My view on Linden Lab’s midnight DMCA raid

I’ve had a chance to think about the Lindens’ unannounced erasure of allegedly pirated inventory items over the weekend, and what I’ll say probably will stun those who’ve seen my ongoing criticism of the way that they’ve conducted their business.

I am 100% behind Linden Lab on this.

To explain further, I have a few points to consider:

  1. To conduct a selective deletion of inventory items is just as questionable as the action that has caused resident concern (like this example from Doubledown Tandino). Probably would be much more difficult to perform.
  2. I can’t see anything positive in telling the userbase before performing this mass deletion. Would it have changed what was deleted?
  3. Unlike the banking and casino bans, which came just as suddenly, the userbase SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that Linden Lab feels strongly enough about the issue to put a DMCA link on their front page. Banking and casinos, on the other hand, were bolts from the blue. No one knew that the Lindens cared one way or the other on those issues.

Then there’s my overarching issue: After all of the grief that I have given Linden Lab for tolerating content theft and loose morals on intellectual property in Second Life, why in the world should I criticize them taking meaningful steps to address this problem? Sure, it’s inconvenient to the folks who lost inventory items…but that’s what happens when you buy your content from anyone less than the content creator.

There will always be room for criticism of how our digital overlords conduct their business and inworld practices. In this case, the cause outweighs the means by which they conducted this action.

Here’s hoping the Lab keeps it up. They might want to check out this JIRA entry for some other leads.

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