The Project to Save Second Life™.
Now, I realize that SL is near and dear to many hearts, and people don't want to accept that it's going down the drain, and fast. However, at some point you all are going to have to accept that Linden Lab isn't listening to you. It's as simple as that. They have a business plan and it doesn't include people with the same half a dozen suggestions for change.
Each and every one of us with "SL time" under our belts could suggest (and suggest and suggest, ad infinitum) the same things over and over again. Beef up customer service. Fix the bugs. Lower prices. On and on.
It gets to be boring reading after awhile. Linden Lab is NOT listening, and they aren't about to change.
If you don't like what they're doing, stop financially supporting them like many of us have. You have dozens of other grids you can choose from. You're not limited anymore. Quit the bitching and make plans for a move.
One thing that stands a repeat when it comes to copyright: Without builders, your building materials are useless. The harder you make it for us to use them, the more likely you'll lose a customer.
Since textures and sculpts are created expressly for use in a derivative build, then they are not classified as art. Art has a whole nother set of rules and norms. What you (collectively) create is no different than paint, wallpaper, bricks, drywall, moulded frames and forms in real life. Stop trying to restrict where a derivative work can go, especially since most derivative works are made up of several elements possibly from several different building material providers. Do you see this behavior in real life? No, you don't. If I purchase your wallpaper and put it on the walls of my mobile home, you have no right to tell me I can't sell or move that mobile home wherever I want. What makes you think you have the right to tell me what I can do with my 3D model of a house? You really don't. You do have the right to tell me I can't resell your building materials as my own, even though in real life I could conceivably resell my leftover wallpaper. I will give you that point, concerning digital building materials, since they are infinitely renewable (e.g., I can use a texture more than once). Also don't be complaining that I might make more income than you if I am allowed to move my 3D house to another grid and sell it. Nothing is stopping YOU from opening up shop on the other grids and making more money. Besides, traditionally, derivative works WILL make more money than your singular building component. If you don't like the income discrepancy, then start building yourself.
Lastly, if you're a texture maker and even one pixel of your completed work came from someone else, then you do not have exclusive copyright to that texture. You are bound by the copyright of the elements you "borrowed" from. The same goes if you are a sculpt maker - if you've used someone else's map as a part or all of your finished derivative, then it's their copyright that holds true - NOT yours.
Yes, copyright CAN and IS a messy business. It is a Federal deal and most materials creators in 3D virtual worlds have no idea of the restrictions to the law, both by written law and also the ethics and spirit of the law. A lot - and I mean, a LOT - of the "requirements" that some put on use of their materials (above and beyond the "don't resell as your own" paradigm) really wouldn't hold up in a court of law. Right now, there is no legal precedent governing the movement of materials from one set of servers to another, within the same country and hemisphere. However, there are plenty covering the movement of materials within a country or hemisphere.
I steadfastly refuse to pay for any "extra licensing" to use my purchased materials on builds which may travel to another grid. In my opinion, asking for such things is gouging. Your control ends when your material becomes but one component of a greater, derivative work. Asking me to pay twice or pay more to use the same materials is outrageous. A real-life wallpaper maker doesn't tell you that you have to pay extra to use the wallpaper in both California and Nevada, does he? Nope. What makes YOU think YOU can do it and have it stand up in court?
Yes, some people would think I spend all my time griping about things, and if they think that, then they don't pay attention to all the other posts I've made talking about the things I, and others, have created.
Another good article I read explored the idea that all of us on the Internet have an "overdeveloped" sense of justice - and that we don't allow other virtues to temper it. I will be the first to admit that my notions of justice can seem harsh at times. At the same time, depending on the subject, my justice is compelled by other virtues - such as love, or compassion. I rail against abuse on the internet and in 3D worlds, whether that abuse takes the form of actions/words hurting others, false accusations, or forcing others to put out a financial expenditure that isn't really necessary for anyone's good but the person's pocketbook.
