“CopyBot rips off Second Lives like Napster.”

HELL NO, COPYBOT MUST GO!!! HELL NO, COPYBOT MUST GO!!!

That’s the hint Second Life blogger Wagner James Au drops in his post regarding the CopyBot crisis. It’s a historical reference to the pivotal battle between Old Napster (you know, “when it was free”) and the music industry, the one where Napster didn’t become free, but a host of P2P sharing networks mushroomed in its wake, and a new word was introduced into the tech lexicon: DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT.

Or the lack of, which is at the center of the CopyBot controversy. Users were complaining that people with CopyBot could copy their info, their data, any object in the world – including the products of SL entrepreneurs. They claim it’s piracy. You know, just like someone could copy a CD and send it off to a friend via Napster, or Kazaa, or Limewire, only to have the RIAA knocking on his door in three shakes of a lamb’s tail.

You know what’s funny? This entire episode which Wagner documented recalls a lot about the debate between “digital rights” and “digital freedom”. Initially, Linden Lab didn’t really respond to complaints about CopyBot, saying, “Copying does not always mean theft. There can be legitimate uses for copying, just as there are on the web.” Same thing with music from a CD or iTunes?

Then there’s a comment to one of Wagner’s other coverage posts on the same controversy. The commenter replies:

I find it amusing but perhaps educational to see how freely people rip off MP3 or movies or applications or games, without thinking twice that they are effectively violating other people’s copyrights… but in SL, they suddenly understand what “content piracy” is all about!

When they said Second Life, they meant it. Now the same DRM battles being fought with Apple, Microsoft, the music industry, and elsewhere are also being fought, albeit on different terms and in a SL flavor of its own, in the virtual world. Next thing we know, those anti-DRM protesters may start picketing Second Life too, if Linden Lab or someone else in the game decides to impose some sort of DRM for SL properties (they recently decreed that the use of CopyBot constitutes a “violation of the Terms of Service,” backtracking from their earlier atitude).

But then, as we always say, turnabout is such sweet sorrow – as well as being fair play.

HELL NO, COPYBOT MUST GO!!! HELL NO, COPYBOT MUST GO!!!

That’s the hint Second Life blogger Wagner James Au drops in his post regarding the CopyBot crisis. It’s a historical reference to the pivotal battle between Old Napster (you know, “when it was free”) and the music industry, the one where Napster didn’t become free, but a host of P2P sharing networks mushroomed in its wake, and a new word was introduced into the tech lexicon: DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT.

Or the lack of, which is at the center of the CopyBot controversy. Users were complaining that people with CopyBot could copy their info, their data, any object in the world – including the products of SL entrepreneurs. They claim it’s piracy. You know, just like someone could copy a CD and send it off to a friend via Napster, or Kazaa, or Limewire, only to have the RIAA knocking on his door in three shakes of a lamb’s tail.

You know what’s funny? This entire episode which Wagner documented recalls a lot about the debate between “digital rights” and “digital freedom”. Initially, Linden Lab didn’t really respond to complaints about CopyBot, saying, “Copying does not always mean theft. There can be legitimate uses for copying, just as there are on the web.” Same thing with music from a CD or iTunes?

Then there’s a comment to one of Wagner’s other coverage posts on the same controversy. The commenter replies:

I find it amusing but perhaps educational to see how freely people rip off MP3 or movies or applications or games, without thinking twice that they are effectively violating other people’s copyrights… but in SL, they suddenly understand what “content piracy” is all about!

When they said Second Life, they meant it. Now the same DRM battles being fought with Apple, Microsoft, the music industry, and elsewhere are also being fought, albeit on different terms and in a SL flavor of its own, in the virtual world. Next thing we know, those anti-DRM protesters may start picketing Second Life too, if Linden Lab or someone else in the game decides to impose some sort of DRM for SL properties (they recently decreed that the use of CopyBot constitutes a “violation of the Terms of Service,” backtracking from their earlier atitude).

But then, as we always say, turnabout is such sweet sorrow – as well as being fair play.

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