SpotON3D woos Linda Kellie for big PR coup

At first, it seemed to be another publicity disaster in the making. SpotON3D, a grid known for shooting itself in the foot when it comes to public relations, was spotted distributing content by Linda Kellie without crediting her for her work.

SpotON3D is a closed, commercial grid that stands out for two big reasons. First, they have a really, really cool browser plugin that allows an OpenSim viewer to run inside a webpage — including in Facebook. I’ve tried it out, and it’s great. I wish more grids and hosting companies offered something similar. That brings us to the second reasons. They’ve filed a patent on this technology, and on several other OpenSim-related innovations, without providing details of exactly what the patent will cover. As a result, other grids have expressed concern that they’ll be sued if they offer a similar product.

Linda Kellie is the most famous content creator working in OpenSim, because she has made an amazing wealth of content available under an unlimited use license — anyone is free to take it, adapt it, and use it in any way on any grid, including commercially. She also has more than a dozen OAR files — complete regions — available on her website, including a fully-stocking shopping mall, a Western town, a mountain retreat, business districts, a fantasy sim, and more. By offering free, legal, high-quality content she has probably single-handedly done more to combat piracy than anyone else out there. And she has been a life saver for schools and small companies moving into OpenSim for the first time and needing to set up and equip their regions or grids.

The encounter between SpotON3D and Linda Kellie could have gone really badly. Instead, it went exceptionally well.

The apology

It started with an apology.

“I’m the one responsible for the blog entries,” wrote SpotON3D’s Felonious Nitely in a comment on Vanish Seriath’s article spotlighting the issue (comment number three at the bottom). “I must apologize for the lack of attribution on some of the earlier blog entries… I should point out that all the items in-world have had attribution to lindakellie.com from the outset in the item description field as there was never any intention to hide the the source. Again, I apologize for any breaches of protocol here – it’s not been a deliberate action by SpotON3D, merely an error and a poor understanding of instructions on my part.”

This is a textbook apology. It admits the mistakes, explains how they’re being corrected, and asks if there’s anything else they can do to make things right.

There were no excuses or attempts to cover things over. There was a mistake. They’re sorry, and they’re fixing it.

“I’m sorry, I apologize, I was wrong” — these are the most difficult words in the English language.

The dialog

It continued with a dialogue between Linda Kellie and SpotON3D management — including co-founder and COO Tessa Kinney-Johnson and SpotON3D’s in-house animator Michael Somerset, who happened to be an old friend of Linda Kellie’s.

The dialog quickly went beyond comments on the blog, to a Skype conversation, to an in-world tour of SpotON3D that left Kellie extremely impressed.

As a result, Kellie wound up writing four positive posts about SpotON3D on her blog and talked about them on her GridCache feed.

The partnership

But it didn’t stop there.

SpotON3D was able to build on this new relationship and bring Linda Kellie on board as the creator of the Linda Kellie Exclusive line of content for the SpotON3D marketplace. The grid also gave her free store space in which to sell her content.

“Linda Kellie Exclusive” content is available in-world and also from Synergy, SpotON3D’s online marketplace. Click image to visit Linda Kellie’s listings.

Kellie also rented a parcel of land on the grid, and said she may also rent a full region in the future.

There is still part of me that wants to do the freebie stuff but I miss the feel of a closed grid and having to work for money and then going shopping,” Kellie wrote in a blog post. A closed grid is one that does not allow hypergrid travel to other grids, and restricts the degree to which users can export content that they haven’t created themselves. Other examples of closed grids are Avination, InWorldz, and Second Life itself. Some creators prefer closed grids to hypergrid-enabled grids because they tend to have more vibrant in-world economies and more protections for content creators.

That doesn’t mean that she’s leaving the hypergrid altogether, Kellie said.

“I am still also on OSGrid,” she said in a GridCache post. OSGrid is the largest OpenSim grid, and is hypergrid-enabled. “I just am really enjoying being on a grid [SpotON3d] where the tools I need to create work for me better… Plus I am just having so much fun there.”

The lesson

This is a great case study in positive PR for a commercial grid, with several lessons for other grid owners dealing with negative publicity:

First, don’t hold on to the past. Treat every interaction with a member of the public as a new opportunity to demonstrate what your business is about.

Second, it’s true that there’s no such thing as negative publicity — but only if you respond right. A negative article could be just the opportunity your company needs to fix a mistake, address a misconception, or connect with new customers and partners.

Third, if the article is overly negative, there’s a silver lining in there, as readers will be more willing to consider your point of view. For example, I have been very critical of SpotON3D’s position on patent issues, and their public relations mistakes. But I was the first to comment in defense of SpotON3D, pointing out that they did not actually violate Linda Kellie’s license terms because she specifically said that she did not require attribution.  Okay, I did say they were “rude and inconsiderate” in not including the attribution, but after reading their responses, I have to take that back. They weren’t being rude an inconsiderate — they just made an honest mistake.

Now, if only they’d offer a free version of their plugin for non-profits and individuals…

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

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.

  • *remains in wait and see mode*

  • No comment

  • unfortunately, my opinion of SpotOn3D remains the same. it is based on their published words, their actions, and emails between myself and Tessa

    their patent proclamations are not rumour, despite Linda framing them as such, but were their own words on their blog posts (i believe they removed some of those)

    my perspective on any patent activity regarding virtual worlds, specifically those that are OpenSim-based are best summed up by an article by Professor Christa Lopes, one of the core OpenSim developers and creator of the D2 Distro

    http://metaverseink.com/blog/?p=30

    i do wish the best to Linda, who is a phenomenal content creator and generous person, but i can not endorse anything related to SpotOn3D

    • Linda Kellie

      I never stated that their patents were rumors. I know they obtained patents. I simply don’t care. It doesn’t bother me that a company makes up a TOS or licenses their stuff or charges money or obtains patents. And maybe that is selfish but I am not out to fight the battles for Kitely or anyone else.
      I was reading back to a blog where you called them “scumbags” THAT bothers me but that is your opinion and that’s ok.
      It is only this group of people that always speak out here who are so pro opensource and freebie that really have issues with SpotOn3D anyway. Normal people do not. But since this group is loud and trolls the blogs to respond (myself included) it has an effect on what the general public thinks.
      I don’t think people should listen to me. I don’t think they should like a grid because I do. I DO think that they should try out things on their own and not listen to your words or mine or anyone else’s and find what suits them.
      I am not pushing for people to join SpotOn3D. I just went there and decided to stay and wrote about it on my blog for my friends to read so they would know what I was up to. I am not working for the company. I wasn’t asked to make exclusive stuff for them. I’m just there hanging out and doing my thing and making my own decisions with my own mind of my own free will. I would encourage everyone else to do the same.

      • “… Normal people do not. … ”

        I take exception to such blanket statements. Each and every person will make up their own mind for their own reasons, whether anyone else considers those reasons to be valid or not. That is what is normal. To claim that only “normal” people have no issues with SO3D also means that anyone who doesn’t support them is not “norrmal”, that there’s something wrong with them.

        I don’t support SpotOn3D and there is certainly noting wrong with me.

        I support open source and freebies. I also support copyright. I support being rewarded for your efforts. I don’t support copyright trolls or companies who have threatened to use the courts to enforce patents on things that may have their roots in that same open source.

        For an example of how important that is, consider SO3D’s pending patent of their browser plugin. What will that mean for Kitely? Or any other company that also wants to use a bower plugin? And how far will SO3D push it? Will they also include Cloud Party’s and 3di’s browser based systems in any potential litigation?

        I do not support SpotOn3D and I am waiting to see what they do before I change my mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

        • Linda Kellie

          You’re right. I should have said “The average user” and not “normal people”.

          Again though let me point out that I don’t know what patents they hold or what is in those patents. If you have some information on that please share it. I mean real information not just what you have read or heard.

          My dad always said “paper stands still and you can write anything you want on it”. This isn’t paper but it means the same thing. If you or anyone has facts please share them.

          • Vanish

            For fear of tooting my own horn, I made a recording when SO3D discussed their patents, so you can get it directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak: http://tgib.co.uk/2011/08/20/spoton3d-panel-discussion-about-patents/

            This, to my knowledge, is the last information on what has been issued a patent for, and what they plan to do with it. I don’t interpret the silence about this since then as them having changed their views, though.

          • Linda Kellie

            Actually Tessa has talked about it since then. Many times. You can view it here
            http://blog.jessicarandom.me/?p=288#comment-27. And I might be wrong but didn’t she say something about it on your blog also?
            It’s like you people are friggen lynch mob out for blood. Don’t any of you have anything better to do? I know that I have better things to do than to justify why I choose to support a grid that YOU know nothing about.

          • Vanish

            To my knowledge, Tessa is not the patent holder, nor is she ultimately to decide on these issues. That’s up to the CEO and owner of SO3D.

          • Michael Somerset

            From the inside looking out, I can tell you that Tessa is named on the few patents, on the work that the team created. Nothing to do with open sim, but that the technology they developed works with opensim. I invite anyone of you to come in and see with your own eyes what we are working on. As an vetran I can tell you, rely on your own intel above what others are telling you if there is a conflict

          • I haven’t seen the patents being discussed but the question isn’t whether she is named as an inventor but whether she is the patent holder, i.e. the legal entity that controls how the patent is used. If she isn’t the patent holder then she has no direct say in how the patent is or isn’t used in the future.

