Step UP!

Make your voice heard about Content Theft

If there’s a Step UP! kiosk there, it’s NOT a seal of approval

Step UP! logo

Step UP! logo

In recent days, someone has posted on their blog about finding a Step UP! kiosk in a store where the content may be in danger of violating copyright – and suggested that Step UP! was in some measure responsible for this situation by freely distributing kiosks.

We did expect this would happen.  Amongst the many, many legitimate stores and locations that are displaying the Step UP! kiosk with pride, there will inevitably be a few that may be less than wholly pristine.  There will be some that are downright dodgy.

Of course it’s ironic that such juxtapositions exist. Personally, I’m expecting it to get worse, with outright copybotters trying to grab a few threads of respectability by displaying a Step UP! kiosk.

Having our kiosks in places where issues of intellectual property or even outright content theft are present is a problem.

However – we had to make a call.

If we freely distribute the kiosks, to spread the word about Step UP! as widely as possible, then some of our kiosks will end up in dodgy places. If we’re informed about that, we can ask for them to be removed. We can’t enforce their removal, however.

If we insist on vetting every place where a kiosk will be placed, we will severely limit the number of kiosks going out. None of us have time to do this vetting, and there would be backlogs of kiosks, resentments, accusations we’re behaving like divas in selecting who we give kiosks to, and thieves making kiosks anyway to try and give themselves legitimacy … you can’t win.

What we have to do is to do the best we can.

And we need tell people that if they find a kiosk in a dodgy place, they should let us know either through the Ning, through IMs or by alerting us to the fact that they’ve written an omg! drama!! post.   We haven’t done that yet, and we should have done.  We’re doing it now.

But a lot of what we are doing is evolving as we do it.  We won’t always get it right.  But we will try and get it right – and try and do the best we can.

It’s worth saying again that the core of the campaign was and is and will be education.  If you take a Step UP! pack, you will find that it comes with a variety of information, explaining not just what Step UP! is, but what content theft is and how one might detect it.  It also suggests ways in which individuals in Second Life can help content creators.  It’s low key and low drama – but it’s important that people should know.

And it’s making a positive difference.  Yesterday, someone relatively new to Second Life contacted me.  She’d seen my name on Step Up! materials and she wanted to show me something she was worried about on XStreet.  I looked at it, and explained how you could report it. She did so – and saw how it had already had been reported.  She wondered why it hadn’t been taken down in that case.  I explained to her that this was protection against malicious reports.  No drama, but she learned something and – because of it, felt empowered.  She saw how she could act.  And that’s what we want Step UP! to do – to educate people and to empower them – creators and consuumers alike.

At the moment, people from all over the grid are coming together to discuss and develop materials that can be used to help people – writing and translating notecards, making machinimas and radio ads.  And this is what Step UP! is all about.  If you don’t like the font or style of the ribbon, make your own!  Don’t like the orange ribbon? Leave it out! Don’t just critique others – make your own positive contribution.

One can start to sound pompous by giving out quotes such as “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”  But it does.  Stopping the abuse of intellectual property rights is a huge task, and there will be many, many ways of affecting the social change that is required.  But, despite the magnitude of the task, and despite the fact that we know we will make mistakes, we are Stepping UP!


October 13, 2009 - Posted by | Step Up! Campaign, Step UP! Press & Coverage

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: