by Alphaville Herald on 20/01/10 at 8:08 am
Cozy, classified relationship and implausible deniability
by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk
Did Plexus Linden encourage Second Life's copyright-challenged Justice League Unlimited to tap dance around potential IP infringement issues with a wink and a nod, while promising the JLU in-game super powers? JLU leader Kalel Venkman's vigorous pursuit of whack-a-mole takedown actions against sites hosting the leaked JLU wiki are beginning to make sense, as a picture emerges of wannabe game cops desperate to gain favor with the Linden staff, and at least one Linden playing copyright favorites over the objections of his co-workers.
Readers are cautioned that it is possible the leaked chatlogs have beensubject to tampering – or revisionist history and wishful thinking on the part of the JLU.There is certainly no lack of misinformation in the JLU’s formerlysecret wiki. But Herald researchers point to troubling chatlog passages in several files (BrainiacWiki_Mal-W/default_260.html, BrainiacWiki_Mal-W/default_261.html, and BrainiacWiki_Mal-W/default_286.html) that suggest a cozy secret relationship between the volunteer virtual crime-fighters and the Lab staff charged with enforcing rules in-game.
The first clue that Plexus was deeply invested in the JLU’s existence, despite potential trademark and copyright problems, is found on the page where Kalel Venkman discusses the JLU’s copyright problems and possible solutions (Periwink-whatmall/default_475.html):
“We have been asked by Socrates Linden to take steps to comply with rules about trademark and/or copyright infringement. We have also been told by Plexus Linden to please continue just as we have been, explicitly with respect to our use of well-known characters, as it may be used as a way to get DC Comics and other publishers to take a positive business interest in Second Life. These are directly conflicting instructions.”
Why would Plexus advise the JLU to continue despite the Socrates' copyright concerns? Kalel Venkman mentions that “other GTeam members are taking notice ofhis 'use' of us and considering the same” suggesting that during thefall of 2007 Plexus Linden had hopes of forming an unpaid player-basedjunior GTeam to assist the Lab employees. But Plexus was aware that the Lindens should not be seen directly endorsing the JLU, based on both charges of player favoritism and copyright problems – so with a wink and a nod a thin gauze of plausible deniablility was to be constructed.
According to the JLU chatlogs, Plexus asked the JLU to set up a second “mentors” group to insulate Linden Lab from the appearance of encouraging copyright infringement – while secretly encouraging them to continue to play as they were. Is this typically how the Lab handles others' intellectual property? The recent trademark and copyright class action lawsuit brought by Stroker Serpentine and Munchfower Zauis suggests that the issues may be endemic to the Lab's culture.
JLU members appear to believe they would receive special powers not available to regular players – although it is unclear if the superhero group ever achieved demi-game god status. Perhaps one of the adults at the Lab noticed the potential for abuse of power? Reading over the JLU’s leaked incident reports suggests a certain lack of judgment on the part of the superhero vigilantes as they pursue their in-game faction wars with those they believe to be griefers.
The disagreement between Socrates and Plexus Linden also implies there are faction wars inside the Lab – we can only hope the good guys win in the end.
BrainiacWiki_Mal-W/default_261.html – " I have a loophole … LL has no interest in pursuing copyright
laws with JLU" – Plexus Linden
Meeting of October 07, 2007 morning
[9:40] Plexus Linden:Ok…just for clarifications sake
[9:41] Kalel Venkman: Yes?
[9:41] Plexus Linden: We are not saying that the JLU needs to disappear
[9:41] Plexus Linden: Its the Group who reports to us… that cant be JLU
[9:41] Samantha Lowell: How about "Just Lemmings, Us"?
[9:41] PlexusLinden: Get my drift? ;-)
[9:41] Kalel Venkman: Yes.
[9:41] Pierce Kronos: got it
[9:41] Pierce Kronos: "Sexy Nurse's Legs"
[9:41] Kara Foley: Just Us League
[9:41] Kalel Venkman: Ourunderstanding was that the group would have to be a LL
created andowned group.
[9:41] Micheru Mathys: It would be better to beworking under our own
[9:41] SamanthaLowell: Heee
[9:41] Plexus Linden: So, JLU is -ok- LL has nointerest in pursuing copyright
laws with JLU
[9:42] PlexusLinden: ahhhhhh….seeeee
[9:42] Samantha Lowell: The AbomibalbleSeven?
[9:42] Plexus Linden: I have a loophole
[9:42] Micheru Mathys: Oh?
[9:42] Pierce Kronos: oh?
[9:42] DianaPrince Carter: ?!
