A Family Divided

In January of 2004 I met a guy online who would become not only a relationship partner but a business partner as well. He was an internet DJ who supported me and helped me immensely to become one as well months on down the road, despite my fears and shyness. In September of 2004, roughly two months after becoming regulars in Second Life we scrimped and sacrificed in RL to start a radio station known as RockNGames Radio.
We made tons of friends, many who also went on to become DJ's eventually, played numerous legendary venues and events, and even won awards. Popularity waxed and waned over the years, but we survived new eras, new clubs, new crowds and several server changes.
Though we discovered our relationship was better kept at friendship and though I wstepped down as manager over a year ago, Nog and I still remain close friends and talk often. And while my presence is practically non-existent, RockNGames will always be a part of me. RNG had something very special and unique about it. While other radio stations came and went, DJ's switched stations like their underwear, and drama seemed to abound, RNG was different. It truly was a family...a family who stuck by each other, supported each other and was always helpful to each other.
Sure, we've had DJ's come and go, but we have a longtime core group who has stuck by us through all incarnations...when they need a break, they know they will be welcomed with open arms if/when they are ready to come back. Someone needs a slot for a special event...wish granted. And though our dream was always to somehow be able to compensate the DJ's for all their hard work and time, they understood that it was a struggle for us to even pay that bill each and every month and even stepped up to the plate when times were simply too tough. It didn't matter though...this wasn't a "job", it was family, it was damn fun and nobody was going to let it die.
We've had the rare bad apple come and go, and I admit as manager I did make decisions at times that affected people more than I realized...especially towards the end, and Nog I'm sure will admit his "tone" was a bit harsh at times (on the rare occasions I actually untied him LOL). It's hard, if not impossible, to please all the people all the time. But we did our best.
We had a very lenient, hands-off approach to the station, which was only possible because we worked with such incredible people. Sure we wanted to be big, to be known, and we probably were more so than we even realized. But even a little bit of fame is bound to come with a price at some point or another.
Now I don't honestly know exactly what's been going on to cause dissension in the troops but I am not going to sit back and let y'all, my family, think I don't care. I DO care, and I may not have the answers or the solutions, but I care and it completely tears up my heart to see what's going on.
After four years, it's not just a game...the RNG Family has a bond that should not be torn apart after all this time. Every single DJ has made a CHOICE to be a part of RNG for no compensation other than personal tips. I am proud of our station which is going on FOUR YEARS, but much more I was proud of our FAMILY, both old and new. To those who make the choice to move on, I hold no ill feelings whatsoever, only sadness which I think is understandable. And to those of you cursing me out right now for speaking up when I've been "gone" for so long, I understand. I just want to thank each and every one of you for everything...every shift, every hour, every moment you gave to RNG. The longevity of RNG has outlasted my wildest dreams. No matter where you, go, who you DJ for, please just don't ever stop being family.


n00b. And other stuff.

I cannot believe what a freakin' n00b I am. I just "discovered" in this past week that if you rez an object, such as a purchased outfit, choose Open, then Copy to Inventory, that it makes it's own folder. DUH! I remember when they added the "Open" option, but had no idea of the usefulness.

Do ya know what I have been doing? Creating a new folder, naming it, then highlighting all the stuff and moving it to new folder. I thought if I chose "Copy to Inventory" that the items would get pasted God-knows-where and I'd have to reorganize anyway.

Sigh. Better late than never, I s'pose.

On an unrelated note I was pretty sick a couple weeks ago, hence my blogging hiatus. And all my fashion related stuff is now over at The Rummage Box with a buncha other crazy chicas.

As for the IP theft lawsuit I have been blogging about, things have been relatively quiet other than the public "outing" of another theiving accomplice over on the oh-so-juicy, drama-soaked Brutal Honesty blog; which I am not going to link here, find it yourself :-P A lot of us already knew about her but their post certainly helped bring more awareness.

I have written about the case in a rather fair and somewhat professional, just-the-facts-ma'am manner, but I'm in the kind of mood where I just wanna be blunt for a moment: I hope these scumbags rot.

Some of SL's greatest content creators spend hours upon hours, even days, perfecting their designs. The fact that some people defend the actions of these thieves and can't see the big deal over it just completely blows my mind. Then you have the other bunch, the ones who try to compare it to MP3 file-sharing; it's apples and oranges. I won't go into a diatribe on WHY because it's been hashed and rehashed. Based on the facts and evidence that have been presented it is theft, plain and simple. Do these people sleep well at night? Do they even feel a twinge of guilt each time they dole out yet another box full of hundreds of stolen items?

