Tuesday, June 30, 2009

« Alien Behavior: How Moral Panic Over Second Life Policies Confuse the Unitiated | Main | Ray Kurzweil to Keynote This Year's SLCC »

New World Newsfeed: No Known Australian Government Plans To Censor Second Life, Says Linden Lab

LOLKate

I've been deeply skeptical over recent rumors and half-coherent speculations that the Australian government plans to imminently ban Second Life from that country. After just receiving word from a Linden Lab spokesperson, I'm inclined to permanently file it in the nonsense bin:

"Linden Lab has received no indications from the Australian government that it plans to block Second Life and will keep our community apprised of any developments on that front," the Linden message reads. "In the meantime, we want to assure Australian Residents that Second Life remains accessible and functioning in your region."

This is not all that surprising: there's a number of Australian organizations, including several universities, with an official presence in Second Life, there's been several SL-based fundraisers to benefit various Australian non-profit causes (like this one), and coming soon, a feature film starring several of Australia's top actors which depicts Second Life in a positive/neutral manner, all helping to make it unlikely Second Life would thoughtlessly get classified without any further debate as a mere video game to be regulated under the country's existing laws. What is surprising (and disappointing) is how quickly and how far this rumor has spread already.

Image credit: Roadshow Films, from the upcoming Beautiful Kate, dialog embellished by Hamlet.

* Roughly translated (according to this Australian slang dictionary): "I am quite surprised to learn the information about Second Life censorship is cursed nonsense."

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bf74053ef0115709f7883970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New World Newsfeed: No Known Australian Government Plans To Censor Second Life, Says Linden Lab:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Maddox DuPont

It looked like lots of HooHaa and instilled panic for no reason.
I posted this link which kind of sheds different light to blogs that publish titles like "Confirmed: SL to be banned in Australia" to gain readership - http://laurelpapworth.com/australia-bans-filters-and-government-20-taskforce/#postcomment

Tateru Nino

By the terms of the proposal, even if Second Life *were* to be blocked, Linden Lab would not be informed or have any official channel to discover it.

Adric Antfarm

I can see the worry with their recent past. They yanked their handguns away with such ease, it's not a stretch.

My far-right friends will argue crime has gone up, but the fact is there isn't a huge shift when you look at causation (minus suicides by gun going down and suicides by other means going up).

By the same respect you aren't going to see anything banning Second Life except the one thing we know for a fact did happen with the handgun ban - the Australian people paid a ton to buy back guns only to be left disgusted with their government.

Those crafty criminals never line up for those deals and if those in China find a way to see what they aren't supposed to, those who love Second Life down under would also find a way.

Lowell Cremorne

Nice work on the aussie slang Hamlet ;)

No-one will be happier than me if / when the Aust Govt confirms SL and other virtual environments will not be affected by the proposed filtering legislation. The LL announcement that they're unaware of intentions, is as Tateru alludes to, no confirmation of government intent.

There have certainly been some overreactions but there remains a very legimate concern of some virtual environments being collateral damage in an ill-thought out piece of legislation. I've written a little more on the issue for an Aussie independent news site, Crikey:

http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/06/30/the-gaming-classification-farce-and-conroys-internet-filter

So overall, it may not yet be a furphy ;)

Connie Sec

It does none of us a service that some blogs will regurgitate the opinions of other blogs as fact. It reveals a rather slack minded approach to the dissemination of half truths and outright disinformation in the pursuit of hits.

Paisley Beebe

Not to be pedantic, but it really should say "Well I'll be stuffed, all that crap about SL Censorship is just a bloody furphy" no one here that I've heard says drum...unless they are smoking it, or banging it. Also it would be far more common to hear. "Bloody Hell all that stuff about SL censorship is just a load of Bull shit!" nobody really talks like the example you gave, not since "Dad and Dave"....we don't say "put a shrimp on the barbie" that was made up for the American Audience who don't know what a prawn is...(look it up) or "Strewth" that much, or call each other "You bloody Gallah" or "Cobber" either. Any more than the Irish talk about the "little people" or Americans say Dang! Hollywood Aussie slang makes us cringe, if you watch "Neighbors" or "Home and Away" thats really how most ordinary Aussies from the main cities talk. Not really all that exotic...Paisley Oh and us Aussies would cringe at Steve Irwins "Crikey What a little Beaudy!" Style of speaking he was way out there! but we loved him, and we forgave him for his old fashioned aussie slang never the less.

ArianeB

I took a skeptical position on my blog as well, and had an Australian commenter point out that that the whole online game censoring business was a political ploy to deflect attraction away from another political scandal which also turned out to be bogus.

It was all an internal case of political brinkmanship that made international headlines.

Tateru Nino

Hmm. I'm not sure that the potential dishonesty of it being 'a ploy' makes me feel any more comfortable.

Delinda Dyrssen

Yeah Hamlet there is a lot going on in SL that is a benifit to Australians including an upcoming Jamm For Genes benefit put on by SL Musician Ohmy Kidd.. here is what it did last year.. http://delindasdiary.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/jamm-for-genes-in-sl-a-great-success/
oh also Treet TV comes to us from Australia. Cant have that be censored out..nope cant have it.. Im not going let it happen I'll stop them if I have to.. looking up Aussie govmt.. whos in charge over there?

