A modest proposal for hypergrid security

As John Rogate pointed out today, the 4096 bug — which limits hypergrid teleports to no more than 4,096 regions in any direction — is a significant impediment to hypergrid travel and to the growth of the metaverse as a whole.

But, as several people commented, there is another impediment as well — the lack of hypergrid security.

My proposed solution

I propose that, by default, only original creations or “all perms” content is allowed to travel the hypergrid — or be exported via OAR region exports and IAR inventory exports.

That is, if creators allow copy, transfer and modify for their content, then the buyers of that content can take it  to other grids or back it up to local disk drives.

But if any of these options are not allowed by creators, then the content stays on its grid of origin.

Today, four grids – Kitely and Virtyou, as well as TalentRaspel’s Wilder Westen and Open Neuland — already do these checks for OAR exports.

Grid owners will still be able to over-ride these permission checks to make backups of their entire grids, of course. And some hosting companies — especially those serving corporate, education, and creative markets — will still allow full OAR and IAR exports. So, for example, if I’m a school and have several teachers and students working on a build, I need to be able to save regular OAR files in order to have archives of the work. And if I’m a company with a virtual corporate campus, I’ll be able to save copies of my campus, even if I have outside contractors come in to do the building.

However, if I’m an owner of my own grid, and I travel to other grids, the only content I’ll be able to bring back to my home grid and export will be full-perms content.

Another benefit of this solution is that grid owners don’t have to worry about whether their visitors are coming from “trusted” or “untrusted” grids. After all, who’s got time to keep track of that? And a grid that’s “trusted” today might decide to allow full exports tomorrow — and vice versa.

This solution does not address the CopyBot issue. But then, there is no perfect system to prevent against copybotting. However, having full perms checks in place will allow creators to decide whether their content stays on one grid, or is allowed to travel. And it also let people leave commercial, content-protected grids without showing up naked elsewhere — simply by choosing to wear full-perms clothing on their trips.

How this affects shopping:

  • Local grid residents will be able to buy high-end content that is set to no copy, no transfer, or no modify, but will not be able to export it off the grid.
  • Foreign visitors will not be able to buy this kind of content unless they register for local accounts.
  • Foreign visitors will only be able to buy full-perms content. Creators can either charge extra for full-perm objects, or only offer full-perms on out-of-season or promotional items.

How this affects creators:

  • If I create something from scratch, I can export it as an OAR or IAR file, or take it with me when I travel the hypergrid and give it to anyone I like.
  • If I give or sell my original creation to someone when I travel to a distant grid, then that person will have the “next owner” permissions — and, unless the item is given full-perm, will not be able to export it.

The checks to do all this are all on the server. So the only programming required will be in the OpenSim server code. This is important because OpenSim users can continue to use whatever viewer they prefer — including official Second Life viewers.

Hypergate on the Logicamp grid.

Benefits to grid owners

New casual visitors. Commercial grids would be able to allow casual visitors come in and check out the grids — and allow them to look at the content they could have access to if they became full grid members. That content could be high-end fashions, role playing equipment, fancy vehicles, or business tools, for example.

More customers for merchants. In-world merchants could choose to sell some of their products full-perm to the entire hypergrid community, while restricting their latest content, or their premium content, to local residents only. Merchants could also set up hypergrid teleport links to stores on other grids — so that buyers could teleport to a store on their home grid to buy the premium content.

Grids could offered tier services. A role playing grid, for example, could offer some basic options to hypergrid visitors — a small section of role playing costumes and equipment, say. Users who create in-world avatars, however, would get access to the full range of roleplaying content and equipment.

Grids could rent land to foreigners. Today, a commercial grid can only rent land to its own residents. But some users might want to have land on multiple grids without having to have multiple avatars. A merchant, for example, might want to have stores on multiple grids, or an event organizer might want to rent land for an event.

Grids could hold big public events. Today, a commercial grid hosting, say, a fashion show or a concert, can only attract visitors from among its own user base. With secure hypergrid teleports, however, a grid could promote the event across the entire metaverse. Some of the visitors might decide they like the grid, and get their own user accounts there.

