Caledon and Avatars United

There is a great deal of discussion going on about Linden Lab’s acquisition of the social networking site Avatars United.  I’d love to be able to talk about it more in depth here, but I doubt I’ll have the time.  However, Desmond Shang, who is the Guvnah/chief administrator/land baron of Caledon on Second Life (and Caledonia on Blue Mars), has an important message about AU and I’m distilling his remarks to help pass the word along.  Please note, this isn’t the entire conversation.  If you are part of ISC, you should have received a notecard via group notice, with a fuller transcript of the remarks and reactions by those participating in ISC group chat.  If you did not and would like a copy, please IM me in-world or retrieve it from the Group Notices tab for ISC.

From Desmond in his Desmond Magic alt (yes, this is common knowledge, I’m not disclosing secret information) on Feb. 1st:

[1:42]  Desmond Magic: wearily waves hello to everyone ~ hey, I wanted to pass on something, word of mouth to people, if I may
[1:43]  Desmond Magic: some of you may have heard of something called Avatars United
[1:44]  Desmond Magic: I’ve done my best to recover things, and even unlocked my actual account and created a caledon group
[1:44]  Desmond Magic: please,
[1:44]  Desmond Magic: 1. do not friend me, or anyone claiming to be me
[1:44]  Desmond Magic: 2. do not join any caledon groups, if you did ~ leave.
[1:44]  Desmond Magic: 3. I’ve set up the ‘real’ me
[1:45]  Desmond Magic: and a real group
[1:45]  Desmond Magic: Desmond Shang
[1:45]  Desmond Magic: I got it, Ordinal made one just out of demonstration’s sake
[1:45]  Desmond Magic: I’m not upset at ordinal whatsoever, that was a test
[1:45]  Desmond Magic: it’s NOT PROTECTED.
[1:45]  Desmond Magic: there can be a dozen Desmond Shangs.
[1:45]  Desmond Magic: there is now apparently an official Caledon group.
[1:46]  Desmond Magic: folks, here’s what happens, according to US law.
[1:46]  Desmond Magic: if I don’t defend it, ANYONE can legally use “Caledon” or “Caledonia” or “Independent State of Caledon”
[1:47]  Desmond Magic: there are.  One is me, one is Ordinal (testing), beyond that, it’s all nobody I know
[1:47]  Desmond Magic: there are apparently THREE Caledon groups now, I added the fourth and real one, I think.
[1:47]  Desmond Magic: minutes ago.
[1:47]  Desmond Magic: now, here’s the nasty part
[1:47]  Desmond Magic: 1. I don’t want to be Caledon (TM) but I’m being given no choice
[1:48]  Desmond Magic: and here’s the 2nd Really Ugly Nasty Part
[1:48]  Desmond Magic: the one that will burn maybe 40 to 80 hours of work
[1:48]  Desmond Magic: someone well~intentioned will make a group
[1:48]  Desmond Magic: I will say ‘don’t do that’
[1:48]  Desmond Magic: they will be hurt, heartbroken, massive drama will ensue.
[1:49]  Desmond Magic: drama = major income loss for Des. Every. single. Time.
[1:49]  Desmond Magic: so I am not mad at any well intentioned people who tried to ‘help’
[1:50]  Desmond Magic: there’s no drama, just, do. not. duplicate. caledon. or. we. *all*. lose. the. ability. for. me. to. defend. us.
[1:50]  Desmond Magic: without being defended by me, it falls to public domain, by US law.
[1:50]  Desmond Magic: I have no choice, I have to aggressively pursue it.
[1:50]  <resident>: Are we allowed to make “<blank> of caledon” groups?
[1:50]  Desmond Magic: oh that’s fine <resident>
[1:51]  Desmond Magic: but someone made the OFFICIAL group…
[1:51]  Desmond Magic: doubtless people are going to join it in droves.  Please. do. not.
[1:51]  <resident>: Does this mean you will have to crack down on any use of “Caledon” in commerce outside of your activities, Des?
[1:52]  Desmond Magic: <resident> I am super easy going about ‘licencing’
[1:52]  Desmond Magic: ____________ of Caledon, or _______, Knight of Caledon or all that is just fine
[1:52]  Desmond Magic: it’s like this:
[1:52]  Desmond Magic: pretend I’m Star Trek
[1:53]  Desmond Magic: go fly Enterprises, whatever, but don’t start your group as THE Star Trek
[1:53]  Desmond Magic: because now, once that happens, guess what any hostile noob can do, if it falls to public domain
[1:53]  Desmond Magic: “hai we are another Caledon rent from me PLZ!”
[1:54]  Desmond Magic: all that we are, all that you guys are, will be legally take~able.
[1:54]  Desmond Magic: I won’t have any ability to defend it.
[1:55]  <resident>: Do you own the trademark Caledon or its permutations?
[1:55]  Desmond Magic: I do, sir.
[1:55]  Desmond Magic: yes, it was done <resident>, on Avatar United… as well as multiple groups called Caledon that aren’t me.
[1:56]  Desmond Magic: LL bought a facebook~like company
[1:56]  Desmond Magic: <resident> you might want to check it out, it may be done before you even realise it.
[1:57]  Desmond Magic: no, in fact all of you could make fake desmonds, that’s the problem
[1:57]  Desmond Magic: I want to be LL’s biggest fanboy, I normally am
[1:57]  Desmond Magic: but this is where I see this going:
[1:57]  Desmond Magic: some well intentioned person, probably one of us, made the Caledon group
[1:58]  Desmond Magic: this is a bad, bad, bad thing
[1:58]  Desmond Magic: everyone, please spread the word… I’ve been dealing with this all night
[1:58]  Desmond Magic: now, I have literally years of ‘prior art’ and can get testimony from literally several hundred people that Caledon is mine
[1:59]  Desmond Magic: if anyone has backup, it’s me… even if someone falsely registered Caledon as a trademark, I could take them down easily