I am, and have been, just so damn ANGRY over this. Theft has been in SL for a long time, a skin here, a retextured outfit there; but to witness such magnitude, the massive amounts of content involved in this case, is just maddening. I am not a content creator so it's hard to imagine exactly what kind of feelings they go through to find their hard work stolen. I imagine rage would be one, yet all the plaintiffs have managed to keep their composure and fight this the legal and professional way. Can't say the same for the defendant who says "it's just a game" and sits on his latest alt (alts?) going about his business without a care in the world.


More on "The Case"

So it has hit the Associated Press which means you can find it just about everywhere: from newspapers to radio to TV, and of course all over the net. Some insightful discussions can be found on many of the SL forums, including SL Universe, Second Survivor, and the official SL forums (until the thread gets locked LOL).

I am going to add a link category (not right at this moment...but soon) to the side bar with bookmarks to media, blogs, and anything else related throughout this.

Be forewarned if you tend to get defensive about our Second Life. As usual, you have the naysayers, the ignorant, and the uninformed. It's extremely difficult to explain what Second Life is and isn't, and anyone who has tried will echo this sentiment I'm sure. And we always seem to carry a stigma due to the sexual content, which inarguably is a thriving portion of SL, but contrary to popular belief is certainly NOT a part of everyone's SL.

In the comments on today's Washington Post, the notorious Prokofy Neva claims to be the one who "broke" this. Well, fan or not, give the devil his due because he DID post the first related article that I know of on 10/22.

Next SLNN, Virtually Blind and SL Insider followed suit (no pun intended) and surprisingly, without much fanfare or comments. I tend to think this situation has thrown a lot of people for a loop.

Enter the New York Post on Sunday morning, complete with RL pic of the defendant, as well as quotes not only from him, but also a couple of the plaintiffs.

Monday morning is, of course, when everyone wakes up and gets back to work...google the case in question and you'll come up with several pages, both notable and not. Most feature the same AP article so it can be a bit of a scavenger hunt to find the ones featuring original reading. Information Week has one, as does Game Politics.

Your most intelligent discussions thus far though have come straight from our community in the aforementioned SL-related forums. They are not just "SL pwns vs. SL is teh suxxor." There is a lot of food for thought and copyright/DMCA/IP rights, etc going on.

I leave you with this: Let your favorite content creator(s) know how much you support them for the time and talent they put into making our world more beautiful everyday. Without them, we'd just be any other of the bunches of "virtual worlds" of which none even compare (or at least not yet) to Second Life. Be thankful for what we do have. And to those who say "get a real life"--I wonder what they did tonight after 10 hours of work for their lower-middle-class pay? Most likely they watched the boob tube and/or sat here trolling for stories to leave more scathing, uninformed comments on. I choose RL with a healthy dose of SL, where interactivity and creativity abound. I think DoC sums it up best with his store slogan: Your only limitation, is your imagination.


First Free Agent Fashion Post!

So my first fashion related post over here on the new blog. For the time being, this is where you will find me showing off my fashion faves, a hobby of mine dating back to June of 2006. And who better as a first choice than one of the best veteran SL designers, Nephilaine Protagonist of PixelDolls?

Neph has been mega-releasing again lately, everything from HUD-hair to HUD-skirts, but it was these corsets she released a few weeks back that I adored most. I was actually shocked to not see them much, or even at all on the Fashion Planet feed. Intricate texture work, vibrant colors, multiple layer options and always affordable prices make these corsets a wardrobe staple. They are part of her Autumn 2007 Collection and will remain available in-world until the hoghly anticipated release of her Winter 07/08 Collection.

Showing only three out of several varieties and colors from left to right are Athene Corset: Embers, Stephanie Corset: Blue, and Fortune Corset: Jade.

