Monday, 20 September 2010

Spinning Plates

Over exposure and "Beer Goggle Blurred" hides a multitude of sins.

Well, I'm back from the Scotland break, still not 100% recovered from "the virus" but getting there, slowly.

Two steps forward, one back.

The good news is AT LONG LAST! (lol) TRU Textures now accepts PayPal payment and direct download of textures under the "Any World" license, which in a nutshell means people can buy and use TRU textures for other grids and virtual worlds IF they pay by PayPal and download from the website.

Textures bought in Second Life via the Linden Dollar are still licensed for Second Life only, as has always been the case.

Here's a post I published about it this morning at AVW.

The website looks so much better and we've had some encouraging feedback and action in the short time it's been live, but I am keeping my feet on the ground.

No such thing as a "sure thing" even if the demand seems glaringly obvious.

I've also had some negative feedback from an artist with TRU who was dead against our decision to offer external licensing.
She said she thought other texture stores would also resent our actions but after a chat we sorted things out and they are happy to include their work under the outside license options too, which is nice for both is us.

The thing is, in my opinion, (and some other texture stores) if you don't at least offer a legitimate solution to this growing issue, then people will self justify and take the textures anyway by telling themselves  "Well, they gave me no choice!"

Our license has always been clear, if you buy textures in Second Life using the Linden Dollar then you cannot use them outside of the same place you bought from form and for, that being of course Second Life.

This was never an issue until such time came when there was a reason to want to use them elsewhere and then suddenly texture stores were being "greedy" and unreasonable.

"But, I've paid once!" being the popular complaint.

Concept of ownership, it's a massive delusion and one I have made errors and assumptions on in the past too.

Sometimes if someone spend money on something, subconsciously, that purchase makes those items "theirs" and as such they feel they have every right to share them, export them and even resell them.

I think the most appropriate evidence of this belief is a letter I got was a guy from SL saying how if he bought a bed in New York he should be able to take it to any other city or country he liked, so why not textures he bought from SL?

User License are much like TOS, very few people take the time to read them.

Despite some hard ball ideas, it's really an educational issue.

Copyright is by most new SL residents perceptions, just a word they see on the back of a DVD.
They have no reason to learn about it, its a "legal term" that had never popped up in their normal real day to day lives, so why assume they will understand the concept and all the grey areas of it when they sign up for SL?

For most new Second Life merchants the SL permission system is the "law" as that's the only thing they learn, there are no options in a texture or prim properties to chose the type of License they want to sell  their content under so in short, they are not introduced to Copyright, and if they are not introduced to it, they won't learn about it and mistakes and assumptions are made and made often.

It's taken me a long time to really get to grips with the various license types and in all honestly, I didn't know what "Creative Commons" meant until 18 months ago.
Royalty Free is another weak link, people assume that because it says "free" that means "free to do as you wish" (yet another assumption I have made in the past)

If Linden Labs had given texture artists the same permission options to protect how their content was used, the same options that most other content creators have, there would be no reason to sell full permissions and people wouldn't have the ability to share, sell and save textures to their PCs. (To perhaps share and sell outside of SL, who knows)

Clothing, skin and fashion designers don't get criticised because their customers cannot export the clothing/hair/skins/AOs/houses/dogs/cars they purchased in Second Life to other worlds.
It's just a "given" that that's the way it is.

Texture artists and stores have to sell full permissions to allow commercial content creators within Second Life the ability to sell what they create.

If textures were sold as "No Transfer" then that same No Transfer texture when applied to a single prim (building block) would render that prim (and all prims linked to it)  as also No Transfer,  meaning they could not sell what they created.

It's a technical oversight Linden Labs have ignored for way too long.
After all what would SL be without textures? They are as essential as the building blocks (prims) used to create content.

I got my bank account statements to the accountant at last. (It was really playing on my mind, I hate admin) I am now just completing the tedious task of re creating all of the 200 listings I have on Xstreet.com which will be migrated to the new Second Life Market Place in Oct.

I swear, 85% of my listings had text totally or partially missing leaving information that bore no relation to the product itself and images were not displayed correctly.

I have already spent 20 hours and have only got 2/3s completed.
More admin, but it has to be done.

Sales on Contentparadise.com have gone through the roof this month breaking previous sales records for July which is nice.
Discounting products does help but if you have them constantly discounted people stop seeing them as a special offer.
So, I have one month full priced and very few sales and one much discounted and have good sales.

Also, you need to always have at least one product on the first page (which is displayed in order of creation) to get the traffic so its very important to keep churning good stuff out... and that's a whole different PITA. More later on that subject.

I have a telephone meeting with the gentleman from the game studio some time today. Not sure exactly what, if anything I can offer him or vice versa, it's 4.10pm now and no phone call as yet.

I have already been asked if I was going to the European Game Convention in London (4-5 hour drive)
Sadly I don't have time to spit these days, much less travel to London.

"I am a small town girl, living in a small town world" ....world meaning virtual or online only lol.

I have worked from my home PC for 10 years now, and that comes at a price.

I joined Train2Game.com to learn 3D art to better my chances of maintaining an income in the future but on a self employed basis.
Sure, I would be happy to work on a sub contract basis for game studios but no, arriving at 9am, sitting at a desk with all of the external noise and distractions really doesn't appeal to me anymore.

I like the peace and quiet of my own home, the freedom to work my own hours (even if that does mean sometimes 50+ a week and until 3am) because it's "my" choice.

I am self motivated to the extreme but just recently I have been spinning plates to keep an income coming in this economy which has been really stressful.

It's funny how having a couple of websites and a registered trading company can throw some people into some deluded idea that I own some multi million dollar company with 100+ staff.

To some in SL, TRU is seen almost like IBM is in real life,  when the reality is, it's a "one woman band", who sits at her PC all day and most of the night in the spare bedroom come office and who is very lucky to have 2 people who are willing to work in their spare time to support TRU.

Linden Labs I ain't!

Oh, and my training course, don't remind me, I don't need reminding, it's constantly nagging at me.
I haven't been able to sit down with it for over 2 months give or take a few hours here and there.

I am just waiting for a quiet spell but it doesn't ever seem to come at the minute.

I had fully planned on working with it whilst we were away in Scotland but I had that horrid Virus which left me lead on a sofa in Scotland 80% of my waking hours.

When did it all get so hard? It used to be all about making textures uploading textures, wash and repeat.

These days I have so little time to create and more recently that's because of the Xstreet - New Market Place migration and a bad flu like virus.

I have always felt the need to make new content - if I am not working then I feel it's only a matter of time before business declines. Makes sense to me at least but you know, 80,000 textures is a lot of stock to get through if you're a customer.

The websites finished now, I just need to finish the Second Life Market Place migration and then in theory I have no further time consuming commitments. But yea, I'm feeling the stress.

You have heard of writers block? Same thing happens for artists in all genres.

Well, must dash! The plate in the far left looks like it's about to wobble and fall!

Harvey - Mini Dachshund - Scotland 2010



Scotland 2010 















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