Why is there no “No drop permissions” bit in SecondLife?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way the implementation of SecondLife has created a very specific culture in that environment. One of the issues SecondLife is currently having in expanding scope, is that culture makes some things easy, some things hard, and other things impossible. The technology is never impossible, but meeting the needs of the residents of can be. I’m going to start posting some of these “what if” bits on the technology here under the opensim and secondlife tags, please feel free to jump in and discuss.

The Permissions System

The SecondLife permissions system is a curious thing:

  • No modify
  • No copy
  • No transfer

The model provides the ability to let people create modifiable, but un resellable goods, or prevents a good from propagating. What it doesn’t really do though is encourage Creative Commons content. Most creators that create “full perms” objects, find that someone takes a copy removes some of the permissions, then sells it elsewhere.

There has been a lot of arguments that a CC model for content creation can’t work on grid scale, but I don’t think it’s been given a fair shake. If you really wanted to try this experiment, you’d need another bit (at least one more) which was:

  • No drop permissions

Doing so would let you put content into the environment that has the Modify / Copy / Transfer bits enabled, and no down stream person could turn them off. “I gave away this thing, and want it to be part of the commons. Anyone can have it, but also has to keep it in the commons.” To support this kind of model building content on the main grid, Linden could even remove the upload cost for NDP content, making it a richer world for all.

The recent trend to do public works projects in SecondLife, paid for by the Lindens, means there is definitely some need for a commons space. Perhaps expanding the permissions model to keep free content free would do some of this on it’s own.