          • Vanish

            That would be great! How/where can we see that?

          • Michael Somerset

            Sign in and IM me. Michael Somerset I dont work FOR SpotON3D, but I am allowed to show anything

          • So, anyone who does not support SpotOn3D is not an average user? It is true that some people have been very outspoken against SO3D. However, intense expressions of favour or disfavour are within normal and average behaviour.

            The issues is not the patents themselves, but SO3D’s own stated intentions on pursuing litigation against anyone they believe to be infringing on those patents. When it comes to that, I have the same information that everyone else has, SO3D’s own statements regarding patent enforcement. Their own words on their own website. In fact, I believe there are past articles right here on HGBiz that will include the links to those same statements. I have read the statements by people who are more knowledgeable than I. I have asked questions and thought about the answers.

            And I have formed my own opinions about SpotOn3D. I believe that they will use the courts to defend their patents and they will do so in a highly aggressive manner. If and when the patents are granted. I believe that they will target Kitely on the use of a browser plugin. I think there’s is a good chance that they will include Cloud Party and 3di if they can get away with it. But all that is only my own opinion.

          • Michael Somerset

            As to the viewer plugin, Kitely’s plugin barely works. It is not designed for what SO3D calls “fully functional” inworld ability. Many bigger companies choose not to worry about “knock-offs” if you dont mind less functionality, go for it. Side by side, SO3D’s product doesn’t have any of the limits that Kitely’s does.

          • SO3D’s viewer plugin is designed to provide one official SO3D viewer whereas Kitely’s plugin is designed to enable people to use the viewer of their choice and not tie them down to one official viewer provided by Kitely.

            The inworld experience you get with Kitely depends on what viewer you decide to set up the Kitely Plugin to launch. That is entirely up to you. With SO3D you don’t get that choice.

          • Actually, I have found Kitely’s plugin to work exactly as advertised. And it is quite convenient to be able switch viewers as I please, such as Niran’s Viewer for RP or Imprudence for Building. And I certainly have ” “fully functional” inworld functionality ” whenever I am in Kitely.

            I can’t say the same about SpotOn3D’s setup. I’ve never used it.

          • linda kellie

            No, the average user is one that just plays the game and isn’t a grid owner and isn’t all one sided and doesn’t have any stake in if they have patents or not.
            You go ahead and believe what you want and I support your right to not want to be on spoton3d. Now try supporting my right to wanting to be there!

    • Hulds

      are you same guy on sl as ender hax? lol

      • Vanish

        Is this real life?

  • I’ve read Linda Kellie’s blog posts about her latest association with SpotOn3D and I must admit I’m quite saddened by her actions. Her view, as far as I understand it, was that people shouldn’t worry about SpotOn3D’s stated aggressive intentions regarding their patent portfolio because it only concerns other virtual world providers and not the people who just want to use virtual worlds.

    She has therefore chosen to overlook SpotOn3D’s past statements and non-contribution to the open-soruce project they are based on and focus on features she liked in their offering. That is of course her right, but her patronizing and encouraging others to spend money on a service provider that threatens the continued existence of an open-source and free metaverse IMO sacrifices her long-term freedoms for short term gains.

    If people support companies that take public anti-competative actions intended to create vendor lock-in then they shouldn’t be surprised when more companies start acting in a similar fashion and an open alternative ceases to exist. Why should any OpenSim service provider spend effort helping OpenSim continue to develop if people are just as willing to buy from companies who focus all their efforts on their own proprietary solution and give nothing back to the community? Why should any company work to make its system open and enable people to easily export their content to a competitor’s service if people don’t consider that fact when deciding what service provider they will endorse and give their money to?

    When people don’t punish companies that hurt the environment then companies quickly fall back to polluting the environment because it is not in their financial best interest to spend resources to help maintain something they don’t profit from. People understand this when it comes to how consumer devices are manufactured, and hold manufacturers to high standards, but not everyone understands that open-source development is the same. If you endorse a company that takes active action to hurt the continued existence of the open-source project it is based on then you are a letting them get away with polluting that open-source project’s development environment. When enough consumers do the same the resulting dynamics will hurt everyone, including people who just want to use virtual worlds on their own computer.

    Linda Kellie is a talented creator who has helped the OpenSim community enormously with her very generous content contributions but I fear that she has hurt that same community with her endorsement of SpotOn3D. I hope she will reconsider the long-term effects of her actions and decide to go back to endorsing OSGrid, or one of the commercial companies that actively contribute to the development of OpenSim, instead of to the company that is most remembered by its publicly-stated very unfriendly intentions towards OpenSim’s open-source developer community.

    • Linda Kellie

      I just realized you said you are saddened by my actions. What ‘actions” is that exactly? You are upset that I choose that grid and not yours? Or you are upset that I don’t care about patents that mean nothing to me? Or you are sad that I am choosing to make some stuff to sell? I feel like I have done plenty to help the OpenSim community and I don’t plan on stopping that. There is nothing for you to be saddened by. I am saddened that you can’t just be happy for me that I found a place I am enjoying.

      • Hi Linda,

        I had no issue with you endorsing any of the other service providers you had used in the past as no one other than SpotOn3D has publicly stated that they intend to pursue OpenSim developers using their patent portfolio. As I recall, I’ve continued thanking you for your contributions in blog comments regardless of what grid you were enthusiastic about at the time.

        I have no problem with you spending as much of your time as you like creating things for profit. I’d still be grateful for your contributions to date even if you completely stopped sharing additional things for free.

        What does make me sad is that you are writing blog posts encouraging people to ignore the public statements of SpotOn3D, regarding how they will use their patents to hamper the development of OpenSim, because those statements, in your opinion, should only bother open-source developers and other companies who provide virtual world services.

        Open-source developers are the ones that created OpenSim and continue to develop it. Without those people’s contributions no OpenSim-based solution would exist today. There wouldn’t be OSGrid, sim-on-a-stick, Inworldz, Avination, Kitely, or any of the other public and private grids (including SpotOn3D).

        I gave the analogy about the environment because people who ignore the actions of companies that pollute contribute to the deterioration of this place we all live in. It’s true that there are only a few people who go up in arms to protect the environment. That said, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t all at least care about what kind of world we leave our children. If we don’t vote with our purses and prefer to promote companies that take the environment into consideration then no company will do so and we’ll all be left to deal with the waste they’ll create.

        You are free to support whomever you want for whatever reason you see fit. However, when you, a recognized OpenSim persona, support a company that strives to monopolize the open-source efforts of the people who continue to develop OpenSim then you are disincentivizing those developers from continuing to work together to build the software that you use daily. It isn’t just their problem that SpotOn3D threatenes OpenSim’s continued existence, it is a problem for all the people who just want to be able to use OpenSim in their own private grids and standalones as well.

        Like it or not, you are a role model for some people. If you encourage enough people to act in ways that hurt the continued development of OpenSim, then OpenSim’s development will suffer for it. The fact that you seem to be unwilling to acknowledged this fact saddens me.

        • Linda Kellie

          You really need to stop being sad. For one thing I don’t see that SpotOn3D has done anything to hurt anyone. It’s like you’re chicken little running around shouting “The sky is falling, The sky is falling”. Do you know just what patents they hold and have they caused problems?
          I’m sorry, I know you think I should care about the politics of all of this but I don’t. I know that I don’t fully understand it but what I do understand is that I’m happy doing what I am doing and I don’t care of people like what I am doing or not. I am happy if my friends join me and like the grid too. But the people who don’t like me and don’t agree with me probably won’t like what I like anyway.
          And my blog is just a blog. It’s not a news source. It’s just my feelings on my life.
          I am sure that legally nobody would be able to patent something that isn’t patentable (however you say that). So why don’t we leave that to the the government or the lawyers or the powers that be and not worry about it. IF you KNOW of something they have done that is illegal then by all means shout it from the rooftops. Otherwise you are just spewing out stuff that makes you look like you are bitter that you didn’t think of it first.
          So just answer this “Did they do something illegal?” And if they did I would suggest you get your proof and call the authorities and do something about it. If they didn’t I would suggest that you just take care of your own business and make it thrive.

          • Hi Linda,

            The software patent system is broken. I can give you links to articles by famous law professors about this, academic research that has been done to measure the absurdly high costs we’ve all paid because of those patents and so forth (I provided many links in the various blog posts that discussed this when the SpotOn3D legal threats were first made, I’m sure Maria and others can point you to all those blog comments).

            The problem with the software patent system is that companies do legally get patents for things other people invented and it costs the real inventors a lot of money to prove that they are being sued using patents that shouldn’t have been granted in the first place. Some of the things SpotOn3D claimed to have filed patents for were for things that have been common public knowledge for a very long time. People have even showed them prior art in those aforementioned blog posts.

            The problem is that SpotOn3D has a patent lawyer on board and they can afford to get patents granted which shouldn’t justifiably be granted. This entire patent issue evolved when people claimed how simple it would be to create an open-source alternative for their viewer-in-a-browser plugin and SpotOn3D quickly came out with threats that they had “worldwide patents pending” to protect this technology and would use them to “assert their intellectual property”. This justifiably got people upset as embeding a VW viewer into a browser had been done years before SpotOn3D even existed. In the resulting back-and-forth the people who run SpotOn3D came out with escalatingly more threatening statements about how they will use their patent portfolio. They later had some of those comments deleted from the various blogs they posted to but people still remember their aggressive statements.

            All their actions may be legal in the United States but they are only so because they can get away with using a broken software patent system that allows them to claim ownership of a collection of things other people invented before them. Many people are justifiably upset that they not only do so but threaten to use those patents, which shouldn’t be granted in the first place, to prevent other people from offering competing services.

            When there is less competition then you, as a consumer, have less options and are forced to pay higher prices. IMO, that, at the very least, should bother you.

          • Linda Kellie

            It doesn’t bother me. The reason it doesn’t bother me is that I don’t believe the sky is falling. If you have proof of anything they have done that is illegal then by all means state it.
            Yes people probably have gotten patents for things that other people invented. Yes our patent system probably is broken. But you don’t know for sure what SpotOn3D has patents on. They haven’t done anything with them as far as I know. Do you know something the rest of us don’t?
            I do know that in the comment section of Jessica Random’s blog ( http://blog.jessicarandom.me/?p=288#comment-27 ) Tessa states that she won’t be pursuing any more patents.

            Really if you want to get on a soapbox about something and scream about injustice there are many other battles you could be fighting than a fictional one where you are fighting about something that could possibly, maybe, happen sometime in the future. Nothing has happened yet. They haven’t done anything illegal. You are dragging their name through the mud for what reason? Is it fun for you or does it help your business to bring other business’s down?

            Get your facts in order and when you find something they have done that is illegal then please let us know. Until then go fight the battle for world hunger or the homeless or something that is actually worth the time and effort and stress you are putting out there.

            And your comment earlier about me being a role model I just have to reply to. I didn’t ask to be a role model. I admit that I have a lot of personal problems and that I am just making crap and giving it away because it makes me feel good. I am not going to conform to what others expect me to do. I did not put myself on a pedestal and anyone else that does put me on a pedestal should really rethink that. I try hard to be a good person and I try hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and give people a chance. I did it with you and your grid. I found out that I liked you but not your grid so much (for me). But I went there and I played around and I judged for myself. And believe it or not I still do like you. I just don’t like your view on this issue.

          • Hi Linda,

            I like you as well, my problem is not with your personality but rather with your recent support for a company that has gone on record stating that they will sue OpenSim developers who compete with them if/when they get their patents granted. This statement wasn’t imagined by me it was made by them in the New Worlds Notes blog and then repeated in multiple other places. Maria has covered this story in the past and so have many other blogs.

            SpotOn3D, to my knowledge, has a lot less customers than Kitely and, frankly, less than most of the other grids in Maria’s monthly statistics reports. There are a couple companies out there that have a lot more users than us and you don’t see me saying anything negative about them. My problem is not with Kitely having competitors, if that were the case we wouldn’t contribute as many patches to OpenSim as we do. My problem is with a company that threatens the existence of the open-source project that we all use daily.

            Companies can legally pollute and abuse their manufacturing work force in third-world countries. That doesn’t mean we should just ignore their immoral actions. It means we should call them out for their evil ways and try to get the laws changed so that things that hurt society will be made illegal. My stance on software patents is the same. They have a gigantic negative toll on innovation and I want to see them abolished.

            SpotOn3D suffers the result of people’s disgust because they have, with their own statements, shown they intend to use this broken system to immorally prevent people from competing with them. Not by building things better, faster, or cheaper but by using a broken legal system that they can afford to abuse to get their way. That is not illegal of them but it is highly immoral.

          • Linda Kellie

            OMG, really this is all just more of the sky is falling.
            And more of patting yourself on the back for contributing stuff to OpenSim. Good for you! You should be very proud. You have a right to be. But UNTIL they DO something wrong stfu. Really. This is getting old. I DO support them. I like the things they have developed and it’s going to make my creating and my game play rise far and above what any other grid can do for me.
            Everyone trips up. Maybe they made mistake. Sometimes people do things they regret later. Sometimes people say things they regret later. So when they actually do something to really hurt you or me or someone else or when they do something illegal I will more than likely turn my back on them.
            I’m just so sick of hearing all of this. It’s just politics. I am sure that if you and I talked politics we wouldn’t agree either. And that’s ok.
            The companys that can really hurt you with patents are probably more like IBM or Intel. I really doubt that SpotOn3D is going to do anything that will really harm you.

          • Listen to SpotOn3D’s own public statements about their plans for the patent portfolio they are trying to acquire. When a company says they will sue open-source developers I tend to listen. Neither Intel nor IBM, both of which actually contributed to OpenSim, have ever made legal threats against other OpenSim developers.

            Making threats to scare off people is doing something. If you saw one kid threatening to buy a gun and shoot other kids who go into a theater then I hope that when that kid tells you that he already filled papers to acquire the gun then you wouldn’t just wait until he actually started shooting.

            What SpotOn3D built is very easy to duplicate and you still don’t see other people offering OpenSim viewers embedded in a browser. SpotOn3D’s legal threats scared open-source developers from creating something that you like and making it freely available for OpenSim users and yet you don’t see that as SpotOn3D doing something. Is having less options available to you not a tangible thing?

          • Michael Somerset

            Wow talk about sensationalism

          • Linda Kellie

            Really? You went from someone getting patents to people killing each other? You’re reaching now. And I am done talking to you about this because you just have a very strong imagination that is leading to being paranoid.

          • I don’t think people are out to get me unless they say they are out to get me. SpotOn3D has said they will go after OpenSim developers if they compete with SpotOn3D on things their patents applications are granted. Those were their words written and said by them in multiple websites, including their own. If you want to think I hallucinated them then that is your prerogative to do so but a simple google search would prove you wrong.

            I didn’t say that turning a closed eye to a company’s statements regarding their plans for their patent portfolio is the same as letting a kid shoot other kids. I used a relevant analogy for not having to wait until there is a smoking gun to know that certain actions will lead to one existing. If you have problems with the analogy I can give you another. Either way, the issue under discussion remains the same. SpotOn3D’s actions have already caused some damage and threaten to cause more damage in the future. You can ignore this if you want but it won’t change the facts.

          • Linda Kellie

            Ok I get why you might not like them. So you’re upset that I am not fighting your battle for you? I’m so sorry but I pick my battles and I don’t happen to be on your side.

          • Linda I’m saddened that you don’t see that the OpenSim’s developers battle IS your battle as well. If the developers decide to stop developing OpenSim because it is too legally dangerous for them to do so then you and all other OpenSim users will be left with a project that isn’t maintained and won’t see any more progress. Do you really not see how this can effect you personally? Does it really not bother you if this happened? Or do you just think that people will continue contributing to an open-soruce project when they are under legal threats from a litigious proprietary vendor?

          • Linda Kellie

            I see how YOU are affecting me personally. And I know that I will never support your grid. You can’t see past your agenda to just let me be happy in the place I found that suits me.

          • Linda I apologize that I’ve offended you, I had no intention of doing so.

            My agenda is to have people support the people who help develop OpenSim. If you don’t want to support our company then support another company that contributes code to OpenSim. Just please don’t endorse the single company that has explicitly threatened the long-term existence of the OpenSim project.

          • Linda Kellie

            I don’t believe that people need to contribute code to opensim. To me it’s like getting a recipe for a simple cake and they they add things to it that nobody else even thought of and turn it into this wonderful concoction and it’s now their own and they can publish it in a cookbook and it is theirs.
            What you are complaining about is stupid. If people didn’t take ideas and change them into something better then we would all just have one cake to eat.
            I WILL support grids that are opensourse and grids that are closed and grids that charge me money and grids that are free. I will support what I like and the people I like that have the same values that I do. You are not one of them. So that is why even after you gave me 20,000 credits to be on your grid I didn’t use them and I didn’t stick around.
            Have you contributed back your facebook trigger? And if so and if it’s so good then why arn’t other people using it? And you can’t complain about people not giving back code of you just pick and choose the code you want to give back. Just because you give the crumbs that you have doesn’t mean that people need to give up their entire recipe.

          • Where have I ever said that people or companies need to share everything they create? I hope you noticed that just a few comments ago I told you that I had no problem with you deciding to sell some/all of your future creations.

            What I did say was that I think people should support companies that contribute code to the shared code base so that this open-source project can continue to receive contributions from the companies that help develop OpenSim. When you don’t care, or even prefer, paying companies that don’t contribute code over companies that do then you are sending the market the message that contributing code is not in companies’ best interest. Why should any for-profit venture lose a competitive edge by sharing proprietary features when its customers don’t care and doing so only helps its closed-source competitors?

            OpenSim’s code base consists of hundreds of thousands of lines of code. It took many developers years to create and most of it was done by people whose livelihood dependent on the codebase in one way or another. This didn’t just happen by people submitting small recipe improvements. It was created by people who spent day in and day out developing OpenSim.

            We gave you 20,000 KC when we were still giving people 1000 KC / week so you could spend as much time as you wanted on our grid. You chose to go somewhere else and that is completely fine. I wasn’t happy that you left but I continued to openly value your content contribution to the OpenSim community.

