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Nov 152006
 

It certainly seems like everyone is talking about this issue. Both Cory and Robin have had their say, Second Lifers are organizing boycotts and ‘legislation’, and the original authors of the code that led to CopyBot seem slightly flummoxed by the whole thing.

In short, what’s happening is a small-scale social crisis that brings into sharp relief the split between the hacker-ethic-libertarian-info-must-be-free ethos that underpins much of the technology of virtual worlds, and the rampant commercialism that has actually enabled its embodiment. What we have here is a case of bone fighting blood.


I have talked before about what exactly MUDs and MMOs are, and why they all deserve to fall under the rubric of “virtual world.” Much of it boils down to the fact that client is a representation of a server simulation, and that therefore any given server could have many possible representations.

In the post discussing this, I noted that

The real difference between the MUDs of yore and the modern MMORPG client isn’t the sim on the backend; it’s the fact that the datastream is tokenized. When you connect to a MUD and it attempts to inform you of the presence of an object, say a chair, it actually sends the definition of that chair down: the words that make up its description. When you connect to a graphical MMORPG, instead you are sent an index number, a token that lets you look up on your local client install the description of that chair (which these days, is likely to be a 3d model).

A client install is nothing more than an elaborate caching scheme. Tokens are used to minimize bandwidth during play, but these days we see more and more worlds returning to the older practice of sending down the descriptions of objects, and not just their lookups, with titles such as Second Life but also games like Dofus or Runescape, which “stream” off the web. Text was the original streaming technology. Non-streaming games are (to use a phrase that seems to get me in trouble a lot) a historical aberration, a transitional technological hack to get around bandwidth limitations and the idiosyncrasies of embryonic delivery systems.

Here’s the issue with streams: you can capture them.

In Second Life, a protocol is used that fully describes an object. Much like HTML, if you know how to parse this protocol, you can recreate what the client is describing. Everyone finds this fascinating and wonderful when we’re talking about using it to fab objects, but the fact is that once you have the secret code, you can use this data for absolutely anything. Such as, for example, feeding it back into something else (as in the fabject example), converting it to a different format (taking an SL model and importing it into Maya, perhaps), or even feeding it right back into the system where it originated — and this latter is what CopyBot does.

In some ways, this is very similar to what people do do get around copy protection on any other digital media. Encoded signals are received by a proprietary client, and then they are parsed and decoded and finally presented to the end user. At the stage of presentation, you can always grab a copy and re-encode it. In crudest form, “the analog hole” so to speak, you can videotape a screen, you can record the audio coming off your speakers, and so on. In more sophisticated form, you can capture digital output post-decoding and then re-encode in whatever format you prefer.

This is the same thing that is giving the recording and movie industries fits (though they are increasingly seeming to reach some accommodation). This is a slow-moving extended fit — the only reason that things like blank cassettes were allowed to be sold (remember cassettes?) is because the recording industry managed to get themselves a royalty on blank media. Now we see a similar thing happening with Universal getting a royalty on digital media players.

Yesterday, Microsoft agreed to share revenue from Zune sales with record labels and artists. Forcing the issue was Universal Music Group, which at deadline is the only label named in the program. UMG refused to license its music to the Zune unless it could receive a percentage of each device sold, in addition to standard music licensing fees for downloads and subscriptions.

“These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it,” UMG chairman/CEO Doug Morris says. “So it’s time to get paid for it.”

Microsoft is working with all major and independent labels to establish similar revenue-sharing agreements.

The net was full of vilification for poor Mr. Doug Morris. But he’s absolutely right. Statistically speaking, what teenager actually owns 60 gigabytes of mp3s legally purchased? That’s thousands of dollars worth of iTunes sales.

Those on the copyleft side, the free culture side, the share-and-share-alike side will make the case that there are many excesses to DRM — and they are right. They will point out that the freer availability of music now that it is in digital form has led to an explosion of diversity on the market — and they are right. They will mention that direct distribution has enabled producers of content to reach audiences that they previously could not — and they are right.

All this is to some degree beside the point; the issue here is not which side is right, but which side owns the soul of the stream. You see, in something like Second Life, it’s not the megacorps who are having their stuff copied, it’s us. It’s not the big companies that are trying to profit, it’s the little guys. And all of a sudden, the same folks who likely argue cyberliberties and donate to the EFF and have gigs of video stored on RAIDs they keep in their garage suddenly feel the sting of perfect digital copying. CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us.

Van Hemlock notes that this whole thing rather recalls the old Law of Online World Design,

Never trust the client.
Never put anything on the client. The client is in the hands of the enemy. Never ever ever forget this.

This principle was first articulated, to my knowledge, by Kelton Flinn, though the phrasing above is my own rendering of it. The thing is, this statement is about as perfect a philosophy as one can imagine for the proponents of DRM, “trusted computing,” and the like. It is born out of practicality, in the case of virtual worlds: unlike music, where the harm in copying is difficult to trace, and in some cases theoretical, in a virtual world users who can alter the backend simulation can cause real harm to other users.

However, there’s one aspect in which the client must in fact be trusted: rendering. (Hence the many hacks for FPS shooters which make opponents more visible). CopyBot and the many other examples of its ilk that I am sure will soon appear are not doing anything whatsoever to the server-side simulation. They are merely feeding in data that happens to look just like some data that is already there.

It is theoretically possible to encode database matching for similarity. You could analyze a new model and find that it is 100% commonality with someone else’s model, and is therefore a replica, and therefore to be rejected. But then at some point you will run into the nasty issue of what exactly “fair use” means in a digital world like this. We always build on the shoulders of giants. Are we allowed to use 25% of the giant, or 95% of it?

The issue is that at its core, the underlying philosophy on which virtual worlds are built is one that encourages copying. The further we move towards the inevitable world of streaming rather than cached worlds, the more of this we will see — just as stylesheets, images and whole websites are rather indiscriminately reused, remixed, and repurposed all over the web, quite without the original author’s permission. Just as tools that we find incredibly useful are built out of scraping data off of someone else’s screen. In fact, the whole Web 2.0 philosophy, which is many many ways MUDs anticipated by a few decades, is based on spitting out data streams for this express purpose, so that new uses can be barnacled on them.

The Second Life dilemma here is that the business model for so many of their users is built on content, not on service or functionality. As I have pointed out before, the market value of content is plummeting. Kevin Lim astutely points out that this whole thing is very much like the world described in Star Trek after the replicator showed up:

…after such a machine was invented, currency as we knew it ceased to be function. Since everyone had the capability to create (replicate) anything they desire, capitalism as we knew it died, and the new dawn of perfect Marxian philosophy was adopted by the Federation.

The bottom line:

It is commerce that enabled these worlds to reach the levels they are at today. It is the blood and muscle and sinew that animates the skeleton provided by the technology and the hacker ethos. Nowhere have we seen this more than in Second Life, where the commerce was pushed to the hands of the users, and the shackles of megacorps were supposedly broken. But.

As long as Second Life creators are relying on creating content like textures and models — the exact same sort of stuff that drives costs so high in other worlds, the exact same stuff that is most commodified, and the exact same stuff that is streamed — they will continue to face the same dilemmas as any other content industry. They will be copied. They will be ripped off. They will find their market prices falling. They will agitate for DRM. They will form lobbies with the analogue to a government, and argue that they are in fact the primary cultural contributors in the system. They will, in the end, come to embody everything about the broader, commercial Web that they fled to Second Life in order to escape.

They will, in effect, be hoist by their own petard.

  129 Responses to “CopyBot”

  1. Raph’s Website » CopyBot

  2. CopyBot By Raph The real difference between the MUDs of yore and the modern MMORPG client isn’t the sim on the backend; it’s the fact that the datastream is tokenized. … When you connect to a graphical

  3. Doctorow, “but benevolent dictatorships aren’t the same thing as democracies. If a game is going to declare that its players are citizens who own property, can the company go on ‘owning’ the game?” Raph Koster, too, sees the CopyBot dispute as signaling a larger struggle: “what’s happening is a small-scale social crisis that brings into sharp relief the split between the hacker-ethic-libertarian-info-must-be-free ethos that underpins much of the technology of virtual

  4. Raph’s Website » CopyBot Raph Koster on the copy crisis in Second Life. “They will be copied. They will be ripped off. They will find their market prices falling. They will agitate for DRM. They will form lobbies with the analogue to a government, and argue that they are in

  5. cynical, but refreshingly pragmatic positive take on it all. Last Edit, I promise: Those interested in further analysis and discussion by somewhat more informed minds than mind could go to Raph’s Website, for the current Analysis In Progress there: Raph’s Website: CopyBot and Hamlet has In-World reaction at New World Notes, including actual store closure protests: New World Notes: Copying A Controversy[IMG]

  6. more how big this issue is. The big difference here that it’s not so much between big corporations and consumers, or corporations amongst each other… it’s between you and me. It’s about one guy copying another guy, or the shop of another guy. All of a sudden we all want a sort of DRM, because it concerns ourselves. “You see, in something like Second Life, it’s not the megacorps who are having their stuff copied, it’s us. It’s not the big companies that are trying to profit, it’s the little guys. And all of a sudden, the same folks who likely argue

  7. As it always has been, play is always innovation at some level. But at the massive level, part of the future is playing itself out today. My last post took an unexplored tangent off of Raph Koster’s insight into Second Life’s Copybot, exploring the arbitrage opportunity when content production costs are increasing, but it was too generic. See Raph’s comment and his deeper thoughts on the future of content. He clarifies that he thought rising production costs applies to the

  8. the inherent protections of SecondLife for creators; the only problematic aspect are textures – which, incidentally, is also a common issue with copybot. In Opinion: ‘Bot Life In Second Life’, which references Koster’s blog entry on the Copybot debate. The Prokofy Neva debacle continued, ad infinitum, ad nauseam – including Prok’s accusations that the Electric Sheep Company had something to do with it. Lock up your tapioca pudding. Prok goes on to say only one ‘group’ could work on reverse

  9. I’ve just been reading a very interesting discussion about a recent occurence in Second Life that is threatening to completely change the nature of SL’s economy. It has many reflections onto real life issues. On another note, I just came across a nice and unexpected little

  10. Aubrey de Grey interviewed 7 punk and post-punk female singer videos Raph’s Website » CopyBot The CopyBot controversy « Tao’s Thoughts on Second Life [IMG] [IMG +]2 Years

  11. November 16th, 2006 by johnny In this episode, Johnny hosts a round table discussion about CopyBot and the future of intellectual property in Second Life. Hosted by Johnny Ming with Torrid Midnight, Cristiano Midnight, Jeremy Flagstaff, and Urizenus Sklar. What others are saying: Raph Koster Linden Lab

  12. In this episode, Johnny hosts a round table discussion about CopyBot and the future of intellectual property in Second Life. Hosted by Johnny Ming with Torrid Midnight, Cristiano Midnight, Jeremy Flagstaff, and Urizenus Sklar. What others are saying: Raph Koster Linden Lab Eric Rice Second Life Insider

  13. secondlife@del.icio.us: Counterterrorism Blog: MetaTerror: The Potential Use of MMORPGs by Terrorists (Feedster on: secondlife) 03/10 18:17 Blog Awards 2007 – A breakdown (Feedster on: secondlife) 03/10 16:44 secondlife@del.icio.us: Raph¡Çs Website CopyBot (Feedster on: secondlife) 03/10 16:03 BlogHUD: metaverse manifesto (Feedster on: metaverse) 03/10 15:54 BlogHUD: metaverse manifesto incident (Feedster on: metaverse) 03/10 15:39

  14. Aubrey de Grey interviewed 7 punk and post-punk female singer videos Raph’s Website » CopyBot The CopyBot controversy « Tao’s Thoughts on Second Life [IMG] [IMG +]2 Years

  15. Although I may not entirely agree 100% – brilliant article. Really – this is the best thing you’ve posted in a long time. Great job.

  16. Intellectual property is inherantly unprotectable; once I present an idea, I instantly share ownership of it with anyone who understands it, yet, ultimately, ideas are really all we have to offer beyond our physical labor and emotional support. Ideas aren’t just cheap, they are free.

    So it is that you meet few wealthy poets. And so it will be.

  17. I’ve been interested of late in the Street Performer Protocol as a way of avoiding potentially messy DRM issues. I wonder if anyone has tried this in a virtual economy? I’m off to Google for it…

  18. Let me start by saying this has been one of the more fascinating things I have read as of late. Now, my question:

    It seems that we are coming from a world in which both goods and services have had value; but due to CopyBot (in SL) and other forms of Content Copying (in the RW) we are seeing more value placed on the service side. How do you envision this occuring in Second Life–what services will be provided now, rather than goods? And if these services are automated through SL code–couldn’t that simply be replicated too?

  19. I wonder if this can be a repeatable cycle for platforms supporting user creativity, like the Nile river valley’s cycle of [re]building and flooding. Anyone who thought about the Second Life platform knew that copying was possible and would eventually be easy, like those living on the rich soil of a flood plain know that the waters will rise again.

    It will be interesting to see which parts of the Second Life community will let the waters recede and then plow into the new topsoil.

  20. I present an idea, I instantly share ownership of it…

    If we’re going to use the word “share” to mean replicate and distribute, then we need a new word for what I do with tangible things I “share”.

  21. […] Mir ist allerdings ein Artikel, der, meiner Meinung nach, sehr, sehr wichtig ist, nicht entgangen. Und zwar dieser hier. Ja, es ist nicht sonderlich cool Raph Koster zu verlinken. Ist ein wenig wie Links auf SpOn setzen, doch manchmal muss das eben sein. […]

  22. That is an essential difference between ideas and objects. Ownership of an object can be exclusive after it is shared, but an idea cannot be shared without granting permenant possession of it, to be used, moulded, and exchanged by anyone who is exposed to it. The difference is not in the sharing, but in the thing being shared.

  23. […] Toys: All Second Life, All The Time Broken Toys: All Second Life, All The Time: “Raph Koster has more on Copybot. Since he did such a good job of analyzing the issuesinvolved, I’m just going to copy what he wrote and use it as my own opinion on the matter. […]

  24. I’ll reread this again, but it sounds like you’re saying Linden Labs has no responsibility here? How hard would it have been to have a better, encrypted protocol in DTLS? I agree with what you’re suggesting overall about content, but I think this was avoidable.

  25. How hard would it have been to have a better, encrypted protocol in DTLS?

    Impossible. Encrypting the datastream to a client is generally a pointless exercise. After all, the client always needs to have the data in the clear. So at some point, the client itself decrypts the data for you, and then a wedge can be inserted there, if you know what you are doing, and the data captured.

    Generally speaking, hackers don’t even need to do that; on the fly encryption is expensive in CPU cycles, so usually there isn’t time in any sort of latency-sensitive environment to have significant encryption in place. So it’s usually trivial to crack.

    All encryption does is slightly discourage people. In this case, since the original project was an open source project to back up content to local hard drives, it would have simply steamrollered past the encryption, and then the copy routines would have just made use of that.

    This isn’t to say that Linden bears no responsibility; if they embrace a content-creation business model for their users, then it’s a reasonable expectation on the part of the users that a DRM system be attached to it. Lacking a DRM system, the proper thing to do is to say “guys, anything on the client is fair game — don’t build your businesses on the basis of art, sounds, or text!” Some still would, but at least they would have their eyes open.

  26. As a long time user of SL (3 years in March) I have been around for many a fiasco. This one is no different then any of the others, people have been caught up in it and don’t fully understand it. You have written a brilliant article that accurately portrays both sides. Almost two years ago I went digging through the SL client, and at the time it was my conclusion that nothing was safe. There was no magic to it. I struck up a dialog with LL and it turned out they knew; they weren’t planning on doing anything. What could they do really? “The analog hole” is huge (but when Trusted Computing comes along, it will shrink). CopyBot got dumped on. There are smart ways and there are dumb ways of doing things, and CopyBot was the smart way (hacking OpenGL is the dumb way; which people have done; but thats another fiasco).

    This wasn’t the first cloning fiasco. Back in 2005 Jeffrey Gomez released a Prim Mirror, it was a script that when used would create a mirror copy of the prim (you had to own the prim). He got jumped on because a few people purportedly were using it for object cloning. Has the scripting language changed since then? Not really. Is SL safer from script cloning? No.

    Will things change because of the present circumstances? Maybe. Will things actually change? No. Can anything in SL be cloned without the use of sophisticatedly software? Yes, your eyes are the analog hole; your ears are the analog hole.

    People want property rights and people want copyrights; and they are in contention. This fiasco will not solve this core issue and there will be many other fiasco’s after it.

    The emotion is real, and every solution is wrong in someone’s eyes.

  27. […] Update 4: Woah! CNN Money just cited me on the CopyBot vs. Replicator on economy issue, and so did game designer Raph Koster. Popular news aggregators TechMeme and Megite tagged me on this CopyBot phenomena as well. I’ve been getting some hits from Technorati, and from my referral logs, I can tell that people are looking to find places to download the CopyBot! (Guys, it’s not as good as it’s hyped to be!) Readership (282) | […]

  28. You put it better than I ever could Ralph.. Everything spot on.

  29. That is an essential difference between ideas and objects. … The difference is not in the sharing, but in the thing being shared.

    The issue I’m pointing out is that we have one word associated with two distinct concepts which are themselves beginning to overlap. Like ideas, I don’t “share” a secret, I reveal it. It behaves like a virus in that it replicates and is distributed. So imo, the more appropriate term is “reveal”.

    Similarly, I don’t “share” a music file. I replicate it. I personally *manufacture* a digital duplicate and give that away. That music file is arguably an “object” because it is the end product. There is increasingly little difference between it and the CAD files I create which are used to create tangible goods.

    digital file + electronically-powered oscillating device in a fluid medium = intangible product (music)

    digital file + electonially-powered fabrication device for solid medium = tangible product

  30. […] Anyway, Notable game designer Raph Koster on CopyBot. […]

  31. CopyBot…

    Simple subject today, since just about everyone is talking about it.
    I think the best discourse on the subject is here, so I won’t go into any more detail myself.
    LibSL’s main page had a new entry on its since since that post as well, good …

  32. Good job, Raph; very thought-provoking and it lays out the issue very well.

    And yes, it was Kelton who first articulated the “client/enemy” statement, from his experiences with the client for Kesmai’s Air Warrior on GEnie. The first time I heard him say this was 1989, I believe. Ask him some time about one of his responses to this, the day Superman fought against hacked WWII aircraft, :D.

    -Jess

  33. OK, somehow my name was cut short on that post. I am NOT J., honest. No offense intended to the Vulpine.

  34. […] … but this might be a turning point for the Second Life content business, as we know it now.Raph Koster made an excellent post in his blog (required reading), which Frans quoted in the last post here on the SLOG. He makes an excellent analysis of the issues around copyright in the digital realm from years of experience in the MMO industry. And, I am afraid, everything he says is true: it is more or less impossible, to effectively protect “content” in Second Life – like it is impossible to protect content in First Life – especially in digital form. There is not much Linden Lab can do about this. Like there is not much the music industry can do about it on the internet of today.This already has been true for quite a while. CopyBot just made it apparent. It will change the content industry in Second Life dramatically over the coming year. It won’t be impossible to make money with content like fashion, skins, prefabs etc. but it will be harder, maybe much harder – like it is harder now for the music industry to make a profit than it was some 10 years ago.I don’t think the publishers (or platform companies like Linden Lab) are to blame. It is us, the consumers, who drive this development by doing what serves us best – short term! Still I did not like one part of Raphs original post where he describes this in words that seem a bit harsh to me, because, what he decribes is not true in Second Life (as to my personal experience):And all of a sudden, the same folks who likely argue cyberliberties and donate to the EFF and have gigs of video stored on RAIDs they keep in their garage suddenly feel the sting of perfect digital copying. CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us.I tend to seriously doubt that it is really the same “same folks who likely argue cyberliberties and donate to the EFF and have gigs of video stored on RAIDs” who are protesting in Second Life now. This has got to do with the very special demographics of Second Life and the fact that many, many of the – so far – successful entrepreneurs in Second Life are not rooted in the game player/ script kiddie/ hacker culture. If you look at the fashion industry for example, you will find very many people (a lot of women) far into their 30s, 40s or even 50s who probably won’t have 60 megs of stolen MP3s on their iPod.I don’t want to sound too pharisean, but I – besides being male – am maybe a better role model for these “inworld business people” than the stereotypical Open Source advocate you are describing. I am 46 just now and most of the tracks on my iPod stem from CDs I actually own. The rest was downloaded from iTunes. And you won’t find a single copied DVD in my household. ;)I am sure, though, that from a technical viewpoint Raph’s assessment is right and in the long run not much can be done to prevent content theft from websites or Second Life. So society will have to adapt to this fact – as well as they will have to adapt to the fact, that soon most of this content will be “manufactured” in south east asia or to the fact that major publishing houses (music, print, movies …) will die in the coming years. Society allways adapts.What I find a bit hypocritical, though, is Linden Lab’s attitude towards the issue. They are seriously tooting SL as a platform to make real money on, while being rather laissez faire with the whole issue of Copyright (in action, not in words). This seems either naive or maybe a bit dishonest to me. […]

  35. Raph, what you say is true or accurate for what it is — a technical summary of the realities of virtuality — but it is very limited in leaving out the entire social and ethical dimensions of a shared, digital, online virtual world. And you’re missing some stages here when you think that all these people you imagined were “hoisted by their own petard” are copyleft tekkies who came into SL early and made and sold stuff, even as they downloaded Limewire tunes for free, and now are getting karma pay-back time. It’s not like that at all.

    What’s actually happening is that one faction of the class of tekkie libertarians are saying “information wants to be free..therefore I’ll free YOUR information and steal it” even as other factions within that same class of technologically capable programmers and designers are saying, “You are being reckless and irresponsible unleashing copybots into the wild where they are used for stealing, griefing, and causing havoc and the spread of fear”. SLDEV, a group with some of the top developers and programmers had a vote in which the majority voted YES to the proposition as follows:

    The TOS explicitly states that reverse engineering the client is not allowed. Should Linden Lab enforce this TOS rule and disable all third party clients/hacks until the they can protect our content from being copied/violated?

    Then, underneath this class at the top of the pyramid of Second Life, are the next tiers of creators, some technically capable, some just stay-at-home moms or Wal-mart clerks or disabled veterans or retired postal workers who learned PSP and LSL on the fly, within SL, not even in their community college, who began making and selling stuff and having a kind of suspension of disbelief, that this was a *world* with *discrete commodities* that *traded* — no different than the suspension of disbelief that occurs in any meatworld society where people say the green papers are dollars and the green stones are emeralds.

    And then, what happened with CopyBot is that there was an entire immoral dimension to it — not only was there rampant griefing and scaring and copying of people and their stuff (many people were more upset at having their avatar cloned in full from what they had felt was their special and unique avatar, than they were about losing cash from a sale of a virtual good through theft). There was gleeful, malicious, hateful victory-dancing about wrecking the world people had so carefully made and constructed out of the “your world/your imagination” motif. There was despising of people who made virtual hair or shoes and malicious deployment of the copybot on them in order to cause them harm. There was reckless capitalizing on the desire of the anonymous unverified to spread this griefing/get-rich-quick scheme around quickly.

    It wasn’t just a group of indifferent and callous tekkies — we’re used to that — who said smugly, oh, whoops, that one got away — we meant it to be used just for learning how to back up builds or finding holes in the client but eek…what happened was, we put it up for open source, and then goons got it and started causing havoc. But hey, information wants to be free, so we have to take the bad with the good.

    The goons of course are the http://www.somethingawful.com gang who have the factions W-hat and V-5 and their banned variants in SL — it’s merely the same lot of alts.

    They are the exact same people and groups who crashed the grid and are supposedly under FBI investigation; the same bunch who keep coming back on alts; who do stuff like create scripts pouring tub-girl pictures in particles all over sims; the same people who take my RL picture and deface it inworld — and do countless other nasty things like “virtual rape” and destruction of property through breaking up prims or overloading sims to send back builds.

    They deliberately took names that illustrate their affiliations and their attitudes of defiant hatred as extreme leftists — they took up the communist hammer & sickle, they deployed the bot on Nov. 7, which is the Soviet Revolution day, and they shouted all the Bolshevik slogans.

    The Lindens had handily provided the name “Revolution” in the list of names that week to be used. Lindens support Libsecondlife; Cory Linden did a frankly disturbing apologia of it, without any awareness (or else lack of concern) of the griefing these people do.

    When confronted about this bad faith and bad behaviour, the leaders of Libsecondlife, some of whom are V-5 and W-Hat supporters, kept hammering on all the points you make about how basically, it’s all a big stream, and anybody with a metal tin cup can dip in it and get the stuff out of it. OK, but…they don’t. They restrain themselves. They don’t harm others. They don’t strip others. It’s one thing downloading a song from an artist whom you feel already earned millions in his contracts with rich record companies (so the mentality goes); it’s another when you swipe a $3.50 US skin off somebody who spent 20 hours unpaid to make it who lives next door to you in a virtual world.

    And doing that still requires some expertise to deploy the cup, if you will, and get it right. So it has to be conscious, and deliberate, and there has to be malice up front to do it.You can’t legislate morality. But you can condemn immorality and make a culture and a social contract that also serves as a break on the tendency to steal and destroy.

    Some of the libbers who are long-term members of SL and are also in this group say it was wrong what was done and condemn it — and do not condemn, as the extreme libbers do, the Lindens’ response (banning some selling the copy-bot and making a statement that it would be a TOS offense to use it for “unauthorized coping” — lame, but a patch to quell public anger).

    Others are continuing to sneer at concerns people have for their loss of IP and their copyright aspirations — which is all anyone can say about SL for those who didn’t use copyright processes in RL.

