A few weeks back, there was a conference held at Second Life about the expansion of the gaming experience of users to other virtual worlds as well, like InWorldz. During the talk, there was an issue discussed regarding owning your own virtual work. This topic has been talked about and debated on for the last few months. After a lot of introspection, this is what I found. If you want to preserve your work as your own, get it copyrighted or DMCA approved.
Copyrighting originally was on tangible things. Later even photographs were included in the list of things that could be copyrighted. Since the emergence of computer generated works to imitate reality has become a trend in not only the gaming industry but also education, research, military etc., the governments are actively amending their country’s Copyright Act(s).
Today, you can have the ownership and copyright your blog, website, 3D objects, works or worlds. Although there are still issues to be handled like: if you create virtual reality using programs and it is so close to the actual reality, i.e., “fact,” then how do you determine or copyright the work which is a representation of fact. Read more about such issues in a detailed article on Computer Law.
History of Copyright
I could give you a brief history, but its better if you would read the following links:
The discussion on issues to be considered in copyrights has been going on since last century, which can be dated back near to the year 1886.
So, the important question is How do you get your works Copyrighted?
The best way to register is by visiting the website. Copyrighting here is free. Yes, you read it right — free. If you want to get the Pro package and avail more benefits, it will cost you $10 per month or $100 per year. This enables you to track down the websites that have copied your items. And they will help you take them down once you file a report. Visit the website for more information.
- The other way is to copyright your work in your country. As I am from India, this is the site to register for Copyright. You can search for your country in the same way, as well as through the list of countries in the Berne Convention
It is your choice to copyright your work. With the proliferation of copybots (programs that can copy your creation) and the issue of claiming your work as your own, copyrighting seems to be the only way. It might not mean much to the end users, but this is for the designers and creators who have given their time, energy and money to build something new.
I hope this was helpful to all those people who were wondering what would happen to their creations after the change in TOS of Second Life. As a writer, I would suggest all the designers to expand their horizon to other gaming platforms or virtual worlds and get your stuff DMCA approved.