Monday, July 7, 2008

Concerning Open Content, DRM, and Second Inventory


This post is to address some concerns expressed by one of my colleagues with regard to my mention of Second Inventory in my last post.

Having come to grips with my reactionism in response to what felt a little bit like an attempt at censorship, I came also to a realization that to a degree he was right - I had made certain basic assumptions that not everyone is comfortable with.

As far as I am aware, Second Inventory does not allow it's users to copy content that doesn't belong to them; let me be perfectly clear for the record when I say I certainly hope it does not. I don't use it myself, being strictly a linux person.

I have every reason to believe that the tool was being used responsibly by the parties mentioned in this context in my prior post. As far as I know at the time of this writing, there are two viable ways for moving 3d content inter-grid - the copybot and Second Inventory. Both are tools; as such, they are meritorious only according to their usefulness. Like the hammer and the saw, they can be used in both constructive and destructive ways. The good or bad is in the hand that guides the tool.

I did not mean to either personally nor on behalf of anyone at,, or endorse content theft, content theft techniques, or any other sort of encroachment on anyone's rights to the legal use of their property. Nor do I anticipate changing my stance on that in the future.

That being said, however, I will continue to promote increased knowledge of tools and technologies useful for the ethical use and reuse of content in the most effective and efficient methods possible, and decline to take responsibility for the actions of the disaffected and despised who surely earn their infamy through their deeds.

With Kindest Regards,
James G. Stallings II
aka Lazarus Longstaff/Hiro Protagonist/daTwitch


Shenlei Winkler said...

Hi James -

Second Inventory's creators were actually very conscientious about making sure every one's digital rights are protected.

You can't backup something you don't have full permissions on. The tool itself was actually designed as a way to ensure that people could back up their own content that they had developed, onto their own hard drives. Given how often things go missing in SL's inventory, it makes sense for people who are dependent on their SL income to have a tool like this. And of course, it protects THEIR digital rights, which should be equally as important.

I'm obviously not dependent on my income out of SL, but I also wanted a way to backup my content. My content represents literally thousands of hours of my time invested in creating my old clothing line, time that could be irretrievably lost if I depended on the vagaries of someone else's asset database.

This isn't to say that the destructive minds out there who find legal, moral and ethical considerations 'too constraining' wouldn't be able to find a way around the built-in constraints in Second Inventory. But this presupposes that one has a certain degree of scripting / coding / programming ability, and that one intends to be generally unlawful, immoral and unethical.

Second Inventory is an excellent digital rights management tool, and no one questions the need for the process of backing up one's own material. Criticizing a backup tool because there's a media-fed hysteria that "people do bad stuff" seems to me, at least, to be a disingenuous and knee-jerk reaction to a tool developed to meet the real needs of original content creators.

Ultimately it comes down to individuals' own ethics and morals guiding them in their decisions they make. As a content creator, I cannot let others' fears prohibit me from managing the fruits of my own creativity.

jim said...

Hey James,

As an avid user of SecondInventory I can assure you, it's safe. It's totally designed to back up your own creations like Shenlei pointed out.

Unless it's Copy/Mod/Transfer or you're the creator and owner you can't do anything with it.

I started using it to backup my hundreds of snapshots and it evolved into a ideal cross-platform tool. It's perfect for backing up my own structures and move/copy them to an OpenSim grid.


Xesús Conde said...

Yes, I agree. I use secondinventory and it is a great tool, and you need haver all permisssions to backup anything. But I had tried use this tool in OSGrid and I have problems. I think secondinventory is not working properly in second life.

neomaster said...

I used Second Inventory since the beginning and let me say that still now it is the best application for moving stuff from Second Life to OSGrid.

It is reliable, quite accurate and it takes care of drm (sometimes even too much).

From my point of view the responsibility of respecting the drm should be charged only to the user and not to the software. If you buy a gun to kill your neighbor you go in jail, not the weapon seller nor the manufacturer can be arrested because of what you did, but this is another story.

Master Neo