[SLED] Copybot, the scare, the spin, and you

Trevena, Stan Trevena.S at monet.k12.ca.us
Fri Nov 17 15:59:10 PST 2006

So what we will have is a landscape and of 1's and 0's with no form,
only function.  Kind of like the scene at the end of the first Matrix
movie when Neo finally embraces his powers and can alter the world (and
stop bullets!).  Only problem is, it's the objects AND the scripts that
make up the Second Life Universe.  Can you have software without
computers?  Would an engine serve any purpose without the car?  Second
Life cannot survive a death of aesthetic design.    
Stan Trevena, Modesto City Schools


From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com
[mailto:educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com] On Behalf Of Jeff
McNeill (SL: Donnagh McDonnagh)
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 3:04 PM
To: SL Educators
Subject: Re: [SLED] Copybot, the scare, the spin, and you

You got it Intellagirl. As far as I can tell, the builders and
texturists are at risk, but not so much the scripters and animators. 

Here is Dedric's original video:

Here is Hamlet having fun with the bots:

Jeff McNeill
SL: Donnagh McDonnagh 

On 11/17/06, Sarah Robbins <intellagirl at gmail.com> wrote: 

	This debate, though very serious, is absolutely fascinating. I
haven't seen the copybot in action so excuse my question if it seems
dumb. Would it be accurate to say that the copy bot in effect copies say
a television but since it doesn't copy the script all you get is a box
that looks like a tv but doesn't do anything? Is that accurate? 
	So will the overall effect on the economy be that scripting will
remain a valuable skill but building won't be? That is, if the bot runs
	On 11/17/06, Dirk DaSilva <dds at venuma.com> wrote: 

		Textures and prims are what we see. Scripts control our

		The problem is not the copying as much as the ability of
a griefer to create 
		a copy of an object that looks identical but provides a
different experience. 

		Imagine the "funny" replacement scripts that people may
put into clones of 
		objects wether big company funded cars or a hobbiest's
labor of love.

		Reputation/brands are at risk. 

		Security is not about absolutes, rather it is about
increasing the cost for the 
		bad guys. Breaking copybot and related technologies is
not impossible. 

		It can be done with every single upgrade. The bad guys
will always be one  
		step behind unless helped by Lindenlab insiders.

		It can be done simply and cost effectively.

		Protecting the SL economy is Lindenlabs duty. Otherwise
their entire marketing 
		message may be thought of as disingenuous.


		Dirk DaSilva

		On Nov 17, 2006, at 12:19 PM, Emin Saglamer wrote:

		I will try to break this down to the myths I have heard:

		#1: Copybot will steal everything including your SL
		Not so. 
		Copybot will copy the following:
		A. 3D content that you can see in your SL client:
		    chairs, tables, buildings, vehicles, and all sorts
of objects 
		B. Avatar shape, texture, and attachments
		    I am told the shape info gets lost after relog but a
folder with all the other settings is saved. (correct me if I am wrong)
		Copybot will not copy the following: 
		A. Scripts and object behaviors (think vehicles,
scripted boards, presentation screens, vendors, transaction handlers
		B. Contents of an object.
		    As you know each prim in SL has the ability to
contain a certain number of items and dispense them to users if needed.
This is how vendors are made. Copybot is not able to reach and download
object contents/inventory. 
		C. Avatar inventory items, as in objects/assets avatars
carry around in their inventories are immune to copying at this time.
		#2: SL is just like the web. There's nothing LL can do
to protect the source code for prims and info displayed in SL client. 
		I am sorry to say this so bluntly but this is a SPIN and
simply not accurate.
		Any application of this complexity should already be
encrypting the communication between its client and server. From what I
know SL is built from several off the shelf components. Off the shelf
does not mean fully open source. It also does not mean, it was put
together by duck tape and airplane glue (though that might explain the
stability issues lately). 
		If this was the case, we would have had a dozen
alternative browsers by now for SL.  Saying that "oh, all the pieces are
open source, so we can not stop people from hacking into our code and
stuff" is not accurate. It also makes for a very poor excuse for a
company that charges thousands of dollars a month in land fees to its
creators and land holders. That's like BOCSH coming to me and saying
well we can not guarantee that our front loader washing machine will not
randomly wash other people's loads without your permission, it's just
such a new technology. 
		Can TCP IP packets be sniffed by experienced
programmers? Yes but that's a lot of data to sniff to figure out what's
what. And usually it would take a long long time to figure out all these
packets and assemble an interpreter of sorts WITHOUT HELP. It is my
personal theory that if LL had not empowered the members of libSL (most
of whom are old timers with great prestige and programming expertise) by
sharing parts of the source code with them, this situation would never
have come into existence. 
		Second Life client's source code is not publicly
available as far as I know, it is available upon request from a group of
people who work within the libSL project. So saying the source code of
Second Life is open source is simply inaccurate. 
		Comparing copying items in SL to copying webpages on the
web is also a spin. It is meant to calm people down and downplay what
has happened. I am not saying go panic and go crazy. But I can not
accept the party line fed to us. 
		Web pages are textual content and we have for good or
for worse a discourse in copyrighting, protecting, and sharing Ips
captured in textual format due to previous history.
		The history of copyrighting, protecting, and sharing 3D
content is much shorter mostly due to the fact that the medium that has
made this possible is relatively new. Therefore, there are not enough
structures around protecting 3D content. 
		I think the assets in SL are less like sources of
information and more like little games people create and upload for
other people to download and use for a small fee. I know this is the
education list and yes most of what you folk make is considered public
domain and such. But you are a minority. Most of SL is about creating
small businesses with a product line and profits. So in this sense the
rest of SL is a huge ant farm kind of game where winning is making
		#3: CopyBot is my friend and I will backup everything
with it YEY
		I am sure there are legitimate uses to copybot as there
are legitimate uses for plastic explosives. This does not mean we are
going to start distributing plastic explosives in our schools.  Nor
should we distribute copybot to everyone as a legit tool. 
		More than likely copybot will be used 9 times out of 10
for stealing content from a creator and foregoing the fees. Assuming any
other ratio of intended use means:
		A. general naivete about SL and human nature 
		B. alterior agenda (e.g. Working for LL -- and I can
understand that.)
		When you copy someone else's prim work with copybot, you
		A. not participating in a fair use scenario
		B. not making a backup since you did not own the
		C. not retaining the correct permission settings on the
object(everything comes down mod/copy/trans enabled) thereby violating
the copyright flags set on the object
		D. not paying the builder and thereby contributing the
ultimate demise of the business that kindly provided you the content. 
		E. not contributing to the economy and causing the
monetary system to stall, slowdown and/or become unpredictable.
		The backup scenario while nice and sweet is also a spin.
Copybot only makes copy back into your inventory and not onto your local
hard drive. Even if it were capable of backing up onto your hard drive,
how would you move these localized items back into SL since there's no
import object or asset option? Backup to inventory is no backup at all,
since the definition of backup is making a copy of a piece of data at a
separate redundant storage device that has theoretically less of a
chance of failure. Storing multiple copies of an item in your inventory
not only is a poor choice of backup but increases the likeliness of your
original data going corrupt thanks to inventory size overload. 
		If anything, all this supposed backing up is going to
further stress our asset server by deluging it with further unnecessary
data  already coming apart at the seems on a bimonthly fashion.
		#4: The subgroup of people from libSL who made this tool
built and freely distributed copybot because they are our friends 
		That's like saying a suicide bomber is your friend
because he is helping you meet your maker. It literally has as much
sense to it as the latter statement. 
		The people who released this tool without consulting LL
or the content creator guilds in SL can be assumed by default to have
done this with ill intend. I do not believe their claims to ignorance,
well-intent, or commitment to furthering SL. These people are griefers
of the worst possible kind who have taken it upon themselves to release
what can be called a virus into SL and so far completely get away with
it with a huge grin on their faces. 
		The handling of this matter by LL has been nothing less
than insulting. First we were told that we are over reacting and that
copying is not always stealing (-Robin). Then we were told, oh there's
no way to ever ever stop content from being stolen due to streaming
(this comes from the company that has people who were CTOs of Real
Networks - the premier audio video streaming server/client of choice in
the late 1990s and early 200s). And now we are told that using copybot
is a violation MOST of the time. That's like answering the question
"what is porn?" as " I know it when I see it". 
		#5: Linden Labs can not protect your IP rights and/or
your content
		That's like my bank coming to me and saying:
		"Oh yea, that deposit you made last month? Your
paycheck? Remember? Well, we may lose it from time to time or it might
get transferred to someone else's account, we're simply too understaffed
to manage all these bank accounts people keep opening." 
		If one can not do the job they set out to do, they have
two options:

		1.	recognize the problem, propose a course of
action to fix the problem, implement the solution according to a
concrete, verifiable schedule with explicit outcomes identified ahead of
time for each step of the implementation. 
		2.	Hand over your service/product to someone who
can do the job for you and enjoy your share of the IPO.

		In this sense LL is at a crossroads. SL has grown too
big to for LL and they have no one else to point fingers at other than
themselves. They wanted this thing to get this big. We all hoped and
prayed that there was a clear plan in their minds. Now it is becoming
more and more apparent that whatever plan(if there was any beyond "let's
hit 1,000,000) is not working and is not addressing the problems coming
up with the dramatic growth. 
		What's the point of creating a virtual world where
residents can create all the content for you, when the only job left to
you is to :

		1.	ensure persistence of data 
		2.	ensure integrity of data 
		3.	ensure security of data 

		And then turn around and be unable to do any of the
above tasks consistently, predictably, dependably. SL is like a large
storage device for 3D content. Lately it has failed to accomplish all
three goals listed above that one would expect a storage device/service
would hope to provide. 
		So the question that comes to my mind is, since over the
course of last year LL has stated with various forms of verbiage on
their forums that LL:

		1.	is not in the business of protecting content, 
		2.	is not in the business of providing security and
social order, 
		3.	is not in the business of facilitating resident
		4.	is not in the business of providing
documentation for its scripting language 
		5.	is not in the business of providing full time
tech support 
		6.	is not in the business of protecting user data 
		7.	is not in the business of creating an open
source environment 
		8.	is not in the business of creating virtual
worlds and content for visitors 

		What is LL in the business of? What is the mission
statement of LL?
		Final Words
		It might seem to you that it is so easy for me to sit
here and criticize a group of extremely intelligent, hard working people
who have put blood sweat and tears into a product that we have all grown
to love and cherish. It's not. I wish I never ever had to write this e
mail. But a line has to be drawn here. 
		I am used to weekly drama about mostly nothing on the
forums but what happened this week is no small event. Don't let anyone
tell you that it is a no biggie and that us content creators are blowing
it out of proportion. We're not.  If LL works hard, content creators
work just as hard. Without content creators you have three thousand
empty sims with nowhere to go to. Without us, SL is nothing but a vast
wasteland. My fellow colleagues, creator and I find your current
indifference, slowness to react offensive and irresponsible. 
		Your press releases, your blog entries, your
explanations to recent disastrous circumstances have not, and do not
project confidence and sense of control. It all comes across as a
bewildered group of people who are ever so surprised that their
customers expected things from them in exchange for money paid for
services. This tone, this distanced manner, this attitude has to change
if we are going to survive the growth of SL. 
		As I said in an earlier post on one of the forums, If I
had to pick an animal to represent SL, it would be a cat. But this cat
is starting to run out of its lives. We started out with nine. A few
more falls off of the roof, the cat might not get back up on her feet.
And that would be a bummer for everyone involved. 
		This company needs to take a long hard look at itself
and reconcile its aspirations with its current direction and
limitations.  I wish LL the best of luck in this endeavor.
		Thanks for listening,
		Emin Saglamer (Troy Vogel)
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	Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins
	Yahoo: Intellagirl
	Skype: Intellagirl
	SecondLife: Intellagirl Tully 
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