Creator Controversy Over a Planned Sansar Feature: Should Consumers Be Able to Edit Materials on Purchased Items?


Well, there has been quite the lively discussion over on the official Sansar Discord channels! Busiest I’ve ever seen it on there. Galen explains the reason for the kerfuffle in this post on the General Discussion forums on the Sansar website:

During this morning’s product meetup, there was some discussion of a forthcoming feature allowing users to edit the materials on items they’ve purchased in the Store. This will be limited to items placed in a scene and not include avatar attachments. Moreover, creators still can’t take items they have modified in a scene back into their inventory for reuse. So it’s limited.

Nevertheless, several people were concerned about the idea of their products being altered without their permission.

I honestly don’t see a problem, but I wanted to bring the debate up here in hopes that those who have misgivings about this new feature would explain their concerns.

I guess my first thought is that it’s not illegal to add stickers to a new laptop or paint your dining table some other color. So why not expect customers to modify things they’ve bought in Sansar? Is that somehow different from the basic fair-use concept that we’re used to with most products we buy?

I think the most obvious objection is one of representation. Someone does a shabby job modifying something they bought from you and now that shabby version of your product represents your brand and could reflect badly.

Some creators are upset about this planned functionality in the next Sansar release (still slated for mid-December). Debi Baskerville weighs in:

First, this should be a right controlled by the creator and not given away by Linden Lab to whoever buys an item.

Second, if a creator wants to grant that permission then a UV map should be provided to the purchaser for which a higher price could and rightfully be charged by the creator for the UV map.

I hear arguments against allowing for personal volume controls .. not allowing people to fly and so forth because it takes away the rights of the creator of an experience. How is this different? The creator of any mesh model should have the right to set the permissions of the items they sell. Period! And until that mechanism is in place doing this is much too premature. We don’t need the cart before the horse!

From a customer viewpoint, I know I regularly tint objects I buy in SL; however, I nearly never retexture anything mesh because there’s much too much work involved. The only reason tinting works in SL is because you can select faces and tint those face independently of other faces on the object. That won’t work in Sansar. So tinting in Sansar is rather useless.

I see no value in being able to retexture or retint any objects in Sansar unless the objects are made specifically with that in mind, such as the building sets that have basic shapes and sizes for component building.

So, what do you think? Sound off, either in the posted link to Galen’s thread (see above), or in the comments to this blogpost!

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7 thoughts on “Creator Controversy Over a Planned Sansar Feature: Should Consumers Be Able to Edit Materials on Purchased Items?”

  1. I honestly think the reaction to what is being *currently* proposed is over-blown, and I agree with Galen. The key point about this change – as he points out – is that *the materials changes to an item only persist as long as they are within a given scene (experience)*. Changes *cannot* be saved back to inventory. There will be a supply chain licensing system in place before items can be saved back to inventory.

    A lot of the commentary has been about the risk of this move reflecting “badly” on a creator if their work is edited by purchaser. Again, and with respect, I think such views are also over-blown f not somewhat precious. For two reasons:

    A), it is not as if users can right-click and interrogate in-scene (/experience) objects to identify creator, owner, etc. Ergo, unless one is intimately familiar with a creator’s work, it’s unlikely people will see a poorly edited object as a negative reflection of that creator’s work.

    B) Similarly, if people *are* familiar enough with a creator’s work to be able to recognise it when used in another person’s experience, and the use of materials is sub-stand for that creator – even objects *can* be edited, they will likely look to the experience creator as being responsible for the poor work, simply because they *are* aware of the creator’s work and capabilities.

    1. Just as a quick clarification to the above, particularly as someone has already demanded that I “will” reconsider my position as stated above in light of comments made by Ebbe at the 2nd Product Meeting on December 8th.

      My comments above refer only to the *current* change proposed by LL – that modified objects cannot be saved back into inventory (nor at this point in time can we inspect objects). Obviously, that will in time change – hence my reference to the supply chain / licensing element of Sansar. Indeed, as I replied to the person making the demand , I’ve *always* anticipated there will be a means to inspect objects in Sasar.

      However, in terms of what the Lab is *currently* proposing, what will be is irrelevant. Again, the current proposal doesn’t involve saving and or reselling edited goods. So upset over rights / abilities to determine who does what don’t actually factor into modifying in-scene objects *at this point in time and in terms of what the Lab is proposing with the Friends release*. By the time the saving / reselling of goods does become an issue, the licensing (permissions) system will logically be in place, at which point this entire debate becomes moot.

  2. I’m rather dismayed by the tone in which this blog was presented. The discussion was not heated or an argument but of individuals voicing their concerns about an upcoming feature being implemented by Linden Lab in Sansar. I still firming back my stance that creators should have the right to set permission on how their products will be used or modified.

    In today’s product meeting, Ebbe Linden stated that the goal is not only for people to be able to inspect objects and be able to see who made the item but also to have the option of purchasing the item while there in the experience.

    It’s unfortunate that this has to be an issue at all. Simply waiting until the mechanism is in place to set permissions would have prevented this.

  3. “Nevertheless, several people were concerned about the idea of their products being altered without their permission.”

    It’s not your product anymore once you sell it. It is the person who bought it who now owns it. If you want to keep ownership then you don’t get to sell your item. Straight up. That’s how it works in real life too! If I buy something I am free to be creative with it, change it how I will. All items should allow for the customer to put their own creativity on it. So long as it can’t be simply copied and resold, there is no good reason to prevent a customer from getting creative with the items they have purchased.

    You’re worried about your brand? Even once an item is able to be inspected, if they’re in an environment that obviously allows modifying of items and they see that the creator of the item and the owner of the item are different, they will KNOW that it may be changed. Only if an item is both created by and owned by the same person will it for sure be in its original state. Just like in real life. You are killing the equivalent of the DIY market in virtual worlds by trying to make things not modifiable. We cannot be creative with various items if we’re not allowed to make similar changes in virtual worlds as we could in real life. Obviously there are technical limitations that prevent doing some things in Sansar that we could IRL, but that’s an unfortunate limitation, not something one should be striving for.

    The reason it is different than allowing flying in an environment is because you don’t own a product you sell. Set your settings for your environment and experience that you own as you will. Set your items you own as you will. Don’t sell an item if you don’t want someone else to own it. You give up ownership when you sell something. You cannot still own a thing that you have sold. You can keep the rights for reselling, of course, people shouldn’t be able to copy and resell something you made. But that’s a different problem with other solutions.

    Also, if you want to sell multiple colours, sell multiple colours. Make your textures good enough that they’re worth buying from colour to colour, and can’t be replicated by simple tinting. Tinting is for fine adjustments. Changes large enough to be worth selling a different version of the item for require a different texture anyway.

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