Discovering Disney in Second Life

Discovery Mark II
Discovery Mark II

When I was a lot younger than I am now, my family took a holiday in Florida, ostensibly to see a space shuttle launch. While there, we did all the touristy things as well , including the inevitable Walt Disney “thing”. As a teenager, I found it all wonderfully kitsch, bar one small episode. That lay with getting stuck on a malfunctioning ride for something like 20 minutes, denied the ability to get off as staff strove to get it going, all the time being subjected to It’s A Small World (After All) over and over and over again. Even today, the opening bars of that song still get me twitching and reaching for sharp-pointed instruments with which I might conceivably harm someone.

I bring this up, because an idle paging through the Destination Guide brought me to an advert for Discovery Mark II, which is billed as “the world of tomorrow. Featuring rides, shows and more”, and my thoughts immediately turned to those far-off days, with the result that curiosity got the better of me, and I hopped over for a look.

Discovery Mark II
Discovery Mark II

Occupying a  little over 1/4 of a full region, Discovery Mark II (I’ve no idea what happened to the original, other than I obviously missed it), is what I can only describe as a lovingly put together homage to Walt Disney’s parks and rides. Five attractions are on offer: PeopleMover, an elevated monorail system that carries you on a tour of the park, together with reproductions of Disney’s Astro Orbiter, Space Mountain, The Timekeeper, and the Electric Umbrella Café.

It has to be said that there is a wonderful attention to detail here; the broad boulevards, manicured gardens and bright colours are mindful of their Disney counterparts, while the look and feel of the foyer / queuing areas of Timekeeper and Space Mountain are carefully reproduced. The whole place has been very well done, and even the use of poseballs for seating in the Space Mountain ride add a certain level of whimsical retro kitsch to the park.

Discovery Mark II
Discovery Mark II

However, I also have to admit to having a slight niggle with the build which rather spoiled my visit. The Timekeeper attraction includes video camera footage filmed inside the physical world ride, and I’m pretty sure that attractions like it have warnings prohibiting such recording (although I admit to never having seen this particular attraction). Thus, walking into it in-world immediately raised very direct questions on matters of IP infringement and copyright.

Which is a shame, because otherwise I did enjoy my visit; it brought back memories of a family holiday twenty plus years in the past, and did so without me having to listen to It’s A Small World (After All) or deal with the resultant twitching!

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19 thoughts on “Discovering Disney in Second Life

  1. Hi this is Xadllas Bing, the creator of Discovery Mark II. I love this review but I just wanted to clear up the TimeKeeper situation. The real attraction it’s based off of has been closed since 2006, and the recording presented is the best quality version that we could find when the original Discovery was produced back in early 2013. As for the copyright infringement, everything in the park is free of charge, it is simply a non-profit fan project so there is no infringement. Other parks have done the same over the years on SL and continue to (for example Magicland, Sarah’s Magic Kingdom, and Downtown-D). If I could present the original film I would, but we have to make do with what we’re given. TimeKeeper is one of the most beloved attractions I have recreated in SL, and I apologize that the presentation made you uncomfortable. I thank you again for this wonderful review and I wish you the best!

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    1. Thanks Xadllas. Infringement is always a sticky (and sensitive) issue in SL. A lot that does go on here is down to the individual rights holders to decide if making something free is still infringing on their rights, although it is fair to say that many do take the attitude that if no-one is profiting, they’ll allow it (such as CBS, Universal et al), so your point is fair. Sadly, for me it was harder with the film, for the reasons stated. But I did otherwise enjoy my explorations, and the memories it evoked!

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  2. I cant understand really what is the fear, according to the Tos all belongs to Linden Lab in 1st and last place, if someone needs to fear are them. Yes they wanted all, assume the risks that come with that desire!

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    1. My discomfiture over a film made potentially in violation of warnings giving against such recordings, and of a film doubtless covered by copyright has little to do with the Terms of Service and any poor wording therein.

