I don't know about you, but I sure wouldn't want to piss off a big naked guy with tattoos and a mullet. (Or for that matter, upset a nude blonde.) In recent weeks, Second Life's content creators have stepped up their protest against a rash of theft, first with a real world plea, and now with an eye-catching campaign created by Chez Nabob and featuring top entrepreneurs posing deshabille.
The Lindens generally tell Residents who feel their content is being expropriated in-world to file a DMCA notice-- a time-consuming process that often leaves the dispute unresolved. This campaign, by contrast, raises consumer awareness, and brings a moral dimension to the issue. (Hollywood and the record industry have attempted similar efforts to little effect. Presumably, consumers are less impressed by pleas from gargantuan media companies, than those from grassroots content creators who provide the bulwark of Second Life's economy.) Or as Stroker Serpentine puts it, "[P]rojects a united front against the deluge of thievery. An informed consumer is our best ally." As the owner of the phenomenally successful Strokerz Toys and the man who successfully took an alleged content thief to real life court, Stroker (he of the muscles and the mullet) is sort of an elder spokesman on the issue. So I put this question to him: are they seeing tangible benefits to the campaign?
"It's only been two weeks so far," Stroker tells me. "It will be difficult to ascertain any definitive results at this early stage in it's release." However, he adds, "I believe any far-reaching impact on IP theft will have to come from within the design community." Stroker commends Chez Nabob for the effort-- but wonders when the actual owners of the world will get involved.
"It would be great to see Linden Lab incorporate similar materials into welcome areas and/or default inventories," he says. "Hell, even a commiserating blog post..anything! Ambivilance assumes apathy."