PostHeaderIcon The BuilderBot Question « Prim Perfect

Prim Perfect is hosting a discussion on the "Builderbot Question" today, August 4th. My first reaction is "what exactly is the question?". And secondly, "what would the answer possibly be?"

Prim Perfects blog entry:
In the next edition of Designing Worlds, on August 4, we’re going to look at the whole BuilderBot question. We’ve lined up some interesting people to talk from both sides of the issue and we hope you’ll join us in our Northpoint studio on Tuesday, August 4 at 2pm SLT for the live panel discussion.

[From Prim Perfect]

Strui, YOU ARE D-E-A-D!

[Update: link to today's post about the discussion]

I'm sorry but I suppose I am in the minority of people who, although concerned about any copybot 'technology', just feels such discussions are really a waste of time and effort. They build-up false hopes, tend to create abrasion and rows and, in the end, often prove to be a hugely wasted effort with a lot of hard feelings left in their wake.

It is important to me that you understand I am not in any way detracting from the effort Betina and company are attempting here. I am only stating that far more often that not, the proclamation above is what prevails.

So, my reply at Prim Perfect was rather verbose, as I always tend to be no matter how hard I try to keeps things simple and concise:

"It doesn’t matter what you do, javascript, hidden framed pages, whatever: I can rip an entire web site in a matter of minutes, automatically. All of it, including every resource and even in most cases, back-end databases if I really want it.

But why? Most web sites aren’t *worth* ripping.

This is true for creation in SL as well. As a creator I have that tingle in my gut about the whole copybot paradigm. But also there are a few things that keep me calm:

First, I’m not so sure my creations are *worth* the attention of a pirate willing to rip them.

Second, though they can kill me, they can’t eat me. Meaning: they can rip the prims and textures, but not the scripts. I am fortunate in that is where the value of my creations lay. I know it is not the same foruitousness for clothing and hair creators, et al. They have more to be concerned about than I do and my ‘edginess’ is on their behalf, not my own.

Third, the Second Life grid is massive. Even if I were ripped and pirated copies of my creations were being sold elsewhere, the grid is large enough to support all of us. Besides, it means I need to get off my bum and create new things and update the old stuff – move forward. Because in truth, once created and a few copies sold, there is no further cost which in reality means it is no loss. This is the argument against music and other media and software companies. Not that I condone piracy, but I admit I feel the same way.

I want to be clear: I absolutely hate the idea of builderbot. But also, as a sim-owner, it is a massively useful tool. I use prim replicators all the time. These are the “Betamax” devices of the internet/Second Life: “though these tools can be abused, they provide significantly useful functions as to be a benefit for the public at large and as a whole.” (Betamax argument, U.S. Supreme court – I paraphrase.)

Thus, video tape was held by the Supreme Court of the United States to be legal.

There Goes My HeroCopybotting cannot be prevented.

However, a legitimate tool can have “features” built-in to help protect against abuse, such as owner permissions checks. Surely these protections can easily be circumvented by those that have ill will in its use, but at least a good faith effort on the part of the engineers and developers would be present.

I have followed the “Builderbot” discussions all around. It was stupid and foolhardy to even hint at the idea of releasing such software as open-sourced. Shame on Rezzable for inciting panic. Perhaps just a publicity sunt? I have no idea.

But I have no doubt the once-respected company has lost a *lot* of it’s luster in that one blog post alone and many, many high-profile creators on the Second Life grid have and will turn a cold-shoulder to Rezzable and all things about them. A truckload of respect was dumped away that day.

Already I’ve heard gutter-talk about Rezzable with regard to the Greenies sim. A shame, really.

Either way, a discussion can go on for days, months, years about Builderbot. The fact is it’s coming. It’s here. There is nothing that can be done short of changing how the grid works and that is to render all frames and thirty pictures a second at the server side and send to each and every viewer.

As long as the viewer assembles the picture shown, there is no way to prevent ripping. Just like the movies. Just like the music. Just like entire web sites."

Art: Zinnia Zimminy; Betty Rogan
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