I have a great love for virtual worlds and virtual reality, and if handled right, they can be a tremendous, self-renewing, and endlessly evolving resource. It's my opinion that some folks take virtual worlds for granted - how they do what they do, what they provide, and most importantly, the people behind the scenes fine-tuning said VR. It's my personal opinion that the Founders of Inworldz handle things in an exceptional manner, especially when it comes to human relations. They never forget we're human, so we have to remember that they are, too - and they can only do so much at once. Please keep that in mind when there's a bug that's really torquing your nose out of shape. A great deal of us came from Second Life and are used to being ignored; this won't happen, here. You ARE heard, you ARE paid attention to, but things have to run on a priority basis. That basis is often reiterated when bugs are discussed. Humans can accomplish only so much in a 24-hour period. Please be gracious and caring.
I see an overdeveloped sense of justice in the endless debate over freebies and virtual economies. I also see fear, especially in those who keep insisting that "too many" freebies is bad for a VR economy. Bad for whom? Certainly not bad for those who benefit from the freebies. Quite frankly, a VR economy could run strictly on freebies. Arcadia on SL proved that. Virtual worlds don't exist for the express purpose of giving you a source of income. They exist for community building and content creation, first and foremost. Giving something away is not a sin, and if that's what you want to do, don't let others stop you. Anyone who tries to pressure others into always putting a price tag on their things are doing it out of fear that their own product won't sell. That fear belongs to them, and not to you. Make them deal with it, you do your own thing.
Let's run with the idea that a VR economy doesn't exist for the express purpose of its citizens making money off one another. How about a barter system? If I fix your scripts you could give me textures, or an object, or a thousand other things. Interdependability. Community sharing. We could have just as much content creation and mutual benefit from trading as we could by selling - the only difference is that you don't generate a real-world income.
Second Life made it necessary for people to have a trade, or a store, or product(s) to sell (including land). Unless you had an endless supply of RL income to pour into things, you couldn't afford land, building materials, etc. without having a source of income. Other virtual worlds are far less costly and more within the grasp of your average artist or hobbyist. It becomes less important to 'chase the almighty dollar' on those worlds. Can you (collectively) let go of your SL-fostered ratrace mentality long enough to recognize that you don't have to generate an inworld income, necessarily, to do the things you want to do? I'm slowly letting go of mine, and what I do have for sale does not tax me to the extent that it did on SL. On SL, it became a matter of survival. On Inworldz and other grids, it's a nice thing to have, but it's not necessary, especially with the idea of barter. Bottom line: If you cannot afford your land out-of-pocket on a non-SL grid, then you probably shouldn't have bought it to begin with. Let yourself relax and stop counting how many dollars you can bring in. Don't we have enough of that in the real world?
Yes, I sell things, rent out land, and shop space. Most of my income never leaves world; instead, it gets ploughed back into the economy through purchases of goods, services, and building materials. If it does leave the economy, it gets ploughed back in via tier. This gives me the freedom to create what I want, including builds and installations meant for art and pure enjoyment.
I didn't have the luxury of creating things on SL for the sake of pure enjoyment; everything I spent prims on had to have a purpose, due to limits. On Inworldz, I can do that, and I also have the freedom of creating free stuff that makes other people smile. Several of my utility scripts are in the Scripting Library in the forums. I rewrote the code for a free popular texture organizer and got it to work, and it was one of the first to be offered for free. I've created many helpful gadgets I give away for free. The free things I give away or create for the enjoyment of all gives me a sense of fulfillment I can't get anywhere else.
Cross genders. Furries. Tinies. Other critters. A lot of people enjoy being these things, and there are just as many people who are squicked out by the very thought. I believe it has everything to do with what you see as the use of a virtual world. Is it a 3D dating service to you? Well, then that which departs from a "realistic human" standpoint would give you a lot of squick. Do you roleplay? Then all these things have much less of a squick factor. Do you see VR as a way to express yourself in every way possible? Then you may go so far as to be an animated bowl of jello, like a friend of mine. Or perhaps a projection on a phantom wall, as an avatar I once witnessed in SL. Little robots, creatures, plants, you name it, and you could express your very self with it. Virtual reality isn't just for dating - it's for exploring the parts of ourselves we can't express in a RL setting.
The next time you feel a "squick factor", ask yourself why. Does it offend your real-life sensibilities? Why? Is it that you can't imagine yourself as anything BUT human or is it that you are "looking for love, in all the wrong places"? If it's not these things, and nobody is forcing you to be something else, then why let it bother you?
I remember standing in an SL job center updating my ad boards when some overdeveloped bohunk of a man, who looked like he just walked out of the local bodybuilding gym, IMd me and said "Lose the tail and I have a job for you". Now, my tail is a part of my main character, which is a faecat. Second, I wasn't looking for a job. MY reaction to this guy was one of offense. I chose to ignore him and continue with what I was doing. However, how many other people would've "lost the tail"? For me, it wasn't a fad, it was an integral part of how I express myself in virtual worlds.
Now as far as people playing cross-gender characters. There again, is this a 3D dating service for you? Why else would it matter to you if a person's avi gender matched their RL gender? It shouldn't matter unless you have some notion of a future RL romantic relationship with this person. In fact, I admire those who have opposite-gender avis and play them well.
Let's wrap this up with a look at the freedoms that VR offers the disabled or other-abled (depending on your level of political correctness).
I am a disabled person. Without going into what's ailing me, let's just say that I don't walk much and I don't get out much. A part of my disability is social; I tend to deal better with people in VR than I do face-to-face, again, for several reasons I won't go into here.
I know many others who are in likewise situations; some worse, some better. All of us find an uncommon freedom in virtual worlds that we cannot have in real life.
I can run, tumble, dance my ass off, fly, look fantastic, be any shape, color, size I want. When I was younger I could do the physical stuff, but I can't anymore. It's only in VR that I can be a shapechanger. I love it and I will often experiment with different looks, even as I eventually return to my "basic" look of hominid faecat. I've gained weight in real life; in VR I can be as skinny as I was when younger. I can even be male if I want to be, or no gender at all. The possibilities are endless.
I have a far easier time making friends online. Some people would consider that "sick" and tell me to get therapy or something, but it's only online that I can have friends from literally all over the globe. I enjoy the exchange of culture, outlook, and beliefs. I've learned far more from the people I've met online than I ever could have learned from the people in my own neighborhood.
A part of my problem dealing with people offline has to do with them having to deal with the real me, and all my imperfections. As 21st-century as most people consider themselves, they still have a long way to go in terms of accepting other people just as they are, without prejudice. My teeth aren't perfect. I'm obese by most people's standards. I can't walk much without having to rest. I look younger and healthier than I really am, which makes people frown at me when I park in a handicapped slot - it's like they think I'm using my mom's placard or something.
I am socially inhibited for many reasons, which adds more difficulty to face-to-face encounters. For one, I am a geek/nerd/whatever-you-want-to-call-it who doesn't find it unusual to be up to my elbows in a computer, or working on code. Even in this day and age "we" tend to be outsiders and loners. I am also a natural Empath and, for all my personal shielding, I am still impacted by the thoughts and feelings around me - and if you know anything about empathy and telepathy, then you know that what you pick up from others is often not very nice. I exhaust easily when out in the real world.
I've been put down for the amount of time I spend on my computer each day (more hours than I can tally). And yet it's a whole world to me, with an incredibly rich resource of information. I'm always learning, and especially from my fellow cyber-explorers.
Virtual reality is the perfect place for anyone who is disabled or socially inhibited, not only as a "safe" social space, but also as therapy. In fact I've heard that some therapists actually recommend immersion in virtual reality to explore, and deal with mental and emotinal problems. You can "test things out" safely and discard them if they don't work. You can be AS social as you like or as isolated as you need be.