Second Life's "virtual economy" begins to fold on itself.

Second Life faces threat to its virtual economy - PC News at GameSpot

I'm not going to say "I told you so":

"The controversy gathered steam Monday when Linden Lab, which publishes Second Life, posted a blog alerting residents of the virtual world to the existence of a program or bot called CopyBot, which allows someone to copy any object in Second Life. That includes goods such as clothing that people purchase for their in-world avatars, and even the virtual PCs that computer giant Dell announced Tuesday it is going to sell in the digital world."

I can't help but laugh at the statement that "The essence of the creativity in this world is largely because of creators and their work being protected". That is utter garbage - the essence of creativity in that world - or any world - is due to the innovation of those who challenge and change the way we think of our systems and of ourselves - those like LibSecondLife, the group that created CopyBot. I'm fascinated by how these Second Life "content creators" (ahem...) are so passionate about protecting their DIP (Digital Intellectual Property".

If any of them had read the Second Life Terms of Service, maybe they be able to lift their hands off their keyboards for long enough to realize that nothing they create is really theirs anyway. It belongs to Linden Labs, and when Linden Labs pulls the plug on Second Life, everything they've ever "created" disappears. Of course, the same could be said of blogging, podcating, videos, etc... but it's a lot harder for someone to "pull the plug on the internet" than for one corporation to do so on itself.

Here is some gold from the comments:

I'll stick to Animal Crossing and W.o.W., which are about as virtual as I think I want to get.

I just can't feel too sorry for these people. They create content and objects for a digital, fake world. I don't care how real or immersing it may be its still just a computer program run by some company. If they like digitally designing objects so much why not go work for a company that does it for real? Honestly these "digital economies" kinda scare me. Do we really need to bring all the retarded crap of our real world economics to our games and virtual worlds?

In other news: making a living off of a video game is probably a bad idea.

Second Life is mainly populated by weird people who like to have sex while dressed up as animals.

It's funny to me that people seem to think that because money is involved that all of this content is guaranteed to be "protected".

If you're not doing well in life and want to escape to a fantasy world, where do you get the money to even do that?

The first option is to stop playing this game. Once their revenue is affected, the developers will find a way to stop this.

Not totally related, but since Dell is making virtual computers for SL, you theoretically could be using your computer to play SL, while your avatar is using his virtual computer to play SL, while his avatar is using his virtual computer to play SL, while his avatar is using his virtual computer to play SL, while...

So, without being able to charge people, people can't be creative? That's a pretty stupid assessment of where creativity comes from. I sincerely hope that creativity doesn't come from money. And I doubt it comes from exlusivity either. I disapprove of SL's entire paradigm.

I don't play second life, but if I did I would start a fascist secret police force that would hunt down and "kill" people using copybot. Hehe, that'd add some spice to the world. And we'd even accuse people not doing it, plant evidence, and use the program ourselves. Then the Second Life citizens would revolt and there would be a massive uprising.


Thursday, November 16th, 2006
vieux bandit's picture

"I sincerely hope that creativity doesn't come from money." hee hee: I wish that person was willing to prove his/her assumption by giving me lots of money. Y'know, just to see if my creativity would go up or down:-)
My guess is down (unless shopping is an art and paying overdue bills is creative - but for the experiment's sake, I'm willing to try and add creativity anywhere!), then up (by the time I get a maid to do all that shit that prevents me from being creative in the first place). I think I'll need a few mill', though, because everyone would want to know the real truth about this, and a thorough experiment is thus required. Say, over a few years?

Thursday, November 16th, 2006
stevenmansour's picture

Well put - But I think mine would go down and stay there... there's a reason most of the best artists, writers and philosophers ended up destitute. Not that I'm a great artist or visionary - just that I'd want to emulate one.

To put it another way... Britney Spears won't ever compose a symphony like Daniel Steibelt. The artificial value we feel the need to prescribe to everything - the physical and economic embodiement of our innate greed - to keep our economic systems running smoothly precludes great artists from really spending the time to develop a labour of love.

True creative specialists and generalists don't have the time to be concerned with money, and therefore don't seek it as a reward - they're too busy being creative to have the time to spend it anyhow. :)

Saturday, November 18th, 2006
elizita's picture

In deed, I agree with Steven. Having the pleasure to spend much time with poets, writers and artists of all venues.. I have noticed that most truelly pasisonate ones are often of very few means. Some have to work at something else so survive and therefore they enjoy and make the most out of the little time they have left to dedicate to their true passion ... art.

 I would agree that money gears away from the essence of one<s creativity... it helps with the little needs and the superficial things and basic ones.. but it cannot buy the need to write about one's experience.. and that is very often where inspiration comes from. Most truelly moving poets I<ve found have gone through hell and more.. they survived.... and are telling of their passage.. they share with us a feeling that bares no price tag, nor time frame. It is the essence of an experience, something universal byond sex, time, gender, money, social, class and often culture...

 I am myself caught in that constant battel between earning a living and living what I have earned. As a promoter and someone who cares about making authors known and helping them survive through art, I do have to make ends meet, for myself and others... weakth is not easily attaignable.. but an ideal of balance between what is necessary and what is plosible can be met.

 Therefor, I would agree with Steven that...most often we are not concerned with money, we have no time to spend it. We merely look for means to make another project come true and then on to the next initiative... another idea, trying to make the creative world a better place, making space and creating dialogue for peace and better understanding...;0)

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
vieux bandit's picture

I'm still not convinced (although I agree about Britney and her symphony! But it's a question of talent, not cash), in the sense that the starving artist is a myth - oh yes, one that is entirely based on reality, I know! - but a myth nonetheless in the sense that with money or without, an artist at the core will remain an artist (but imagine all that could be accomplished if creditors stoppoed calling or the phone was... reconnected!). Just like there is a myth that ties insanity and art/artists, but being crazy is only cool/creative/fascinating when you're not (believe me). In Québec, there are only a handful of authors who live only with their writing (in French anyway), and their work is not less creative/valuable because they own a house or what (let's face it, none of them are rich-rich). All of this has less to do with a link between creativity and money than it has to do with who people are. Some seek money for itself, some for fame or insane rewards, others (me!) just so their stress level can go down and they can go on living their simple life, and *gasp* have time to create. The little time that is left after non-passion related work also has to be spent on other things that artistic creation (kids, cooking, whatever) that can end up leaving one completely empty and unable to create (I know cubicles have that draining effect on me). Perhaps true artists are more likely not to seek money for itself, but I have a hard time believing that *some* money wouldn't free up a lot of time and energy so that, in fact, they can live and discover and invent and, in the end, create. Is the system smart/fair/logical? Well... no. But would money increase creativity? I still say yes, but not directly - only because it increases the freedom to do what you want with your time. It's more about the time/energy that money allows. (imho, always)
(About artists going through hell and more... I'd argue that most people who have not lived any hardship - oh yes there are lots! - are not very interesting, artists or no.)

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006
stevenmansour's picture

Well, obviously we all need money to survive. But that's because of the socio-economic systems we've built around us, and most artists are sufficiently aware of and disgusted by them that they choose to ignore them as much as they can, which leads to the starving artist dilemma - which is not a myth, I've found.

Insofar as freedom to do what you want with your time, sure, more free time = more time to create. But that's due to the aforementioned socio-economic systems, and not due to some inherent quest for money on the artist's side.

We agree in principle it seems.

Monday, November 27th, 2006
vieux bandit's picture

As usual;-)
I personally have been on a quest for an impotent sugar daddy to support my creation. Not a very active quest, by all means. But within the socio-economic systems in place, I find it sad that the philantropist patron is a dying (dead?) breed. It was (granted, for the fortunate few) a good enough solution. Now we rely on the state to do that, to provide something for artists, but the state is just a collection of people, and it always ends up being up to a jury of "peers", with all the inside games that can entail. *sigh*

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