Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fantasy Strike League

A number of SL-centric bloggers are refraining from issuing posts from April 15-17 as a protest against Linden Lab’s trademark policy. As much as I’d like a good excuse to take a break for a few days, I’m obviously not participating. Here’s why:
  • It's only been about three weeks since the announcement. It is unrealistic to expect a fast rewrite of a complex legal document and associated business strategy that probably took many months of consideration and work to create. I am choosing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being. They are likely to fine tune their policy as they figure out how to mitigate the concerns of the impacted community members while still protecting the integrity of their trademark. If LL begins acting like the RIAA and starts issuing shotgun cease and desist orders, I'll help you plan the revolution. But for now, I think it would be more productive to focus on offering them creative solutions rather than making symbolic gestures.
  • The word “strike” is inappropriate and in a sense demeans the term. Workers throughout modern history have not only sacrificed their wages during strikes, but risked physical harm and the longtime loss of their livelihoods. Labeling this action as a strike seems disingenuous. Bloggers are not LL employees. Calling it a protest would be much more accurate.
  • Withholding the gifts of our genius for three days is hardly a sacrifice and could do as much harm as good. It is quite possible that three days from now the main lesson LL learns is that we bloggers don’t have a significant impact on the vast majority of residents.
  • If this is worth fighting for, then put some real skin in the game and take action that is likely to have a tangible impact. A boycott might do the trick. What if people stopped buying and selling for three days. Better yet, what if residents and merchants didn’t log in for three days. Now that would be a wake-up call if there was significant participation. It would also allow those with grievances to demonstrate that they are willing to make a real sacrifice to achieve their aims.
Now I am not, I repeat, I am not advocating a boycott at this time. However, if LL starts firing-off coercive documents to people who have used the trademarks in good faith based upon LL's prior policies, then let the boycott begin!

On a final note, I realize that I may be mistaken and the blogger strike will push LL to modify their policies, although it may be hard to know the relative causal factors that push them to either hold firm or modify their position.


Anonymous said...

last time we all ganged onto the same band wagon there was a response from the Lab. Cristiano Midnight was the leader behind that protest.

the lab's response was a Town Hall meeting (remember those?) and eventually stating that policy was to be focusing on stability. we're still working on havoc and windlight. whenever that gets put right, i wonder what new innovation will drive us wild.

it is surely untamed. best we play on. ride this wild serpent. don't let anyone else's politics drive you. make your own world. and if you need any money from me i'll be in the back smoking a joint.

Forelle Broek said...

Having been involved in many real strikes in the real world, I too think there's something rather precious, if not downright insensitive, about calling this action as "strike". And your other points are also well put and well taken. I've joined in nonetheless, because I do think the (in)action makes a statement that will get LL's attention. But it is also valuable to keep the discussion brewing, and prodding us all to think carefully about the issues, through posts like this one.

Unknown said...

Well said! I like your posts putting this (in)action into the context of labor history.

And forelle's "rather precious" - ftw!

Botgirl Questi said...

encore: My hope is that on the continuum between community and mob, we continue to lean towards the former. Better stoned than throwing stones!

forelle: I'm very heartened by the level of civility between SL blogers, given the emotionality of the issue and the tendency towards flame wars in this type of situation. Your posts are especially positive and thoughtful.

sophrosyne: Thanks. I would be interested in hearing from those who think that the term "strike" made sense in this issue.