Second Life Left Hanging? *Updated*


After all the hype (see my earlier post – Link), it appears that Wells Fargo has pulled up its Second Life stakes and relocated to Active Worlds according to long-time SL resident Cristiano Midnight. The circumstances surrounding the move aren’t known yet as it appears that SL residents involved in the development of Stagecoach Island, Wells Fargo’s virtual presence in Second Life, were neither consulted nor contacted. I have to wonder if the possible security issues that came up early after the SL Stagecoach Island was announced played any part in their move (see earlier post – Link).

Of particular interest to me actually is this exchange on the SL forums:

Aimee Weber: “You happen to know if WF absconded with any non-Bedazzle textures from stagecoach? Does the AW version of this project now feature a *PREEN* I know nothing about?

Ulrika Zugswang: “Yes it does! Except now all the object are owned by Aimee Weebler.

Most likely a joke, but it does raise some interesting issues. In the meantime, here are some comparison shots posted by SL resident Cubey Terra: Pic1, Pic2 (note the similarity in the virtual product forms – items not created for or licensed to Wells Fargo)

{Update 1: Reuben Linden has posted this over on the SL forums:

In late November Wells Fargo informed Linden Lab that they would not be progressing beyond the BETA period with Stagecoach Island. They cited several reasons including cost, system requirements and the ability to seperate the Stagecoach experience from the main grid.

Having looked at the Stagecoach deployment in Active Worlds, it looks quite nice. It would be valuable to hear from Bedazzle regarding the content issues; not having been involved in their contract, it’s impossible to speculate on what the terms of use of content were.

That said — despite the dissappointment of seeing this project move to ActiveWorlds, it was a very powerful learning experience for us at LL. We are moving towards having a much better idea of what works and what does not in this type of project and also towards understanding how to handle such projects better in the future.

The main grid separation issue is interesting. For anyone wanting to isolate an island for something like product development (virtual meetings), a completely confidential and secure space is mandatory.}

{Update 2: And some contractual clarification from an SL resident involved in the project:

Just to clarify something briefly Bedazzle did sign a contract with Swivel Media that did give them the rights to use our work for SCI. All textures where provided on a CD and sent in the mail to Swivel Media. This did not give Swivel media any rights to use any creations or textures from any of the vendors who contributed and help out in SCI. We found out about SCI being moved to Active worlds yesterday morning and we where in shock to find out that it was recreated on another platform without us clearly knowing this was being done. It seems since they never made this clear to us that they did not know what we created and what was the vendors work who contributed. I did notice that some of Cubey’s stuff was recreated and looks identical to what he has inside of SL and have ask them to please remove or redesign his work. Bedazzle was not involved with this transition of SCI being move to Active Worlds and there was no third party involvement.

I figured it might all come back to Swivel Media. Wonder if it will stay with them.}

{Update 3: This most recent forum post by Cubey Terra, another person involved who seems to have had his content ripped off, provides additional detail:

For the sake of discussion, I’ll try to clarify my role in this situation.

LL asked me (and I assume others) to contribute content to a new project. In exchange for setting up skydiving pods and equipment on Stagecoach Island (SL), I would be able to sell equipment at the same spot, but at about a tenth of the normal L$ price on the mainland. I would retain ownership of the objects. It would be like setting up one of my skydiving pods anywhere in SL, as I’ve done many times before.

Later, they ran into a problem, and asked to change the arrangment. The new arrangement would be a USD amount (small) in advance from LL. LL would take copies of the gear (much the same way as regular users buy copies from me in Abbotts), and the normal SL permissions would apply. At the end of Stagecoach beta, they’d send the L$ proceeds from sales.

My only communication with Bedazzled was when they showed me where to set up the gear. I don’t know who Swivel Media is, and never spoke to any WF reps.

All seemed to have gone well until yesterday, when I found this forum thread. I logged into the ActiveWorlds StageCoach island and took screenshots. It looks to me like they duplicated the designs of my pods, the launch pads, the parachutes, and even the shelves and signage. Textures that I created myself in Paint Shop Pro now appear in ActiveWorlds somehow.

At no point did I make any agreement to give away the rights to my designs and textures to anyone. If Bedazzled has a contract that surrenders all rights to all SL Stagecoach Island to Swivel Media, this is the first I’ve heard of it, and I don’t see how I could be bound by it, any more than I can sell you the Brooklyn bridge.

Is the use of my content in ActiveWorlds covered under the SL ToS? Not bloody likely, as ActiveWorlds couldn’t be considered a promotion for Second Life.

To close, here are the screenshots again……24&postcount=35

It’s pretty clear that these are my designs and textures, to which I alone hold the copyright.

Granted these violations might seem insignificant to many readers, but the principle of the thing is far from insignificant in a rapid-manufacturing, easily-pirated 3D world.}

{Image Copyright © 2006 Cristiano Midnight}

3 thoughts on “Second Life Left Hanging? *Updated*

  1. Man, that’s gotta sting Linden Lab… I hope the contractors weren’t screwed. Likely they were contracted as Work For Hire, so there wouldn’t be any rights issues associated with portability. Very interesting stuff.

  2. You might have been commenting while I added the Cubey Terra pics, Tony. The issue with businesses like *Preen* and Cubey Terra is that, afaik, they were invited to take their pre-existing content into Stagecoach Island. Hence, there’s nothing Work-for-Hire about them.

    I’ve asked Cubey what he intends to do, but I suspect like most small businesses his options are monetarily limited. Personally though, I’d like to see someone raise a stink over these unauthorized virtual reproductions.

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