[9:42] Plexus Linden: JLU operatesperfectly under LL TOS
[9:42] Samantha Lowell: O, I have it!League of Monsters!
[9:42] Kalel Venkman: Sam.
[9:42] PlexusLinden: we dont enforce copyright law
[9:42] Plexus Linden: so…
[9:42] Samantha Lowell: Sorrry-being silly
[9:42] Plexus Linden: as anyGreat superhero goes…..
[9:42] Kara Timtam: Heroes' League
[9:42] Plexus Linden: they never want recognition right?
"asecret identity for our secret identities" – Pierce Kronos
[9:43] Pierce Kronos: Right
[9:43] Sean Petit:there's the effort involved in maintaining two separate sets
ofcharacters. it would be easier to support one moving forward.
[9:43] Samantha Lowell: True indeed
[9:43] Plexus Linden: So, the JLUpersona as it stands can operate in SL
[9:43] Plexus Linden: whatyou all need to do…. is come up with a group…
[9:43] Plexus Linden: that protects the grid
[9:43] Kara Timtam: So the League of Legionnairs or whatever is our Secret
Identity.Bwa ha ha.
[9:43] Plexus Linden: but just so happens to know theJLU and takes info from
them as well
[9:43] Kara Timtam: clol
[9:44] DianaPrince Carter: :D
[9:44] Plexus Linden: as the -new_ grouprelays that to LL
[9:44] Plexus Linden: as a Mentor group
[9:44] Pierce Kronos: ahh, a secret identity for our secret identities
[9:44] Sean Petit: and since our intensed goal is the actual protection of the
metaversein this case, I think Metaverse League may be the most appropriate,
[9:44] Plexus Linden: Exactly
[9:44] Samantha Lowell: Vellyinterrresting………
[9:44] Plexus Linden: secret persona… whothemselves can be super heroes made
[9:44] Plexus Linden:who still have a strong presence in SL
[9:45] Plexus Linden: but,the -new-group is who reports to Gteam
[9:45] Kalel Venkman:Here's rather what we thought might happen: LL creates a
group,perhaps the GTeam Mentors. Eventually this group will need to contain
peopleother than just the League members it started with.
[9:45] KaraTimtam: Kara Timtam can still be the Most Hated Entity in SL? Kewl.
[9:45] Plexus Linden: JLU still operates, but they report to the mentor team
[9:45] Plexus Linden: who is the -new- persona of JLU
[9:45] KatarSupercharge: woo hoo Kara
[9:45] Samantha Lowell: I'd be in forthat
[9:45] Kalel Venkman: Well – the problem I see there, Plex,is one of
[9:45] Samantha Lowell: I have a Brideof Frankenstein avatar ready\
[9:46] Plexus Linden: Its about whoLL puts in the meida that matters.. not who
gathers the info
[9:46] Plexus Linden: catch what I am saying?
[9:46] Samantha Lowell:Yup
[9:46] Kalel Venkman: I do.
[9:46] DianaPrince Carter: apublic face and an SL face?
[9:46] Plexus Linden: Scalabilty ofthe new perosna Kalel?
[9:46] Kalel Venkman: Scalability of theGTeam Mentor group.
[9:46] Kalel Venkman: If the goal isself-governance, it needs to be expandable
beyond just us.
[9:47] Plexus Linden: ahhhh….but it can scale infinitly.. with the newpersona
[9:47] Kara Timtam: It's not the Just Us League.
[9:47] Kalel Venkman: And that means it should be owned by LL, not us.
[9:47] Plexus Linden: Right.. but there were only so many DC super heroes
[9:47] Plexus Linden: no no no
[9:47] Plexus Linden: we dont own mentorteams
[9:47] Pierce Kronos: ahh
[9:47] Kalel Venkman: Youdon't?
[9:47] Plexus Linden: they are volunteers ;-)
[9:47] Plexus Linden: noooooooooooo
[9:47] Kara Timtam: Look around,we're not just DC – some are Marvel, some are
[9:47] Plexus Linden: LOL
"so JLU can operate atfull steam…. ;-)" – Plexus Linden
[9:47] Plexus Linden: I see the confusion here
[9:47] KalelVenkman: Well the group is founded by a Linden.
[9:47] PlexusLinden: we might make the name
[9:47] Kalel Venkman: And then youget volunteers to join it.
[9:48] Aree Lulibub: yeah and a yearwaiting list!
[9:48] Plexus Linden: right
[9:48] PierceKronos consoles aree
[9:48] Plexus Linden: so……..
[9:48] Aree Lulibub sniffles
[9:48] Plexus Linden: yo utell me… thename u want.. when u decide
[9:48] Plexus Linden: it becomes agroup made by LL
[9:48] Samantha Lowell: Okay
[9:48] PierceKronos: yea!
