Grid Expectations

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“Questionable Ethics”

My friend Vivienne Graves just directed me to an interesting posting on her blog, Second Impressions.

Apparently she and another friend happened across a store that engages in some rather questionable business practices. This particular shop sells hats, and some pretty cool-looking ones at that. Upon closer inspection of these hats, however, one makes some unexpected discoveries:

My friend Morrigan Repine alerted me to a shop owned by one Chigadee London, called ‘Couture Chapeau’, which seems to be…well, I don’t want to say ‘ripping off’, so let’s say ‘inspired by’ Megg Demina’s justly praised Chapeau Tres Mignon. Ms London has a variety of hats for sale here, some that are rather striking…but if you do what we did and inspect the objects on display, you’ll see that most of the striking detail work is not Ms London’s, but was sourced from full-perms items by other content creators. For instance, the feather detail on the ‘Faerie Feathers’ hat, priced at L$400, turns out, on closer inspection, to be the work of Mistress Midnight, from her ‘Lace Wings’.

Inspecting the prims of the other hats on display (you’ll have to be quick, as they’re all on a temp-rez cycle) reveals that the butterfly on the ‘Secret Garden’ hat is the work of Saajuk Bogomil; the feather on the ‘Petite Caponita’ hat is by Natalia Zelmanov; the tassels on the shoes on sale in the shop are by Siggy Romulus; part of the detail on the ‘Callas Chapeau’ is the work of Billie Sunchaser; and the rose on the ‘Black Rose Chapeau’ is by Logan Bauer.

~ Vivienne Graves on Second Impressions

After reading Vivienne’s post, I decided to take a look for myself to confirm what she’d written. The right-click > inspect function does not lie :p Here are a couple of screenshots I took that will back up what she’s stated (clicking them will take you to flickr where there are larger versions of these images):

questionable ethics 01

questionable ethics 02

I take a very similar stance to Vivienne when it comes to modifying items in SL. I feel that if you’ve paid for something and it comes with Modify permissions, then you are free to unlink, relink, and alter the hell out of that item if you so desire, even to the point of Frankenstein-ing it with other items… you paid for it, mod perms have been granted, and *it’s yours* to do with as you see fit.

What, however, about this turning around and reselling products that contain parts cannibalized from other content creators’ works? It is true that we see creative collaborations all the time in SL (i.e., talented animator and celebrated fashion designer get together and put out a new purse that comes with a purse-carrying AO; knowledgeable scripter and innovative builder create a revolutionary product that forever alters the manner in which people photograph themselves in SL). In these cases, arrangements between the parties involved were obviously made and agreed upon before the items were ever entered into the market.

Does the granting of mod perms on an item for sale automatically imply this kind of agreement? Can I take that hairstyle in my inventory with the mod perms, unlink it to my heart’s content (pun not intended there), re-link selected prims from that hairstyle with other prims I’ve either collected from yet other hairstyles or created on my own, and then turn around and sell my newly modified project? By granting me mod permissions on that hairstyle, did the original hairstyle’s designer grant me permission to take individual prims out of her work to place in another object for resale?

I honestly believe that common sense would answer to this is a resounding, emphatic “NO”.

October 13, 2007 Posted by | Ethics, Fashion | , , , , , , | 5 Comments