Free for all

You occasionally come across something on the marketplace or even inworld, as i did recently, where you’ll find items for sale that are of dubious provenance – by that, i mean they are usually freebies/dollarbies which were not created by the vendor but which are being sold on at a profit. On the marketplace, you’ll usually find that these attract a stream of diatribe, with numerous purchasers taking the moral high ground about this heinous practice. i recently came across a little exchange between ‘Mr Enraged of Second Life’ and Torley Linden…

Mr E:    Torley! Some evil git is selling your freebie textures on the Marketplace at a massive profit. Something must be done about it!

Torley:  Why? They’re not doing anything wrong – good luck to them. 

Torley is absolutely correct – provided the item in question has the right permissions and the item isn’t altered by the vendor and sold in its original form, there’s no breach of TOS; at worst, it’s a bit of a sad practice, but perfectly legitimate. When you think about it, it’s no different from usual practice in 99.999% of transactions with stores in the real world – how many of those only sell items that they’ve made themselves?

Perhaps the reason we get uppity about such things in sl is that we dislike the thought of someone taking somebody else’s hard work, that’s been handed to them on a plate for nothing and then profiteering from it, without a penny, or any credit whatsoever going to the original creator. That seems a bit of a spurious argument to me – if the creator was that concerned about their work being sold on, it would be a simple enough matter to deny that in the permissions or, in the alternative, they could hike the original price up to reflect the fact that they’re effectively selling at a loss. Personally i’d rather not get embroiled in the debate about the ‘ethics’ of freebie creations, other than to question just how many of those who argue most volubly that freebies are a bad thing and shouldn’t be permitted have never personally availed themselves of a free creation, provided by another?

If i might proffer my own opinion on the matter there’s a simple rule that comes into play in these, and many other similar circumstances: the rule of self-censorship.

Put simply – if something doesn’t break the rules but you don’t like it… nobody is forcing you to indulge; just walk away and do something more pleasant instead.

It’s a simple and straightforward principle but one that we seem singularly incapable of applying in sl – for some reason, we’d rather wade into the fray and unload our ire upon anyone who’ll listen, stamping our feet and getting all heated about something that it would be far easier just to walk away from. In fact, in sl it’s even easier than that… if you don’t like what someone’s doing or saying, ignore them, mute them and derender them – the same goes for their objects. If you don’t like how someone does business – don’t buy from them and, if you don’t like what someone writes in their blog, don’t read it… it’s all so simple but, we do seem to like a fight.

Certainly, if someone breaks the rules AR them, ban them or do whatever’s necessary to take care of business, but remember that everyone’s allowed to enjoy their sl in whatever way suits them and, just because it may not be to our taste or be in accord with our view of the world, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Frankly, when i see or hear people sounding off and whinging about things that really don’t concern them, i just feel like saying ‘get a life’… Time and time again i come across people who seem to forget that they’re supposed to be having fun in sl and instead appear to be doing quite the opposite, and worse, try to drag me into the debate too. Sorry folks, i ain’t interested! 🙂

/me sighs

s. x

I don’t need to fight
To prove I’m right
I don’t need to be forgiven.
The Who – Baba O’Riley 

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