Content, Copyright, and Fashionably Dressed (?) Cartoon Animals

This article in the NY Times was a nice segue into editing what we hope is the last draft of the Legal Primer for Content Creators in Virtual Worlds.

Google has an interesting approach to copyright offenders: they make them ‘go to school’.  We would question, though, whether a 4 1/2 minute video and 4-question multiple choice (guess) quiz will really deter offenders.  We appreciate the fact that it may, perhaps, be possible that someone somewhere may not realize that if they didn’t make the cool content they want to share they are probably infringing someone’s copyright. But that seems unlikely in today’s interconnected world of sophisticated content consumers.

It is interesting that Google has decided to soft pedal their enforcement efforts by giving offenders what amounts to a one-time wrist slap for the ignorant.

When we were drafting, and then reviewing, the Legal Primer, we had a fair bit of discussion about how to deliver the information at the right level.  We’re still discussing whether or not it is as accessible as it should be for an audience of visual thinkers.  The term accessible, for uninitiated, can often mean dumbed down.

Since we’re writing about what is inherently a complicated topic, and a topic which is usually discussed in a great deal of dry, boring, legal jargon, we’ve been challenged to somehow deliver this information in a way that we hope won’t make our readership bleed from the ears, but without diluting the value of the information by dumbing it down.

As the primary drafter of this document, we are taking the approach that our audience deserves a more intelligent document than YouTube’s Copyright School, because we think our audience is smart enough to manage to read a document that is short on cute cartoon animals and long on words and weighty concepts.  There isn’t a video (and no plans for one) and the text is a heck of a lot longer than a single above-the-fold web questionnaire.

Of course, given that the focus is content in OpenSim and SecondLife, perhaps we could illustrate it with an adorable tiny avatar.

Thinks for a minute…


PVDS Weekly Speaker Series Guest Jon Himoff, CEO Rezzable Fri. Nov. 12th 3pm PDT

Please join us as we welcome Jonathan Himoff, CEO of Rezzable at the weekly Professional Virtua Designer’s Society on Friday, November 12h from 3-4 PM SLT in the 21C region of Second Life.

Jon (RightAsRain Rimbaud) believes that web-based virtual world are the beginning of a very exciting direction toward the 3D Web, where a new type of interaction with information, content and people will be possible. Further, the avatar will be the essential interface/guide/companion for this dynamic new environment. Rezzable was founded in order to take a lead in establishing engaging users experiences and get the most out of new 3D web platforms as well as web services. Prior to founding Rezzable in 2007, Jon held CEO-roles at enterprise-software development and services companies that delivered innovation solutions via hosted platforms and advanced planning technologies.

Professional Virtua Designers’ Society

Our Mission
The purpose of the Professional Virtua Designers’ Society is to promote and protect the social, economic and professional interests of its members.

The Society is committed to improving conditions for all digital artists designing and developing virtual goods and products intended to be used in virtual worlds. It is also committed to raising standards for the entire emerging industry. The Society embraces digital artists at all skill levels and provides professional development to lift these special content creators to new levels of professionalism and skill.

What IS Chad Hurley Doing in Apparel?

Someone sent us this link to the Forbes article, “What is Chad Hurley Doing in the Fashion World”.

We definitely got a smile reading the article. After all, we’re not suggesting that we have the expertise to lead Microsoft just because we use computers, but it does seem that there is an evident lack of respect for the actual knowledge a good fashion designer has and brings to the process of designing and developing apparel.  Just because you wear a shirt doesn’t mean you are qualified to design shirts.

If there is one thing we’ve learned from dealing with the tech industry for the past few years, it is that folks from the tech industry really don’t understand the apparel industry.  We at Fashion Research Institute have been successfully engaged with the tech organizations like IBM and Intel Corporation to create design and development applications for the apparel industry using emerging technologies, and while we have overcome the communications barriers, we can safely say these two industries do not easily communicate.

Hurley’s response to the question of the biggest difference between the ‘clothing world’ and the Internet is a fine example, in that he assumes that the big difference is the time length of the product development cycle.  We would say that the biggest difference between apparel and the Net is not time, but physicality.  We are an industry that produces physical ‘stuff’, and that physical product is governed by physical considerations which must be addressed.

Domestic production is not in fact ‘harder’ than overseas production; if anything it is just the opposite since your factories are local, supply chains are shorter, and your workers speak the same language as the designers.  Domestic production is more expensive, but that is not the same as more difficult.

American Apparel is designing and developing domestically.  Hurley apparently is completely ignoring Dov Charney who has been producing domestically successfully with American Apparel. There’s just so much techie hubris in suggesting that he and his partner are going to be the ones to ‘bring back American production’ and ‘filling a void that hasn’t been filled since Levi Strauss’ when it’s not only already been done, but domestic production never actually stopped.  There are many small design houses producing locally in very short runs.  The product they manufacture is more expensive than overseas mass market product, and not so widely distributed or known as the product designed and manufactured for the big mass market retailers.

We certainly wish Hurley and his partner the best of luck with his new venture, but we also recommend they partner with the appropriate apparel industry experts.    Otherwise they may find that the fastest way to lose their financial shirt is to try to make real shirts.