Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Snapshots and Suits

There's talk (and has been for quite some time now) about the potential of screenshots in Second Life. Specifically, the potential for lawsuits! We can't get enough of those. If there is one thing SL has a definite lack it's lawsuits.

The idea is that your snapshot will inevitably contain images of another's work. And since it's a virtual image with virtual pixels and all that, the snapshooter committed the grand sin of theft and copyright violation. Especially with builds, which people seem to be treating as 2D paintings rather than the three dimensional experience they are supposed to be.

Hey, remember those days? The good ol' days when a good build would attract everyone, be blogged about, have billions of pictures taken of them, and be fondly remembered forever and ever. No one seemed to complain and people still seemed to make a living. I can't recall Light Waves banging on my door demanding I forfeit up some cash for the three or so screenshots I took of his builds.

There's no standing for such measures. A snapshot is a snapshot. Even if the intent is to be artistic, I don't see Campbell suing Andy Warhol. And Warhol was nothing if not intent on making a buck. Just because your super special awesome build or toy is in the frame does not mean you can sue me into oblivion and back because I didn't properly credit you if you even allow it at all.

I guess this is an overreaction to the fact that rights can be trampled easily in Second Life. When copybot can swoop in and steal everything (and even just regular ol' people imitating your creations), you lash at everything and possessing digital images of your work becomes a fair target. But I think we all need to step back and consider what is acceptable use and what isn't before we turn on each other and ruin the whole pot.


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