    What they refuse to do, however, as a group, is to expel those who use the fact of the stream and the ability to scoop out of it as a griefing and terroristic tool against others. They insist that they have to keep it open source — first they lied, and said they took it off the SVN, then they said that in fact it was open source, and already copied to such an extent it was no longer stoppable.

    Sure, Raph, everybody has to get the idea that the Internet can copy itself and nobody has anything except he who owns the servers and he who programs the software. Yeah, we got all that. But the vast toiling crowdsourced masses are not going to accept life in that brutal pyramidal system. What, they are supposed to come online, toil for $1.50 US an hour tops or even $1.50 US a month, creating items they sell for 17 cents, making a compelling fantasy world for corporations to come on and pwn with their mainstream media campaigns and big-ass islands? Hello?

    They are supposed to just sit still, while elitist knowledge workers in consulting companies who are paid $30,000 just for one campaign for a week to put out a textured logo and a concrete stadium get to acquire PORTABLE knowledge that doestn’t depend on THESE servers?

    And then hear these elitist programmers smugly inform them that their labour, their product, their society are all worthless artifacts totally pwned by software publishers?

    You have to sit in the groups and hear the awful things people are saying, Raph. The tekkies are not only saying regretable and ruefully, oh, your world is copyable, get used to it. They are saying, make more stuff — stay ahead of the botters — you need to create more and make your business model be about constant new creation. Now that is fascistic and sick.

    They are saying, throw away your model of commodities, and just create “experiences’ on big sims run by corporations making synthetic fun and “interacting with the brand” in a staged, stilted atmosphere.

    They are saying destroy your village in order to save our platform.

    So what, given that attitude, people are supposed to go on being indentured to the Lindens’ servers, like Governor Lindens’ quit-renters, making clubs or rentals or hair or shoes that callous tekkies can merely rip off and copy and then sell their programming knowledge to the next customer who comes along?

    No.

    People will not sign up to live in such a harsh, brutal, Darwinistic, Bolshevik world. It’s an evil world, and a world where the tekkies can trade among themselves, thank you very much, and keep it as a walled country club. The millions will not come in for this, no.

    What was encouraging about SL was that a middle class was being formed that somehow smoothed out some of the harsh, radical edges of both the Lindens’ copyleft ethos and elitist approach (letting their friends have the heads-up, the perks, the early copies of the client API stuff, etc.) and the oligarchic approach of giant content-creators and landlords who have virtual monopolies — and now the uber-oligarchs of RL companies who have even bigger footprints in the village of the virtual world.

    A whole layer of smaller and medium-sized business and communities was beginning to be built that represented something more stable than the endless sandboxing of the Lindens merely to build their platform for huge corporations to use for business applications.

    But, like all fragile things that balance the extremes of the real world, this phenomenon was short-lived.

    I could write about this much more and I will on my own blog, but try to understand the ethos of these new-wave scientists who endlessly tinker, reverse engineer, cause havoc, with utter disregard for other human beings, all in the name of Bolshevik abstractions like “information wants to be free” or “knowledge is power”.

    Imagine if Sakharov or Oppenheimer had no remorse about giving their countries’ leaders the hydrogen and atom bombs. Imagine if they gleefully, maliciously, went around the world intimidating little countries around them — not their leaders doing that with their invention, to their horror, but THEM doing it as scientists. Imagine if they copied, sold, distributed their knowledge of the atom all over the world, causing havoc, in the name of some peoples’ liberation front type of radical ideology.

    That’s the mentality we’re dealing with. Absolute reckless hatred of stability and communities in the name of maximalizing “disruptive” technology’s capacity TODAY and RIGHT NOW, to make people feel uncomfortable or even miserable, merely to have power over them.

    Not over time, with adaptation, or even compensation. But wrecking everything NOW and harming real-live people.

    You rightly mention fabject and the people who used Glintercept or whatever to export stuff out of SL — it’s every developers’ dreams. Those people didn’t spread their concepts and capacities all over the grid in malicious glee. They did their experimentation, wrote their blogs or websites, tipped people off to the reality of the giant Xerox machine we are living in 24/7. They didn’t deliberately try to cause social havoc with it.

    To be sure, for many it’s only a game, and only a million sign-ups, and only a tidal wave of media hype that may blow over next week.

    But in fact, I think you know it’s a distinctly dark side of the future, and one I’m not entirely sure you are working to prevent, instead of actively cheering on.

  36. Very insightful and thought-provoking article!

  37. Whew, Prokofy, that’s a heck of a post.

    I am not cheering on CopyBot. But I do think CopyBot is inevitable, and I think I have consistently said that relying on content, whether you are a small mom-and-pop or a big megacorp, is a bad idea given the new digital reality. I’m not advocating one side or another here — in fact, I’m quite conflicted. I’ve mentioned before that I am a card-carrying member of ASCAP, for example: one of the longstanding defenders of the concept of copyright. All of my training and background is as a content creator.

    I don’t doubt that CopyBot was immediately used for all sorts of nefarious purposes by various special interests. That’s what tends to happen. It is sadly unsurprising to me. It was almost inevitable that this happen, and I think that it’s also inevitable that once the tool appear, that it be used in selfish world-destroying manners. It’s a classic Tragedy of the Commons example — if everyone would just use the facility provided in moderation, it wouldn’t be an issue… but no, people are rude, and they hog it, and overuse it, and ruin it for everyone else. Sometimes on purpose, God knows why.

    I think that SL, by its nature, DOES attract a lot of people who are what you call “tekkies.” I would be STUNNED, frankly, even given the demographic data that has been put out, even given the supposed breadth and diversity of the community, if SL were actually truly diverse in terms of psychographic. I recall vividly when I played There actively, hanging out with what seemed like diverse sets of folks — a CIA analyst here, a housewife there — only to find that they were all always at the Buffy trivia, the SF book club, and when pressed, revealed that they did in deed have gigs of mp3s. That story about the RAID drive with video actually came from a There housewife! I would bet that early adopter gadget owning is extremely high among SLers, just as propensity to blog is. SL is not yet “ordinary folks” — none of these worlds are, and frankly, damn few of the websites are. In fact, I would bet money that over 90% of the SL user base has at least 1 gig of illegal MP3s.

    I already posted about the fact that overall, this is an unsavory picture for the content creating middle class. Few discussed the sentence that ended my post about the future of content, but it was “the question is whether all content creation will effectively be a donation to the common weal.” You can read that as a Bolshevik if you like — I don’t think it’s quite that black and white — but there’s no question that it’s a massive upset to the way things are now, on many levels.

    In terms of concrete advice: the only choices that SL creators have are stark. Either embrace, and push for, forms of DRM on content creation, and realize that this battle will replicate the real world battle (more, it will actually BE a real world battle); or move to relying on server-side non-displayable content, e.g. code functionality and scripts, for all revenue. It can still be reverse-engineered, but at least it can’t be seamlessly and perfectly duplicated and the serial number filed off.

  38. […] Deep stuff. Haven’t been blogging much recently due to some serious workload at work. And any inkling of free time I’ve managed to have at home have been devoted to a little game programming. […]

  39. […] Raph Koster has posted what I thought was a very interesting entry on his blog regarding CopyBot. He touches on several points and brings an interesting perspective to the debate (note that he is not speaking in favour of CopyBot. you must read the whole article to get the context): […]

  40. Thrilling debate. I believe the phrase I would like to add is “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”.

    Can I get ‘free’ mp3’s, movies, software .etc. on the web. Yes. Do I? No. What is so wrong about paying a fee to someone who has worked hard to create something? Nothing. I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now because they are a wealthy and successful band does that increase my right not to pay for their new material? Not in my eyes, they still worked to create it. Afterall, are we suggesting that pirateers only steal material from the wealthy. No, that’s simply a non-argument.

    Do I leave my house door open each day when I come to work, with a big sign saying “Please feel free to help yourself”. Of course not. I work hard to do something for the world and for that I get paid. I then choose to spend that money on things that I would like. That money in turn pays someone to create/provide that stuff for me. How is that so wrong?

    My background is in software development so I’m assuming I could look at what has been done with the SL client and copybot (assuming my skills are not too rusty) and ‘steal’ (yes, it’s the right word) content from SL, but I choose not to. I think others should choose the same way.

    I do however agree that exploits, hacks and the like are unavoidable. Sometimes they serve to open ethical and moral dilemmas and discourse, sometimes they genuinely bring about beneficial change. What I am unclear about is whether RL or SL can be powered/funded solely through service industries. That’s an interesting one I’ll have to ponder.

  41. I think it’s worth looking at what the infamous Baba Yamamoto says in his own group chat: http://www.sluniverse.com/forums/Topic12867-1-1.aspx

    Here he admits to a deliberate and malicious use of this CopyBot.

    I was right.

    And for him to come on here and tell Raph he is “spot on” is absurd — and malicious.

  42. Let me help you.
    1). Linden Lab sold users a web hosting service which included “permissions” on virutal items that could be offered for sale. After taking that money from the users they reversed and now say that they cannot actually provide a service in which permissions on virtual items offer any protection. They have openly stated that they do not provide the service they presented.

    2). Linden Lab sold its users a web hosting service which included a “Terms of Service” in which it explained that users would be penalized or banned for violating. After taking that money from users it unapolagetically allowed (and encouraged) one group of users to violate the Terms of Service (beyond all question) to the distinct and measurable economic detriment of other users who did abide by the contract.

    3.) Linden Labs sold its users a web hosting service which was presented and promoted as a marketplace in which copyrighed material could be introduced, bought, sold, and protected. http://www.alphavilleherald.com/archives/000372.html
    After taking that money from the users they reversed and now say that they cannot actually provide a service in which copyrighted material can be protected.

    4.)Linden Labs sold its users a web hosting service presented as a marketplace with stated rules and an implicit contract. Now, after taking that money, Linden Labs explains that they actually cannot provide the service they presented and have enabled one group of users to circumvent that market and easily obtain literally thousands of dollars of work created by users who entered into the contract.

    5.) Linden Labs presented its web hosting service as having the qualities described above in items 1-4 to the international media, who in good faith reported this service to other prospective users. After taking that money from the aquired users Linden Labs states that it cannot provide the service as described to the media.

    Get a lawyer to write it up for you all pretty.

    They took your world – your imagination – and your money and put it into their pockets

  43. […] However, thanks to a link posted by Pathfinder Linden, I read this post by Raph Koster, which seems to sum up most of my argument without any need for me to pause and pen it. He begins by stating: In short, what’s happening is a small-scale social crisis that brings into sharp relief the split between the hacker-ethic-libertarian-info-must-be-free ethos that underpins much of the technology of virtual worlds, and the rampant commercialism that has actually enabled its embodiment. What we have here is a case of bone fighting blood. […]

  44. Raph, you’re wrong about the demographics. Be stunned. Be very stunned, and come and spend a day walking around my rentals, for instance. They are not secret closet tekkies. You have no idea. They barely can use google; they buy their itunes, they don’t download them. They don’t have the capacity.

    And it’s not about hogging or being rude; it’s about a planned, malicious attack, by the same people who brought us the grid-crashing.

    I hope the Lindens are going to feel some shame for sponsoring libsecondlife as they have.

    There’s a larger thing happening which is what I call a New Theory of the Leisure Working Class lol. People making not commodities, not even objects rendering in software, really, but just experiences, ephemera, shows, raves whatever.

    The dress doesn’t have value beyond the event — there are no objects, only events. After the event, the company, the group, the content makers just give it away, a souvenir, a playbill.

    They then rush to make the next one to keep up with the competition. Maybe somebody resells their souvenir at a yardsale — 7 days later it is deleted from inventory or forgotten. That’s about what already happens!

    The real losers then are people who aren’t at the top of the creator-fascist content pyramid — the darwinistic machine of create or die.

    Those who can’t get their resumes fast enough and get their portfolios shown to the right consulting companies and can’t get the right Lindens to do for them. It’s a really awful system, like a kind of Hollywood star chamber.

    Then there’s all those grey avatars logging on from public terminals, like Snowcrash…

    I just don’t think, given everything that you are and have done, Raph, that you want to be presiding over this, and giving little homilies about the common weal.

    You can fantasize about all content being donated for the good of the Public and the good of the cause of making the platform and making the metaverse, the platform uber alles.

    But we all know that information, while it wants to be free, is also power and also wants to get paid for and IS paid for.

    So a certain percentage of high-end content and more importantly — makers of such content — will be paid for out of pocket by big corporations with RL budgets, or given freebies by the software company to keep the whole thing rolling.

    You’re not looking and seeing how SL is already stratified and how it is running now with this huge disparity between big corporations sucking all the best labour out of the economy and totally cracking it loose from the micropayments economy, and leaving micropayment wage-slaves to dig in the dust and make the fantasy world that these big companies are stampeding in to see.

    You really need to come and see this. It’s not pretty.

  45. There are other things you can entrust to the client.

    To take two examples in Eve, it has to retrieve data for the map each tiem you open that screen. Well, all the system data and such is allready avaliable from freely downloadable files provided by the devs so secrecy isn’t an issue. Ditto on market data – it’s easy to export, but instead of being cached with it checking for updates, it gets the whole lot, every time.