[1:59]  Desmond Magic: but I don’t want to deal with all this
[1:59]  Desmond Magic: ah, official word is this: for now, Please Do Not Use the Avatar United site for Caledon stuff
[2:04]  Desmond Magic: I’m not worried about any well intentioned person ‘helping’ to make a caledon group and finding out it wasn’t a good idea
[2:04]  Desmond Magic: I won’t be mad at them
[2:04]  Desmond Magic: what I AM worried about, is Caledon falling to public domain, and none of us able to do anything about it.
[2:05]  Desmond Magic: when, not if, it were to be used by hostile parties.
[2:05]  Desmond Magic: well I am the easiest guy in the world with Caledon ‘stuff’
[2:06]  Desmond Magic: you can sell Caledon flags, or whatnot inworld I am good with it
[2:06]  Desmond Magic: I give permission, always
[2:06]  Desmond Magic: the line has been drawn at real world products
[2:06]  Desmond Magic: and for instance, excalibur has permission to use ‘caledon’ (think of it as a ‘licence’) for forums and stuff
[2:07]  Desmond Magic: I’m really, really, really casual
[2:07]  Desmond Magic: but the problem comes in, when someone makes an official group, and they aren’t.
[2:08]  <resident>: Many items for sale in Caledon shops use that name , to protect a name all uses except by owner need to stop, reaches for a KLEENEX to dab eyes
[2:08]  Desmond Magic: to give an idea, we raised something close to 20,000 USD for cancer charities over the years
[2:08]  Desmond Magic: <resident> I don’t need to go that far, I informally ‘licence’ everyone
[2:09]  Desmond Magic: that’s how ‘fan fiction’ works
[2:10]  Desmond Magic: I can handle it more like fan fiction ~ basically, nobody gets in trouble, *until* they claim to officially represent all of Caledon
[2:10]  Desmond Magic: the paperwork and legal stuff are one thing, the thing I truly dread is this:
[2:10]  Desmond Magic: probably a few well intentioned people who are part of us, here, started these groups
[2:10]  Desmond Magic: I don’t know who
[2:11]  Desmond Magic: I am *not* mad at them, but the one thing I absolutely don’t want,
[2:11]  Desmond Magic: is four or five hours of tearful drama over it
[2:11]  Desmond Magic: that burns me out like few things ever can.
[2:12]  Desmond Magic: in fact, if any of you hear or see of the Avatar United stuff,
[2:12]  Desmond Magic: for now,
[2:13]  Desmond Magic: please ask people NOT to get involved with Caledon stuff there yet, please.
[2:13]  Desmond Magic: it’s not secure, it won’t be for a while.
[2:13]  Desmond Magic: that’s totally fine
[2:13]  Desmond Magic: just~ NO official group, and don’t join one
[2:14]  Desmond Magic: they aren’t, but, that’s not the issue, it’s the issue of say, controlling the whole group
[2:14]  Desmond Magic: it’s been nearly four years ~ can anyone guess the number of times group chat has been moderated here?
[2:15]  Desmond Magic: exactly zero.  we are a free group, and I’ve fought for that
[2:16]  Desmond Magic: yeah we keep the group closed to keep out spammers
[2:17]  Desmond Magic: well,
[2:17]  Desmond Magic: anyway, just imagine anyone else in control of the group
[2:17]  Desmond Magic: we are THE most free state on the grid, I keep it that way
[2:18]  Desmond Magic: if I don’t defend our name or the group, we’ll end up like your typical RP area and it’s moderation and ban lists.
[2:19]  <resident>: Des, maybe I’m oversimplifying things, but it stands to reason if LL owns AU, all they;d need to do is match emails to avatar names, and freeze accounts that don’t match until proven otherwise.
[2:19]  Desmond Magic: anyway, if anyone discovers who started these groups, I am not mad, but would they please discontinue any group that represents the whole of Caledon.
[2:19]  Desmond Magic: well that would be ideal <resident>
[2:19]  Desmond Magic: maybe they will… months from now
[2:20]  Wrath Constantine: LL Anounced the purchase a couple of days ago Yuriko. It’s bad.
[2:21]  Desmond Magic: mmm… well let’s wrap this commentary up with Avatar United
[2:21]  Desmond Magic: I am not mad at Avatar United
[2:22]  Desmond Magic: I am not mad at any well intentioned person that made a caledon group, but Please disband it if it represents all of us.
[2:22]  Desmond Magic: finally,
[2:23]  Desmond Magic: yes, I do have an account and a Caledon group there, created for the sole purpose of defending “Caledon” and “Caledonia” and “Independent State of Caledon”
[2:23]  Desmond Magic: but please don’t join it, or ‘friend’ me
[2:23]  Desmond Magic: I’d rather spend my time inworld with all of you here.
[2:24]  Desmond Magic: alright… that was that.  sorry for the late hour; if this gets out by word of mouth that would be appreciated
[2:24]  <resident>: Out of curiosity how would one tell YOUR DS from another ? That’s why it’s not a place that holds any interest for me
[2:24]  Desmond Magic: group notices come so fast it’s terrible
[2:25]  Desmond Magic: <resident>, mine has some comments like “don’t friend me”… but even that can be copied
[2:25]  Desmond Magic: just stay away from the site until they fix all this, I’d say.
[2:25]  Mari Moonbeam: No kidding
[2:25]  Desmond Magic: avatar united
[2:25]  Desmond Magic: people have been making fake linden accounts too.
[2:26]  Desmond Magic: indeed, I thought going there and making my name would preserve it, I was wrong.
[2:27]  Desmond Magic: I don’t *want* to be upset at LL, just, there’s not much I can do and preserve our identity
[2:27]  <resident>: This convo is being saved for sharing amongst those not currently on.

4 thoughts on “Caledon and Avatars United

  1. Thanks Magz!

    Since I wasn’t in SL, I totally missed this. So much, once again, for Des’s hit-or-miss communications strategy. And ISC group notices are failing on me an awful lot, too.

    Not that I could have enlightened ISC if I had been in the conversation. I totally forgot that *I* created one of the Caledon groups (at least a year ago). It never claimed to be official, by the way.

    I guess the lesson I’m finally learning is not to promote ISC or try to connect with fellow ISC citizens if Des hasn’t made an official ISC (TM) presence in a venue. Bitter? Yes.

  2. I’m sorry about the bitterness. Des can explain himself much better than I can or even want to try, so I hope you two can hash it out together.

    My feeling, going back to my comments in Twitter, is that with this acquisition and the enthusiasm of the blog post, LL has put its imprimatur on AU that would reasonably lead people to assume a trusted correlation between what happens on SL and what happens on AU. But since there isn’t authentication of existing SL ids in AU, there’s a potential for confusion at best, and griefing/misrepresentation at worst.

    But I think Caledonians can come together to connect and form communities across many platforms without anyone’s permission, as long as there isn’t a “I/we speak under the aegis or authority of Caledon.” Which I am quite sure you wouldn’t do.

    *hugs Otenth and gives him a brownie*

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