Grids could attract small event organizers. Today, someone planning a meeting for their organization or business group has to pick a grid that’s easily accessible to all their members — either on Second Life, or on an open OpenSim grid, or on a commercial grid where the majority of members already have accounts. If all commercial grids were on the hypergrid, organizations could pick venues with the best facilities, or highest region capacity, or best performance. Grids could rent out meeting facilities by the hour, or offer facilities for free in order to showcase the grid to outside visitors — and attendees won’t have to create new avatars to attend the events.

Clubs could market to the entire hypergrid. A club owner could have a club on a commercial grid and charge an entry fee at the door to visitors — regardless of which grid they come from. Fitness clubs could sell memberships to the entire metaverse. Musicians could put up PayPal or OMC tip jars and take money from everyone. Other types of clubs that could sell memberships via PayPal or OMC include role playing clubs, kinky sex clubs, business networking groups, language schools and other educational institutions.

Meanwhile, new multi-grid businesses and organizations could spring up. We could see multi-grid treasure hunts. Fashion designers could hold multi-grid trunk shows. Language schools could organize language tours — visiting, say, all the French-speaking grids. Role playing game vendors could organize multi-grid games. Real estate agencies could show customers available land on multiple grids.

Current plans have flaws

OpenSim developers are currently planning to revamp the permissions system to include a separate permission for hypergrid travel. This means that existing viewers will no longer work with OpenSim — the viewers will have to be changed, or there will need to be a separate piece of software that sits between the viewer and the server.

The problem is that most Second Life-compatible viewers are used primarily to access Second Life, and are optimised to work with Second Life. OpenSim support — such as grid management — is only added as an after-thought.

There’s a good reason for this. The user base of all the OpenSim grids put together is still a tiny fraction of Second Life’s users.

Yes, OpenSim is growing, and will, eventually, overshadow Second Life.

But setting up a system where existing Second Life viewers can’t be used to access OpenSim grids will hinder that growth.

Another advantage of my proposal is that grid operators don’t have to wait for the core developers to implement this. Any grid, can, acting on its own, add the permission checks to its OpenSim deployment– and instantly protect its content while at the same time allowing its residents to freely travel the hypergrid.

It would be nice, of course, if they follow in Kitely’s model and donate the new code to the community, so that each grid doesn’t have to develop it on its own.

Or commercial grid operators can get together, and pitch in towards a bounty to pay a developer to write the new code. After all, the permission checks would primarily benefit commercial grid operators and might not be the sexy kind of project — like mesh or physics — that attracts volunteer developers.

Not that I have anything against mesh and physics — those are great, too!

Some implementation suggestions

When the permission checks are implemented, I would also suggest a few features that might improve usability:

  • When a hypergrid visitor tries to buy an item that’s not full perm, send out a warning message and cancel the sale before it goes through.
  • When a local resident tries to do a hypergrid teleport to another grid while wearing some items that are not full perm, issue a warning that those items will not appear on other grids — and give the resident the opportunity to cancel the teleport and change outfits.
  • Similarly, when a resident requests an OAR or IAR export, issue a warning that the only items exported will be full-perm items and items that the resident themselves created.
Finally, it would be nice to have creator names be saved in the database as full names, not just local grid names. So, for example, if I create an item on OSGrid, the creator name would be saved as “[email protected]” instead of as “Maria Korolov.” Then, when the item is rezzed on OSGrid, the creator name could be displayed as “Maria Korolov” — and when its rezzed on other grids, it would be displayed as the full name, “[email protected]
Again, this is something that, in theory, can be handled with just the server code.