    Add this to the Eve server issues, and I don’t see how they can possibly justify the overhead when they provide convenient ways to get the data out ANYWAY!

  46. There is only one true into all the story … “knowledge is power”.
    And yes.. content can be protected .. but at what cost?!
    Are we prepared in this day/hour to support this cost!?
    I think not.. maybe in 5 – 10 years after another few technological steps.

    Regards,
    A content/scripts creator,
    Clody

  47. […] The revelation confirmed what many including your faithful correspondent had been saying: “There was gleeful, malicious, hateful victory-dancing about wrecking the world people had so carefully made and constructed out of the “your world/your imagination” motif.” […]

  48. I’m reminded of the recent controversy on LiveJournal over that service opening its doors to “sponsored communities.” There’s a lot of angst being generated over the intrusion of commercial entities, and the perceived increased likelihood that these entities would, for example, force Six Apart to crack down on intellectual property violations — things like user icons and fanfiction.

    What’s remarkable in that world is the intense ownership icon creators and fanfic writers feel over work that likely can’t be considered fair use of existing intellectual property. John Scalzi hits the high points of a “plagiarism scandal” in Harry Potter fan fiction, for example. And — more directly related to the Second Life situation — it’s a deep sin to borrow or use another person’s Photoshopped icon without crediting the creator, even if it’s just a Lord of the Rings screen capture with a funny caption.

    In LiveJournal and Second Life, I see incredible naivete over intellectual property, typical corporate business practices, and the limits of technology — and it all feeds into basic end-user self-interest: “DRM for me but not for thee.”

    LiveJournal and Second Life will never be a utopia for visionaries. Tragedy of the Commons, indeed.

  49. Raph, while I agree on many points, I believe Prok is correct in saying that many SL residents are the exact opposite of what some believe and how you characterize them. Prok’s experience mirrors my own. I rarely meet tech-savvy people inside SL. Most are surprisingly computer-illiterate. Many seem to work in relatively low-tech occupations and have little or no experience in the Web 2.0 apps that often are associated with SL. They somehow managed to find SL, however.

    I suspect that the reason for the seemingly wide gap in user types is because people who are not coders/tinkerers but otherwise tech-savvy (e.g. hardcore videogame people) consider SL too primitive. They want the latest games, not a world like SL. They get bored in SL. So you have a rather large group of pretty technical types and you have a very large group of people are very non-technical.

    Again, just my experience.

  50. […] Of keen interest to me this morning, though, was Raph Koster’s blog entry on Copybot.  For those of you who don’t know Raph, he’s been a major player in MUD and MMOG design for a long time and is one of the visionaries of virtual communities.  I was a long-time Ultima Online player (Lake Superior shard) where he was the lead Dev, known as  ”Designer Dragon”.   After he left that project, he was then creative director for Star Wars Galaxies. […]

  51. […] CopyBot In short, what’s happening is a small-scale social crisis that brings into sharp relief the split between the hacker-ethic-libertarian-info-must-be-free ethos that underpins much of the technology of virtual worlds, and the rampant … Come Read The Full Story Here. […]

  52. Great read. Thanks very much for this article.

    I am a content creator in Second Life .. one of those little people trying to make a difference in Second Life and some money from my effort. It takes a lot of effort to create content people feel is worth spending money on. We try to keep our quality high and our prices low. In addition, there is effort and expense in packaging, advertising, and distribution (managing mall locations). There is also customer service involved.

    Speaking for myself as one of those who has content that can be duplicated by CopyBot, I am not looking for a full-proof DRM solution. I just don’t want it to be super easy to make copies of our creations such that others can claim them as their own. What has me so angry as a Second Life vendor is that Linden Labs didn’t take the easiest steps they could to try to prevent the use of CopyBot in their world. They showed a complete disregard for the concerns of content creators. Content creators built their world, as you very elequolently stated above. I would like to view it as a kind of partnership, but Linden Labs shattered that illusion by showing complete disregard for our concerns. On the first day of the crisis, much panic could have been avoided by simply providing us information about what CopyBot could and couldn’t do. This is not a an isolated incident, but a recent trend.

    Anyway thanks for the great article. Just wanted to share my perspective.

  53. I just have to point out.

    The advent of the replicator in Star Trek did not really kill capitalism. It just moved it to a larger market, the galaxy. The planet became a unified capitalist company.

    I’m about to gain some geek points here, but.

    There are many items that CANT be replicated, and thus trade still is present between the federation and OTHER worlds and cultures. Dilithium (sp?) crystals for one (the basis of all FED tech), could not be replicated. It was only the federation, and namely earth, that did not have capitalism, but it DID still have a hierarchy of its society. Scholars, collectors of off world goods, scientists and the like were still the Top level of society, the service industry did still exist, and there were serfs. While the replicator took care of most people basic needs, it still had to be fed matter of some sort as building blocks (My theory on that was human waste and garbage, but thats a different thread) The value of original items became astronomical! And, if you read up on your lore (lol, im a nerd), Re placated items had build in flaws… This is also why you would never see someone walk up to a replicator and order a phaser, it could not be recreated, due to something about the power source.. Jordy, however, did replace items that required power sources, but he installed that separately.

    This is a point i argue allot when people talk about making a ST mmo.

    The free sharing of information was technically the turning point of society in ST, Not the replicator, that turning point required the unifying of the planet ageist a cause, AKA, “The others, out there”.

    What this has to do with the topic at hand, i don’t know, but there is something….

  54. […] Ralph Koster has written one of the more well thought out articles about the emergence of CopyBot and some of the implications for Second Life. The conversation following this article is also very thought provoking and worth a scan to get a big picture of what is going on. The hundreds of thousand or so freaked out comments to the issue on the Second Life blog are simply impossible to get through. […]

  55. Ah, it’s probably unwise to get into another debate with Prokofy, but here I go!

    Raph, you’re wrong about the demographics. Be stunned. Be very stunned, and come and spend a day walking around my rentals, for instance. They are not secret closet tekkies. You have no idea. They barely can use google; they buy their itunes, they don’t download them. They don’t have the capacity.

    This is of course anecdotal evidence, but it’s better than any data I’ve seen at any rate. I’m going off of what I know of the market in general, the adoption patterns for a variety of worlds, and so on. Products do not generally vault past early adopters straight to mass market. They also generally do not have mass market audiences as a significant percentage of their population without also having mass market numbers. SL is clearly on the upslope, but I have real trouble believing that the audience it has isn’t still mostly early adopters of various stripes.

    Someone who can “barely use Google” is going to be completely unable to navigate Second Life, IMHO. You sure that’s not hyperbole? Google’s interface is one type-in box and a button. It takes more than that just to download SL, or to log into SL, or to create a character in SL.

    And it’s not about hogging or being rude; it’s about a planned, malicious attack, by the same people who brought us the grid-crashing.

    I don’t know enough about it to be able to say that — though the chat log that I have seen linked various places sure does read convincingly. But whether it’s malicious or merely hogging, it’s still an example of Tragedy of the Commons. 🙂

    The real losers then are people who aren’t at the top of the creator-fascist content pyramid — the darwinistic machine of create or die.
    [snip]
    I just don’t think, given everything that you are and have done, Raph, that you want to be presiding over this, and giving little homilies about the common weal.

    Well, I am not presiding over it; I have no control over it. I wasn’t even endorsing it. I was just making observations.

    But that aside, I think the scenario you described is exactly the nightmare scenario I painted in my future of content post. A free for all market is NOT a nice place for the little guy, and yes, they DO get squeezed out, and yes, it DOES suck, and that’s why even the free market economies have lots and lots of controls in place.

    In therms of the common weal — all I am saying is that lots of people have the impulse to create, and that as that number rises, it gets harder to rise above the noise, and consumers have more choices, and lots of great content goes begging for money.

    Consider the world of blogs. There’s tens of millions of them now. For the last few months, the Technorati rank of this blog has been slipping very slowly, from around 4000 to around 6000. That makes it an “A-list” blog, but one that in the rising tide of voices is getting slightly less A-list. With 45 million blogs, 6000 is enough to put this blog in a crazy elite. But what is the market value of the blog’s content? Well, in terms of ads, it’s literally pennies a month. Like, two of them to rub together. The content on this blog is, whether I want it to be or not, a donation to the common weal.

    Even the folks at the top, like this blog supposedly is, are in the world of “Create or die.” Everyone is.

    Now, you’ll point out that in fact the blog is worth a lot in completely other ways, and that’s true. It opens many doors to other businesses entirely which earn me a good living. But that is kind of my point. The content is not what is giving me the money. Other things are giving me the money — the content is mostly helps to establish a “brand.” And branding, lifestyle marketing, celebrity, lovemarks, etc, that’s what you can really leverage.

    But we all know that information, while it wants to be free, is also power and also wants to get paid for and IS paid for.

    Sure, it just has an expiration date. Once it gets out, its value falls dramatically. Consider the role of consultants who come in to tell companies the obvious. It’s not the information that the companies are paying for — it’s usually obtainable for free. They are paying for the authority of the consultant (it helps drive internal change), the celebrity of the consultant (same thing), and the convenience of centralized info.

    So a certain percentage of high-end content and more importantly — makers of such content — will be paid for out of pocket by big corporations with RL budgets, or given freebies by the software company to keep the whole thing rolling.

    I would be surprised if this weren’t the dream of most small mom-n-pop content creators. Damn few people have the stomach for a truly wide open competitive market. It’s a harsh place. The ideal of a zillion small shops all managing to break even and turn a modest profit just isn’t how Adam Smith’s invisible hand works.

    You’re not looking and seeing how SL is already stratified and how it is running now with this huge disparity between big corporations sucking all the best labour out of the economy and totally cracking it loose from the micropayments economy, and leaving micropayment wage-slaves to dig in the dust and make the fantasy world that these big companies are stampeding in to see.

    You really need to come and see this. It’s not pretty.

    It’s basic economics in a totally free market with no subsidies. It’s interesting that you use the word Bolshevik a lot, but you’re basically arguing for protectionism. 🙂 I can’t quite figure out your politics.

    How I personally feel about it is a side issue. What I can definitively say is this:

    – Intentionally attacking the service and the economic framework by purposely doing something like CopyBot is in fact reprehensible. I quite agree with you there.

    – But it’s also an inevitable step in the development of SL, and was going to happen anyway.

    – And it’s also likely to be impossible stop completely, just as it has proven to be impossible in the real world

    – and this means users have to reach their own accommodation with the way the world actually works in SL (and RL!), as opposed to how they want it to work.

    – This may be reached via enacting policies and laws and so on, but there needs to be an awareness that those can only go so far.

    – And we should keep in mind that sometimes, actions like these are taken out of the spirit of scientific inquiry, or out of simply different philosophical approaches to things (the work of my acquaintance Ed Felten comes to mind). It won’t always be malicious intent that cracks open the cozy little house.

  56. Raph, there is definitely, definitely malicious intent, the acts are all visible in world, the chat transcripts are all leaked, the admissions are all there, and now all that’s happening is that Hamlet Linden is spinning the story as some bright programmers getting a little too frisky but basically they meant no harm. There’s nothing of the sort, when the people now expelled from libsecondlife are reported as taking money to keep quiet or cooperate or even taking money to create fixes for the problem they creates. It’s all prett sad.

    I understand you know more about MMORPG and games everywhere and demographics. I can only tell you my direct experience, and caution you that you’re overstating this template as applicable to the not-a-game Second Life.

    When I say people don’t know Google, I am definitely not kidding. I get people who I can’t say, oh, the search function is like Google. They are afraid of search. They can’t search. They cannot click on an object an edit it. They’ve never been in a MMORPG. They aren’t gamers. They barely use AIM and that’s hard enough. You don’t seem to grasp it — people come to SL because they see it on other people’s screens or, as my polls at malls show, they read about it in a newspaper or magazine (NOT in a blog or website!). They are old media users and they reach out to SL in surprise and delight because they see it like a television you can climb into and manipulate and interact with the characters. They don’t know how to do that jumping, they aren’t geeks, not even sophisticated urban intellectuals who use a lot of new media.

    They try to get it going, the have troubles, they have no intuitive knowledge of the type of program it is, but it captures their imagination. When they can’t find stuff, they log off or in frustration and some never come back. Or they ask. And learn. nd I know from exhausting hours spent briefing people like this who only understand the websites in their AOL browser or something that they really are not the people you think they are.

    I don’t have a single mp3 on my desktop. I have a Coldplay CD in my computer CD drawer I bought for $11.99 at Borders. I don’t want the Limewire viruses my kids bring on here.

    As to some of the other issues — You may be familiar with the works of Isaac Deutscher. The whole reason various factions can talk about Deutcherism is because he was known for not only describing Stalinism and its effects but also sort of celebrating it. That is, not only does he become a historian of demographic changes, massive transfers to urban areas, industrialization, but he also seems to take a kind of glee, so say his critics, in these backward peasants being yanked into the modern age. This often happens with a certain kind of embedded and immersed historian who not only describes some awful phenomenon, but begins to so intrinsically understand it that he advocates it as “the only possible way” without any sense of alternative realities.

