“In order to prevent usage of intellectual property with the mesh upload tool, prior to uploading a mesh with a Mesh enabled viewer, 2 checks will occur before the user will be allowed to upload. The first check will be to verify payment information is on file and the second is a chance to educate the user with a short tutorial. After the user completes the tutorial, they will be enabled to upload content.
“A flag will be added to the CSR tool which will allow supoort [sic] to enable and if approriate disable the ability to upload mesh. The viewer will use the user’s enable mesh flag to activate the upload mesh capability. If it is disabled, a message will appear and a link to the secondlife.com link for the tutorial. The scope of this testing is to confirm expected results for this setting on Mesh and non Mesh viewers as well as test the tutorial and ensure it enables mesh ability accordingly.”
Once the criteria of having PIOF and going through the tutorial have been met, people will essentially be “licensed” to upload mesh creations. However, like any license, the ability to upload mesh can be revoked:
“If Lab determines user is in violation of IP mesh upload terms, user can be indefinitely flagged as not mesh enabled regardless of how many times they continue to complete the tutorial.”
Clearly this is intended to help deal with matters relating to IP and copyright violations, DMCA claims and suchlike, all vital to protect the authors of mesh files and content in the event of theft. Let’s face it, the whole issue of IP and copyrights are convoluted when it comes to mesh; therefore caution is required.
Take a look at the picture on the left. It’s a mesh model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Kaufman house, “Fallingwater”. It’s available on a website for $75.00USD. It can apparently be purchased legally.
But who actually owns the copyright? The website? The creator? Or the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation?
The question is important because the FLW Foundation is jealously guarding anything and everything it considers to be its intellectual property. Just last year, after cooperating with it, they issued cease and desist letters against the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in Second Life, forcing it to close its doors. As such, who is to say that even a product like this, brought in good faith, will not land someone wishing to upload it to SL up in a world of hurt? And the FLW Foundation isn’t alone in guarding its property.
Right now, mesh is the elephant in the room; hard to ignore, but not the easiest thing to deal with. The risk of copyright violations, claims of illegal usage, the potential involvement of legal teams from major organisations is a risk; just a glance at all the Star Wars, Star TreK, DC Comics and other meshes available off the web has to give rise to the question, “Yes, but how much of it is actually licensed? Ergo, Linden Lab need to take steps to protect themselves against major upsets and openly discouraging people from knowingly uploading content they shouldn’t be bringing in-world – and making the accounts they use to upload said content personally linked to those using them is certainly one way of going about it.
But it also means that those creators who would stick to only uploading their own creations but who have preferred not to / been unable to give PIOF are going to find themselves ostracised, and this could well result in the new requirement being subject to upset and consternation.
Gating uploads also has a secondary potential benefit: mesh is both an unknown quantity and a complex subject. While it has been under extensive testing on the beta grid, its still not entirely clear as to what impact it might have on the main grid – and there is a risk that poorly-developed meshes could do more harm than good when it comes to sim performance. Ergo, providing a means of blocking ill-developed models from being imported until such time as the creator can improve their technique and keep within whatever parameters are required without having to block their account in its entirety would also seem to be a wise step to take.