The current situation

Today, grid owners have three options when it comes to the hypergrid:

  • Turn off hypergrid teleports. To get into the grid, users have to register for an account and log in directly.
  • Turn on hypergrid teleports, but turn off object transfer. Visitors can still teleport in from other grids without creating new accounts, but they can’t take any content out with them. Grid residents who teleport out to other grids show up naked — their clothes don’t travel with them.
  • Turn on hypergrid teleports and allow object transfer. Anyone can teleport in and out the grid, taking anything they want with them. Owners of foreign grids can’t steal inventory items from visitors because of new security checks implemented as part of Hypergrid 1.5, and supported in all recent versions of OpenSim.

The majority of grids have hypergrid turned on and allow object transfer because they value interoperability over content security. For example, a school using open source buildings for its classes and open source avatars and clothes for its students might not be overly concerned about users taking that content to other grids. Similarly, a museum or an art installation might have few worries about employees or member artists taking objects off-grid, and be more interested in having the maximum number of users come and enjoy the work.

Commercial grids, however, have content protection as the highest value. In order for merchants to feel secure about selling content on their grids, they need to ensure that the average resident can’t take the content anywhere they want in the metaverse, and have hypergrid turned off.
A few grids, such as Nova, have hypergrid turned on but object transfer turned off, allowing foreign avatars visit but not take anything out with them.

Copybotting — where visitors use illegal software to take content that they don’t have the right to take — is a separate issue, and unrelated to the hypergrid. Copybotters can teleport in via the hypergrid, or they can create a new user account, and log in directly just as easily to steal content.

The hypergrid settings do not keep content 100 percent secure — creators still have to monitor other grids and marketplaces, file DMCA take down notices, and make sure that buyers have legal and convenient ways to get content legitimately.

What do the developers think?

I asked a few OpenSim experts what they think of this plan. Hypergrid inventor Crista Lopes, professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, has not yet responded.

Virtyou CTO Michael Steinmetz said he thought it was “a very good idea,” though it would need a different approach than what he did to implement permission checks on OAR exports.

“Filtering the hypergrid output would be more complicated than my solution of repacking the OARs, since OARs are file based, so you can just unpack them, analyse the content and repack again, while the hypergrid is a network stream, so one would have to control it on the fly either within the application layer, or build a kind of Layer-7-Firewall for it,” he said. “But that is definitely doable, and would improve the security and thus acceptance of Opensim even further.”

Kitely CEO Ilan Tochner said his company has other priorities right now — but that implementing my plan doesn’t sound too hard to do.

“Theoretically speaking, I don’t think it should be very difficult to implement what you suggested,” he said. “Probably just a few days work to get acquainted with the existing code, enhance it and make sure that it works properly.”

However, OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey said that my proposal “probably is quite difficult” to implement.

“I’m not sure the feasibility without looking at the code in detail,” he said.

Another core developer, who did not want to be quoted by name, said, “Yes,  as temporary solution full perm can be used as export allowed permission setting. I am sure it is possible to add such a feature elegantly, still allowing old or Second Life viewers to be used.”

However, he said he prefers to see a separate permission class added, just for hypergrid exports, so that creators could allow or not allow their creations to travel between grids separately from their decision to allow copying, transferring, or modifying the items.

Another alternative is to use licensing, instead of technical restrictions, to protect content, Kai Ludwig, owner and manager of the Wilder Westen and Open Neuland grids and CEO of OpenSim hosting company TalentRaspel virtual worlds Ltd, told Hypergrid Business.

On the World Wide Web, content such as text and images can be easily copied to other sites — but many companies and individuals make money by selling licensed copies of those photographs and articles.

Take this article for example. Hypergrid Business owns the copyright, but there is no technical obstacle keeping people from copying the entire thing and saving it to their hard drives, emailing it to all their friends, or reposting it on their blogs. In fact, there are even convenient “Email” and “Print” buttons to help people do just that.

Someone could even copy the entire publication if they wanted to — there are no technical measures in place to stop them. And, occasionally, a site does pop up full of copied articles from other sources. When that happens, I get a Google Alert and file a DMCA report, and the site is usually taken down within a day by its hosting company. If I don’t catch them, one of the other publications they ripped content from will notice and will do the same — usually with more lawyers behind them, as well.

