Friday, 7 November 2008

Another position on OpenSpace-issue, but as symptom -and- on asking for corporate capital to control a means of production.

This text is a personal opinion of me, Smoke Wijaya, not of SLLU or another group.
Previous posts to which this post refers:

First of all, I want to make clear that I am not thinking SL is a necessity of life and till this day I have never heard anyone stating this either.

Internet and also SL are indeed “roses” to life, not “bread”. But these roses are edible and eaten more and more.

I am talking about the Internet as well, because I think that the SL world is the start of a 3D web that will be seemingly integrated with the flatweb, as well as being used more and more for augmenting physical reality. Note, Linden Lab, together with OpenSim and IBM (in the Architecture Working Group (AWG)) work towards this as well; they are now creating the protocols and standards for interoperable grids.

Unilateral contract changes and need for contract negotiation

Regarding the specific issue of OpenSpaces I have not much to say. You can read the details around this at the Secondlife blog.
What I focus on, as well as the group SL Democratic Movement, is the underlying cause where this issue is a symptom of, namely the Terms of Service. Protest of me and/or SLDM around the OpenSpace- issue is not in support of any specific group or only regarding the price hike, but in general support of the user of SL and in opposition to the onesided Terms of Service, from the belief the userbase should be an intricate and decisive part of the decisions made, because of the fact they create the world.

As we have seen with this issue, people apparently only rise up when they are hit in the bankaccount and only rise up to oppose the price(hike). Almost no attention goes to the Terms of Service, which give LL a legal basis for these unilateral decisions, without consideration with the userbase beforehand. Remember, the Second Life world is entirely created by its users; the userbase is the producer of the Second Life world, which in turn is used as product by LL (note, I am not talking about LL's product the SL Grid).

If we do not want to be hit again and again by unilateral decisions by a for profit corporation, it is the ToS that need to be opposed and changed towards acknowledgment and empowerment of the individual (communities); it is the ToS that needs to change, towards protection, empowerment and rights of the user! In short, we need to demand negotiation of contract!

The ToS articles important for this are:
"Terms of Service
Linden Lab may amend this Agreement at any time in its sole discretion, effective upon posting the amended Agreement at the domain or subdomains of where the prior version of this Agreement was posted, [...]" - SL ToS
"1.7 In the event you choose to use paid aspects of the Service, you agree to the posted pricing and billing policies on the Websites.
[...] Linden Lab may add new services for additional fees and charges, or proactively amend fees and charges for existing services, at any time in its sole discretion. " - SL ToS

Why asking for for profit corporations to sustain our world?

“[...] we should be demanding that residents are given FREE land. There is enough land for everyone to utilise.”

“Linden Lab glean a huge amount of money from corporations and research establishments. Lets take the reprehensible “Playboy” as an example. Playboy pay for a sim in SL. [...] These types of commercial sims could fund the expansion of SL – and free land allowance given to residents” - Plot

I am a bit at a loss how Plot sees the possibility of funding by for profit corporations for the many thousands of servers which are currently the backbone of the SL world.
All the 'land' in SL at the moment, is paid for by a multitude of users, from many individual users to non profits and large for profit corporations. From people that pay for small parcels of 512 sq meters, to organisations and corporations owning many sims.

Yes, Playboy pays for one sim, ONE sim. In the exact same manner as individual users pay for serverspace with LL. Plot now states that these kind of corporations should pay for the possibility of having 'free' land for others, thus for all the other sims (which will be public then or something?).
In other words, the for profit corporations are asked to sustain our world, to power our world. To power the world by means of their capitalist workings, in SL and RL. The servers and operation of them have to be paid for after all. This in my opinion is the wrong road and also exactly a leap towards what Plot opposes, namely “We are all a homogenised “consumer” and are treated as such.”. And what would happen with these 'free' sims powered by this corporate capital, where 'normal' SL users have build their SL lives and organisations on in Plot's idea, if the corporation goes bankrupt or removes its presence?

So, instead of asking for a hierarchical structure controlled by a few large for profit corporations, fueled and powered by their capital, governed by profit (as Plot's idea seems to entail), we should be calling in my opinion for decentralization of governance and hardware, selfmanagement and selfrule of individuals and communities, opensourcing of the servercode, as well as opening the SL grid, to help push SL (and the possible/probable Metaverse to come) and its clones like OpenSim grids towards a horizontally structured space which is build, governed and sustained by its constituting peers!

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

No comments: