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Fashionista Open Forum: When It Comes to Copyright Concerns at Shopping Fairs, Where Do You Draw The Line?

Sadie brow raised
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Another Second Life event, another Second Life controversy, but it seems like lately the drama is just repeating itself (and no, even though the timing might imply otherwise, I'm not talking about The Arcade.) Several recent fashion fairs have had more than their share of drama over copyright concerns -- specifically, the lack of management response when such concerns are raised. Fantasy Faire 2013, an event which initially took a hard stance on copyright issues, caught some static when several participating stores displayed assets and artwork allegedly taken from copyrighted sources, including games like Skyrim. More importantly, event organizers failed to act in a way that satisfied the concerned fantasy fashionistas who had reported the suspicious brands.

Now, only a few weeks later, a familiar problem reared its head at the Home and Garden Expo. This time a brand was accused of using artwork that wasn't their own (and they've since voluntarily pulled out of the expo) but the lack of immediate action from organizers caused some friction with both designers and consumers. All of this really makes me wonder, what exactly do you expect of an event's organizers? Can their action/inaction affect your willingness to participate in their event, or do you think it all rests on the individual designers? Would you ever boycott an entire event based on an organizer, or would you only avoid a specific "guilty" brand? Where do you draw the line when it comes to bad behavior at good events?

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SLer Voices Wanted for Dizzy Banjo's SL10B Installation

Five years ago, an SL audio artist named Dizzy Banjo created a beautiful "message in a bottle" installation celebrating Second Life's fifth anniversary with the literal voices of its users -- watch and listen:

Now he's creating another installation for Second Life's 10th year anniversary, and if you're reading this, he'd like to include your voice -- go here for all the submission guidelines.

Back in the day, Dizzy created many other amazing SL installations, like this one. Since then, he's moved away from Second Life and mainly gone on to work for high profile iOS apps, like this one for the movie Inception that he made with Chris Nolan and Hans Zimmer. So why is taking time to celebrate Second Life's anniversary? Here's what he told me:

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I'm Working on My Metaverse Blog While Returning on a High-Speed Train to Shanghai from My Virtual Goods Job Because the Future

Yesterday I was on a train bound from Beijing planning out New World Notes posts by e-mail with Iris Ophelia, and the outside seen at 150 miles per hour largely looked like this:

Shanghai metaverse blog

We passed at least three nuclear power plants along the way, and several construction sites where whole high-rise city blocks were being built in the flat and barren Chinese countryside, seemingly for no one. I was coming back from Beijing where I consult for a mobile game publisher, and then it hit me all at once:

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Linden Lab's Project Sunshine Promises Faster Avatar Loading in Second Life - But Can They Deliver?


Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Yesterday Linden Lab announced Project Sunshine, a viewer update that is part of an ongoing initiative to identify and address problems with streaming and loading content (like avatars, objects, and textures) in Second Life, known as Project Shining. Several third-party viewers (including Firestorm) are already compatible with Project Sunshine, meaning that you may not necessarily need to change your viewer of choice to see the benefits... Though you'll still need to update. 

But wait! There's more...

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A Facelift for a Virtual World: Damien Fate Explains Everything You Need to Know About SL Materials

FATEwear Damien fate Feredir Materials

Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Hamlet recently pointed out to me that during my breathless coverage of what we can look forward to with SL Materials I haven't really gone into much detail about what materials are or why they're a significant step forward for Second Life design. Since most of my coverage has revolved around Damien Fate's work with incorporating SL Materials into his own fashion items for FATEwear, it seemed only appropriate to have the self-taught 3D artist break it all down...

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Linden $ Resellers Must Register With US Gov't, Says Analyst

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Linden Lab Second Life Linden Dollars

Here's a good analysis of the Linden Lab's handling of third party sellers of Linden Dollars by Alex Kadochnikov, a New Jersey lawyer who's been closely following the legal ramifications of virtual currencies in recent months. As I noted recently, Linden Lab hastily launched an authorized Linden Dollar reseller program to allow (some) third parties to sell Linden Dollars, apparently in response to new regulations from the US Treasury department. According to Kadochnikov, these third parties will have to register with the US government too:

Resale of Linden Dollars does not fit exactly under the FinCEN’s definition of an exchanger, but their engagement with virtual currency likely still means that FinCEN views them as money transmitters. Thus, under present regulations resellers have six months to register with FinCEN.

FinCEN stands for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the United States Treasury department. And connecting this to an earlier post by Kadochnikov, it sounds like registration is going to be pretty complicated, time-consuming, and require lots of legal help.

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Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs Women in Video Games Is Back With More On That Oh-So-Irritating Damsel Trope

Tropes vs women damsel in distress part 2
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Stop the presses -- I've put my second topic for today on hold, because Anita Sarkeesian has just released the next episode in her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. The latest episode is part two in a three-part exploration of the damsel in distress (Hamlet wrote about part one back in March) and it's an absolute must-watch for just about every gamer out there, male or female. See for yourself:

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This June, The Arcade's SL Gacha Festival Will Have Something For Just About Everyone

Arcade Apple Fall
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

The Arcade, one of my absolute favorite shopping events, will be opening its doors in 3 days... And I can't wait. If the name doesn't ring any bells, here's the skinny: During this semi-regular event, the beautiful boardwalk-inspired arcade build is filled with gacha machines, which dispense exclusive goodies from amazing top-tier designers at startlingly low prices. The catch is that the items are dispensed randomly, with certain items being rarer than others, and shoppers often exchange items with each other to get what they want most.

All in all it's a great place to pick up a pretty eclectic range of virtual products and, based on previews that participating designers have started sharing, this upcoming round of The Arcade doesn't look like any exception to that. For example...

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I Just Stumbled Into a Beijing MMO Cafe & It Looks Like This

So after months of being in China and on my third trip here, I finally stumbled into an Internet cafe where MMOs are played, on a random Beijing street with a name I don't remember, and it looks like this:

Beijing MMO cafe

Maybe 200 dudes (and it was 99% young males) in a wide wide room with fancy lighting, playing various MMOs at Midnight in the middle of the week. It's been a few years since the last major Chinese government crackdown on Internet gaming cafes I'm aware of, which is probably why I'm only seeing one now, but this one was wide open to the public, and you could even glimpse the gamers from the street, so I guess there's not much concern another crackdown will come any time soon. In any case, it was a quick surface glance at a world where real life prisoners must reportedly mine for virtual gold, or play Second Life on company orders, so they can find a Linden Dollar bonanza.

Oh, and the MMOs and other games they were playing?

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In Memory of SL's Vietnam Memorial, Which No Longer Exists

I was going to blog about Memorial Day-themed sites and events in Second Life, as I usually do every Memorial Day, but sad to say, all the ones I'm familiar with seem to be gone. Chief among is (or rather was) The Wall, a beautiful tribute to US service people who died fighting in the Vietnam War, which launched in 2007 and which I wrote about in 2008, and was still extant in 2011... but now, no longer seems to be. The sim is gone, as is the official website. But if Second Life land is tragically impermanent, as is usually the case, at least YouTube videos tend to last much longer.

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