      On a wider front, and quite outside of the Discovery Mark II build, seeing the film being used in-world was an uncomfortable reminder of just how much is available in SL that is IP infringing – and the fact that some of it relates to goods I’ve bought myself and have sitting in my inventory.

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  3. Inara, If you are so worried about IP infringement on items in your inventory that you have purchased in the past – then why don’t you delete them and avoid any problems. As for the copyright issue on the films – I think that is on the person who MADE the original film. The film is being streamed from YouTube and if they don’t have a problem with it – Why do you ?

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    1. Whether said items are in inventory or not, it still raises the issue to which IP tends to get flouted in SL, and that’s where the broader discomfiture resides – and that does give rise to an unsettling feeling.

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  4. All related to copyright issues have a due place to be settled, real Life.
    I don’t think it is a issue to be discussed related to SL,
    Not only due to the rather peculiar Tos but also for the rather peculiar reason for SL existence, a place where one can build their dreams.
    Who can say that one dream is not shared by another as well?

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    1. Unfortunately, copyright / IP is what it is. You cannot simply drawn a line and say, “OK, this is SL, so it’s OK for people to do as they please. Issues of IP and copyright don’t simply vanish because SL is a sandbox. IP rights don’t simply cease to exist when we enter Second Life; and therein lies the uncomfortable problem – which I’d say you’re now feeling as well as I, hence your suggestion that we “not discuss it”.

      Sadly, there’s also a duality in a comment like yours. It suggests that, on the one hand, it is OK to discuss matters of IP and copyright when it is perceived the Linden Lab infringing on our. But when it comes to the broader issue of our creations infringing on others’ rights, then that is not a topic to be discussed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. And now a bit of futurology, if your post has an hidden agenda (so easy to do so) regarding the new Linden Lab platform, then i fear that we will expect a much tighter closed content platform, where content creation will be only possible inside world with the tools they provide,
    Unless LL states clear they only provide a host server service and are in no way responsible by any content ported to it, that will deny also the right for them to claim exclusive rights to any of it, be inside or outside the platform.

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    1. No hidden agenda. Simply stating my reaction on visiting that one attraction, and the subsequent chain of uncomfortable thinking it set off.

      “Unless LL states clear they only provide a host server service and are in no way responsible by any content ported to it”

      – In terms of IP, that’s why the Lab adheres to the DMCA process – so that they can claim safe harbour status should someone like CBS, Universal, Disney, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Embraer, and so on and so forth, decide to take a dim view on what is going on within the platform where their IP is concerned. But while it gives them the protection necessary for the platform, it doesn’t take away the nagging questions that can occur around the subject of copyright.

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    1. Which may well be a noble sentiment on your part; however, it doesn’t escape the fact that there is much available on a commercial basis within SL which does impinge on the IP rights of others – although admittedly, that is perhaps a topic for an entirely separate article to a review such as this.

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  6. Just going to continue to say that the videos shown in the park are streamed via Youtube, and videos of the same attraction and others have been on youtube since 2006. Again other SL locations like mine have been doing the same things for over 10 years, and many of which have continued to operate to this day. (Check out Magicland, Enchanted Adventures, Back to the Future, and Sarah’s Magic Kingdom) I understand that you are not familiar with this side of second life, but it’s a common practice. If the people who hold the rights to said films or products had an issue with it, the videos would’ve been taken down. Also they would contact Linden Labs to cease said products and films from being used.

    I think you are making this into something bigger and more dramatic than it actually is. Parks like this in SL are fan projects and nothing more, most of which do not make any sort of profit off of said products. Also I really don’t see who it is hurting when the product I am presenting is no longer available for viewing from the IP owners. It is a retired attraction and has not been released to the public in any way shape or form other than recordings. Also this attraction obviously did not have a no recording rule in place because many videos of it exist online and have existed even when the show was still in operation.

    The Timekeeper is presented to preserve a memory of what was a well loved attraction by Disney Theme Park fans. It’s not there to make a quick dollar or for me to try and claim I made the film for notoriety. I was fine when it was just the review, but the way you are making a big deal out of it feels rather pointed and really I don’t appreciate it.