Okay, maybe my content isn’t all that valuable. But there are also consulting companies selling thousand-dollar research reports online in the form of DRM-free PDF files — and, without digital rights management, they can be distributed easily as well. For music and movie lovers, iTunes sells content without DRM as well and is able to do so quite profitably. Music and video piracy is still rampant, but the availability of legal, affordable and convenient options is quickly cutting into that market. And those who continue to pirate content would probably not have spent the money to buy the products in the first place but would have listened to it for free on the radio or watched it on television.

Even 3D content is sold online in this manner.

“Take a 3D-model from TurboSquid as an example,” said Ludwig. “Buy it, get full unrestricted access to the data, receive a licence and stay within its restrictions. If not, bad things may happen.”

More restrictions are neither necessary nor useful, he added.

“Every form of content protection can be worked around in some way,” he said. “Too much DRM will kill the hypergrid. Instead we focus on using content in the way that is standard to the 3D-industry — provide a license with the content and use the content accoriding to the license. Leave up the remainings to the lawyers.”

For OAR exports, TalentRaspel has a permission checks system that allows exports of items that were created by the user, that are owned by the user and are full-perm, or ones for which a licensing agreement is on file with the company.

“In addition, we require the customer to explicitely state that he has the proper intelectual property rights for receiving the OAR-exported data,” Ludwig added.

TalentRaspel doesn’t just do OAR exports for their own regions, however. They will also do OAR exports of Second Life regions, starting at US $273 (200 Euros)  a pop, plus tax — for content that complies with the same criteria. Contact TalentRaspel for an exact price, which varies with the complexity of the built.

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

27 Responses

  1. jamiewrightiw@gmail.com' Jamie Wright says:

    This is a great article and makes tons of sense. I'm confused as to why current viewers wouldn't work with changes for greater security if the owness is on the grid operator to implement the change? I'm not a programmer so pardon me if that's a rather noob question.

  2. Jamie — This hasn't been done yet for two reasons.

    1. The OpenSim core developers have plans to implement a perfect solution — a separate permission for hypergrid transport. That's nice, but not practical in today's world, and it's going to take a long time to implement.

    2. The grid owners haven't wanted to go into the code and muck around with permissions, since the OpenSim core developers have a plan in place.

    But I think the situation is changing. Grid owners are getting more aggressive at just going ahead and writing code that they need. And the folks at Kitely just informed me that their addition to OpenSim — code to check for permissions when exporting OARs — has been already been donated to the OpenSim community, and can be downloaded here: http://opensimulator.org/mantis/view.php?id=5674

    They've also updated the Wiki: http://opensimulator.org/wiki/OpenSim_Archives

  3. ilan@kitely.com' Ilan Tochner says:

    Hi Maria,

    The code to Kitely's OAR patch has been submitted to OpenSim. Developers who wish to implement your proposal may find it useful as a reference for how to access the permissions system.

    See here: http://opensimulator.org/mantis/view.php?id=5674

    • Thanks, Ilan! I know you guys have a lot of other stuff on your plate right now. But if this isn't taken care of by the time you start implementing hypergrid teleports for Kitely, do you think you can take a look?

      • ilan@kitely.com' Ilan Tochner says:

        Hi Maria,

        We’ll have to see about that. Our TODO list is VERY long and our frequent preempting of our roadmap for various required OpenSim enhancements and bug fixes is definitely slowing down the rate at which we are proceeding with implementing our vision.

        The OpenSim related features that we are currently working on are pushing back our billing until November and we can only work on adding alternatives to Facebook after that is done. Those OpenSim extensions, like our other OpenSim-related improvements, are required for us to provide a quality service but there is a point where we need to prioritize non-OpenSim-related features over OpenSim-related ones.

  4. sargemisfit@gmail.com' sargemisfit says:

    This does make good sense. I support adding an HG permission, too. While InWorldz is a closed grid, I make combat equipment there. The sculpties I use are full perm, but are not for export to other grids. This is likely an issue for HG enabled grids.

    • Sarge — Would it hurt your business if, instead of selling full-term items, you sold items with only two of the perms?

      Or is the main issue the fact that you've already sold a lot of full-perm content, and it would then be able to leave the grid?

      • sargemisfit@gmail.com' sargemisfit says:

        My bad. The sculpties aren't my creations. I bought them and so have to keep to the licensing agreement. I asked the creator about exporting to other grids as I recently listed on Cariama and was told that its not allowed. *shrugs* Their decision, not much I can do about it. But your article here brought it back to mind. In fact, inworld, my items are sold C/M/No-T. It just seems to me that adding a HG permission simply makes good sense.

  5. @iliveisl says:

    thank goodness our little grid is only for visitors, so no need to worry about this stuff! =)

    but great logic and we'll see this be more easy to implement/enforce in the future

  6. Great article Maria and full of good sense. It is hard to say what the future holds for Open Sim but if HG is to work for the good of the open Metaverse and progress then, I agree, security solutions need to be built into the core. I think these blog articles have some effect on the thinking of developers so they are important in that they give insight into what people want and hope for.

    Revolution Smythe, lead developer of the Aurora team, has said a lot about Open Sim security (or lack of it) and it is given utmost priority in the work they are doing. IWC (Inter Worlds Connectivity) works similar to HG with added layers of security but, even so, as you pointed out, there can never be a perfect solution unless there is a fundamental shift towards advanced technologies like Mesh Networks which I touched on in an article on my blog a while back. None the less, an extra permission for HG dose seem to me to be a good short term solution. Short term solutions, though, usually leave problems behind when something new and better needs to be implemented – like a whole lot of content tied into the outdated permission if it all changes. The one thing I hear a lot in Second Life is "I can't go try Open Sim because all my stuff is in Second Life and would cost too much to replace if I could even find any of it for sale." I can't ever see a day when Linden Labs changes that and allows content to travel to outside grids but, in any event, I think extra permissions in Open Sim would make it impossible anyway. Whatever happens though, I think the last thing anyone wants is to have ill-thoughtout short term solutions to long term problems.

    BTW, what's good news for some with Kitely pushing billing back to November is bad news for "Nymphets" like me that care not to use real names or Facebook. Still, my promised KC must be starting to add up which makes it not so bad I suppose.


    P.S. I know what Nymphet means but I use it in the sense of @Nymwars (no saucy comments please).

  7. ciderjack@katijackstudio.com' CiderJack says:

    Some great suggestions here. I think the blocking of non-full-perm items from hypergridding would be an excellent solution for the short term. No-copy clothing, hair, attachments might get caught out in this plan though. I have a few ideas I’d love to see implemented for a (hopefully) more long-term solution:

    1) “Hypergriddable” checkbox on item permissions.

    Checking this box would allow items (including non-full-perm items) to travel between grids. Unchecking the box would mean items would be restricted to their original grid.

    2) “Downloadable” checkbox on permissions.

    Until permenant creator name attachment becomes possible, I think this one would be a good idea, though may not be practical. Checking this box would mean it could be downloaded in an IAR or OAR. Unchecking this box would mean it would not be downloadable. (grid managers could still make backups though of course)

    3) A CC pull-down menu for items

    I picture a pull-down menu in the General tab for object properties listing all the various CC license types (CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, etc.) including Public Domain and traditional Copyright. When one is selected, it shows up for the next owner as a link to the license on the web. The preferred license could be set in the preferences as well so this wouldn’t need to be selected everytime by the creator. A corresponding pull-down menu for scripts with GPL, BSD, Freeware, Shareware, full Copyright, etc.

    These are just some ideas that have been rattling around in my head. These would require coordinated changes in both server & viewer code. Now that the 6-month wall between server & viewer development has been eliminated I think these become possible.

    • CiderJack —

      The problem will be maintaining backwards compatibility with the regular Second Life viewers. OpenSim's major advantage over all the other virtual world platform out there — other than prim building — is that millions of people have used Second Life and have gone through its tutorials and orientations. All those people feel a level of comfort with those viewers.

