Step UP!

Make your voice heard about Content Theft

Next Step for Step UP!

Step UP! logo

Step UP! logo

After Step UP! Day on November 5th, we’ve been discussing what we should do next.

There is a legacy in terms of materials and ideas. We now have some great educational materials, for example, and some ideas have come up about ways in which they could be used, such as creating a Step UP! information book and /or information packs. There’s also the idea of a coffee table book of Step UP! materials, events and exhibitions.

There are also other issues that came up during the planning – such as looking at having a RL component to Step UP! and even developing a database or registry.

To draw all this together, and to begin the work of education that we’ve laid stress upon, we want to start planning for what we are calling a Step UP! University.

Step UP! University
Step UP! University will be a totally mobile schedule of conferences, classes, presentations and workshops open to all.

We will invite some people to give a presentation or teach a class, but anyone can submit a course outline on what they want to teach or talk about. People who want to offer sims or spaces for meetings can do so, or we can organise provision of suitable spaces.

Some suggested topics for the University are:
• Help! I think this is stolen! What do I do?
• How do I file a DMCA?
• Content theft or copyright violation?
• US versus European law – can we use either?
• How can we protect our rights?

We think that there would be four course verticals that represent the different types of residents that the courses should be structured after: General, Consumers, Business Owners, and Artists/Musicians. Just like a real university, courses will be open to all, so you could, for example, attend a class in the Art strand even if you were in general on Consumers strand.

So … we’re now open to your ideas and help. What do you think? How would you be prepared to help? And what do you think should be our timeline on this?  If you want to play a part, join our Ning where we are planning this, or add your comments on this blog!


December 30, 2009 Posted by | Step Up! Campaign | 1 Comment

Thank you, everyone, for Stepping UP!

Step UP! Bear from Sway CreationsWe would just like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who took part in Step UP! Day. It was a large undertaking, and it couldn’t have happened without the time, patience and sheer hard work by a whole range of people.

We believe that, for the first event of its kind, started just over a month ago, this has been a great success.

It wasn’t perfect, of course, and there are lessons to be learned. But we believe that the overall impact and effect of Step UP! has been incredibly positive.

Step UP! ribbon

Step UP! ribbon

We now come to the next stage of Step UP! There is a legacy in terms of materials and ideas. Over the next few weeks, we think we should explore that legacy and how we can move forward. We’ll both be setting out some thoughts on our blogs and linking here – we’d like to encourage you all to do the same, so that we can move the discussion on.

We have some great educational materials, for example, and some ideas have come up about ways in which they could be used, such as creating a Step UP! information book and /or information packs. There’s also the idea of a coffee table book of Step UP! materials, events and exhibitions.

There are also other issues that came up during the planning – such as looking at having a RL component to Step UP! and even developing a database or registry.

We are talking on the Ning about ways in which these ideas – and the materials we developed – can be taken further, especially to re-enforce our campaign of education.  If you’d like to be part of that discussion, please join the Ning.

And we will very soon, we hope, be sharing here with you our plans for the next stage of Step UP!

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Step Up! Campaign, Step Up! Day | Leave a comment

StepUP Gallery Art and Education Gallery Reception

Making Connections by Gracie Kendal

Making Connections by Gracie Kendal

The Step UP! Art and Education gallery is in full swing! As of this morning, a quick (and probably not totally accurate) count tallied 30 artists exhibiting! They are all over the place: in the gallery, on the surface, hanging off the side of the mountains, in the sea …

Some of the artists have created work specifically for the StepUP! Campaign with the theme of content theft, even sharing their own experiences with having their work stolen.

Tricia Aferdita is the curator, and she has assembled a really awesome collection of Second life Art for the occasion.

Step UP! Art Gallery on Toor

Step UP! Art Gallery on Toor

And to celebrate this accomplishment by the StepUP! Art Community, please join us for a reception at the Step UP! Gallery, on Wednesday November 4, from 3-5 pm SLT in the lovely sim donated for a special Step UP! art exhibition, featuring Second Life artists passionate about creating and protecting the work they create. Wander through the sim-wide exhibition of some of SL’s finest artists; enjoy live music from Eio Tuqiri and tunes from IndieSpectrum Radio. Learn about copyright and public domain, and experience beautiful and thought-provoking work. Help us celebrate art in Second Life!

November 4, 2009 Posted by | Step Up! Campaign | 1 Comment

Looking for Musicians to help us celebrate Step UP!

Step UP!

Step UP!

As regular readers here will know, on  Thursday November 5th Step UP! will have an all day grid wide celebration to show solidarity & support for content creators in Second Life.

There will be all sorts of parties across the grid on that day.  We think it would be fitting to have Live SL performances featuring performers who play or sing their own original songs.   Not only will this be in libne with a very strict interpretation of music copyright law, it will also be a great opportunity to make people aware of the wealth of talent and original music in Second Life.

There will also be a party at the Step UP! Headquarters on the Planet Mongo sim from 2-6pm SLT. – but we are planning to have musicians there at other times as well.

If you would like to particpate, please contact either Angie Mornington or Saffia Widdershins.

*****Please let us know:

1.  What time of the day (SL Time) you can perform:

2.  What type of music you play:

3:  If you can offer your stream of original music that we can give to people who are hosting parties throughout the day:

Thank you so much and we look forward to hearing from you!