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    1. To suggest that infringement is OK because others do it elsewhere rather misses the point, and is a poor excuse to uphold as when when infringement does occur (and note I’m pointing to the excuse here, not specifically pointing at the inclusion of the Timekeeper film in your build). Infringement is still infringement, no matter how many times it it repeated or where it is repeated.

      As to me making this “bigger and more dramatic” than it is, well no. I’m not making drama out of anything. I simply stated – with a careful caveat at the time – that seeing the inclusion of the Timekeeper film did, for me, mar what what was otherwise a very pleasant visit, and something of a trip down memory lane. I’d have said the same were the visit to any other attraction in SL, because my reaction would have been the same were I watching footage of Timekeeper, Back to the Future or anything else filmed in this manner, and which the same guarded caveat.

      In this respect, I can only say in reading your last paragraph that you are perhaps taking things too personally. Beyond referencing the potential issue of Disney’s copyright on the original material, I’ve steered my comments deliberately away from your use of the footage in your attraction, and on to the wider issue of infringement in general within Second Life (which is actually a far greater nagging issue). As such, any “pointedness” you may feel is, I would venture to suggest, misplaced.

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      1. Ok so if you’re going to take issue with any sort of infringement I expect you to take issue with the Douglas Adams quote on your SL profile. At this point we need to not only look at videos being hosted but every single use of copyrighted materials including quotes, references, parodies, documentaries, misquotes, pictures, and fan art. All of it now all of a sudden unsettles and offends me, and because it offends me I must continue to make a big deal about it and make sure we spread awareness of this terrible issue at hand.

        Let us make sure no one ever makes any sort of effort to pay tribute or acknowledge anyone else’s work ever again because if we do God forbid someone gets unsettled or offended. I will not stop until this injustice has been stopped and all perpetrators have been properly punished. Because that is the way the overlords have commanded it to be.

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        1. Well, if you feel that way, that’s entirely your prerogative, although I’d venture to suggest you’re deliberately conflating things in order to try to make a point.

          For me, the bottom line remains that I actually enjoyed your build, as stated. I did however, find the the use of a hand-held recording of material which – having been on similar rides (although not admittedly this particular ride) – does generally have a statement of copyright associated with it, left me with thoughts on the issue of copyright and infringement as a whole, which I found uncomfortable and somewhat marred my visit. As I’ve since stated, those thoughts would have likely been the same had I come across the use of similar footage.

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  7. Inara – Seems to me that those with creative talent build, re-create and pay tribute to the great works in Real life – making copies of them in Second Life so that those residents (like folks who can not financially afford to visit or who are physically unable to visit the real locations) can still get to see them in a way. While those that can’t create great works spend their time writing petty little blogs about how a video from YouTube makes them uncomfortable about a possible IP infringement, that the real owner of said content does not apparently care about it because after several years the video is still on YouTube. Maybe these bloggers do this because that is all they are capable of doing with their tiny little skills. If you have that much free time why don’t you go and point out to to the real city Mont St Michel that there is a copy of the city here in Second Life and then call the mayor of New York City because there is a sim in SL called New York City and then don’t forget to call the Mayor of London to go after the London sim because all of these sims are violating TOS. According to the rules of naming sims a sim name “Must not be the name of a real life city”, which despite that rule there are quite a few of them on the grid. You seem to forget a phrase that has been around since the 18th century – Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and there is nothing wrong with free advertising.

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    1. If you’ll notice, I’ve not actually taken issue with the build. At all.

      My only comment within the article was on the inclusion of a hand-held recording of a film which, whether the originator accepts it or not, is under copyright (where it originates or how many other copies exist for public broadcast is actually irrelevant, in this respect, by the way), gave raise to certain questions on the broader issue of copyright and infringement which are uncomfortable, and by raising them, somewhat marred my visit. There was no direct critique of the build itself; nor has there been since.

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