donderdag 5 november 2009

Step Up for Ethical Art in Second Life

This is my first blog and I think it's a good one to start with, as it is about the ethical use of art images in Second Life.

Let me first introduce myself: I am an art gallery owner in Second Life. My business is called Body, Mind & Spirit, and also includes my workshops and my consults. I have my own art sim with ten galleries on it with wonderful art of several artists, and poetry art of yours truly too.
More to come on that. Today I'm first going to talk about the ethical use of art in Second Life. This message has also been sent today in my own artgroup Body, Mind & Spirit and several other artrelated groups:

Today, the 5th of November 2009, has been declared in Second Life as a day for awarenes & solidarity to show your support for the content creators of Second Life. You can show your support by not uploading any textures or other content to SL for 24 hours on this day. By doing that, we are sending a message to Lindenlab that we want to make a statement about copyright in SL.

As a galleryowner I feel I want to make a special statement today to step up for ethical art in SL. There are a lot of galleryowners in SL who not only sell their own art, but also, or only, art from others. There seem to be a lot of misunderstandings about what art you can sell in SL legally and what not. To make those who sell art from others more aware of what is legal, I want to adress two topics today:
1. Art found on the World Wide Web
2. Art sent by someone else

About Art found on the World Wide Web:
People often mistake the World Wide Web for being 'the public domain'. It is not. If you find a wonderful image somewhere on the internet, and it does not say who the artist is, and it also does not say that it is copyrighted, then that does NOT mean that it is not copyrighted! So by taking that image and using it, you are taking the risk of infringing on the copyright of the creator/artist. Art only is for the use of the public domain if the site where you found the artwork explicitely says so. Usually only art from artists that have died longer than 70 years ago is released into the public domain. You can find more info about this topic at Wikipedia:

An example of artwork that is released into the public domain you find here:

About art sent by someone else:
We often tend to trust others when they tell us that the art is theirs or they would have the right to copy it, or the creator/artist is someone they know and would be oke with the use of the image. Be sure to verify if this is all true. People often believe themselves that they have the right to copy art of others, while they have not. They found it on the net and it did not say it was copyrighted, so that means they can do with it whatever they want and they can give it to you to use for your gallery, right? Wrong! Ask them who the artist of the image is. If they don't know who the artist is, then don't use it. If they do know who the artist is, then find the website of that artist and send him/her a message asking about the use of the image. ONLY use the image if you get a positive written answer from the artist that it is oke for you to exhibit it and sell it for Second Life use. If the artist does not allow you the use - and if he/she does not reply, then you're not allowed the use - then throw the image away and don't use it!

How you can Step Up for Ethical Art in SL:

1. Wear the Step Up Ribbon today
(who reads this blog today: if you want one, contact me inworld
or get yours here: )

2. Do not upload any textures or other content to SL for 24 hours today.

3. Do not sell any art in SL that you don't have any written permission for from the original artist. If you are not sure about some art you have in your gallery and want my advice, feel free to contact me.

4. Do not buy any art in SL that does not credit the original artist. How do you know this? Does the name or description of the artwork say who the original artist is? If not, ask the galleryowner who it is. If they say they don't know, don't buy the art. If they say they do know, check if they have the written permission of the artist to sell it, and if they have not, then don't buy the art. Because if you do, then you take the risk of buying stolen art. You don't want that on your SL club or home wall, right? Right!

With any questions, IM Zena Zemlja.

Enjoy your Ethical Art in Second Life!

Zena Zemlja,
Owner of Art Galleries Body, Mind & Spirit,
Galleries for Ethical Art in Second Life.

If only one person, galleryowner or customer, changes his or her view on the use of art in an ethical way in SL, by reading my notice inworld or in this blog, then this posting has been worth the effort.

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