            95% of Kitely’s code has nothing to do with OpenSim (it isn’t even written in the same programming language as OpenSim). It is specialized code for automated server management that can just as easily work with another virtual world architecture. As for the code that does integrate with OpenSim, we’ve contributed most of it and it amounts to more than crumbs. I’ll leave it to others to decide the value of our open-source contributions so far. What I will say is that the amount of code in the Kitely Plugin, which we kept closed-source, is much smaller than the amount of code we’ve submitted as open-source patches to OpenSim.

          • Linda Kellie

            So you are saying that if you have code that isn’t compatible with the opensim base then it’s ok to not to share it. Well that is what InWorldz and SpotOn3D and other closed grids have been saying.

            I know you are passionate about this. But just because you want something one way and you think that things should be done one way does not mean I have to share your views.

            I want to be on the sim that holds the patents. I don’t happen to think there is anything wrong with patents. If you decide that you aren’t going to support places that hold patents then you better not drive a car because I can assure you that most of the parts on it are patented. You can not believe in patents but they are out there and you use patented things every day.

            And that is the simple facts. S03D took the care to do what they thought they should do for their legal future. They dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s while you were trolling the blogs and posting your comments and fighting imaginary battles that you will never win.

          • It’s ok for any company to decide to keep all its code private if it wants. It is simply up to people to decide what behavior they prefer to encourage: sharing code with open-source projects or not sharing code. If people encourage companies to contribute code by spending money with the companies that do so then other companies are financially motivated to contribute code as well. I’m a capitalist company owner but I’m also a consumer that wants to live in a better world. If I want companies to respect certain values then I spend money with the companies that do so and openly chastise that companies that don’t.

            Regarding patents, it’s not a matter of believing in patents, they exist. It’s a matter of supporting them only for things that society benefits from giving inventors a monopoly for spending the effort to invent. Pharmaceutical products, for example, can cost many millions of dollars and many years to develop but, once developed, are very easily copied. Not having those things patentable would cause people to not bother creating any new medication. The same goes for many industry manufacturing processes and some physical designs that require a lot of expensive experimentation to perfect.

            This, however, can’t be said about software development. The ideas for almost all software patents have been independently “invented” by thousands of software engineers around the world during their day-to-day work. Those people simply didn’t even think to try to patent what is so obvious to them. Those ideas don’t require millions of dollars to invent, they may be the result of an engineer spending a few hours thinking about how to solve some algorithmic or design problem. This doesn’t mean that software shouldn’t be copyrighted, it just means that the ideas used to create software shouldn’t be made exclusive to anyone. Unlike with some of the aforementioned “physical” things, even if software patents didn’t exist you would still have the same amount of innovation in software development that you have now because software engineers need to come up with those ideas to do their routine jobs.

            Some companies have lawyers whose job is to file patent applications for all those uninnovative ideas software engineers use on a daily basis. When they succeed it isn’t because their company invented a solution that no one else has thought about, it is because a patent reviewer doesn’t have enough experience as a software developer to decide what is and isn’t innovative. What they’re left with doing is looking for prior art, and since most engineers don’t try to patent the obvious things they implement, it is hard for patent reviewers to know that the patent claim they are about to grant is obvious to someone of the art (most countries patent law requires that patent claims not be obvious extensions to existing knowledge of a professional in the relevant field).

            SpotOn3D didn’t just do what every software company should do, they made public threats towards the people who develop the open-source project their own company uses as the base for their offering. No matter what you think about software patents that isn’t something I think people should reward them for.

            As far as I recall, I only commented about SpotOn3D on posts that discussed their patent-related actions. I’m not sure how you would categorize commenting on the subject that is being discussed as trolling.

          • Linda Kellie

            Honestly now I read your comments and i just read “blah blah blah”. What you like or what you want doesn’t mean a thing to me. I am so sick of people trying to push off their views on me when they are so ill informed as you are. Have you spent time in SO3D? Have you seen what they are doing?
            You know… it doesn’t even matter. Let me alone to enjoy the world i want to enjoy. Instead of being here trying to sway my opinion you should be working on your own grid to try and make it better and more user friendly instead of putting down what you don’t like that another grid is doing.
            I could list the reasons why I am not on your grid. You wouldn’t like them and it wouldn’t do any good for me to list them. But I can tell you that SpotOn3D deserves whatever patents they have because they are doing amazing things there and they have so much more to offer me than you do with your grid.
            I suggest you stop this battle with me because you aren’t going to change my mind. I know what I like and I know where I am happy and I don’t and won’t ever think that patents are bad and I hope to God that the people at SO3D don’t let you brow beat them to the point where they feel a need to make excuses for their actions.
            Take your little socialistic views to someone that cares because I don’t!
            But if you choose to keep the battle going then….. bring it. I don’t have a grid to run like you do. I am not taking time away from customers like you are to be here. I can be here all day responding to your comments. So good luck with that.

          • I don’t see why we can’t debate over issues without you viewing this as a battle but I’ll let you have the last word. If you enjoy endorsing SpotOn3D and don’t care about what negative effect that can have on OpenSim’s continued development then that is your prerogative and I won’t try to convince you otherwise.

          • Jessica Random

            First off, this “litigious proprietary vendor” stuff is a pile of smelly brown stuff. As you seem to be so legally minded, maybe you should consider if using words that could easily be taken as libellous is a good idea?

            Secondly, I believe SpotOns patents have more to do with viewer/plugin/sales methods than actual OpenSim stuff. if I remember correctly (and in fact I do) until very recently it wasnt even ALLOWED for someone working on viewer code to contribute to OpenSim core. SpotOn or anyone else can patent their hearts off for their ways of USING OpenSim, and their viewer stuff and it will have zippo affect on the development of OpenSim.

            As for people “contributing to an open-source project when they are under threats”….. maybe you had totally missed the SCO/Darl McBride (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darl_McBride#Linux_controversy) fiasco? He was threatening every person using Linux, talking about shutting down companies and basically taking over the world. Did that stop people developing Linux? Of course it didn’t. Opensource software developers are like stubborn mules. You tell them they can’t do something and they stick two fingers in the air and do it even more. I can’t believe that they would be overly scared of some imagined threat by a company that just happens to have applied for patents on a technology that is ancillary to OpenSim.

          • Hi Jessica,

            SpotOn3D keeps all its developments closed-source, which makes it a proprietary vendor. It is also owned by a patent lawyer that has stated in multiple forums that he will assert his company’s patents against competitors from the OpenSim developer community, which makes him litigious. Therefore I don’t see my qualification of their nature as libelous, brown or smelly.

            I have intentionally not looked at their patents’ claims as doing so would potentially open up our company to triple-damages if they were ever to sue us for supposed infringement. I’ll therefore take your word regarding those patent’s nature and answer based on your claims.

            Building a business on an open-sourced codebase (whether OpenSim or LL’s viewer) then patenting how that code base can be used creates a legal minefield that potential open-source contributers need to navigate when deciding what features they will implement and give back to the community. Some people ignore that and some people don’t but the overall effect is that there are less people willing to do open-source development than there would have existed if those patents wouldn’t have been used to scare people off.

            I’m very familiar with the SCO case and with http://www.groklaw.net which covered the case and its effects in detail. As I assume you know, SCO went out and tried to threaten the giant companies that spend millions developing Linux. IBM, which has a very big vested interest in Linux remaining unhampered by legal ambiguities, spent millions defending the case against the SCO’s aggression until finally defeating SCO. OpenSim doesn’t have such a white knight who will spend millions defending it. Developers are therefore on their own when facing threats by companies that state their intentions to use software patents offensively.

            If you read the comments and blog posts that were written by some of OpenSim’s developers during the SpotOn3D “blog patent wars” a year ago then you will see that some of them did state their fear of SpotOn3D’s intents and viewed their statements as damaging to OpenSim’s continued development.

          • Jessica Random

            Having a legal person (even a patent lawyer) as someone important (owner, CEO, whatever) doesn’t itself make them litigious, It makes that potential greater yes, but it doesn’t make it happen. I am sure I have missed some things that have been said as I have come late to this whole discussion. However from what I have seen the nearest to making threats I have seen SpotOn make is then Stevan Lieberman said something along the lines of “if others try to use our technology without permission/licence then we will have to see what happens”. First of all this is more like saying that they will decide what to do when the time happens. Can this be taken as a direct threat? Of course it can, but it the fact that you CAN take it as a threat doesnt mean it IS one. I would also point out that the time I heard Stevan say this was in an interview in world and he was badly flustered by the questions, and borderline sulking about being questioned. Half of what he said was a result of being in a bad mood by the people talking to him it seemed to me. Definately a bad PR day for SpotOn.

            However, this whole idea of boycotting a company because it tries to patent some of its ideas seems childish and short sighted to me. Patents have been filed, unless you can manage to stop them being granted – no-one will make a difference by saying they don’t like it. I have heard things like “this company needs to go out of business now!” and other really friendly things. What effect would that have? It would hardly have a good effect, The patents would still exist (if granted). If SpotOn no longer existed then the investors would lose their money and the only recourse would be to try and use those Patents to get some funds back. Destroying SpotOn would just make it more likely any patents will be used in a hostile way.

            Do I “trust” SpotOn? Not entirely, I believe I trust Tessa but I don’t trust Stevan. Maybe I am right in that, maybe I am not, but its my opinion. I also have never trusted Bill Gates or any of his followers, but I still use Windows (I also use Linux btw and have since kernel 1.3). However my trust or not in them will not stop me from giving them the benefit of the doubt. I will not listen to scaremongering. If they start acting “badly” then I will probably take my business elsewhere (or just move back to OSGrid with its lag) but im not going to do anything like that based only on the fact that they CAN act badly if they want to. Some of OpenSim’s own developers have acted badly too btw, but Im hardly going to boycott that project either!

          • My issue with SpotOn3D began when during a comment discussion in New World Notes, in which people pointed out how one could go about embedding the SL viewer into the browser, Mr. Lieberman came out and made claims to own “worldwide pending patents” for the obvious ways which people “invented” in minutes during said discussion. People then pointed out multiple prior art cases that have used these techniques before SpotOn3D was even registered as a company.

            The ensuing discussion contained many additional comments by SpotOn3D personal making various legal claims about owning the technology and how they will protect their intellectual property. These comments were later deleted from the various blogs on which they were posted at SpotOn3D’s request. You can find people’s comments form that period discussing how SpotOn3D was “trying to hide the evidence” of their previous PR-hurting public statements.

            I might think software patents are evil but you don’t see me calling people to boycott every company that files to have them. SpotOn3D didn’t just patent something, they went out and threatened the open-source developers whose code they used to create their own company. That is immoral in my book and creates a direct threat to the continued development of an open-source project I highly care about.

            If you are not one of the people who uses OpenSim then you might not care if OpenSim continues to be developed as an open-source project. However, I hope you will agree that the people who do use OpenSim frequently would serve their own best interests if they avoided doing things that hurt its continued development. I made my first comment to this article because of this exact reason.

          • Jessica Random

            I have used OpenSim for years. Even if SpotOn decide to pursue their patents (if they are granted), the people they would be coming after are other grids using technology similar to their own developed technology. Sure some of those are also OpenSim core developers, but they wouldnt be coming out after OpenSim itself They are not (as far as I know) claiming any rights over any OpenSim code/ideas, but on their own “overlay” to that. Their own way of USING that code. Would SpotOn trying to stop other companies embedding a view into a webpage be harmful? Maybe, if their patent was broad enough. Would them charging a licence fee be harmful? That is more of a grey question as it depends what they would charge. This would be aimed at other closed grids in the main, and tbh if they are charged to use someone elses tech in their product I dont see a problem with it. However it doesnt mean it would harm OpenSim development itself. OpenSim development is somewhat separated from view development anyway.

            Of course I would prefer if SpotOn hadnt filed for patents. I think I have made it clear that I think they are a bad idea. However crying over spilt milk never helped anyone. Trying to close a company down and forcing them to have no OPTION but to try and make some money out of their patents instead is just foolhardy in my view however. Patents have been filed. What has been done has been done. How will they use their patents? I strongly suggest that they don’t even know themselves what time will hold. I don’t think that holding on to the words of a lawyer that can say one thing one day and another the next is a good idea however. Especially when he is so easily flustered by questions. In my view the sensible action is to watch – with caution if you want – to what happens. My point is that there simply is too much sky falling going on around.

          • Claiming rights over any way of using code that other people have written is immoral. If someone sells or gives away plans for how to build a tent then, in the software world, no one should be able to claim the rights to using that tent to grow chickens. Doing so retroactively takes away rights from the people who created the tent. The fact that the tent’s creators didn’t spend significant money to pay to get a patent for every way their tent could be conceivably used doesn’t mean that the concept of using tents for growing animals wasn’t one of the things they had in mind when designing it.

            That is exactly the problem with the type of software patents you claim SpotOn3D is pursuing. What SpotOn3D would be doing, if they came after competitors whose code they use, is exactly like the aforementioned analogy with patenting how a tent that someone else designed, and in this case freely shared with SpotOn3D, can be used.

            Business method and software patents are a relatively knew inventions that many legal experts claim should not have been allowed in the first place. The fact that SpotOn3D claims to have some such patents doesn’t mean that SpotOn3D should be continually bankrolled to pay them so they wouldn’t take aggressive legal actions against others. Doing so for this reason would be like paying a person who decides you are on their turf and makes threats against your family owned business. It would be illegal for gangs wielding guns to make such threats but, regardless of how much damage they do [for example see http://researchoninnovation.org/dopatentswork/ ], it is still legal for lawyers in some countries to do the same with software patents. This injustice should be corrected by the legislator but until it is, it is up to consumers to vote with their wallets and show that they don’t accept this practice.

            When a company that makes claims over how other people’s software can be
            used continues to be in business it can, and given the profession of
            the person owning it will, file for additional abusive patents. Already
            owning a legal gun doesn’t mean we should give an aggressive person a
            free pass and money to buy an entire arsenal of firearms. What SpotOn3D
            decides to do with the legal weapons they already possess is really up
            to them but, given the nature of their past statements, I would much
            rather they had as few legal weapons at their disposal as possible.

            In any case, if you look at the recent research about who has been responsible for the big architectural improvments to OpenSim over the project’s lifetime, you’ll see that startups and big cooperations, both using OpenSim in their own grids, have done the lion’s share of that work. If those companies decide that implementing some new OpenSim capability is too legally risky then they won’t spend the resources required to develop it. The big engineering problems require committed development work over long periods of time. If the grid owners who can pay full-time developers are too scared to put that in then, empirically based on the nature OpenSim’s contributors, that code will not be added. This effects OpenSim development directly.

            The reason I think people shouldn’t patron SpotOn3D is mentioned in my comments in this thread multiple times. If you want to see OpenSim continue to evolve as an open-source project then fiancially motivate companies that contribute code so that (a) they will have resources to do serious OpenSim development and (b) other companies will know that if they want to get a lot of customers then they should also contribute something back to the open-source project which their business is built on. That doesn’t mean companies have to share everything they have developed but endorsing a company that not only doesn’t share but also threatens the project sends the market the wrong message IMO.

            If we want to see companies continue to contribute code to OpenSim then it is up to us as consumers to let companies know that in a language they understand, i.e. buy from companies who do and don’t by from companies who don’t.

          • Jessica Random

            Wow… just wow! I really do hope you have a biiiiiiig hat on because the sky really is falling over you isn’t it? Poor love you! First of all claiming rights over a way of using something someone else created isnt immoral as you say, and you saying so doesn’t make it so. EVERY invention incorporates something that someone else has already done. There is NOTHING ever invented, now, in the past, or in the future that is not in some way based on something someone else has already done. For another analogy, someone invents a method of smelting iron down. Someone else takes that method, and makes a “product” out of iron. It is something very new, noone has done it before, and they decide to patent that. They could only do this because someone showed them how to smelt the iron in the first place so is it immoral for them to patent their new invention? I suppose this comes down to if you think patents are immoral in general. If you do – then just about every major company is immoral (most are tbh) and you should promptly go live in a monastery so you can ensure you don’t taint yourself with this immoral lifestyle. Personally I wouldn’t think it was immoral if they had created something substantially different – either product, or a way of combining that product with something else in an innovative (there is scope for variance here however) way.

            I would like to address some of the points you make however…. ” [What SpotOn3D would be doing, if they came after competitors whose code they use]” you are assuming here that SpotOn will be going to chase after people for using the code that they wrote that later Spoton claimed was theirs? That is a massive assumption to make. Do you not feel it is slightly vindictive to want to shut a company down and make people out of work just because you believe there is a possibility that they are “the big evil”? You have no reason to assume that SpotOn (or anyone else) are going to claim ownership over something you have done.

            You also say that they should be paid just to stop them pursuing people. I would agree… if they were doing something unlawful or immoral, but you only have your personal opinion (which you are perfectly entitled to of course) to believe they are immoral, and no reason to believe they are unlawful. Trying to vindictively put people out of work because you dont like what they do when they havent done anything to threaten you (apart from in your imagination) is like destroying all cars just in case someone runs you over. Cars arent threatening inherently. Sure there are some BAD drivers, but would you ban cars “just in case”?

            You then mention people being scared to implement some new OpenSim capability because of SpotOn’s patents. It has been said before that these patents are more concerned with overlaying tech not OpenSim itself. Its a bit like OpenSim is the car and SpotOn is the car transporter. The design for the transporter truck is probably not available to the manufacturer of the car, but does that stop them developing new cars? Maybe you are worried that some of these patents ARE indeed related to core OpenSim functionality (this maybe the case – but I don’t believe so – I don’t however know for a fact). You however refuse to look into what the patents are regarding because you feel that knowing what you shouldn’t do makes you more liable if you do it? Has the law changed recently? Maybe its just different in the states than here in England, but I suspect not…. Is it indeed a fact that ignorance of the law is now an excuse?

            Then you mention that in order to motivate development of OpenSim we should financially reward the companies that contribute code….. As I have said before contributing code for viewer aspects would have been FORBIDDEN by the OpenSim project until it was opened up fairly recently. Noone was allowed to work on both viewer and server projects for fear of tainting the codebase. Also why should SpotOn contrubuting the code for their overlay tech be a requirement for development of OpenSim? Would it be nice if they contributed to it? Sure it would. They are after all profiting (if they are in fact in profit yet) from Open source software – it would be the nice thing to do. Giving to charity is a nice thing to do as well, but I personally am not going to deride someone for not doing so. It’s YOUR choice what charity (if any) you give to, and it is quite frankly none of my business.

            Unfortunately your whole argument rests squarely on conjecture and innuendo and no doubt fear of your market share going to a competitor. If I was a pessimist like you seem to be, I may wonder if it is yourself who is trying to kill off competition, not SpotOn. However I am not, so I wouldn’t say that 😛

            I realise that my arguments here may sound rather strong, and I do not intend to be offensive to you (or anyone else) but I really DO feel that people need to get a grip on reality and not start acting like they were auditioning for the lead role in a new production of Chichen Licken!

          • Linda Kellie

            Very well said Jessica. You make all the points that are in my head that I am unable to express. Thank you.

          • Please leave the discussion on point and avoid using straw-man arguments, name calling and other ad hominem characterizations of me when debating the issues at hand.

            As I explicitly stated in my previous comments, software patents are inherently different from patents over physical inventions. Trying to reducule my statements by claiming that I said otherwise sidesteps addressing the points that I had mentioned. Almost all software inventions require very little mental work to extrapolate from existing knowledge. That is not something people should be granted patents for as it prohibits other people from freely making those same small mental steps. Some physical inventions, on the other hand, do require a significant amount of research and money to develop, effort without which those inventions wouldn’t be created. Claiming that people shouldn’t be able to get patents for how other people’s software inventions are used isn’t the same as claiming that physical products created using tools that are patented by other people shouldn’t be patentable.

            I don’t believe SpotOn3D will sue people for code that currently exists in OpenSim, but I take them at their word that if someone were to create very simple software that competes with “their creations” (that are mostly built using the open-source OpenSim and the LL viewer) that they will “assert their patents”.

            Leveraging other people’s work in obvious ways then prohibiting them from using their own code in similar ways is not something that should be allowed. You’ll note that I’m saying obvious ways because (A) the majority of software engineers agree that software patents are very rarely justified if at all and (B) there is a lot of prior art for other people doing similar things with virtual world viewers and browsers before SpotOn3D reportedly filed their patent.

            I don’t look at patents because existing patent law is built in such a way that researching software patents has no positive value and only negative consequences. You can google to find legal advise by patent attorneys to their clients to avoid viewing other people’s software patents. Finally, intellectual property laws in the United States are indeed different from those of the United Kingdom and the European Union, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent

            Companies react to market demand. If, for example, people don’t spend more buying from companies that don’t pollute than from companies in the same field who do pollute then company shareholders quickly decide that their company shouldn’t waste money doing things in environmentally friendly ways. This isn’t conjuncture, it is how companies operate in a capitalistic world. I have no problem with companies behaving this way but I also realize that my actions as a consumer can and do effect how companies behave. If I want companies to “do the right thing” in some area then it is up to me to create a market dynamic that convinces them to do so. If enough people feel and act the same then the market dynamics change.

          • Linda Kellie

            Funny that I don’t see you telling Gaga to stay on topic and not resort to name calling.
            Jessica actually had some really good points.

          • I thought we agreed to end the back and forth between us…

            You’ll not that I haven’t responded to other people’s personal attacks here as well (regardless of which point of view they represent). I replied to Jessica asking her to debate the issues and not the people representing them as she was the one I was having a discussion with.

            I believe that I responded to the points that she made which were actually related to things that I’ve said. I didn’t respond to the personal character attacks as I don’t see them as being relevant to the important issues we’re discussing.

          • Jessica Random

            Ok my hands are up to acknowledge that I may have gone a bit to far toward personal attacks. Note please that this was never intended to be a personal attack on any one person, yourself included. I do not know you, and have no way of knowing what kind of person you are. So for anything taken as a personal attack, I wish to apologize. I do not take back however what I have said about the arguments raised regarding:

            1) if someone should be allowed to support a company if they want to – even if others do not like them.

            2) making assumptions before the event as to what a company will do with a legal tool hey have used lawfully and (at least some people) expressing a wish to destroy that company in what appears to be a “just in case” approach.

          • Each person can support whichever companies he or she likes. That is part of living in a free capitalistic society. You’ll note that I never stated that Linda Kellie wasn’t allowed to endorse SpotOn3D, but rather that I was saddened by the fact that she did because I think her doing so hurts a project that she herself uses daily.

            My approach towards SpotOn3D, and many other companies that are not related to this particular discussion, is that I avoid patronizing companies that threaten to do things which I believe to be against the common good. Whether that is to state that they will stop supporting environmentally friendly manufacturing methods or threaten to sue open-source developers. Some of those companies have great products and services but letting them get away with even just making such statements is still damaging to society.

            Companies frequently “test the waters” with statements they are not sure how consumers will react to. When consumers let things pass then those companies (and other companies in their field) feel safe to go around and actually do the damaging things they stated they might do. A company can come out of this dog house when it takes tangible steps to backtrack and adopt policies that don’t upset people. When it comes to patents, companies can do what Microsoft did with their .NET framework when they wanted it to become an ECMA standard. Companies can make legally binding pledges (in the form or irreversible licenses) for how they will not use their patents.

            I’m just one person, my opinions and how I spend my money have only a tiny effect on companies. However, when many people decide to act the same way then companies can be convinced to change their ways to what the market wants. If people want to see OpenSim develop then they should endorse the companies that help it develop. It really is as simple as that.

          • @Linda Kellie

            I spoke about your behavior which did NOT include any name calling – I did NOT call you any names! Indeed, when it comes to name calling you are famous for it Linda Kellie so I leave that sort of thing to you. I also stick to the facts and don’t ramble like you do or some of your friends commenting on this. I also do NOT turn my own thoughts into words to put in other people’s mouths which you do all the time Linda Kellie. Then you make new argument from that. This is the real problem I have with you. You don’t make rational argument you just bleat and whinge and claim people want to stop you doing what you like.

            No one can stop you doing anything dear! But if you choose to live in a glass house and throw stones then expect to deal with the reaction without crying or pulling in your friends to back you up and confuse the issues even more. You are so good at baring claws behind a smoke screan of confused babble. I am sure you only cause all this drama to get attention and read the nice supportive babble your friends offer in comments. Because that is what this thread has degenerated into and it didn’t take me to do it. I only finally commented when I saw where it was going and what you were up to – as usual.

            I would rather stand alone, know my mind and speak it.

          • Michael Somerset

            This has certainly proven that if you cant argue facts, switch to personal attacks

          • If Linda stuck to facts and didn’t result to calling people trolls and suggesting they were abnormal then perhaps nothing would get thrown back. Like I said, people that live in glass houses should not throw stones.

            Elsewhere the facts are being debated in case you didn’t read that far so please don’t try to be clever. You’re not.

          • Michael Somerset

            You are right, others are debating. You however, are not at this point

          • Jessica Random

            Ok, im sorry if you took what I said as “name calling” – as I said I know I worded things a bit strongly but I am just amazed by the views of some people here.

            As for comparing software and other patents, I was just following on from your own analogy of tents. You may believe my arguments to be “strawman” but I am just trying to convey the ridiculous because that is what I find your arguments. I am sorry if I have offended you – that isn’t my intention but I do still find your arguments ridiculous.

            Your views on software patents are not really relevant – in fact I share at least some of them. However they are a lawful tool that until they are abolished many companies – including many others that have worked on OpenSim – use. The fact that a company uses a legal mechanism you do not agree with does not mean they should be attacked. I have said before that I don’t like the fact that they have applied for patents, but I am not going to call for them to put their staff out of work because I don’t like something that they are (lawfully) doing.

            The fact that Stevan Lieberman has implied he would defend these patents (I believe he said he would see what he would do about it if someone infringed them), doesn’t mean he WILL. The fact that some other companies haven’t said they will defend theirs doesn’t mean they wont. Nor does the fact that still other companies may have said they WONT defend theirs make any difference. The one thing Stevan HAS said (very badly) was that he could say whatever he liked, and it wouldn’t be binding. So those companies that have said they wont pursue their patents….. it isn’t worth the paper they wrote that on.

            And yes I know that laws are different in the US and the UK, but I do not believe that anywhere ignorance is considered a defence. I am not a patent lawyer, and I do not claim to know all about it. I can use my common sense though and I do find it odd that lawyers would recommend companies to not check if what they are doing breaches someone’s patent;

            Lastly, all the scaremongering IS based on conjecture whatever you say. You do not know what SpotOn3D will do. You are taking your beliefs as to what they will do (which in time may prove to be correct or incorrect) to try and sway people away from them. You and others are blowing things out of all proportions by saying they threaten the future of OpenSim. There is zero evidence of this, the only threat they pose is to other grids that may want to do similar things to them. You have already acknowledged that you dont think they will go after OpenSim itself. Development of OpenSim isn’t dependant on what ways someone can launch a viewer.

          • No offense taken, as long as we discuss the issues and not each other then I’m fine with discussing whatever views you wish to represent.

            “Treble damages, in law, is a term that indicates that a statute permits a court to triple the amount of the actual/compensatory damages to be awarded to a prevailing plaintiff, generally in order to punish the losing party for willful conduct… For example, such damages may be awarded by a court in the United States for… willful patent infringement” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treble_damages ).

            As there are literally millions of patents, many patent lawyers advise their clients to avoid knowing what things are patented as that mere research can later be used against them to show that they had willfully ignored the patents they knew existed. If you think that encouraging willful ignorance is ridiculous then you should read some of the other patent-related laws that exist. Patent law is very often counter to people’s common sense of how they think patents should work. If patents did indeed function as laypeople think they should then patents wouldn’t be the contentious issue that they are nowadays.