      Getting too far away from the core SL viewer will hurt usability — personally, I don't think it's a good idea to get too far away from SL compatibility until OpenSim grows to the point where it's got a comparable user base.

      • ciderjack@katijackstudio.com' CiderJack says:

        Changes need to happen, and change will happen. OpenSim won’t be tied to SL’s apron strings forever. We need to start looking to the future and planning now, so when it comes time to make those changes, we’re prepared – or preferably ahead of the game.

        Backward compatibility is important, and is probably the biggest challenge in implementing features that SL lacks. With the old restriction between developing server & viewer code eliminated, I hope we can look forward to OpenSim-specific viewers showing up. No need for backward compatibility there!

        Hypergrid protocols weren’t concerned with backward compatibility. The result has been rapid improvements in the hypergridding experience. The grids that didn’t keep up got left behind. Progress should never bow to the status quo, lest we become slaves to the past.

        Should we deny the chance to improve upon a broken system just because it would be different?

  8. peri@peterjonesgallery.com' Peri says:

    I think that one problem that has not been addressed is that whole process of transferring stuff over the hypergrid is still very flaky. I have sims and avatars on standalone sims on virtual servers and my home computer as well as both of these on osgrid. Hypergridding from one instance to another and copying a full permission object (I am the creator!) will sometimes work and sometimes not. On returning to the avatars home sim the object will no longer be in the avatar's inventory or if it still listed it won't rez. If you want to do business you should be able to to give your customer the goods in a reliable manner. At this point, I don't think hypegridded opensim is there yet and more work needs to be done in this area before work to limit transfers

  9. HG will become useless with all these restrictions as well as oar-backups, why is it every time someone invents something great people start taking away 50% or more of it's functioality, what is the use of HG if i go to a grid and buy something and i can't take it with me to my home grid…?

  10. Joe Builder says:

    Major Creators don't want there items in other Grids thats basically the botton line. They say the look and don't take function works in reality it Don't Just ask a Core Developer nicely they will tell you HG still has many bugs. Some of the Main Grids don't allow it being its still has these Bugs and Still poses a Security Risk. Any security measure know matter how small should be used.

  11. @Miguel. In an ideal world everyone is giving and everyone is receiving but Open Sim is not an ideal world. If HG is left with no content protection then there will never be any of the high quality content that you find in Second Life and until there is the traffic will not grow. Second Life was built on user participation which means people have been able to build, create content and make money from their efforts. Like it or not, Open Sim has to follow the same economic model as SL while advancing in new ways. Second Life is over priced, out of date and Linden Labs is out of touch with their user base but there is nothing wrong with the basic model. It has been proven to work but take the security out of it and it would quickly fall apart the same as the walled garden grids built on Open Sim would. The security of SL and closed commercial OS grids is based on the crude security of an iron curtain. Open Sim and Hypergrid has to rise to the challenge of openness with protection if the open Metaverse is to grow.

  12. Joe Builder says:

    Gaga Hit it right on the head 🙂 Protection Bugs need to be fixed. End the Grid Hoopers who's only mission in life is to clear out all The Freebies hard working Creators have made for there Home Grid.

  13. @ Gaga: The walled gardens will fall apart anyways sooner or later, i use HG alot and the perms are retained so whats the problem… @ Joe: You always sing the same song… My home is the metaverse not one grid and i want to take whatever i make ir buy with me where ever i go, simple…

  14. Joe Builder says:

    @ Miguel Thats fine thats your Path you follow 🙂 But the Major Creators out there don't see it your way. It boils down to security once you become a HIgh end creator you will see the light 🙂

    • ciderjack@katijackstudio.com' CiderJack says:

      Not all of us are the RIAA, Joe. You don’t speak for all “Major Creators” and probably not even a majority of us. Linda Kellie is one example, she has many high quality objects/textures/sculpt-maps/scripts on her website for free, under a Creative Commons Attribution license (and even states on the site that she doesn’t intend to enforce it). I appreciate this and I do what I can to make sure that anything of hers that I use does get attributed. I also personally share everything under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. Most “Major Creators” that I have spoken with seem to share more-or-less the same concerns, they just want attribution and that other people don’t sell them. Again, speaking for myself, as long as my creations have my name, a link to katijackstudio.com & are clearly labeled CC BY-NC, I’m happy for anyone to do anything they want with them except sell them.

      Moving on, this is where I think Maria Korolov’s proposal is a great idea, but also has a major weakeness. I want to release all my items full perms, but currently hypergridding strips the creator’s name from anything that makes the jump. So this would still cause the owner to be in violation of even the most “open” license, the CC BY license.

      Back to Joe, you’re free to do what you want with your creations and express your views, but please don’t claim to speak for all of us. Of course, anyone here with any awareness of the issue would also be well aware that you’re just talking nonsense anyway, so go ahead kid, knock yourself out! I just ask that you don’t do it in my name. 🙂

  15. @ Cider Jack: HG does not strip the creators name nor the permissions…

    • Cider — As far as I'm aware, the only procedure in place today — on the latest versions of OpenSim — that strips creator names and perms is when an XML file is imported through the viewer. The reason is that the viewer basically imports all the textures and rebuilds the object from scratch — and the user who does it becomes the new owner. This is the case when these objects are imported into Second Life, as well.

      OAR and IAR exports and imports currently have the ability to preserve creator names, as do HG teleports. That doesn't mean that things can't go wrong. I've got several items in my inventory where the creator is marked "unknown" — maybe the original users left the grid, or there was damage to the database during one of OpenSim's frequent upgrades.

      I currently recommend that all creators have a backup method of branding their creations, instead of just relying on the creator name field — especially if they distribute their goods via XML exports. Backup methods include attached note cards, logos and URLs baked right into the object's textures — the equivalent of a manufacturer's label on physical-world clothing and furniture — in the description field, or some combination of these. Ideally, the license terms should also be included along with the object, either in the form of a notecard, a note in the description field, or baked into a texture.

      I also recommend that users who get their content from OpenSim Creations or LindaKellie.com or similar sites add this info after their import the content. The original creator name and license terms can be added to the description field, or into an attached notecard — along with the source of the content. That way, if questions of provenance ever arise, the answers will be easy to find.

    • ciderjack@katijackstudio.com' CiderJack says:

      Very interesting re permissions. Everything, that is EVERYthing that I’ve picked up on other grids and brought back to my home grid always displays “unknown” or “loading…” (and never loads) in the creator name space. Yes the perms do not get stripped (I’d like to add that I never stated otherwise thankyouverymuch), and that at least is a Good Thing!

      I am 100% in agreement with you here Maria regarding a secondary or “backup” form of attaching creator & license info. In my case everything I create has a notecard with a link to katijackstudio.com and a copy of the CC BY-NC license embedded in it. I also add a link to the website in the description, but this (description field) seems to get stripped out on the root prim when saved as IAR.

      The main reason I don’t offer things in xml on the website (though I’d love to) is because the creator name & any contents (such as a notecard or scripts) don’t survive.

      I think one thing we all need to keep in mind is that OpenSim is still officially in alpha development, and actually pretty damn stable for all that.

  16. Joe Builder says:

    @Cider Ok maybe I used the term "Major Creators" I was referring to Creators who make there Real Life Living Selling there Creations not the ones who build Freebies. Take a visit in these Grids Avinations and Inworldz 2 major Grids. The creators there Most don't allow nor do they want any form of Hypergrid Travel until the "Look and Don't Take" Option is fully 100% operational. Alot of the times HG does have a strange feature it replaces the Creators name with a "Unknown User". But for a growing Grid looking to Build Some form of Economy for its residents and Creators lets keep HG closed until the Feature of Look and Don't takes works 100%. If the need to Visit a Grid go through some simple steps of Registering, It only takes a few minutes. And Back to Cider please Review all comments made By Joe Builder your name is never Mentioned so rest easy kid.