November 4, 2009 Posted by | Step Up! Campaign, Step Up! Day | 4 Comments

Step UP! on – and to! – Designing Worlds

Step UP! HQ on Planet Mongo

Step UP! HQ on Planet Mongo

Join us today at 2pm at the Step UP! headquarters on Planet Mongo for a Designing Worlds show all about the Step UP! against intellectual property violation and content theft. We’ll be exploring the beautiful sim, created by Lumiere Noir and CaSimone Aquitaine, which has been kindly donated by Lumiere for the duration of the campaign, and viewing a special video showing some of the ways that content theft can happen, created by Toxic Menges. Then we’ll be talking to Dijodi Dubratt who – with her partner Ironwolf Taurog – has loaned the use of their sim Toor to stage an amazing art exhibition by top SL artists, curated by Tricia Afterdita, in support of Step UP! And we’ll be talking about the Step UP! parties that people are planning for November 5th – as well as giving a sneak preview of the awesome Step UP! firework display created by Freddie Bleac (and available for free on XStreetSL).

Step UP! Fireworks at the Step UP! HQ on Planet Mongo

Step UP! Fireworks at the Step UP! HQ on Planet Mongo

And, so that our live audience can enjoy the spectacular fireworks, we have a special Viewing Party. We won’t be gathering in the studio today, but at the beautiful headquarters of the Step UP! campaign on Planet Mongo, where the show is being filmed. And, of course, as usual, there are gifts for everyone who attends the show! The show starts at 2pm SLT, but you should be at our viewing party by 1.30pm to make sure of getting a seat. Or you can watch on the Treet live stream.

November 3, 2009 Posted by | Step Up! Campaign, Step UP! Press & Coverage | Leave a comment

Keeping it Simple with Step UP!

Step UP! logo

Step UP! logo

Right from the start of Step UP! we have said that Step UP! Day will be November the 5th, and that to support Step UP! on that day no-one uploads anything to the grid, that people wear the Step UP! ribbon to show support, and that they hold or attend Step UP! parties to celebrate content creation.

Those are still our objectives.

We are NOT calling for a boycott of selling or buying – and we hope that people will continue to blog, plurk and twitter to let everyone know that it’s Step UP! Day!

There has been some confusion as another group, Artists’ Voice, IS calling for a 48 Hour boycott of uploads, selling, buying and blog posts – and several blogs and chats have confused the two campaigns.  We are delighted that there is such interest in opposing content theft, and we wish them well with their planned protest.

But we are not asking people supporting Step UP! to do anything more than we originally asked.  The objectives of Step UP! remain the same.

November 1, 2009 Posted by | Step Up! Campaign | 14 Comments

Making your sky turn Step UP!

Sky banners on Planet Mongo

Sky banners on Planet Mongo

The awesome Lumiere Noir held two workshops last night to help us make Step UP! sky banners ahead of Step UP! Dau on November 5th.

We now have a banner that will cover an entire sim – as you can see in the photograph.  Pssst … see that dark dot hovering OVER the point of the exclamation mark?  That’s me, that is!

Full Sim Step UP! Sky Banner

Full Sim Step UP! Sky Banner

The underside of the banner is transparent so that it shouldn’t block your sky – and it’s phantom too, so you can easily fly right through it.  The underside of the letters can be seen, but will be unnoticeable at our recommended height of 350 feet.

Orange Ribbon Sky Banner

Orange Ribbon Sky Banner

We also have a smaller banner in the shape of a ribbon, designed by Aisling Sinclair.  This will fit over even a small piece of land – and yet be visible on the map when the Lindens update it.

You can pick up the signs from the Step UP! Headquarters on Planet Mongo where they are set up for sale for L$0.  DarionMonkee Levitt volunteered her time to set the full sim version up in a Rez-Faux system. Due to keeping safe permissions … the Rez-Faux and build are no mod/no transfer.  The ribbon for smaller areas are available in a box that can be bought for L$0 too.

We are planning to release the signs on xStreetSL shortly.

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Getting Step UP! stuff, Step Up! Campaign | Leave a comment

Turning the sky Step UP!

Step UP! HQ on Planet Mongo

Step UP! HQ on Planet Mongo

Crap Mariner came up with a BRILLIANT idea for Step UP! and now is the time to put it into action!

Crap wrote:
What about 256×256×1 megaprims with the ribbons for sim owners to place in the sky before 11/5 so the map will have plenty of unavoidable symbols of protest?

We think this is a great idea – and to get it ready, we’re going to have a workshop/class to make suitable sky signs. These can then be distributed through the Step UP! inworld group and through xStreet.

When you rezz these high in the sky, over your land (whether a small 512 or an entire region) they will be visible on the map. The more Step UP! sky signs we can create and position, the more they will be visible to everyone opening the map on November 5th.

Lumiere Noir of Ivory Tower Library of Primitives will lead the workshop/class, so it will be a great chance to learn about what can be done with megas and how YOU can customise your sky for Step UP!

It will be held at the great new Step UP! headquarters on Planet Mongo. Lumiere has donated this sim for us to use in the build up to Step UP! – so come and see the build he’s created – and the amazing Mall that CaSimone Aquitance created for use in Toxic Menges’ video!

There will be two workshops on Thursday 29th October at 4pm SLT and 7pm SLT.

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Getting Step UP! stuff, Step Up! Campaign | Leave a comment

New Step UP! video launched

Thanks to Toxic Menges – who worked incredibly hard to shoot and edit this – we now have a great new Step UP! Public Service Announcement (PSA) video.

This one focuses primarily on plausible rogues who will try to sell you stolen content in stores.

Thanks also to Lumiere Noir, who has loaned us the land (and is building a fantastic headquarters for us) and to CaSimone Aquitaine who created the wonderful Mall, as well as Aisling Sinclair who acted as store dresser and Pooky Amsterdam, who tirelessly marshalled the actors!

Thanks also to all the people who took part in the video.  There is more material available, and we hope to make some further information videos later on.

October 23, 2009 Posted by | Step Up! Campaign | 2 Comments

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 | Leave a comment