            Anyone in any field can suddenly become aggressive regardless of their past actions or statements. However, statistically, people who are armed and tell others that they will be aggressive are much more likely to do so than people who have no weapons and make no such claims. If a patent lawyer says that he will “assert his patents” if you act in a certain way then he is both armed for the task and taking the aggressive posturing that makes him likely to sue.

            That doesn’t mean that SpotOn3D is the biggest potential patent threat for OpenSim, IBM and Intel both hold many more relevant patents. However, those big open-source developers have, to my knowledge, never made patent threats against small entities or used their patents aggressively against anything but other mega-corporations. SpotOn3D is unique in that regard in the OpenSim ecosystem.

            There are many companies around the world that do evil things that hurt people. The fact that their employees livelihood depends on those companies doesn’t mean that they should get a free pass to continue doing what they do. Companies that hurt the ecological/business/legal/ethical/etc. environment should change their ways or go out of business. It is up to consumers to decide what violations they are willing to overlook and what violations are too big to go unchallenged. They can then use their money to promote the kind of corporate behaviors they would like to see become the norm.

            This really has nothing to do with SpotOn3D per say but rather with how consumers can convince companies to act in ways that benefit the consumers and not just the companies’ share holders. When it comes to OpenSim’s continued development people can convince companies to contribute, instead of threaten, OpenSim by using their wallets in ways that reward companies that help the common good and punish companies that don’t.

          • Jessica Random

            You do make some good points – and like I said I don’t like software patents any more than you do. I do take what you say about someone making threats is more likely to actually do something about it. However it seems to me (and yes this is just my opinion and feeling) that Stevan was just a little big silly to say the things he said – and it seemed to me he was “flustered” which I wouldn’t have expected from a lawyer like that tbh. I think he felt “cornered” and lashed out. I believe that is why he implied he might go after people. I cannot back up that with any facts, as I say it is just my opinion.

            I agree that there are many companies that hurt people that don’t deserve to continue – but I don’t think a company should be blamed for the blabbermouth of their CEO. People often say things in the heat of the moment and I think he did. Should someone in his position keep his mouth shut more? Yes I believe he should, but the fact is he didn’t. I don’t think that makes SpotOn3D any more evil than if he kept quiet.

            This is the root of my argument though, that all of it is just opinions and suspicions. Something – or nothing – may happen. I just think perspective should be kept.

          • I think perspective is very important, and I think you’ll agree that I’ve at least attempted to make informed statements when discussing things.

            I don’t know if SpotOn3D have a board of directors, and who runs it if they do, but IF the company is suffering because the CEO’s statements are damaging it THEN the CEO needs to be replaced with someone else who doesn’t hurt the company. That is part of a board of directors fiduciary obligation to the company’s shareholders and there are plenty of examples where CEOs were fired for one wrongly uttered phrase – which is a lot less than the long PR problems SpotOn3D has had to deal with.

            It may be that in this case the CEO is also the investor and controlling shareholder and that the minority shareholders can’t or don’t want to replace him. It may also be the case that the CEO is not perceived by the company to be the source of it’s PR problems. Regardless, until SpotOn3D takes tangible actions to resolve this patent threat issue in a way that people are willing to accept as sufficient, SpotOn3D shouldn’t be let off the hook.

          • @Jessica Random
            What a load of rambling crap!

            You complain the objectors want to close SO3D down but the objectors are actually worried that SO3D wants to close their competitors down by using patent law against them. The web application SO3D claims to have patented was already open source in the public domain and invented by others. Just taking the code and making a few changes doesn’t make it their work. I covered this last year on my blog here…

            http://metaverse-traveller.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/spoton3d-patent-challange-to-open-sim.html

            This is probably a pointless discussion anyway and just serving to give SO3D publicity which they desperately crave and pulling Linda Kellie on board probably will do them little good. She flits from one grid to another singing the praises of one while condemning another. She has left many unhappy people in her wake and spits venom at anyone who calls her out. She courts controversy to get noticed and ends up showing herself to be a rather pathetic and unstable hypocrite. And when the going gets tough she cries poor me. Oh, and everyone else is a troll of course.

          • Linda Kellie

            SpotOn3D didn’t “pull me on board”. They just had their door open and I walked through. And yep I do change my mind alot Gaga. You and I have been over and over this. This is what happens to people who have an open mind. Of course you would have no clue what that is like.

          • Jessica Random

            Did you just unzip your mouth and find the words come tumbling out?

            You say I speak a load of rambling crap? I say you speak a load of hearsay and guesswork. Or are you telling me that you have access to SpotOn3D’s code portfolio? You would know then exactly what code they are referring to of course. From this you would see that it is indeed open source code? You don’t know that they made “a few changes” and you “covering” it last year doesn’t make it fact.

            Your dislike for Linda Kellie has no bearing on if she should be allowed to go wherever she likes and tell her friends about it too. I am constantly amazed by the conjecture, assumptions and scaremongering that intelligent people are capable of here.

          • @Jessica Random

            SO3D web app looks and behaves exactly the same as the open source versions that had gone before therefor no matter how different SO3D code might be it dose the same job. They claim to have a patent on it and that prevents anyone from using the open source code or developing it. SO3D have stated they will exercise their patent rights which is a threat others must take seriously. What you are trying to say is SO3D has done a good thing when they are clearly threatening the open Metaverse community with the law. All I can see is a commercial enterprise attempting to monopolize the open Metaverse for profit. Perhaps you forget, a lot of the people over here have come from Second Life and have had enough of the over bearing practices of profit hungry fat cats.

            If SO3D had ever tried to understand the pioneers of Opensim instead of finding ways to corner them like sheep then they might have had a better chance of working with them. In stead they are just throwing good money after bad because they have no credibility left after all the threats they made. Maria’s article was meant to show they had improved their PR. Far as I can see it still sucks.

          • @Jessica Random wrote…

            ” Your dislike for Linda Kellie has no bearing on if she should be allowed to go wherever she likes and tell her friends about it too. I am constantly amazed by the conjecture, assumptions and scaremongering that intelligent people are capable of here.”

            Well, first off I don’t dislike Linda kellie and I have no problem with her joining SO3D. I honestly don’t care less about that because I know she will move on soon enough when she gets bored – she always does. But anyway, what you said is just your opinion having walked into this argument. I don’t dislike the person but I do dislike some of the rubbish she comes out with and I really don’t like her character assassinations based on what she has read on other people’s bogs. And I don’t care for her attitude generally or the way she sings the praises of her “current” favorite grid while she finds serious fault with another in the very same article. She has also been known to then remove the blog or article after people criticized it leaving the critics seeming to be telling lies. This is a tactic used by SO3D too so Linda will be in good company there.

            As for making assumptions about SO3D and scare mongering I can assume you I have never wrote anything about them that is not based entirely on their own published words – even if some of it was subsequently removed or edited.

            So Jessica please don’t jump into this debate making your own assumptions based on ignorance of the facts. I happen to be fully aware of the whole picture from a long time back and I have bogged about it myself.

          • Michael Somerset

            Wow, why in the world are you , any of you jumping on Linda? She has a blog that for the most part is about the Life and Times of Linda Kellie. As some of you know, I have known Linda in real life since childhood (and some very enjoyable teen years…lol). She may be a bit of a butterfly but, she is passionate, HONEST, and giving. So many of you sing her praises when she is providing enough content (free of any strings) to open your own grid. Linda likes what she likes. She is of her own mind and definately has an opinion. I may have argued with her many times about things large and small but, I have ALWAYS shown her the respect for the person sheis and for what she freely gives others in order to enrich their lives virtual and real. Linda, for what you have, and do for me, thank you. And for what you have done for others (and for personal reasons) I love you. DO NOT bow to these cretins. Say what you mean and as always mean what you say.

          • I may not agree with Linda’s actions and views on this subject but I completely agree with the fact that she deserves a LOT of credit for all the great content she has freely given away.

            Our disagreement in this thread hasn’t decreased my appreciation of all she has done for the OpenSim community by one iota. Linda Kellie is still a valued contributor in my book.

          • Linda Kellie

            Thank you Mike. Big hugs!

  • Marga

    LOL !

  • Vanish

    Okay, since I didn’t write enough about this already, here’s some more cents of mine:

    1. As I stated on my blogpost over and over again, the issue itself (which brought this thing up) was not neccessarily targeted at Linda, but stems from the fact that someone on SpotOn3D broke the creative commons license Linda used by not including the license into the creation. This could’ve happened with any creation under CC, not just Linda’s.
    2. The person who did this (and later apologized for it) was a SO3D user, not one of the people running the grid. (At least as far as I understood.)
    3. However, SO3D endorsed the items on its own blog, therefor – imho – knew that
    3. a. they were made by Linda Kellie, and not the person who gave them away on their grid,
    3. b. they weren’t properly licensed (and partially not attributed).
    This shows that SO3D – despite claiming to be the grid with the “best” protection for creators – doesn’t know how to handle licenses and copyright issues correctly. I don’t even want to go into what this would mean as far as safe harbour status is concerned.
    4. SO3D didn’t issue an apology; the user who uploaded the creations did. SO3D instead posted their usual off-topic rant.
    5. As far as I can see, the license is STILL not provided along with the creations, but I’m really tired of this tirade now, so I’ll stop beating that dead horse.
    6. I won’t go into the patent debate again. If Linda decides it is not important to her, then that’s her god-given right. But how any of this shows that SO3D has learned a lesson, or changed their behaviour, remains your secret, Maria.