    And that’s what you get in SL from the sneering tekkies. They get on the chat groups and mock some older woman making dresses as making the funds to pay for her trailer payments, etc. There’s a deep-seated cultural hatred for anybody outside the l33t haxxor thing — and it’s really despicable.

    So when you tell me with this tone of inevitability, dispensing little rueful homilies (as so many tekkies are doing right now) about RIAA this and DRMC that and how it’s the Way of the Web and aren’t we all benighted fools for thinking otherwise, it’s very hard to distinguish between your mere *description* of the situation and your *advocacy* or even *wish* that it be so.

    Because perhaps it does not have to be so, and you don’t have to be a hopeless utopian ostrich with your head in the sand. After all, games are made — hey, you’ve made some! — where you have game gold and you rant about Chinese gold farmers!

    So the Lindens went further and legalized Chinese gold farming, so to speak and made the currency able to cash out. Then they went even further and promised IP emulation — which they’ve steadily eroded away from their glory days of 2003. The anonymous poster “your imagination their pockets” sums it all up neatly” — that shilling for people to come and work their asses off but never admitting that this is merely only a temporary stage — where Lenin is going to sell the rope to the capitalists that they will hang themselves with.

    I’m not advocating protectionism. I don’t believe you can keep an artificial little snowglobe world or a 3-D Animal Crossing online. It will be riven by a million cracks into real life. I can only say that the acceleration of it and the brutality of it need not be so, any more than the necessary urbanization of the Soviet Union had to take place by massacring millions of kulaks. It has that feel to it; the idea that you can exploit people and their work — ends jusifying means — and then dump them to make some other thing from which they are barred — an economy made up only of big business contracts and wholesalers with no individual end users able to clear the hurdles of knowledge and funding.

    It was supposed to be a better world, so to have those barriers thrown up so harshly and so quickly to the free and creative economy where people actually monetarized their time on line *as promised* is a real shock — and the rapidity, even if invevitable, could have been managed through stages.

    If anything, the protectionism is for the big corporations and the software company itself. Rather than share power through partnership; rather then demand some social accountability, they are protected from competition, scrutiny, responsibility toward the growth of the world itself.

    Are you not yet aware that the CopyBot was made on commission from Electric Sheep, one of the top feted-turned-metaversal consulting companies squiring in the big business now in SL? It was made for their big client, an apparel company, that needed mannequins to dress up to work with a store concept? Do you not grasp what this is about? Sure, it’s cool, and we’ll all benefit, but do you see the point? The hundreds of seamstresses of SL must die, they must lose their IP, for the greater glory of an American Apparel, let’s say, having a cool 3-D online store where they won’t sell the virtual goods, but only augmented reality with cool virtuality.

    There is a huge difference between inventoriable and non-inventoriable content, too, even within virtuality.

    As for my politics, I’m definitely not a socialist, though a big admirer of E.P. Thompson and other writers in that school, and not on the hard left, but I’m not a slash-and-burn capitalist either, I don’t know the proper term to fit for the new online realities of the virtual world I inhabit but I think it is right to advocate a kind of democratic, participatory econonomy and politics that seeks accountability from these big, well-funded or elitist groupings that have so much power over us.

  57. Products do not generally vault past early adopters straight to mass market.

    What makes you think this did? The so-called early adopters I know are aware of it, and completely uninterested… unless they’re interested in issues like intellectual property. They’ve passed it by for exciting gameplay and eye candy, neither of which are SL’s strong points.

    Like Prok, I could tell you about the people I’ve met in SL. Most are late adopters who work non-technical jobs (e.g. construction, postal worker, grandmother, real estate agent, aso). And by far the majority of people who share their RL info with me (easy to do since my RL info is out in the open), tell me they’re much older than the stats say; usually mid-40’s to mid-50’s. They’re so out of the whole MMORPG/videogame scene that they don’t come in with preconceived notions of what is acceptable graphic quality or acceptable physics simulation. These people – believe it or not – are even using dial-up! They tolerate it. The early adopters I know just aren’t interested and don’t tolerate much.

    Someone who can “barely use Google” is going to be completely unable to navigate Second Life, IMHO.

    I’d point out that learning the UI in a non-competitive simulation like SL or There is very different than something like Counter-Strike. Mass-market noobs who aren’t teenagers aren’t interested in being insulted by children while playing on a CS team and learning the UI. In contrast, SL provides a significantly better situation for just these kinds of people: no pressure, plenty of help, and plenty of people in the same boat. Just as SL is not like MMORPG’s, neither are the people like most gamers.

    Truth is, most people I’ve met inside SL are, in fact, pretty clueless about computers in general. Most have NEVER played a 3D-rendered game like Quake or Half-Life or Everquest. They’re maybe not “Google wha?” clueless, but they’re close. That’s part of what I find so amazing: these people are trying to figure it all out. And they’re discovering that they can learn about the 3D stuff they hear about (some from grandchildren) using SL. There’s something a little surreal and pretty amazing about having a sixty-year old asking how to use layers in GIMP – their first attempt at using a creativity application – so they can make a piece of virtual clothing.

  58. Prok, I would appreciate it if you did not spread your lies here.

    The Electric Sheep Company was not involved in the creation or distribution of CopyBot. We absolutely did not pay to have it developed nor do we have a client who is interested in using such a system. The avatars with the Mannequin first name were not created by anyone at ESC and we have no association with them.

    In the future, if you have a question about ESC’s involvement in a project, please feel free to contact me in world or email me at chris@electricsheepcompany.com

  59. I can verify what Prokofy said about the demographics of SL. I have a ‘bar’ in SL, and due to it being one of the very few of it’s type, I get a LOT of newbies who’s first act in SL is to do a search for this type of place.

    Also, I own the land that touches the center point of the sim I’m in, Pogon. Therefore, anyone who pops in to Pogon without specifying coords ends up on my land. I get a lot of those too – they weren’t going anywhere specific, just clicking on the map and teleporting.

    I spend almost all my time in game giving “newbie classes” and handing out “survival” info to these newbies, instructing them in how to wear clothes, adjust prims, etc.

    You have no idea…

    The level of techno-illiteracy is appalling…heartbreaking at times. I have to wonder how these people manage in real life. And yes, I’ve run into people who have never used Google (Yikes!).

    Not only do I have to tell them how SL works, I’ve often had to tell them how to look things up in Google, what “open source” means, and that there even exists things like free image editors…and what an image editor does.

    People ask me, “How do I make things?” and don’t even know what an image editor DOES.

    I assume that the techno-savvy come to grips with SL by themselves, but even so, I have met a large number of people who had specific technical knowledge (who seemed to be the younger, 18-22 people), such as photoshop and streams, but couldn’t articulate their thoughts well, or follow the first steps in a set of instructions (right click on yourself, choose Appearance, now click on Shirt..) to their logical conclusion: click New Shirt, and start moving the sliders. I would classify them as “non-techie”, too. Let’s face it, critical thinking and logic haven’t been taught in schools in a long time.

    And those aren’t the minority, they’re the majority. When I’m on my land, I can count on a newbie (usually created that day) popping in about every 15-20 minutes, and more often during the evening hours, so I meet a LOT of these people.

    And like the un-educated (in this case “technical” knowledge) everywhere in everytime, they are terrified of threats that they don’t understand, like copybot. I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last two days spreading real information, refuting mis-information, and generally trying to stop hysteria an rumors. People are scared, and scared people don’t act logically. It’s all very well to tell them that “this too shall pass”, but the current situation is going to polarize people, and most of them are going to end up in the “we need more rules” camp. They see technology as magic, and don’t understand why LL can’t just wave their magic techno-wand and make this problem go away. And they want blood.

    You want to talk historical imperative? Historically, what has happened to anyone/anything/any concept, when the masses howl for blood because they fear this new whatever-it-is? Sometimes decades of suppression or backsliding or whatever you want to call it.

    I see the lack of hands-on crisis management by LL as being a serious blow to their desire to go open source, etc. The “common people” have been told that copybot is the result of open source programming efforts. For a long time to come, there will be a knee-jerk reaction to “open source” anything. LL could have thrown out some basic info, educated folks a bit, and this would hardly have been a blip on the radar screen. Now it’s a full-blown socialogical crises.

    I don’t think it’s too much to say that the repurcussions of this event are going to be felt for a long time to come, unless some serious effort is put fort by LL to help make the average SL resident more techno-savvy. A little education could go a long way to furthering their aims of an open source SL. Right now, the masses are ignorant, and ignorance is NOT bliss; a the moment, ignorance is fear.

    Any discussion of the “common weal” needs to be based on what “common” really is. And in SL, “common” is really common people, who obviously own a computer, and can a navigate the web to a degree…but may know nothing more.

  60. Well said Raph. I had a really interesting talk with someone a while back about how technology is moving so fast these days that people’s ethical notions can’t keep up. It seems that is what is going on here. But it’s a good thing. IP and the ethics thereof are still something that I think a lot of the world struggles with and it’s good (if not very disruptive to those participating) to have these things come up, challenge people’s ideas, and at least get us started on the dialogues we need to have. Of course, as we see here, it can be really challenging to get past immediate emotional responses and look at the underlying problems. We see that happening all over the place with everything from cell phone usage (no one wants to be without a cell phone anymore but everyone can cite lots of istances of people being rude in how they use their cell phones) to stem cell research.

    I personally think that IP isn’t going to become “free” or “cheap”. I think that people will continue to find ways to make money off of their ideas and brands. However, I think the way that happens is going to be changing a lot in the ear future.

  61. […] My friend Raph Koster wrote an awesome post yesterday analogizing the situation to the heated debates about DRM in the music and video markets: DRM is good when it works to protect your economic interests, evil when it prevents us from enjoying the data we want.  Raph says, “CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us.”  […]

  62. > It’s not the big companies that are trying to profit, it’s the little guys.

    Shouldn’t you bring some fact and reference about this?

    I’m not aware of any earning coming from Copybot abuse (not selling).
    Has anybody a reference to similar episodes?

    Thank you all.

  63. > It’s not the big companies that are trying to profit, it’s the little guys.

    Shouldn’t you bring some fact and reference about this?

    Uh, seems like there are plenty of references out there. To clarify, what I am saying is that “the bulk of people in Second Life who are attempting to make money off of content creation are individuals or small businesses, not representatives of out larger companies establishing presences in Second Life.”

    I am not aware of any earning coming from COpybot abuse either; that’s not what this was referencing.

  64. I understand you know more about MMORPG and games everywhere and demographics. I can only tell you my direct experience, and caution you that you’re overstating this template as applicable to the not-a-game Second Life.

    Fair enough, that’s two of you now telling me I am wrong. I’d love to see hard stats on this.

    when you tell me with this tone of inevitability, dispensing little rueful homilies (as so many tekkies are doing right now) about RIAA this and DRMC that and how it’s the Way of the Web and aren’t we all benighted fools for thinking otherwise, it’s very hard to distinguish between your mere *description* of the situation and your *advocacy* or even *wish* that it be so.

    Because perhaps it does not have to be so, and you don’t have to be a hopeless utopian ostrich with your head in the sand.

    Well, I guess my problem here is that what I hear you saying sounds very much like anyone in RL saying that WalMart should not come to town because it will squeeze out the indie shops. I sympathize with that position, overall, but also do not go so far in my sympathy as to say that WalMart should not be allowed in ANY small town. Instead, I pretty much think it’s up to the locals in a given town, via government.

    On the Web in general, virtually nothing is protectible except via courts. Technical solutions all have holes. In this case, I think the question is whether SL can even have a player-run government that includes the WalMart, so to speak. Or do you want it all up to Linden? Serious question, I don’t know the answer.

    Are you not yet aware that the CopyBot was made on commission from Electric Sheep, one of the top feted-turned-metaversal consulting companies squiring in the big business now in SL? It was made for their big client, an apparel company, that needed mannequins to dress up to work with a store concept? Do you not grasp what this is about? Sure, it’s cool, and we’ll all benefit, but do you see the point? The hundreds of seamstresses of SL must die, they must lose their IP, for the greater glory of an American Apparel, let’s say, having a cool 3-D online store where they won’t sell the virtual goods, but only augmented reality with cool virtuality.

    So, a means of mass production was created, a photocopier, in part because it would be extremely useful. Then it was put out there maliciously and it is used to copy whatever. My point was that photocopier is going to show up no matter what, and all the hand copyists laboriously hand-illustrating individual books won’t be back in business except as a niche. You can call that “progress” or you can bemoan it, but I am unsure how to regard it as anything other than inevitable. Of course you feel bad for the seamstresses. You can even choose to subsidize them, as a government, because you feel their role is important. That’s what the US and local governments do with countless industries…

    It strikes me, by the way, that using stuff like American Apparel is a bit misleading. The various ventures into SL by large companies are probably tiny efforts, in terms of actual budget. Few companies would be willing to spend real large money on an SL presence, so I would bet that the figures involved are relatively small despite the outsize presence of the brand name. I bet that you, and Anshe, and others, actually have MORE money and funds invested in SL and its economy, and therefore arguably can muster more clout in terms of the bottom line for Linden. When IBM is in SL, it’s not IBM in SL, it’s a couple of guys with a few thousand dollars of discretionary funds. For the sake of the citizens of SL, don’t fall into the trap of thinking of them as big; they’re probably not.

  65. In any “multi-player” situation, RL or SL, what the rules are will be defined by the people in charge. In the game Second Life, the rules are made by the Lindens, who seemed to be polling the populace of SL on what the rules should be.

    Whether that will continue is, I think, what people are really wondering right now. The first response from LL that I saw, in the voice of Cory Linden, came across as a shrug of the shoulders and “Eh. It was bound to happen eventually.” and nothing more; no advice on what we should be doing, no info on what copybot could and could not do, nothing. It felt like a real betrayal of my trust in Linden Labs.

    That silence from LL is, I believe, what infuriated people the most.

    There seems to have been a feeling up until now that at least LL actually listened to the people who play the game. Those people now are questioning if that really ever was true. We’re finding out all sorts of damning things about what LL let happen in re: libsl. So far the “evidence” (I use the quotes because I don’t know how to verify said evidence) is that LL at all times knew what was up: I’m told that there are Lindens in libsl. I’ve seen some posts of (supposedly, anyway) IRC chats between members of libsl that are truly horrifying. What they allegedly talked about doing via their “power” over the SL client, and their contempt of LL to do anything to them is chilling.

    A lot of people are feeling dismay at the silence from the “gods above”, and wondering if they were wrong to ever trust them. We’re hearing a LOT from the “bad guys” and it seems to bear that out.

    And STILL I have yet to hear a confident statement from LL: “Yes, we will help protect the investment you’ve made in the world we provided (and took your money to participate in)”.

    The average joe-resident doesn’t really need to know how that will be implemented, they just need to know it will be. And phrases like “may be banned” when applied to people who steal in game (let’s call it what is is, shall we? not “copying”) don’t exactly inspire confidence that LL is looking out for the resident’s best interest.

    I really want SL and LL to succeed. It’s been wonderful, so much effort and imagination put forth by so many people who, in their “real life” might never find a way to express their creativity, or see a dream actually take shape in front of their eyes.

    We can talk all day about what is inevitable and probably be quite accurate (depressing thought). However, the issue of the moment boils down to trust. Do we trust Linden Labs to support the residents, or will Linden Labs go their own way (whatever that may be: Open Source, Big Business, whatever) without regard to the feelings of the people in the game.

    Earlier, we, the residents, thought we were part of the people “in charge”, and now it seems that were not.

  66. BTW, I should have said this before, Thank You Raph, for being a voice of reason in these troubled times, and providing this forum for discussion.

  67. […] In this episode, Johnny hosts a round table discussion about CopyBot and the future of intellectual property in Second Life. Hosted by Johnny Ming with Torrid Midnight, Cristiano Midnight, Jeremy Flagstaff, and Urizenus Sklar.  Standard Podcast [51:19m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download podPressPlayerToLoad(‘podPressPlayerSpace_85’, ‘mp3Player_85_0’, ‘300:30’, ‘http://www.secondcast.com/podcasts//secondcast-ep44.mp3’); […]

  68. […] Raph Koster, MMO expert and designer Pham Neutra, SL resident Doeko Cassidy, SL resident and SLNN writer Susan Wu (VC at Charles River Ventures) […]

  69. […] My friend Raph Koster wrote an awesome post yesterday analogizing the situation to the heated debates about DRM in the music and video markets: DRM is good when it works to protect your economic interests, evil when it prevents us from enjoying the data we want.  Raph says, “CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us.”  […]

  70. Ah, it’s probably unwise to get into another debate with Prokofy, but here I go!

    Seriously, man, I swear. You put up a balanced short version of the issue, and try to show how each side will never really support the position of the other team, and suddenly Prokofy booms in with “How dare you take their side? Damn Tekkie Hippie Liberal. Get off my lawn.”

    In this case, Linden Labs has allways stated that the data was protected. They don’t say “Second Life: A good place for virtual prostitution and gambling.” Nope, they say “[R]esidents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.” Linden labs needs to respond to this threat to the playstyles/business models of many players/residents swiftly, and with the feeling that if someone else comes along they will get dealt with as well. In this respect they have been a masive disapointment. The first response was “Don’t think of it as your designs being stolen, think of it as your ideas being violated.” My goodness. That wasn’t quite the expected response.

    So the Lindens went further and legalized Chinese gold farming, so to speak and made the currency able to cash out.

    Actually, what makes “Chinese” gold farming a real problem in MMO games is that it’s not done by the players. So the Second Life version of this would be GM moving in and creating 5 sims about car culture.

  71. n this case, Linden Labs has allways stated that the data was protected. They don’t say “Second Life: A good place for virtual prostitution and gambling.” Nope, they say “[R]esidents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.”

    Hang on though — while I agree that Linden HAS said things about the data being protected (via their permissions system), that statement in particular has zero to do with protection from copying. It just says “we don’t have the same sort of EULA as most everyone else, the one that says we own anything you upload.”

    In other words, by itself, it just says “as far as protection, that’s you job, the way it was before you uploaded the stuff.” That’s why their response was “use the same recourse you would outside the virtual world: the DMCA and other typical legal action.”

    Another way to look at this whole thing is this statement: the more you make your virtual world like the real world, the more you are going to have to rely on real world laws. Had this copying occurred outside of SL, the creators would have been resorting to the real world stuff that they find unfair to have to call upon when in SL. But there is some point at which Linden’s apparently all-encompassing authority crumbles, and that’s when outside laws come in to determine their policies. If, for example, broadcasting video becomes a commoner use of SL, and SL does in fact reach heights of popularity that merit it, DRM will be foisted on it by the MPAA and its lobbies.

  72. […] Raph’s Website » CopyBot Ok, lots of talk about CopyBot, but this is worth the del.icio.us entry (tags: legal secondlife) […]

  73. […] I read a lot today of the issues Second Life is having due to Copybot. I think it’s a really interesting case on how the evolution of the internet has changed our view on copyright. The copybot issue of today just shows us once more how big this issue is. The big difference here that it’s not so much between big corporations and consumers, or corporations amongst each other… it’s between you and me. It’s about one guy copying another guy, or the shop of another guy. All of a sudden we all want a sort of DRM, because it concerns ourselves. “You see, in something like Second Life, it’s not the megacorps who are having their stuff copied, it’s us. It’s not the big companies that are trying to profit, it’s the little guys. And all of a sudden, the same folks who likely argue cyberliberties and donate to the EFF and have gigs of video stored on RAIDs they keep in their garage suddenly feel the sting of perfect digital copying. CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us.” […]

  74. […] Continue reading “SCEA VP on Backwards Compatibility: “I Would Like My Car To Fly and Make Me Breakfast”” » Posted by Chris Kohler 1:54 PM PST | Post Comment | View Comments (24) | Permalink Raph Koster on the CopyBot controversy Topic: Online Gaming Game guru Raph Koster has an interesting post on the CopyBot controversy that’s roiling Second Life. [In a nutshell: a script that creates perfect copies of any object in the virtual world threatens the thriving economy and has already put some content creators out of business.] Raph writes: It is commerce that enabled these worlds to reach the levels they are at today. It is the blood and muscle and sinew that animates the skeleton provided by the technology and the hacker ethos. Nowhere have we seen this more than in Second Life, where the commerce was pushed to the hands of the users, and the shackles of megacorps were supposedly broken. But. […]

  75. […] Raph weighs in on the Second Life CopyBot issue […]

  76. […] This week was the escalation of the CopyBot Incident @ Second Life. Second life officials came out to ban the use of the tool, which was created by a group of coders who were trying to create further hacks for the Linden labs based on their Open Source codes. The issue has been addressed by Virtual word scholars all over. And The one thing that the Wang loves the most, is that this breaking news is being covered and reported by SL journalist, and second life Reuters; a true sign that the virtual world is an existing information system and that its own citizens are now dealing with an moral issue regarding copyright issues and the ownership of virtual properties. […]

  77. […] But also this week, the now infamous CopyBot reared its ugly head in Second Life. Here’s a brief recap: CopyBot is a tool that enables the unauthorized copying of virtual objects by a player (see Raph for more detail). Since virtual objects in Second Life are created by other players, rather than by Linden Lab, there was an outcry from many players to stop the use of CopyBot. Players protested and closed their in-world stores in fear that their creations would be stolen, resulting in the loss of real U.S. dollars. […]

  78. […] But also this week, the now infamous CopyBot reared its ugly head in Second Life. Here’s a brief recap: CopyBot is a tool that enables the unauthorized copying of virtual objects by a player (see Raph for more detail). Since virtual objects in Second Life are created by other players, rather than by Linden Lab, there was an outcry from many players to stop the use of CopyBot. Players protested and closed their in-world stores in fear that their creations would be stolen, resulting in the loss of real U.S. dollars. […]

  79. […] libsecondlife era (es) una biblioteca open source que pretendía servir de ayuda a la construcción de utilidades destinadas a hacer la vida más fácil a los residentes de Second Life. Entre las múltiples herramientas escritas ayudándose de libsecondlife, había una llamada CopyBot. Esta herramienta sería para demostrar el potencial de la biblioteca, y era capaz de copiar la representación de cualquier objeto tridimensional presente en su radio de acción, previa autorización del dueño del objeto copiado. Una herramienta ideal para compartir diseños y para hacer copias de seguridad de los mismos. Sin embargo, debido a su naturaleza open source CopyBot es muy sencillo de alterar, y alterándolo para que no solicite la autorización se convertía en una herramienta capaz de copiar indiscriminadamente cualquier objeto, al menos cualquier objeto que no lleve programación –scripting– incorporado.Debido a su contenido creado por el usuario Second Life no tiene diseños pregenerados en el cliente (técnica habitual en la mayoría de los MMOGs por motivos de eficiencia), sino que podríamos asimilarlo a un “navegador 3D”, donde cada objeto que nuestro avatar se encuentra debe ser transmitido su diseño a nuestro cliente para que este lo represente en pantalla. No es muy difícil deducir entonces que bastaba que se investigara el protocolo* para saber cómo extraer cualquier diseño de objeto de pantalla. Así que es anecdótico que haya sido precisamente con esta herramienta. Podrían haber existido otras herramientas y si no hubiera surgido CopyBot, seguro que hubieran surgido otra, probablemente como cheats en ambientes “poco recomendables”, que suele ser lo habitual en estos casos.El que haya surgido ahora y no antes tiene que ver más con el creciente interés que ha despertado en los últimos tiempos Second Life. Y sobre todo, tiene que ver con el hecho de ser vendido con un negocio de propiedades virtuales, con equivalencia con dinero real. Algo demasiado apetitoso para personas poco escrupulosas que ya están explotando otros mundos virtuales para obtener dinero, como los gold farmers , el RMT (Real Money Trade) y otras variantes.Así que la aparición de los oportunistas era inminente, si no estaba ya en marcha, y el escándalo CopyBot sólo ha servido para ponerlo al descubierto. Mucha gente que, atraida por el tremendamente efectivo marketing de Linden Labs se frotaba las manos con la posibilidad de un –supuestamente– lucrativo negocio virtual, se han encontrado que su bienes virtuales, su “propiedad intelectual” era perfectamente copiable, y que se encontraban indefensos ante esta posibilidad. La noticia corrió como la pólvora, provocando una oleada de cierres de tiendas, desconfianza generalizada y protestas: un auténtico terremoto en el mundo virtual.Linden Labs ha reaccionado, y ha terminado por declarar el uso de CopyBot y herramientas similares una violación de los términos de servicio (y por lo tanto sancionable con la expulsión). Y aunque CopyBot ha sido eliminada de libsecondlife, todo estos no son más que apaños, parches con los que intentar remendar una tela, y que no se va a sostener. Si no es la versión modificada de CopyBot (que estará ya circulando por las redes warez a gran velocidad), serán otras herramientas. Allá donde haya posibilidades de dinero fácil con poco esfuerzo, aparecerán en seguida los delincuentes.Se podrán plantear variadas soluciones de compromiso, pero ninguna de ellas completamente efectiva. El modelo basado en la propiedad intelectual de información ya ha fracasado en el mundo real, así que en un mundo virtual no hay muchas posibilidades de que prospere. Simplemente, como en el mundo real, hay que ir hacia modelos de negocio basados en el servicio, no en el producto.Algunos enlaces interesantes sobre el tema:CopyBotThe sky is NOT falling because of CopyBot …ARGH! Copybot! – But Don’t WorrySecond Life’s Virtual Economy in Peril?–* La ingeniería inversa de protocolos de MMOGs es ya mítica, y ningún juego hasta ahora se ha librado de ella si había interés en descifrarla. No debemos por lo tanto ser inocentes y creer que esto se podría haber evitado.Labels: CopyBot, propiedad virtual, RMT, Second Life […]

