The avatars fight back
The IPKat took a trip into a parallel universe with a visit to the Seventh Sun, which reports on a new campaign by a group of Second Life Avatars to raise awareness of the ‘theft’ of virtual items created by the avatars (or at least, their creators) and imported into Second Life, where they are sold. The campaign features various seemingly well know avatars au naturel with the slogan ‘Content theft steals the clothes off our backs’.
What stands out to the IPKat is that although the ‘theft’ is of computer code, the rhetoric sounds like it comes straight from the tangible world. According to the avatars, what is being stolen is ‘stuff’ – even though it’s electronic, it does represent clothes, jewellery etc. According to one avatar, who owns a Second Life clothing store: ‘We want residents to understand that, for many content creators, SL is their livelihood and theft here is no different from theft in the real world. Intellectual property theft is illegal and actionable in courts around the world regardless of whether it happens in real life or inside a ‘game.’
World IP Day is on the way
It’s just over a month to go until World Intellectual Property Day (26 April 2008). This year’s theme according to WIPO is ‘celebrating innovation and promoting respect for intellectual property’. The IPKat is puzzled. Celebrating innovation he can understand, but what does promoting respect for IP mean? He thought perhaps that this was politically correct speak for stronger enforcement mechanisms, but then he read WIPO DG Kamil Idris’s message for World IP Day. He rounds off by stating:
"And so, on World Intellectual Property Day, we pay tribute to the inventors and artists, great and small, who enrich our existence with the fruits of their innovative thoughts and creative vision. And we remember why it is that their intellectual property rights, the rights that they have earned through their individual and collective talents, deserve our admiration, our protection, and our respect".It seems then that protecting IP is different from respecting it. What does respect mean then? Should the IPKat doff his cap each time an inventor walks past?