Sunday, August 13, 2006

Artists on the Green -- Panel Discussion Thoughts

First of all, I'd like to thank Larry Pixel and Sasun Steinbeck for organizing the NMC discussion and for inviting me to participate as part of the panel. A big thanks also to Nimah Ash, our wonderful panel moderator, who had to handle all six of us over voice chat. :) Their official event blog is here (with audio), with a Flickr foto stream here. -- Thanks to Vlad Bjornson for providing these links.

The experience was a unique one for me, on so many different levels. Although I had interacted before with the artists on the panel, adding a voice to the avatar enriched my image of the person beyond the pixels. The brief part of the conversation that took place before we went "on air" was filled with our remarks about each other's voices. Curiously enough, we all sounded just as we had imagined, based solely on text interactions. (This would make for an awesome pshychology study)

Moving on to the actual content of the panel, I enjoyed the first two related topics about art in SL, making the clear distinction that this is real art in a new medium, and the freedoms only SL can provide. I felt that for these first two topics, each member of the panel was able to chime in with some very interesting snippets.

The waters got a bit murky when we approached the topic of artist rights and the section 3.2 of the TOS (in which Linden Lab maintains the right to use art created in SL for marketing purposes). DanCoyote Antonelli spoke very strongly against LL's partial rights over artwork and connected the issue to how a collector assesses the value of artwork. The position held by the other artists was mostly one of gratitude and amazement that they can take advantage of the opportunities of SL to be creative and to share their art with a live audience.

From what I "heard" in the text chat, there also did not seem to be a huge concern over section 3.2 because people did not feel that LL would be "owning" their art per se. Many felt that it was a fair exchange for the company providing the world to also be able to use images of content created here to promote their business. I also added that in the grand scheme of things, LL is still pretty much the only company that allows users to hold close to full intellectual rights over their creations.

While I'm sure the debate could have been carried out differently (i.e. better, more productive), the question that remains in my head is...maybe not now, but are full artist rights something we should move towards in the near future?

I'm left wishing that there had been a LL representative present, but this is perhaps another detail to consider if there should ever be a follow-up discussion.


Blogger DC Spensley said...

Dear Thea and SL Art Commnunity,

I would also like to thank the organizers at NMC for putting together this much needed panel discussion and Thea for blogging about it.

There are a few things I feel the need to clarify in public reflecting back on the discussion. Firstly I want to apologize if I spoke somehow too forcefully and for too long at times. The passion and commitment I have for artist's rights sometimes gets the better of me and I am sorry if I overstated my points. I have much to learn about public speaking and resolve to be more reserved in future situations.

Secondly I made reference to "lazy" legal boilerplate with regard to TOS section 3.2. I want to be clear here. I don't think anyone at LL is lazy. On the contrary I am also greatful for the opportunity to exhibit in SL as well. Any company who can make a build every Wednesday has my respect and the open format LL has created is a wonderful tool to explore and do good work in a variety of social issues, including artist's rights.

Lazy was a poor choice of words and I withdrew the adjective in this public forum. However I am still convinced that the SL arts community has evolved to the point where we can and should involve ourselves in self determination. This is the next logical step and I believe strongly that further evolution of Section 3.2 can be done in such a way as to be good for business for LL and good for artist's rights and perhaps even set a precident for other virtual environments to follow in the future.


DanCoyote Antonelli is DC Spensley

14 August, 2006 10:36  
Blogger Vlad Bjornson said...

I had a great time conversing with everyone on the panel. Frankly I was flattered to be included along with a lot of my favorite SL artists.

I think that an ongoing series of these discussions would be great fun - and a great way to bring the Second Life art community into focus. Sometimes I feel like we are all a bit scattered and could benefit from some sort of central organizion and more cooperation.

DC - Personally I enjoyed hearing you opinions on the TOS and digital copyrrights. I can tell that you have strong feelings on these subjects and those feelings bring about some enthusiastic responses. :P You had a lot of very valid points and expressed them well.

The hour went by way to quickly for me. It was a bit overwhelming and the voice chat took a bit of getting used to. It was great to put some voices to some of my virtual friends, tho.

Thanks for a great event NMC! Best of luck in your future endevours.

14 August, 2006 22:30  
Anonymous Medical Blog said...

I have much to learn about public speaking and resolve to be more reserved in future situations.

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