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Christian Scholz

These are also actually the most discussed issues around the interoperability working group. What seems to be the way is probably a network of trust. DRM will not work anyway, water signs have been discussed but some say that they are also unlikely to work. But of course they might open some opportunities for new businesses handling such watermark (if you trust them).

It's also interesting that SL offers so many more problems when it comes to Data Portability than the web. On the web people seem to be mostly ok with the fact that their content might be copied although of course they are also very careful when it comes to changes (I remember some lively debate on flickr when they moved from a Flash based photo display to an AJAX one, allowing to save photos by right-clicking).

I agree that these are very complicated issues and might be part of the bigger show stoppers. Unfortunately I don't see any good working technological solution either except maybe the network of trust (which of course can be broken but so can DRM and probably watermarking aswell. Besides watermarking will probably only work as some sort of proof after the stolen content is detected).

Not working on interoperability would be wrong for LL (or others) though because someday some solution will arise which has this builtin automatically (like OpenSim) and new people will start to use it. Then others might be out of business more or less fast.

Markus Breuer (Pham Neutra)

Christian, while I understand your attitude that "DRM will not work anyway" ... I am not sure if this should be accepted as a fact - given the people who are involved in the interoperability working group ;)

I don't like it either, though.

Regarding your comparison with the situation on the web - I don't think that can be compared this easily. There is a lot of free stuff on the web - and in Second Life. There is some stuff on the web, which costs money (music for example) - and this stuff is NOT available without any kind of protection. That's were the ideas of DRM and water marks stem from.

No one is forced to protect his products. You CAN give away music on the web (some do). And you can give away nice gadgets in SL (some do). But no one should be FORCED to give away his stuff, neither!

When someone decides to base his work-life on a job within a virtual world. When this business is about creating and selling digital goods I completely understand that this someone does not want to have his revenue stream throttled.

And as long as those people - some of the best content creators of Second Life - do not believe that the alternative (interoperable) platforms will protect their property they will not offer their stuff on these platforms - plain and simple. :)

Christian Scholz

I think I actually agree here. What I meant regarding the web was probably more what the Data Portability Group is tackling right now and this is profiles and social graph.

But you can also see regarding content such as music that protecting it is not really working. To make this work with DRM you probably need to have certified systems implementing some form of protection. But this would mean that an open network like the web is not the outcome then.

I also agree that those creators will not offer their products on other grids and this is why I think it should be possible to control where it goes in terms of "this grid, all grids up to trust level x, everywhere" or something like that.

But it should also be clear to everybody that all of this can be broken and your content stolen. This is due to the nature of the system and unfortunately as a business you also have to deal with that (and have that in the risks section of your business plan).

Markus Breuer (Pham Neutra)

Christian, please forgive me mentioning it, but ...

regarding "all of this can be broken and your content stolen" was something I mentioned in the initial post already. It is not my intention to propose a hard DRM system which tries to be unbreakable.

I don't like hard DRM systems myself. I have a few old eBooks from Microsoft which I can't open anymore because of their crazy DRM models. You can imagine, that this doesn't make me too happy with the whole DRM idea. :=)

My line of arguing is, that a permission system like the one implemented in the current SL, which allows the content creator to clearly state his intentions, is not a bad idea at all. I don't want to forbid anyone giving away his stuff for free. I am just arguing, that a platform should not FORCE content creators to give away their stuff for free. :) Freedom of choice is always a nice idea. Let those who believe in free content compete with those who want to sell their stuff and in a few years, we will see, which business models work best. Evolution in action.

A network of trust, like the one outlined by you, might be a good idea - if it is done right and VERY restrictively. And I still would like to combine such a network of trust with a watermarking system (actually such a system might be a necessity to easily detect bad apples in the network).

But where I definitely would like to argue against your opinion is
>> you can also see regarding content such
>> as music that protecting it is not
>> really working

At least as far as I know, the largest music shops on the web are selling DRM protected music. They are doing this for quite a while now. No, I don't predict, that this will go on forever. But iTunes hasn't been a commercial failure exactly, so far. :)

Other stores, which have moved towards DRM-free MP3s are using water marks. And the DRM-free music on iTunes is watermarked too (if I am not mistaken).

None of these systems might work perfectly. But this is unnecessary for successful business models based on them. I am not a believer in systems who are trying to achieve 100% perfection anyway - probably atypical for a German. ;)

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