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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

OPEN MIND ON OpenGL

Like so many other online worlds and computer games, SL's 3D graphics are rendered via OpenGL. A great toolkit from a developer's perspective, but in recent times, also a growing concern to the companies-- and in Second Life's case, many of the subscribers-- with livelihoods that depend on controlling the IP rights over their graphic creations. What happens to the concept of ownership in Second Life when you can use a program like OGLE to not only copy a virtual object made by someone else, but convert it into physical form? What then constitutes unauthorized copying or fair use in SL?

Lead Linden Lab developer Cory Linden just posted some initial thoughts on dealing with that challenge to his own blog, carefully disentangling the issues and proposing solutions like John Carmack after a marathon session of reading Lawrence Lessig-- or maybe like Lawrence Lessig after an all-nighter hacking a Doom III mod, it's hard to tell which. You make the call:

... As Second Life continues to grow and creations within it become increasingly valuable there is no doubt that we will continue to see all manner of behavior, including both fair use and infringement. Technology can not – and should not – sacrifice fair use in a failed attempt to prevent infringement. Instead the residents and Linden Lab must rely on law, culture, and community. Some of that exists today but far more must still be built.

One example is the concept of first use. Linden Lab is currently making changes to make it easier to determine who originally created an asset and its creation date. While much of this data currently exists, it isn’t displayed in the UI. By exposing this data, it will be much easier for residents in a conflict to be able to clearly determine which texture or object was created first, simplifying conflict resolution for all parties involved.

Read it all here.

Posted at 12:58 AM | Permalink

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