Barney Boomslang

Oh yeah, we have a government on the verge of going bonkers and the one source you put your trust in is Lindenlab of all choices. Because, well, they are really competent on that front, right?

Living in a state that just introduced government-censored Internet despite all experts and a large part of the public arguing against it (and even completely ignoring a petition that was signed by over 130000 residents - a record in the history of german petitions to their government), I am damn sure that listening to what _companies_ in the business are saying is not really helping to get a grasp of what is going on ...

Nexii Malthus

All I have to say is, silence breeds ignorance.

Adric Antfarm

"Shrimp on the barbie" was just for us?

If I find out you really don't put beets on hamburgers or call that first meal breakie, I will be crushed.

Arcadia Codesmith

Here's the situation, as I understand it:

- Australia bans boxed games that exceed a 15+ rating. Currently there's no legal rating for content that's not appropriate for teens. Currently, online games are exempt.

- Despite our perceptions to the contrary, the wider world classifies SL as a game.

- There is a plan for mandatory Internet filtering. Millions of dollars have been invested in it already, and an extensive (and secret) blacklist compiled.

- The plan is unpopular among the public and doesn't have the votes to move forward in the legislature. It looks like it's DOA.

- But if it IS implemented, Minister Conroy has explicitly stated that it would apply to online games that don't meet the 15+ standard, if a complaint is recieved... and SL most definitely does not meet that standard.

Correct me if I'm wrong in any particular, but that looks like it adds up to a Known Australian Government Plan to Censor Second Life. It may be a plan with a snowball's chance of being implemented, but it's a plan nonetheless.

I'm attributing Linden Labs' response to PR spin, because I'm eternally optimistic that they're not that stupid.

Hamlet Au

"that looks like it adds up to a Known Australian Government Plan to Censor Second Life"

More like a known plan to censor various Internet content, which may or may not include Second Life, which is not the focus of the plan, hasn't been named by any official in relation to it, and even beyond that, as you say, has little or no public support to be implemented.

Stropp

I think Arcadia has hit the nail on the head except that this law is not specifically aimed at Second Life. There are plenty of big name games that could be affected other than Second Life, including World of Warcraft and Age of Conan; Neither have been rated, with the OFLC apparently refusing to even look at them because of the amount of user content.

Now if they do ban WoW, that will raise hell.

Struth! How much can a koala bear?

Kat Burger

Article - 25 Jun 2009
Sydney Morning Herald (Australian Newspaper)

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/games/web-filters-to-censor-video-games-20090625-cxrx.html

"Australia is the only developed country without an R18+ classification for games, meaning any titles that do not meet the MA15+ standard - such as those with excessive violence or sexual content - are simply banned from sale by the Classification Board, unless they are modified to remove the offending content."

"This means that even Australians who are aged above 15 and want to obtain the adult-level games online will be unable to do so."
-----------------
I am just as skeptical and hope SL is right and the Government here is not this stupid.

The following should also be taken into account:
- It is a 'propsal' only at the moment.
- Sale and distribution of games over MA15 is already banned in shops in Australia this is only widening that to include online.
------
*Its simple fix the classification, applications to do so have been waiting for years!*

Paisley Beebe

You absolutely have to have Beatroot on a hamburger! and yes Brecky is still very much used :) We have a lot of slang actually, and it changes constantly, ask my Perfect World staff they just don't ask any more what the hell Im talking about, and anyway I tell them lies...I give them all sorts of made up interpretations of what Im saying. They think Dag is a well dressed person who is the very height of fashion (no they don't I lied again..) ...actually when I told them the literal interpretation of dag, they all nearly threw up, before exclaiming why would a country have a name for that! and then when I then tried to explain that the term Dag is actually, (when used nicely) a term of endearment, they just decided never to ask me again what my ridiculous words meant...So I can just say what I like :)

They get the gist of my ramblings usually. My point is...most people seem to be think around the world that we Aussies still talk like we did in the 1950's...it's all our fault! because we pander to that. Knowing that the modern international world can't understand our slang...so we just keep regurgitating the old daggy slang, when we are featured O.S watch the latest film "Australia" sigh...soooo embarrassing but at least it was set in the 40's!

Most Aussies are so desperate for a gig in the states they will say whatever the hell you want us to say!

Hey do you americans still say "Swell" and "Hey Man" ?
smirk...

Paisley

Hamlet Au

"Swell" is pretty much out in the US, yes, but variations of "hey man" remain strong. "Dang" still has utility in social situations (boardroom meetings, church services, PTA meetings, etc.) where saying, say, "Damn", "Goddammit", "Motherfucking fuck" may not be appropriate.

Paisley Beebe

But I guess if I used those words in a sentence trying to "fit in" with Americans, I would be laughed out of the "joint"!

Arcadia Codesmith

American dialects are so diverse that we sometimes have differences of opinion over the proper terminology for a simple carbonated beverage.

Majid

I think we should call in the UN.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.