Nice Guys Finish Last


 

this is a true story. i’ll leave out any names and hopefully not slander anyone. but this is just the story of my life… you’d think i’d learn my lesson.

so in this story, some person who shall only be known as GM… had this nice game i was playing with some friends. but this game is only for biggies (normal avatars), not tinies. i didnt mind wearing a biggie avatar (i have a few that i so rarely get to wear any more), but i know a lot of tinies dont like that, and i thought they’d like this game.

so i im’d GM and inquired about a tiny version, and indicated i could make tiny animations for it. and GM told me he always wanted to do a tiny version, and it might take several weeks, but he would do the animations and all. all righty. that’s good; and i would like to buy the tiny version when it came out.

then i happened to mention the game somewhere, and that GM was going to work on a tiny version. i was kinda excited for this game to be playable by tinies. and then a week or so later, some unidentified person, who shall be known as AM, tossed me a box with a bunch of tiny animations to replace the ones for this game.

i was surprised. so i im’d GM again and asked if he’d given this AM person permission to make and distribute replacement tiny animations for this game. well, no, GM hadn’t. however, since that person did all the work and GM didn’t have to, he was happy.

i, however, was pissed to no end. and you know? nobody did anything WRONG, here. nobody got mugged or stolen from or anything. the only person who did anything WRONG was ME. see, i didn’t come on more aggressively with “hey, for XXX$L, i could do the tiny animations for you.” and i didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes or undercut anyone’s possible sales by, say, scooping their tiny version of a product they told me they were working on. or, hell, that i even asked at all, when i could have just gone ahead and done an un-authorized add-on, and everyone would have been happy.

it’s all MY OWN FAULT. i’m too nice. oh, no, wait… i blame my parents!!! what is wrong with them? you know, time and again things like this happen. i don’t want to charge and arm and a leg for products, i want them to be accessible to people. i don’t want to compete with anyone unfairly, or undercut prices. and i always come out on the bottom.

 

let’s talk now about licensing in second life. due to my affliction of high integrity, i do not create and sell any copy or imitation of any copyrighted or licensed intellectual property. yet all over the grid, you can go to children’s furniture stores and see bedsets and sheets and towels and lamps and what-all-not with pictures of Disney characters, Strawberry Shortcake, Transformers, Barbie, G I Joe, etc, etc, etc. you can go to almost any sci-fi sim and pick up any number of recreations of Star Wars characters, Star Trek vehicles, Stargate stuff, Na’vi things, ad infinitum. at the bottom of the barrel, you can go to almost any ‘art’ store in second life and find some images ripped off the web (or off some catalogues) and stuck on a prim and being sold as a picture to hang in your virtual home. my god, its the web in the 80’s all over again! when everyone thought that every single GIF and JPG on the web was free for them to use in their desktop publishing programs!

okay, yeah, if you go to Walmart, you walk in there and you see all the towels, sheets, lunchboxes, notebooks, backpacks and junk with all these things on them. but you have to realize, those companies did not sit down one day and say ‘hey, if we put Tinkerbelle on our bedsheets, we’d sell a whole ton!” or… well, they *did,* but they then turned around to the Disney Corporation and applied for and bought a license to use that image on their product.

did the second life creators do that? hey, maybe they did. i wouldn’t slander anybody and suggest they didn’t.

all i can speak for is myself. i have turned down custom commissions to re-create licensed characters for people. i have turned down offers to buy my ‘darth ferret’ costume. it’s a cross between Darth Vader, Dearth Nadir (Gonzo on the Muppet Show), and Dark Helmet (of Spaceballs). now maybe it qualifies as a ‘spoof’ or ‘parody,’ but… no. i don’t sell or distribute works based on the intellectual property of others.

now, the closest i’ve come is doing the tiny sherlock and watson costumes. that’s… kinda borderline. or perhaps i should stop selling them, now that i think about it. wheras robin hood and king arthur are more like common folk myths and legends, sherlock holmes is the sole creation of arthur conan doyle.

and i have made mistakes. i got kage seraph’s tiny animations from an avatar workbox — naturally, i assumed they were full permissions because kage kindly gifted the grid with them. it was only after i made my TAO2 animations based on those that i discovered they were only accidentally full perms. and like a noob doofus, i never im’d him to ask if i could create a derivative work from them.

however, once i found out, i did im kage, hat in hand, apologizing profusely. kage was cool about the whole thing. i did ask if i could pay for the animations i had acquired, and he suggested i make a donation to one of his charity accounts. and i did. over several months, i paid L$15,000; a price i think is fair for a builder to builder package like the tiny animations.

 

but you see what the moral is, here? if i hadn’t every asked, kage would probably have never known i created a work derived from his. hell, i could have been SELLING the TAO2 animations, instead of releasing them as TRUE open source freebies! i could be selling my Tiny Rideable Tauntaun (it so cute!), and ghostbuster outfits, and pandoran creatures (they are cool; i’d love to build some)…. hell, i could go to deviant art, rip a thousand dragon pics from there and start selling them in second life as ‘artwork’!

i could have it made!! if it just wasn’t for this pesky integrity thing! darn it, mom and dad!!! ::shakes fist:: what were you THINKING!??!!?

 

i just don’t have what it takes to make it in this world. or the next. ::sigh::

 


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