Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Freak out! CopyBot's about!

SL just freaked out. More info: check the official Linden response: Use of CopyBot and Similar Tools a ToS Violation, or Tat's thoughts on the currency reaction, the word from the source and an extremely erudite post from Ordinal Malaprop (scroll down).

It's just copying, people. It's really hard to lock down stuff that needs to be unlocked *so you can see it*, that exists in clear form on your machines. The protocols are open, packets can be sniffed, etc. Textures have been potentially thievable for months now. This is the same for objects, but not contents nor scripts. Object copying is not even new; Jeffrey Gomez's Prim Mirror script did this many months ago.

If you've ever seen a picture on a website, you've been able to take your own copy for your own use or redistribution. This is the same thing; sometimes fair use, sometimes encouraged, often not, but it can't and shouldn't be forbidden. Any web design I make public can be stolen, yet that doesn't stop me from selling my designs.

Even if it's all locked down, someone can just sit around and recreate your work by hand. Fake handbags in the real world aren't going away. All the attempts in the world to stop piracy just screw over everyone, like the DVD region coding debacle that continues to decline (e.g. my new laptop DVD drive won't read out of region discs at all, not with VLC, not ripping, not flashable). Like the forthcoming nonsense with HDCP on both high-def disc formats. Like software activation tied to companies that no longer exist or Windows licenses that can't be transferred. You can't stop piracy technically without pissing off a lot of people. You *can* find pirates, shut down their accounts and delete their assets.

Finally, to all the people currently worried because "my stuff is able to be stolen": have you ever copied a music track you didn't own? Run some less-than-legal software? Now that you're on the other side of the fence, do you have sympathy for the RIAA? They don't deserve it. Just relax, recognise that some piracy (or imitation) is inevitable, and take it as a sign that you've made something people like enough to copy. Now make something better.

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