Monday, February 22, 2010

How CDS is engendering vigilantism among paranoid content creators

It didn't take long for it to start hitting the fan. Within days of releasing a scripted product that claims to 100% detect and ban users of copybot viewers, we're starting to see how this item can engender vigilantism in content creators who want a quick, zero tolerance "solution" over the lengthy legal procedures recommended by Linden Lab and copyright law itself.

What brings the point home are the comments by the sim owner whose CDS initially banned the blogger's avatar, and the very enlightened comment by a Mr. Peter Stindberg:
sabinagully said...

Hi everyone! I am Sabina, the owner of Magika. I wanted to clear this whole thing up. I hope many people get to read this post.

Arora Zanzibar have indeed been banned from Magika for the use of Neillife. Skills have taken the time to double check and it is true. Arora is just trying desperatly to clear her name, therefor this blogpost and all the fuzz that comes with it, fairly annoying if you ask me. It has come to her attention several times by other people on here to contact ME about it. She has not contacted me.
Arora might not be a frequent user of neillife, but she has been caught at some point using it. Anyone using Neillife, Cryolife, Fucklife etc is not ever welcome at Magika. There is no use blaming Skills for this. It is MY choise and my choise alone to use this system and keep her banned. Anyone who disagrees. well buhu lol.
Peter Stindberg said...

It gets even more bizarre when you see some strong advocates of shutting down 3rd party viewers in general now praising this system.

What this whole debate shows, however, is that content creators feel the pain, and feel the need to turn to take the law in their own hands out of frustration that LL does not do anything. THIS is the REAL issue here.

I do not trust a fully automated system. I work in software development and have quite a critical distance to fully automated systems. The question is not IF they screw up, but WHEN they screw up. But I can't blame a single content creator to buy and use such a system. However the deployers of such a system take on a HUGE responsibility. LL gets blamed a lot for the intransparent shoot-first-ask-questions-maybe-later process of Abuse Reports. The developers and deployers of this system seem to run into the same trap. An automated system without a clear, transparent appeal process is a loose weapon. This whole incident has made this very clear.

I am a marketing and PR specialist, and from my professional view this was a close call to a complete PR disaster. The developers of the system have a great chance to give the community an effective tool. But it needs transparency of procedures and clear communications.

Maybe this incident was a warning shot.
The plain truth here is, is that not only did Arora have to appeal to Skills, she may very well have to appeal to every parcel/estate owner who is currently using CDS, because it is designed to operate like BanLink, a previous product that engendered vigilantism among land owners. Also, it seems plausible that at no time did she actually engage in the act of copybotting. For the purposes of comparison, Linden Lab won't ban users for using copybot viewers, but they will ban a user if found to engage in copybotting or any other illegal activity. CDS, and its' growing network of users, may in effect interfere with the Lab's ability to properly mitigate copybot claims, particularly when automated AR functionality is implemented into CDS.

If CDS instead detected copybotting activity rather then copybot viewers, then there wouldn't be much controversy about it right now.

I should note, btw, that Arora was successful in clearing her name from the CDS database, after taking her case to Skills(Her name may still be in many banlists affected by CDS, though).

I should also say that I am in no way defending copybotters here, I am simply making the case that CDS poses the danger of networked vigilantism and escalation in SL. Think of a forming "JLU of content creators minus the spandex", and you get the picture.


Zauber Paracelsus said...

Anyone expecting perfection from an automated system or even from a human is foolish and naive. Perfection does not and cannot exist.

Peter Stindberg said...

If you have the patience to follow lengthy forum discussion - over at SL Universe is a debate going on about this product. One comment by its creator seems to hint at the fact that the product is able to detect specific of a user's computer (IP address and MAC address get mentioned in subsequent comments) which gets stored for further use.

At least in my country this is a clear breach of privacy laws, which consider the IP address a personal data.

However as far as my limited knowledge goes, getting the user's IP address would mean to actively have them request e.g. a music stream from a server outside LL's control, so I'd take this claim with a pint of salt.

AntoniusMisfit said...

I'll certainly go through the SLU forums as you suggested. Thanks for the tip.