(Click for larger image until I get this cotton pickin' thing figured out)



The rest:

Hair: ETD-AVEDA-Short Crop

Skin: Jessica-Golden-Smokey Disco from CAKE

Gloves: Black Leather Gloves-Long from Tete a Pied

Jewelry: various pieces by Siyu Suen of Illusion

Hat: Adore a Fedora by Launa Fauna

Tattoo: Phoenix Hummingbird set by Rhiannon Boronski of Primal Art

The Real Consequences of Virtual Theft

Theft of Second Life content creation has been a growing illegal industry and creators have long been frustrated with the difficulty of protecting their products. In many cases Linden Lab has been contacted, DMCA’s (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) have been filed, and in some instances content creator’s have stopped creating altogether or felt so disheartened that they’ve left SL entirely out of frustration.

Things are about to change as a group of well-known designers and creators have taken real life legal action, straight to the US District Court, seeking to set a precedent and to send a message to those residents who are acting illegally by copying original designs by means such as taking advantage of what some have claimed as longtime, well-known exploits.

Utilized as a last resort, filing suit should prove to be the most effective means to settle matters of this sort, however it can be quite an undertaking. But what options are SL’s creators left with to protect their items, creativity, and in some cases, their livelihood? Linden Lab has stood by their claim that SL is not a game. For those that disagree, content thieves especially, game’s over.

In this instance there is not only copyright infringement, but trademark violation as well. It is up to each individual how far they want to go to protect their business and designs, but it can be done via incorporation, as well as by filing the appropriate trademark and copyright claims.

In SL’s few short years of existence the population has exploded, especially in the past two years, and just like the real world bad seeds do inevitably exist within the confines of this virtual community. While the lawsuit in question may not be particularly about seeking monetary compensation, more importantly it should serve as a wakeup call. Exploits do not give you a right to steal or an excuse for doing it. Just because you own a gun, that doesn't give you the right to shoot anyone; just because you own a sports car does not mean you can drive over the limit.

It is my understanding that the defendant was given ample opportunity and reasonable time to settle this matter privately. He continued his non-compliant stance and claims of innocence even after being presented with what many will view as unquestionable evidence, much of which is available to the public via this Flickr collection. Does this appear to be activity of someone who is harmlessly cleaning out their inventory, or someone legitimately holding a yard sale? It is also important to note that several of these images show large quantities of copies from creator’s who have never given wholesale/resale rights.

For more info and details visit Virtually Blind, as well as this Google Document that went public this morning outlining the actions over the past 6-plus weeks that ultimiteley led to the suit being filed just a few days ago.


Feelin' this out

I have never used Blogger before (or if I have, my high school antics and older age have caught up and affected my memory), and can't say yet if I will continue with it. Time will tell. So consider these first couple of posts a trial run. Please forgive the current blank and default looking style until I figure out what's what.

On first glance, it appears to be simplified enough but I tend to lose patience and crave instant gratification. I guess this counts as my third blogging venture (technically my fourth but only because my first one was moved to it's own server) in regards to Second Life anyway.

You may or may not know of me from the RockNGames blog and the M2 Fashion Angel's blog. If you do, thank you for visiting and dealing with this latest location change; and if you don't, welcome! To everyone, I hope you enjoy your visits and I do welcome comments and discussion.
Speaking of comments, I currently have them set to moderation, only because my original WordPress blog got out of hand with spam and I spent quite awhile deleting a stack of 5000 last night. So, like my title, I am feeling this out.

*distracted* ooo Dane Cook on Jay Leno...brb

Ok, commercial.

No, sorry...distracted again by SL jeans.

And Dane is now back. Hold, please.

I guess SL is like RL with things changing, evolving and growing. In SL though things seem to happen in a much quicker time frame. I haven't quite figured out the reasoning behind that phenomenon yet. For myself, even though I have loved all 3+ years of my SL as a whole, it did have some bad effects on me for awhile (a lot of escapism) but that eventually turned into a wake up call and after 2 years in I started to get my act together and am now in the best frame of mind and health that I have been in all of my adult life. I was lucky. Some, not so much.

I watched CSI:NY last night--the mega-hyped episode based around SL. And while I got a kick out of seeing our world there on the boobtube for millions that have never heard of it, it was also a bit scary. The basic premise (RL murder via SL stalking) is really not all that far-fetched.

*distracted yet again* Chris Cornell (former Soundgarden and RATM) on Jay Leno now. I got stabbed for this man way back in the day! LOL But that's a story for another post. Oh I dig this song. It almost sounds like a cover tune, though I can't quite place it...

Well, I think I've overstayed my semi-introductory post, not to mention it's definitely my bedtime. Thank you for surviving through my (undiagnosed/self-proclaimed) ADHD...here's to many more!