[9:48] Plexus Linden: we train u.. you make yourpersona
[9:48] DianaPrince Carter: coolness!
[9:48] PlexusLinden: and u gather your info however u get it
[9:48] bartelbyPegler: very cool
[9:48] Katar Supercharge: also, the grou namedoesnt have to be te characters
[9:48] Kara Timtam:Think real fast – let's grab this opportunity while it' shot
[9:49] Katar Supercharge: where do i sign up?
[9:49] Kara Timtam: it'sHOT
[9:49] Samantha Lowell: The Wrigley Goats! *sorry, Cub fans)
[9:49] bartelby Pegler: same
[9:49] Micheru Mathys: Question, if I may?
[9:49] Plexus Linden: so JLU can operate at full steam…. ;-)
[9:49] Samantha Lowell: I think that is workable-=I;'m in
[9:49] KaraTimtam: G-Men
[9:49] DianaPrince Carter: =)
[9:49] SeanPetit: sexist
[9:49] Kara Timtam: Golden Age, I can't help it
[9:49] Samantha Lowell: The "Wait Til next Year" League
[9:49] KalelVenkman: There's another factor, Plex – one we're wrestling with.
[9:49] Pierce Kronos: Sam
[9:49] Plexus Linden: The idea with this"idea" of a mentor group is the Self
[9:49] Aree Lulibub: Why can't it simply be the G-Team Mentors?
[9:50] Kalel Venkman: We've got a good year and a half plus invested in the
avatarswe courrnetly have.
[9:50] Kalel Venkman: *currently.
[9:50] Pierce Kronos likes G-team Mentors
[9:50] Kara Timtam: G-Mentors
[9:50] Kalel Venkman: We're known as much by our individual names as the suits
wewear, possibly more so.
[9:50] Plexus Linden: as in the mentorgroup will become the governing body in
SL.. trainers of all newresidents
[9:50] DianaPrince Carter: O_O
[9:50] Kara Timtam:D-Mentors
[9:50] Kalel Venkman: :/
[9:50] Samantha Lowell:Kara.
[9:51] Kara Timtam: OK that was silly, it's the creativeprocess at work
[9:51] bartelby Pegler: as long as it isnt G-Pers
[9:51] Kara Timtam: G-Mentors was a serious suggestion though
[9:51] Aree Lulibub: Mich had a question I t hink
[9:51] Kalel Venkman:Moving back and forth between new avatars will be somewhat
hobblingbecause of that.
[9:51] Micheru Mathys: Yes..
[9:51] PlexusLinden: You have all put in a lot of work . indeed.. and has beenrecognizedall over SL for sure
"mentors will have the extra abilitieswhile JLU will be the brute force scaring thebejeebus outta griefers" – Plexus Linden
[10:01] Plexus Linden: so, some of u would be mentoring..the others patrolling
[10:02] Sean Petit: be safer if we kept the mentor group clean and
[10:02] Kalel Venkman: Sam, what was it that person from FurNation said two
[10:02] Plexus Linden: the mentors will have the extraabilities… while JLU
will be the brute force scaring the bejeebusoutta griefers…LOL
[10:02] Samantha Lowell: Oh-
[10:02] PierceKronos: woo
[10:02] Plexus Linden: I mean , the mentors will bescary too
[10:02] Plexus Linden: LOL
[10:02] Samantha Lowell: Hesaid, IIRC, "Superman, cool!"
[10:03] Samantha Lowell: They see redcapes and know things are going to be
[10:03] PlexusLinden: Kalel… how does this sound to you so far?
[10:03] KalelVenkman: This seems to be the right approach.
[10:03] Kalel Venkman: This seems to be the right approach.
BrainiacWiki_Mal-W/default_260.html – "without appearing to endorsetrademark infringement"
[17:58] Kalel Venkman: But we'vebeen asked to come up with a new group name -
not a REPLACEMENT groupname, but one we can use as our new official identity in
[17:59] Kalel Venkman: The reason is that Linden lab wants to be able to refer
tous in press releases and in-world discussion without appearing toendorse
[17:59] Kalel Venkman: So we'velooked at a few names.
[18:00] Kalel Venkman: My favorite, whichnobody liked (I'm okay with that) was
"The League". Which turns outto be taken, by a fairly large group of steampunk
"specialabilities to be given to that group" – Kalel Venkman
[18:07] Kalel Venkman: Anyway, we looked at Legion of Heroes – too close to
Legionof Superheroes – Second League, which limits us if we want to moveoutside
SL at any point in the future – Justice Legion Unlimited -which is a lawsuit
waiting to happen -
[18:07] Kalel Venkman: AndGuild of Heroes or Heroes' Guild, which makes us
sound like justanother gaming clan, which we certainly aren't.
