I was reading Pathfinder’s excellent posting on running Imprudence and an Open Sim server on a USB key.

You may also be interested in reading my articles on Second Life Growth, Land and Economy, and What Is The Linden Master Plan?

Now back to Pathfinder’s world-on-a-USB-key article…  First, that’s a great article.  One that gets the hair tingling on the back of my neck thinking about having a portable building platform (for my creations in InWorldz).  But one thing I wanted to point out, from the comments.

“As long as you are the Creator of all the elements of the object, you can pull it out of Second Life”

I’m glad that “Creator” was capitalized there.  I am the creator of many things in SL, very few of which I can pull from SL.  I am the creator, but I am not the Creator.

I’ve been in SL for almost 4 years, and I’ve built a lot of things over the years.  Over that time, I’ve created alt accounts to manage the assets and notifications of my many stores.  I’ve also sometimes used alt accounts solely for the purpose of being able to build things in peace.  Sometimes my builds might have a large number of prims from one alt account mixed with a large number from another.  But the following case is even more common for me.

Also, to avoid issues with revealing my building alt on store merchandise, I would often take a simple block prim (“Cobblestone”) from the SL Library and modify it, rather than rezzing a new plywood block of my own, linking the creation to a single new prim of mine as the root prim, created by whichever account I wanted the public creator to be.  (The rest of the prims would be created by a Linden, sending a signal that to find the creator’s store, they should pay attention to the root prim only.)

In other cases, I am the Creator of everything there, even the prims, but somewhere on the interior of some prim somewhere there is one texture from the Library that I did not create.  Maybe it’s plywood.  Or one of the many fully-transparent texture builders regularly use.  Whatever it is, it’s not visible, and in a sea of prims, some very small, it is virtually impossible to find.

I am the creator of all of those finished builds; I am unfortunately not allowed to export them due to excessively harsh ToS.  Correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, there is no remedy here.  There is no content ownership dispute panel that would provide some means for an exception to allow me to “pull” some specific object(s) that I created from SL.  There is no copyright or other IP ownership conflict or issue here.  And yet, any attempt for me to try to export what I have created would in fact get me banned, without question, without any real appeal process.  Yet… it’s my stuff.

Instead of having legal or policy procedures in place, where for example you could be perma-IP banned if you are found to have exported content owned by someone else, Linden Lab has applied flawed automated tests, for some of the content.  It’s not even complete: in this flawed automated enforcement, I can export any texture I have full rights to, whether I am the creator or not.  But… I can’t export a prim that I created that uses such a texture, even if I have contacted the texture creator and have their full support for use on other grids.

(As an aside, when creating my account on InWorldz, I contacted 20 texture and sculpty creators requesting permission to use them on that grid.  The huge majority (at least 15, I’m too lazy to go back and count them again right now) merely extended the agreement to include InWorldz.  Two of the 20 vendors refused; I merely stopped buying content from them and have focused my purchases of builder products from those creators who have grid-friendly terms.

So what do I do about SL?  I do what any reasonable person would do.  I avoid SL.  All of my building work is done outside SL, and frankly I no longer have much reason to be in SL.

It’s sad that I am not driven to this by technical reasons or the appeal of other grid choices, but rather due to flawed restrictions on my own content, in what is clearly a premature release of a alpha-quality implementation of IP protections and content export.  Which co-op student designed this mess?  Whether I wanted to leave or not — and I didn’t, I was addicted — these changes ensure that I must spend most of my time outside of Second Life.  If I put any value on the things I create, I must now recognize that Linden Lab does not.  And for the security of my goods, I must find a new world.  I have.  For that, I suppose, I should thank Linden Lab.  They cured my addition to Second Life.

And if you think this is an obscure case that only applies to valuing my things, ask someone on the teen grid whether Linden Lab values your inventory.  And whether they see the items as yours.  Or theirs to restrict (and to lose and not even answer your inquiries).

Like flawed in-world searching, this is just another reason to spend all of your SL time… outside SL.  And without an in-world editor, meshes will add even more fuel to the “spend your SL time outside SL” fire.  It seems that some day I will be able to chat with SL residents from Facebook, or Skype, or Twitter.  I won’t need to log in to Second Life to do that.  And Linden Lab probably sees that as a good thing.