Six myths about the hypergrid

Some newcomers to OpenSim have major concerns with hypergrid technology and these concerns should not be taken lightly. Many of these risks, however, are exaggerated, while others are present in all virtual worlds.

These concerns may cause some to fear moving to OpenSim worlds. Creators and merchants, in particular, may fear that hypergrid-enabled OpenSim grids are a threat to their livelihoods, and limit their explorations to closed grids like Second Life because they believe that the content they create will stay within the closed walls of those grids.

An OMC payment terminal from Virwox. (Image courtesy Timothy Rogers.)

Myth: Grids that connect to the hypergrid don’t police their content.
Commercial hypergrid-enabled grids comply with the DMCA and are quick to respond to take-down notices, as do non-profit grids. Some personal grids that are hypergrid-enabled may take this issue less seriously, as may some closed personal grids. Whether a grid respects copyright law depends on the grid owners, not whether it is connected to the hypergrid.

Myth: You can’t enforce permission settings over the hypergrid.
Fact: It is true that grid owners and region owners with access to to the OpenSim server console can modify the permission settings of objects, but this is true whether or not a grid is hypergrid-enabled. The hypergrid does make it easier to take objects to such grids with less restrictions. However, grid owners can already turn off the ability for hypergrid travelers to take objects out from their grids. Today, this ability is all or nothing — either all content can travel out, or none can. This summer, however, with the release of the Hypergrid 2.0 protocol, grids will have better controls, with content creators being able to specify, for each individual object, whether it can leave the grid or not. Proprietary content can be kept local to the home grid, for example, while freebies and promotional items may be taken to other grids.

Myth: You can’t charge for products on the hypergrid.
Fact: There are several payment options on hypergrid, the most popular being OMC (Open Metaverse Currency), currently in use on over 30 grids. Hypergrid residents register their avatar with the Austrian virtual currency exchange Virwox, and are able to access their virtual wallet from many grids. Virwox has to approve grids before they can enable OMC payments, and additional security is provided by a Web-based confirmation step.

Myth: The hypergrid has too few people.
Fact: It is true that the number of people on hypergrid-enabled grids is small — a little over 6,000 active monthly users combined on the 80-plus hypergrid-enabled public grids. This is a drop in the bucket compared to Second Life’s 800,000 active monthly users, but more than on any single closed, commercial OpenSim grid. In addition, the population of the hypergrid is growing larger every day as individual grids grow, and as the number of grids multiplies.

Myth: There’s more piracy on the hypergrid than on closed grids.
Fact: There is a great deal of piracy on the larger closed commercial grids. In Second Life, for example, merchants deal with the pain of having their content copybotted on a daily basis. Some of this content then shows up on OpenSim grids, both closed and hypergrid-enabled. Since merchants are more comfortable selling their goods on closed grids, the best content is there, and that is where the original piracy takes place.

Myth: Staying on a closed grid protects content creators from content pirates.
Fact: As stated in the previous myth, most of the stolen content that is seen on the hypergrid originally comes from closed grids. Sadly, with today’s hacker technology, criminals are even able to steal scripts from the closed grids. Content is no safer in a closed grid as it is in on an open grid. And by avoiding the hypergrid, creators miss the opportunity to spot illegal distribution networks and filing DMCA reports with the region or grid owners, or hosting providers.'
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