreciate seeing the conversation regardless of where it may go or minds it may enlighten, or not.

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