  80. […] There has been so much talking about this that I’m going to have to check it out, if for no other reason than to see what people are talking about. Hopefully I’ll be able to throw up my own opinion on some of these issues as well as see what the big deal is. […]

  81. This is a great read, its like reading Leviathan for the first time….

    I’d like to understand how each side of this debate feels about the presence of media outlets and commercial ventures inhabiting SL…

  82. […] is being pirated. His article actually raises some great questions for the industry.   Digg It  […]

  83. […] – Raph Koster opines brilliantly on the CopyBot meme. CopyBot, if you haven’t heard is an open source app for Second Life which creates copies of in-game objects. Since Second Lifers can create AND SELL in-game objects, this open source app has some ramifications upon the in-game economy, to say the least. Raph’s commentary is the most thorough and objective I’ve read so far (though there’s too much posting on this subject to have read but a fraction). In it he points out that this is essentially another example of how ALL content is being commoditized and the money of the future is in services. I agree! It also deserves reading if only for the fact that he uses the line “hoist by their own petard”, which in my book is deserving of a blogging-pulitzer! 🙂 […]

  84. […] Google News: copybot Second Life: Programm ermglicht virtuelles Klauen – Heise Newsticker Second Life: Programm ermglicht virtuelles KlauenHeise Newsticker – 15. Nov. 2006… Stein des Anstoes ist ein Programm namens CopyBot. Mit CopyBot knnen Nutzer der virtuellen Welt beliebige Kopien der Gegenstnde … Deflation im "Second Life"-Land – Gameshop Deflation im "Second Life"-LandGameshop – 15. Nov. 2006Mit CopyBot kann man fremde Gter kopieren – und zwar ohne zu fragen. … Stein des Anstoes ist ein Stck Software namens CopyBot. … NETZEITUNG.DE News im Web – copybot ‘Worm ‘ attacks Second Life world (BBC.co.uk) Virtual world Second Life had to close its doors for a short time on Sunday after a worm attack called grey goo. Second Life Businesses Close Due to Cloning (Slashdot) 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 an… Second Life: Programm ermglicht virtuelles Klauen (Heise online) In dem offiziellen Blog der virtuellen Online-Welt Second Life schlagen derzeit die Wogen der Emprung hoch. Auf zwei Blog-Eintrge der Second-Life-Macher sammeln sich mittlerweile rund 1.200 Kommentare der Nutzergemeinde. Stein des Anstoes ist ein Programm … Google Blog-Suche: copybot Raubkopien durch Copybot in Second Life Durch ein Tool mit dem Namen Copybot ist es in Second Life mglich Gegenstnde zu kopieren, ohne dass es der Besitzer wei. Dadurch werden ganze Geschftsmodelle in Second Life ausgehebelt. Ein Grund mehr fr mich, erstmal die Finger … Use of CopyBot and Similar Tools a ToS Violation 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) … CopyBot CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us. … CopyBot and the many other examples of its ilk that I am sure will soon appear are not doing anything whatsoever to the … Yahoo! Search: copybot libsecondlife libsecondlife is an open source project to reverse engineer the Second Life networking protocol … The CopyBot application changed all of this. … Raph’s Website ” CopyBot Raph Koster’s personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books. … Pasture ” Blog Archive ” SL Growth, Copybot roundup wrote on November 16th, 2006 … ‘Second Life’ faces threat to its virtual economy | Tech News on ZDNet <img src=/i/ne/test/icons/photo2_icon. … of a program or bot called CopyBot, which allows someone to copy any … The reaction to CopyBot is not the … Weitere interessante Links Nach copybot bei Google suchen. Nach copybot bei Mirago suchen. Most wanted Tags Kommun | gdg | air taser | brd | ayurveda | Schadstoff | sportpaedagogik | Peter Prinzip | tictactoe | 800 neftenbach | reise schnaeppchen | wohneigentum | medizin | cosel | Refactoring | gr 20 | Trema | komfortblinker | Gespenst | mostwanted | beize | Doha | leihwagen | Hakamid | software freeware | geschenke essen | Xerox PARC | kinder diademe | Blutplasma | fussgaengerbruecke | Bihac | Impressum […]

  85. No, Raph, you’re not getting it.

    This is a different setting that you are characterizing it as.

    The whole reason the CopyBot even exists is because the Lindens *in violation of their own TOS, overriding the TOS strictures against reverse-engineering* allowed one special, feted group of people to reverse-engineer. And no, I don’t buy that the clause in the TOS saying something like “only as stipulated by law and for the interaction of two programs” or whatever that people cite as getting libsecondlife off the hook — the Lindens themselves admit that it is a circumvention of the TOS by admitting they need to rewrite the TOS to accommodate their need for crowdsourcing the reverse engineers.

    Next, these reverse engineers were reverently blessed by Cory Linden at SLCC and they were given other love pats by having Lindens in their group.

    And this group, on open, attracted dozens of serious criminally-minded people who repeatedly, over the last year, have crashed the grid, deliberately and with malice. That’s the thing people keep not seeing — or don’t know about — libsecondlife. It was riddled with v-5 and w-hat, the griefing groups — and their alts. When Philip Linden announced that as many as 60 people were banned from SL for serious offenses, what he didn’t say was that nearly ever single one of the 25 people we could identify as permanently banned was a member of libsecondlife.

    Worse, not only were they members, they wre actively grabbing the code off the open-source hook and using it to grief people inside SL — first grabbing god-mode and stalking and harassing people; then grabbing the capacity to create giant prims, and blocking people’s land and for-sale signs and names of their sims in a whole region. And then unleashing the copy bot maliciously.

    So this isn’t just some happy hijinx from some sincere group, Raph, it’s a group with a long history of aiding and abetting griefers. There are ample transcripts from the chat in their channel now that show the malice and cynicism involved, which has rightly been condemned by the group’s serious and more responsible members.

    I’d make this case best by citing the work of the people who used Glintercept to make the fabbed avatars in RL. They, too, announced laconically in August at a metaverse meet-up that basically you can just copy anything in SL — whatever capacity you build to inport basically does the same thing to export. But they didn’t rampage thruogh the world copyign people’s stuff on the spot and gleefully enjoying their misfortune or even actual damage. Bif difference.

    The moral issues here — the lack of any moral compass about other people — the legal issues regarding the TOS — the social issues regarding such sudden, abrupt changes — these all matter, and the way this was handled doesn’t bode well for the moral climate in the future Metaverse.

    Basically, what they are saying is, “We need to grow the platform at all costs, the ends justifies the means, get out of the way, we will get to change the laws of nature to suit us”.

    People simply reject that line of thinking.

    Let me remind you, Rik, that I’m not some pitchfork bearing FUDite. I don’t say “get off my lawn”. I say don’t harm my tenants by terrorizing them with the prospect of losing all their livlihoods in a day. Do the responsible thing and break this in within 30 days by not being an obsessive zealot about defending open-source, and controlling the tweaking of the client when it happens this way. Be honest and educate people (and to some extent the Lindens are doing that).

    I don’t feel Raph gets to be annointed with the unction of being “the voice of reason” (the Lindens are tendentiously doing that by pasting him into the Educators list, etc.). This is a legitimate and needed controversy. The people on the non-tekkie side of it and the tekkies who are against the licentious and extremist libsecondlife position on this have as much weight and are certainly not ignoramuses.

    I’m so glad Random Blankes has backed me up — and I think that’s the story — that people even sitting in jobs using the technology they were supposed to lean don’t get how to use it — it’s a reality of technical advancement that tekkies may not like to study.

  86. Re: >Are you not yet aware that the CopyBot was made on commission from Electric Sheep, one of the top feted-turned-metaversal consulting companies squiring in the big business now in SL? It was made for their big client, an apparel company, that needed mannequins to dress up to work with a store concept?

    and re: >Prok, I would appreciate it if you did not spread your lies here.

    The Electric Sheep Company was not involved in the creation or distribution of CopyBot. We absolutely did not pay to have it developed nor do we have a client who is interested in using such a system. The avatars with the Mannequin first name were not created by anyone at ESC and we have no association with them.

    I am not “spreading lies,” Chris, but I reported on several sources in good faith. There are very, very troubling issues around ESC’s involvement with libsecondlife and CopyBot. You and others claim you had ‘nothing to do with it.”

    Your counterclaim that you had no Rl big client who commissioned the bot for an apparels company is accepted, and a retraction and apology on that point has been posted at the SL Herald as you know full well (therefore your raising this red flag here again show how worthless it is to try to a) report in good faith and b) correct the record and print retractions when big companies are always going to bully you anyway).

    But what about Christian Prior’s membership for many months in libsecondlife? What about his alleged, reported client who inworld who commissioned the mannequin program which, while separate from CopyBot raises similar issues and is also related to libsecondlife?

    And what about the presence of the ESC at the debut of CopyBot. When I got the pictures and reports from this debut, I sent them to the Lindens as a report about an exploit, in alarm. You all cheered it. That’s the difference.

    I’ve had to witness a great deal of loss, destruction, anger, and despair from my tenants and colleagues in the microeconomy in the last week. I have nothing but sheer loathing for cynical programmers who not only are callous to this sudden and unnecessarily brutal and harsh destruction in a few days, but those who keep cynically hectoring us about the copyability of the Internet — like web sites are all copyable when they have IP on them like people’s photograhs? Hello? Like the back-end data bases of things like Amazon are copyable, hello? Why aren’t the equivalents better protected in SL?

    There are many more questions, but I won’t tie up Raph’s blog with it. Let me say there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.

  87. […] 2. Debate with Raph Koster, loved up by the Lindens and the very griefers like Baba Yamamoto who celebrated Raph because he is breaking it sadly to the great ignorant playing in the game of SL that their stuff can all be copied. […]

  88. CopyBot, Community and Controversy…

    What a week to be away. While I was busy chatting to fans of the best MMO going, the virtual world of Second Life was getting its knickers in a twist over something called CopyBot, an application that intercepts data flowing between the Second Life ser…

  89. The whole reason the CopyBot even exists is because the Lindens *in violation of their own TOS, overriding the TOS strictures against reverse-engineering* allowed one special, feted group of people to reverse-engineer.

    Actually, my contention is that CopyBot would exist with or without the TOS, with or without the Lindens saying or doing anything, because it’s inevitable. It’s just about impossible to prevent. You yourself cite the GLIntercept folks.

    Linden Labs’ stance may have hastened it along, is I think the real core of your point. You accuse the group of having lots of griefers, and presumably think that Linden should have been more aware of what groups they were sanctioning. I have no quarrel with that point of view (I don’t know anything about the griefer groups you mentioned, either).

    Remember, I agree that the CopyBot folks have gone about this in the wrong way. I don’t actually think our positions are particularly far apart. My points on things like “the more you’ll have to use real world laws” have more to do with what you do after the eggs are broken. I’m focused more on the omelet than on how it happened. I think that even if everything had happened in a completely aboveboard way with only true saints of the community involved, that everything I’ve said would still hold true.

  90. “[R]esidents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.”

    That’s a cultural translation issue. Techies and gamers are usually familiar with the DCMA and Eula-speak. J Public isn’t.

    Ethics, legalities, and technical details of copy protection are treated as separate issues in technical communities, and it is a basic assumption that any form of copy protection will eventually be broken.

    I’ve run into a couple of Jon and Jane Publics roaming bewildered thru SL, but I had no idea there might be so very many of them there. I’m tempted to look up Prok inworld and see if I can shadow for a couple hours, just to wrap my brain around the reality of it. A large population of not-techies explains a lot of the copybot reaction.

  91. Prok, I’d let this drop if I didn’t love this blog and Raph’s work.

    We do indeed have a developer who is a non-code-contributing member of the open source libsecondlife project. There are a lot of good, honest developments coming from that project. Libsecondlife is not the same as copybot. Libsecondlife is an open source project that is reverse engineering Second Life’s network protocols with Linden Lab’s blessings. Copybot is a separate project that used the libsecondlife code to build something malicious. We are involved in libsecondlife (mostly as lurkers), we were not involved with the creation or distribution of copybot.

    What about his alleged, reported client who inworld who commissioned the mannequin program which, while separate from CopyBot raises similar issues and is also related to libsecondlife?

    I especially can’t let this accusation slide. Neither ESC, nor Christian has a client that commissioned this mannequin program. Allege all you want. You know very well someone was feeding you bogus information. This is just not true.

    I dont know why your so hell bent to pin this one on ESC. We collectively, and as individuals were not involved in the creation of Copybot. Period.

  92. Ah, flashbacks to the old days… in fact I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner & I recall asking Cory elliptically about this a few months ago.

    while there was no Business-Week-scale economy per se, much the same thing happened to the old ‘The Palace’ graphical chat environment. Very quickly after launch, a few people (myself included) figured out the local data-cache storage formats and how to fake-out the clients to retrieve items from their own caches (or others’). The informal “economy” of user-created objects, which could be traded but not stolen (that is, an avatar could give you an object by putting it on the ground, preferably in a private area — because anyone could grab it there. But once picked up, objects that were WORN could not be duplicated, so if you put-on an object given to you, once again no one, officially, could grab it). The users spent a tremendous amount of time customizing objects and designing/trading them was the primary activity of many players.