[18:08] KalelVenkman: Remaining were Heroes' League or League of Heroes, and
mostseem to prefer the latter.
[18:08] Kara Timtam: 2 words is strongerthan 3
[18:08] Sean Petit: Hero League, I believe
[18:09] KalelVenkman: Plexus asked for a name to be chosen, so that a LL group
calledthat, with the addition of the word "Mentors" on it, and specialabilities
to be given to that group.
"ourcurrent situation with respect to the Lindens is classified" – KalelVenkman
[18:40] Kalel Venkman: Otherthan that tidbit, there's no more new news – except
for the fact thatthe relationship between the GTeam and the Justice League
Unlimitedis progressing rapidly.
[18:40] Kalel Venkman: I don't know if it isor not.
[18:41] Kalel Venkman: But it's something to ponder.
[18:41] Sean Petit: Socrates SPOKE with me today!
[18:41] Pierce Kronos:lol
[18:41] Hewee Zetkin: Pierce, we are generally concerned withwrongdoing here
and elsewhere. If SL is used to cause RL harm, I'd beconcerned about it
personally for sure!
[18:41] Kara Timtam:There is a group called Austistic Liberation Front, based
[18:42] Kalel Venkman: Before we close, Pierce hasreminded me to remind you all
that our current situation with respectto the Lindens is classified.
[18:42] Kalel Venkman: Nobody needsto know any details of this for now.
[18:42] Hewee Zetkin:Certainly.
[18:42] Tracy Laszlo: Good meeting Kal
[18:42] KalelVenkman: The ramifications are deep and wide.
[18:42] Kalel Venkman:Mum's the word for now.
BrainiacWiki_Mal-W/default_286.html– "JLU rocks in my book!" – Plexus Linden
EaseyWriter: Finally got Plexus to sit down for an interview. While it wasan initial interview, generic in nature, he has agreed to furtherinterviews as well once this one is puplished. It was edited and iswaiting for Plexus's approval before publishing. Mentions that Plexushad very nice things to say about the JLU and that the other GTeammembers are taking notice of his "use" of us and considering the same.Plexus is building an office and will soon have office hours. He isalso planning a GTeam welcome area.
[10:01] Kalel Venkman:The one other thing is, and I'm sorry Barbara isn't here
to sharethis with us herself, is something from Plexus.
[10:01] KalelVenkman: 20:16] Barbara Onomatopoeia: is there anything that jlu
coulddo to materially assist?
[10:02] Kalel Venkman: [20:19] PlexusLinden: Actaully what JLU does now is
awesome ;-) Since they do nothave the tools that Lindens do, there isnt much
more they could do…aside from making residents aware how to avoid attacks,
settings forowned land, basic awareness for the "non- griefers" ;-)
[10:02] Kalel Venkman: [20:19] Plexus Linden: JLU rocks in my Book! ;-)
[10:02] DianaPrince Carter: WOW!
[10:02] Kalel Venkman: [20:20] PlexusLinden: .. and of course putting in the
AR's is a HUGE help forsure ;-)
[10:02] DianaPrince Carter: WOOT!
[10:02] Kara Timtam:*sparklegrin*
[10:02] Kalel Venkman: [20:20] Barbara Onomatopoeia:gee, thanks!
[10:02] Kalel Venkman: And now here's the kicker.
[10:02] Scotty Piedpiper: wOOT
[10:02] Samantha Lowell: oooo-"JLU rocks inmy book!"
[10:02] Kalel Venkman: [20:21] Barbara Onomatopoeia: i'veasked this question
before, but no answer. is it possible for jlu -or some subset of the group – to
have perms to delete stuff insandboxes at least?
[10:03] Kalel Venkman: [20:22] Plexus Linden:hmmmm
[10:03] Samantha Lowell: May we quote that in the communique?
[10:03] Kara Timtam: shhh
[10:03] Kalel Venkman: [20:22] Plexus Linden: Icould bring that up at the next
meeting… to see what the technicallogisitics would be… many attacks do start
in the sandboxes
[10:03] Kalel Venkman: [20:23] Plexus Linden: as far as a definitive answer, i
wouldntbe able to give one right now ;-) but I can check to see
[10:03] Kalel Venkman: [20:25] Barbara Onomatopoeia: may i share that with kalel
venkmanand other members of the group?
[10:03] Kalel Venkman: [20:25]Plexus Linden: Certainly ;-)