  • Linda Kellie

    Maria,
    First let me say that I don’t really enjoy these type of articles/blogs. There are a lot of people enjoying a lot of grids. The fact that I choose a grid that suits me isn’t that big of a deal. Sure I blogged about it. I blog about things that I want to tell my friends. I am not a reporter like you are. I am enjoying my time on SpotOn3D and I am very very impressed with what I have seen there. But I know that some of my friends will love it and others will find it doesn’t suit their needs at all.
    I know that the comments on this article/blog will just be a place for the trolls to come out and badmouth SpotOn3D. And that bothers me. I hate how everytime I try and say that I like something people come out of the woodwork to put it down.
    I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks of that grid or of me. I like it and that’s really the only story here. They did not get me over there for PR reasons. I went there because my friend of over 30 years is there and he asked me to come check it out. This is a real life friend and someone I trust with my life. So I went and I liked it. They have asked nothing of me at all. They are busy working behind the scenes on all their cool stuff and they aren’t focused on trying to get people in to build up their PR. Their product will do that for them when it’s all ready to go.
    I mean that it’s cool that you give them credit for this PR move but that is not what this is. It just so happens to turn out that Tessa and her team are really nice people that I get along with and I agree with their vision. And everyone knows that if I don’t like something I would say it. There isn’t any amount of persuading that could get me to endorse anything that I don’t totally love.
    I have endorsed many things in the past that didn’t pan out because not enough people got behind it. But I don’t regret being there and being part of it. I left twitter and put all of my endorsement into GridCache. It may thrive and it may fail. But if it fails it won’t be because it’s not good. It will be because people are too afraid to try something new and/or they are listening to what others say instead of finding out themselves and/or they are lemmings who only do what is popular.I don’t go for things that are already “popular” I go for what I like and what suits me. I refuse to be a lemming and follow the crowd.

    The bottom line is my opinion doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. My friends might like to know so that they can come there and play with me or check it out. But I’m not trying to draw in people for them.
    I went through this same thing when I spent all of my time defending InWorldz. Closed grids are not bad they are just different.

  • Vanish

    If you don’t like the way the CC license works, don’t use it. There’s a lot of alternatives that do accomplish what you want to do. Creative Commons even provides the public domain mark (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) for these uses, but the WTFPL might work just the same.

    The system you’re trying to employ, using the very well known CC-BY with an additional waifer, has one big problem: It only works when people know you and your site. Not everyone does though, and so people who got your creations from somewhere else might not know what they can and can not do with them. Also, I’m pretty sure CC licenses can’t be altered. In short: You’re using a Creative Commons license and at the same time you don’t want to use Creative Commons. I think that creates the uncertainty, and consequently the fear and doubt, that you say I create.

    As far as my agenda goes: I’m pretty open about that, but I fail to see what it might have to do with this. I didn’t write the license, nor did I make you choose it.

    • Linda Kellie

      Wow you just can’t let that drop. Ok I won’t use it. I will take that cc link off of my page and people can go by what I state ON my page and what I say over and over in every tweet and every gridcache post and every in world group message.. “USE IT HOWEVER YOU WANT”. Why oh why are you fighting a battle that isn’t a battle and has nothing at all to do with you? I used to really respect you but now it seems you are just a troublemaker with some sort of vendetta.
      And WHEN did you become the CC license police?

    • Linda Kellie

      My webpage has been updated without the CC license.
      http://lindakellie.com/. That should solve the problem and nobody will need to worry and nobody will ever need to apologize and you cannot make one more person feel bad about using my stuff.

  • Hulds

    hwllo all.. i am one of the greeters on
    SpotOn3D and they have done great job and they did hard work.. you know every creators including myself on
    SpotOn3D did so much good work on creativity and all… you all shoul come on
    SpotOn3D and check it out…..

  • Linda Kellie

    I am pissed beyond belief. I knew as soon as I read this blog that the trolls would come out and use it as a way to bring up the patent thing again. It’s like Maria just started a fire and all the haters get to dump fuel on it while I try and put it out and justify why I like SpotOn3D. You know what????? It doesn’t matter why I like it. I like it. Suck it up and deal.

  • Jessica Random

    Wow, there really is a lot of smoke around here isnt there? Excuse me for a moment while I try and waft it away…… Ahh there that’s better, but wait a moment….. where is the fire?

    SpotOn3D holds (or has applied to hold) patents…. lost of companies do. Do I agree with software patents? No I don’t. I think they are a bottleneck for creative development. Thats why I dont use Windows or Macs, have never used Second Life, or any software made by a company that holds any…. Erm, wait a mo… yes I do. You know what? There are several laws I don’t agree with too. Did you know for example that in England: “It is still illegal for cab drivers to carry rabid dogs or indeed corpses and by law they must ask each and every passenger if they have small pox or ‘The Plague’.” (http://www.getmeasolicitor.com/strange-english-laws.htm). So yeah, strange laws etc, but I still live in England. My point is (although I take my time getting to it) that you don’t have to agree with everything someone does to be able to work with them.

    I totally understand if people DONT want to have anything to do with companies that support sortware patents (but I hope you are consistant and dont use ANY software from companies that do that), but everyone should be free to decide for themselves.

    Linda made some comments on her personal blog about SpotOn3D. She decided to support them. That is her personal decision, and she is entitled to it, people may not agree with it – but they should respect her right to make it. She wasnt making some “official” statement telling everyone to support them, it was just her personal comments. I have done the same on my blog and have also gone there. I don’t expect people to pay ANY attention to what I say, im nobody – just someone who is interested in virtual worlds. Linda does have a big following, and she deserves it. As far as content is concerned she has done more than any other person to provide great quality free content for opensim – and in GREAT quantity. She says she sill intends to do that. Because of her contribution some people may take her word as “meaning something”, but I dont believe she is ever intending to have people “take her word for it” because she is known.

    I think people need to stop taking things out of proportion and take peoples comments on their personal blogs as just that…. personal comments, opinions, thoughts that they choose to share. NOT as directives for people to follow them,

  • Linda Kellie

    The more I read the comments here the more I am sure I choose the right grids to be part of. The trolls have made that crystal clear.

    I think it’s really unfair that any of you think you have the right to tell me what you think I should be doing. I do enough for this community already. Let me be where I want to be and let me be happy already.
    You haters have turned a good thing into something awful with your flaming. In my opinion SO3D is the best grid that I have ever been on by far. And I don’t say that lightly as I was one of you not too long ago and I was in the herd along with you all with the mob mentality. I changed my mind. You can too. But you have to open it first. I doubt that will happen.

  • Linda Kellie

    BTW – I was not “wooed” by SO3D. And everyone that creates and has a premium $2.99 account (so they can get verified) with SO3D gets a free store. I didn’t get that because I am anyone special. SpotOn3D do not cater to just ONE person. That is one of the major things I do like about them. This article makes it sound like I can be bought and sold and I cannot. I am a Independent thinker and I make my own decisions. They do offer special things for educators like most grids do. The web plugin is one of those things that educators get for free.

  • Linda Kellie

    I keep getting private messages from people telling me how much they enjoy SpotOn3D and how they would comment here but they know that they would just get slammed even if they just made a comment about liking it. Because look at what happened here? I am not part of the company and I have very little invested even with time and creations, I simply said I like it and it caused all the slugs to come put of the woodwork and badmouth the grid. WTF is wrong with people? If anyone says anything nice about a grid they don’t like they have to come here and beat up anyone that has a different opinion than them?
    This is really so very simple people……… IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE GRID DON’T GO THERE. easy peasy! I like it. I could change my mind about that tomorrow if things don’t keep going good there. I do not share the opinion of Ilan on this or just about anything else. I don’t like his grid but I don’t spew hate about it and slam it. OHHH I want to sometimes. I could make a whole list of why I don’t like it. But that isn’t the point of this blog/article. The patent thing isn’t the point of this article. But there opportunist barge in like the herd that they are an make everyone scramble and cause a bunch of commotion.
    DROP IT! You aren’t going to change my mind. I may change my mind but you certainly are not going to do it for me. And I am not trying to change your mind. I don’t really care what you like. If you were my friend I would care and would value your opinion. But for the haters…………. nothing you say makes a bit of difference to me. Now, I am going away from this blog and you all can continue to get more sheep to join your herd. I have fun stuff that I want to do on SpotOn3D. Life is short and I am going to go live it.

  • Okay, it looks like everyone has said their piece and the discussion has been devolving, so I’m going to exercise my editorial prerogative and cut off comments.

    I think that the patent issue is important for future development of technology, but there are valuable points to be made on both sides.

    If anyone is interested in contributing an essay — on either side of the debate — email me at [email protected]. If you have some constructive solutions to propose, even better!
    Meanwhile, with major vendors like ReactionGrid leaving OpenSim, that should be a bigger worry for those of us looking forward to mainstream adoption of the technology. Yes, we can run OpenSim at home, for free, but not all of us have the time, energy, broadband, computer capacity or technical skills to do that and without vendors OpenSim would be a much, much, much smaller place.