    Then someone figured out the format, and could instantly steal any object instantly.

    This was a crushing blow to the structure of Palace interactions, and it made a lot of users ticked off and they demanded various DRM schemes etc. But it changed the Palace in a way that wasn’t entirely destructive.

    Very quickly, since the value of objects could erode so quickly, the object/avatar economy quickly changed to one very driven by fashion. And the pace of fashion change was incredibly high. If anything, had someone been collecting cash for these transactions I suspect total volume would have gone UP.

    KB
    (‘Doctor Xenu’ long ago in a Palace far away)

  93. […] Raph Koster’s seminal article on the CopyBot Van Hemlock notes that this whole thing rather recalls the old Law of Online World Design, "Never trust the client. Never put anything on the client. The client is in the hands of the enemy. Never ever ever forget this." Keywords: secondlife, gaming, law, crime, internet […]

  94. Excuse me Chris Carella, but I wasn’t fed bogus information, which comes from your employees speaking within the chat on libsecondlife, those transcripts are all posted. Please explain to me how “a developer who is a non-code-contributing member of the open source libsecondlife project” is so sequestered from the malicious activities, the griefing, and the constant goofing around and victory-dancing over other people’s misfortune and status as feebs and choads unaware of the copying of their stuff.
    It’s a whole climate and a culture, and one that you cannot plausibly deny given everything on the public record now.

    >There are a lot of good, honest developments coming from that project. Libsecondlife is not the same as copybot.

    Yes, please *do* tell us about all the Tang that has resulted from this space program that benefits the breakfasts of Americans. We’re waiting.

    >Libsecondlife is an open source project that is reverse engineering Second Life’s network protocols with Linden Lab’s blessings. Copybot is a separate project that used the libsecondlife code to build something malicious. We are involved in libsecondlife (mostly as lurkers), we were not involved with the creation or distribution of copybot.

    See, this is what is completely, utterly, hilariously wrong with your thinking. Everything is copyable. Everything can be seen. Everything is interrelated. But suddenly, there is a Copybot project that is so sequestered, so hidden, so unknown in this open-source *cough* system, that you can claim no prior knowledge and no part in it. This is what boggles the mind of any reasonable person!

    You seem to think that if you didn’t sit and hump the code, that you are off the hook — when your member discussed it in chat, when your members were present at the debut of CopyBot, when you celebrated libsecondlife for months and months, despite the presence in it of dozens of known, documented griefers, *the same people who repeatedly crashed the grid and spread the grey goo*.

    You act as if there are really millions of people in SL, instead of this little festering, incestuous group of programmers all of whom know each other and chat and whoop it up constantly together and maintain themselves as an elite and cynical bunch far above the rest of us chumps in SL.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, as soon as I got the news of CopyBot when a member of your circle leaked it, I reported it as an exploit to the Lindens. Why didn’t you all? Even if you only had a status as “lurkers”?

    Re: >I especially can’t let this accusation slide. Neither ESC, nor Christian has a client that commissioned this mannequin program. Allege all you want. You know very well someone was feeding you bogus information. This is just not true.

    If you could see all the sources who are confirming this, you’d have a very big pause. That’s why I’ve been persistent. If it were only Nimrod Yaffle, I could conclude that it was bogus, or even a deliberate burn.

    >I dont know why your so hell bent to pin this one on ESC. We collectively, and as individuals were not involved in the creation of Copybot. Period.

    I do not wish to pin this on ESC. I wish to expose the fact that ESC maintained a long-time, supportive, and robust relationship to libsecondlife, and was there for the celebratory debut of CopyBot, and even had knowledge of it before Nov. 7, and yet did nothing, despite the huge destructiveness of this device.

  95. >Actually, my contention is that CopyBot would exist with or without the TOS, with or without the Lindens saying or doing anything, because it’s inevitable. It’s just about impossible to prevent. You yourself cite the GLIntercept folks.

    Raph, if this were WoW or something that got heisted by being hacked, you could say, this always happens. And it’s true, games often get cheat-hackers and they get ruined when the game can be cheated or gold-farmed, etc.

    SL was sold and is still being sold as a place where your IP is protected. They created a walled garden and claimed it would remain walled and they would enhance this ability to keep it walled by having all these togglable permission check-offs on creations.

    But as all these things like Glintercept and SLICE and CopyBot show, that’s all bogus. Knowing that, the Lindens and their pals look pretty shabby, shilling all these people to come in and create their first million sign-ups and claims of RL income from this platform, then taking such a cynical, and even belligerent attitude toward the problem.

    If we were not first fed this line of thinking, and then had it repudiated, people wouldn’t be as mad.

    I think the programmer Khamon Fate has summarized it very cogently in the thread that began the exposure of libsecondlife and eloquently in response to Jarod Godel’s support for CopyBot:

    Jarod, the central point of everyone’s angst is the betrayal of Linden Lab in supporting a mechanism that circumvents Second Life’s permissions system. It is true that right’s are not inherently violated by the ability, or act, of copybotting. It is true that we can invoke real life enforcement of our real world rights at great cost of time and money. It is very noble of Linden Lab to host our content without claiming inherent rights to it as other perveyers of virtual environments do.

    But the owners of Linden Lab have consistenly told us that their permission system is inviolate under threat of account closure. Now lab employees are involved in a project that has not only produced, but distributed, software that bypasses inworld permissions. They should’ve listened to people such as yourself years ago and developed an open client API for us to use. That would’ve provided them a buffer to allow customization while retaining the ability to block undesirable activities. It would’ve also granted them the ease of classifying any other data manipulation software illegal.

    Now it’s just a free-for-all. The reaction of the people who’ve been lied to all these months is understandable and should be treated with the sympathy it deserves.

    >Linden Labs’ stance may have hastened it along, is I think the real core of your point. You accuse the group of having lots of griefers, and presumably think that Linden should have been more aware of what groups they were sanctioning. I have no quarrel with that point of view (I don’t know anything about the griefer groups you mentioned, either).

    Raph, all the more than 25 people who were permabanned from Second Life in October for crashing the grid, spreading grey goo, and using the various exploits generated by libsecondlife for making jumbo prims, god-mode-stalkers, etc. are the people who have long been in libsecondlife. The Lindens themselves have a half dozen of their own staff in libsecondlife. That meant they, too, were in on the chats and the scuttle — and the transcripts show this on all the third-party sites chewing this over now. Over and over again, I and others assiduously abuse-reported the v-5/w-hat people within libsecondlife and the event-griefers within secondlife even with leadership roles, for doing things like harassing others in TOS-violation actionable offenses. Among the many things v-5 did was exploit the holes in the group-tools to drop malicious scripts within group-owned prims.

    The very dubious and destructive activities of all those w-hatters within libsecondlife, the callous relationship of libsecondlife to this griefing and people’s suffering, the presence of Lindens as enablers — and chat that looks like they are in on it — all of this is pretty nasty stuff that creates a social climate where people have lost faith in them.

    >Remember, I agree that the CopyBot folks have gone about this in the wrong way. I don’t actually think our positions are particularly far apart. My points on things like “the more you’ll have to use real world laws” have more to do with what you do after the eggs are broken. I’m focused more on the omelet than on how it happened. I think that even if everything had happened in a completely aboveboard way with only true saints of the community involved, that everything I’ve said would still hold true.

    I think the social havoc caused by massive loss of faith in the premises and laws under which the world operates is something you are underestimating. When the magnitude of it becomes more visible, I think I won’t have to keep arguing it.

    If you have a group of reverse engineers who operate in good faith, who don’t have a cynical attitude toward the whole notion of emulation of real estate and commodities for sale (which these folks, including Lindens do in fact have) then you have a different climate.

  96. […] Certainly having the entire game live on the server is not that radical a concept. As I have had occasion to mention lately and long ago, the default for virtual worlds, the “way they want to work,” really, is full streaming. I would be hesitant to say, though, that broadband alone can revolutionize the ways in which we develop content. Certainly it permits more dynamic content in some ways, but often that comes about simply because of streaming content that is always changing. We also shouldn’t forget (hard to, when you try going to a crowded area in Second Life!) that there are downsides to a totally dynamic environment as well: lots of latency and lots of packets coming down. […]

  97. […] Last week The Electric Sheep Company found itself smack in the middle of the Copybot phenomena (link, link, link). In a post by the Second Life Herald, we were wrongfully accused of having commissioned CopyBot as a mannequin for an apparel client. […]

  98. […] Copybot, DRM, Piracy, and how the table has turned […]

  99. […] Let’s see, what else. Skyboxes. This interesting World From My Window series of posts (having to do with people who have invested vastly more than I have in the world), and the recent “copybot” incident (having to do with intellectual property here, rather than replicants), which has gotten considerable well-thought-out commentary: You see, in something like Second Life, it’s not the megacorps who are having their stuff copied, it’s us. It’s not the big companies that are trying to profit, it’s the little guys. And all of a sudden, the same folks who likely argue cyberliberties and donate to the EFF and have gigs of video stored on RAIDs they keep in their garage suddenly feel the sting of perfect digital copying. CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us. […]

  100. […] After a night of discussing the metaverse, copy bot, libsecondlife and bottom shelf sex we adjourned to Jerry’s place where we all got school on the history of the metaverse by Bruce Damer. It was a truly spiritual experience.    […]

  101. […] What happens when one utopia runs into another? Recently, Second Life fell victim to exploitation of Copybot, a reverse-engineered program that allows players to copy items without paying for them. Raph Koster, famed designer of failed-but-ambitious online economic systems, elaborates on the point of the copybot–being able to create anything you want, without asking permission or paying money–as practically the embodiment of post-scarcity Marxism intruding on Second Life’s libertarianism. They’re being hoisted on their own petard, he states. […]

  102. […] Your page is now on StumbleUpon! For each appearance in your referral logs, one of our members has ‘stumbled upon’ your site after clicking “Stumble!” on our toolbar to discover a new great site. Enter Your URL → […]

  103. […] Koko CopyBot-keskustelun keskeisin kirjoitus löytyy Raph Kosterin blogista, jossa tämä summaa kauniisti, mistä tilanteessa on kysymys: In short, what’s happening is a small-scale social crisis that brings into sharp relief the split between the hacker-ethic-libertarian-info-must-be-free ethos that underpins much of the technology of virtual worlds, and the rampant commercialism that has actually enabled its embodiment. What we have here is a case of bone fighting blood. […]

  104. […] Second Life Discussions I’ve just been reading a very interesting discussion about a recent occurence in Second Life that is threatening to completely change the nature of SL’s economy. It has many reflections onto real life issues. On another note, I just came across a nice and unexpected little insight on Torley’s blog. […]

  105. […] Raph’s Website » CopyBot Ok, lots of talk about CopyBot, but this is worth the del.icio.us entry (tags: legal secondlife) […]

  106. […] Copybot, don't copy meHow do I copied hug? […]

  107. […] Raph’s Website » CopyBot […]

  108. […] katsoen saattaa näyttää siltä, että CopyBot on kuollut ja kuopattu, mutta täällä Raph Koster kertoo, miksi näin ei ole. CopyBotin taustalla olevia ajatuksia ei voi tuhota eikä […]

  109. […] inmobiliaria en Second Life). Unos enlacitos: – Análisis del asunto Copybot por Raph Koster: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/11/15/copybot/ – Entrevista a la magnate inmobiliaria de SL Anshe Chung: […]

  110. […] Raph Koster opines brilliantly on the CopyBot meme. CopyBot, if you haven’t heard is an open source app for Second Life which creates copies of […]

  111. […] 4 ) ** Raph’s Website » CopyBot […]

  112. […] Raph’s Website » CopyBot … with titles such as Second Life but also games like Dofus or … Esta herramienta sería para demostrar el potencial de la … src=/i/ne/test/icons/photo2_icon. … of a program or bot … aimbot download cs 1.5 adres:www.raphkoster.com/2006/11/15/copybot […]

  113. […] the CopyBot! … theory.isthereason.com/?p=1388 [Found on Yahoo! Search, Ask.com] 3. Raph’s Website » CopyBot I’ve been getting some hits from Technorati, and from my referral logs, I can tell that people […]

  114. […] this episode, Johnny hosts a round table discussion about CopyBot and the future of intellectual property in Second Life. Hosted by Johnny Ming with Torrid Midnight, […]

  115. […] of the blog-o-twitter-o-sphere a couple of weeks ago. I also remember Raph’s perceptive comments on this topic back in 2006 when Second Life was hit by the Copybot […]

  116. […] Frans on Nov.16, 2006, under Virtual Worlds Raph Koster has made a very well witten post on his blog about our current copybot issues. “Raph: All this is to some degree beside the […]

  117. […] Koster, too, sees the CopyBot dispute as signaling a larger struggle: “what’s happening is a small-scale social […]

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