APOD on Second Life?

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RJN
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APOD on Second Life?

Post by RJN » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:01 am

What follows is (the beginnings of) an email exchange between Adrienne Gauthier and myself on the possibility of creating an "APOD mirror" on Second Life. Comments from anyone are welcome!
I actually recently thought of APOD in Second Life again. Previously - I
think the idea we talked about at AAS wouldn't really fly. It would have
required an upload/updated image every day and 4 cents each upload.
Additionally - separate copyright/use permission would have to had from
each author/owner of the image for me to be able to upload it into
Second Life. The money isn't a lot for sure over the year, but right
now the Astronomy 2009 island project has $0. Also - the idea of
having a Q&A session with a live person wasn't too feasible, as there
really isn't anyone to reliably do that.

I did find the older APOD that Jessica built on JPL island --- it's not
being used and no updated content is presented.

However!

Everything recently got easier as the new Second Life viewer (called
Viewer 2) enables "Shared Media". What that means is I can now embed
live and active webpages on prims (building blocks of Second Life).
Simple idea is to just have a billboard with a decorative APOD frame
with the active webpage being shown. From within Second Life avatars
can click and engage in the APOD website, just like from a web browser.

That's a simple idea - just an advertisement really for APOD and more
exposure for the site/project itself.

The advanced idea is to still pursue a weekly Q&A based on the APOD
images presented during the week. However, I don't readily have someone
to be able to do that. The MICA group (an astronomy research group in
SL) tried to have a weekly "Ask an Astronomer" that failed and wasn't
well attended. I'm not sure why it failed - but I think there has to be
an additional hook for people to show up. It may have been the time of
day it was held, that it kept getting canceled b/c they couldn't find
volunteers, or there just isn't interest from the SL public.

We can think on those points and maybe a twist on the idea will come up.
We are still without volunteers though to do a weekly live event.

The simple idea though --- putting up a billboard and APOD display is
easily do-able if you like. Since we are just rebroadcasting your APOD
site, I'm not sure we need additional copyright permission from the
authors of the images. However --- it may just be a line you can add
into your requests to use images ("Additionally, you give permission
that your image on our APOD website can be rebroadcast on an active
webpage into Second Life." or something like that).

We can have an APOD billboard on both 'Astronomy 2009' island and on
'Stella Nova' island where MICA gives general public astronomy talks
every other Saturday (I'd put the APOD billboard in the talk area).

Thoughts?
Adrienne

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RJN
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by RJN » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:07 am

Adrienne,

Although I am not on Second Life (as yet), those Viewer 2 prisms that mirror APOD sound promising. Does Second Life carry advertising? It is hard to place an "APOD mirror" on Facebook, for example, because, to my understanding, Facebook automatically includes advertising on each page. And, as you note, many APOD images are copyrighted and cannot be used in a commercial setting without the explicit consent of the copyright owners. Thanks again for your efforts!

- RJN

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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by owlice » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:04 pm

cannot be used in a commercial setting without the explicit consent of the copyright owners
I'm not an attorney nor do I play one on TV, but my understanding is that copyrighted material cannot be used in any setting without the consent of the copyright owner(s) outside of the Fair Use doctrine. (Perhaps other exceptions apply, but I don't know what they are.) Whether it's for commercial purposes may have some bearing on a judgment of Fair Use, but non-commercial use can certainly be a violation of copyright.

Wikipedia Fair Use wrote:Fair use is commonly misunderstood because of its deliberate ambiguity. Here are some of the more common misunderstandings with explanations of why they are wrong:
.
.
.
Noncommercial use is invariably fair. Not true, though a judge may take the profit motive or lack thereof into account. In L.A. Times v. Free Republic, the court found that the noncommercial use of L.A. Times content by the Free Republic Web site was in fact not fair use, since it allowed the public to obtain material at no cost that they would otherwise pay for.
Thumbnails and resized images (at lower resolution than the original) can be fair use in some cases:
Wikipedia Fair Use wrote:A US court case in 2003, Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation, provides and develops the relationship between thumbnails, inline linking and fair use. In the lower District Court case on a motion for summary judgment, Arriba Soft was found to have violated copyright without a fair use defense in the use of thumbnail pictures and inline linking from Kelly's website in Arriba's image search engine. That decision was appealed and contested by Internet rights activists such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who argued that it is clearly covered under fair use.

On appeal, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the defendant. In reaching its decision, the court utilized the above-mentioned four-factor analysis. First, it found the purpose of creating the thumbnail images as previews to be sufficiently transformative, noting that they were not meant to be viewed at high resolution like the original artwork was. Second, the fact that the photographs had already been published diminished the significance of their nature as creative works. Third, although normally making a "full" replication of a copyrighted work may appear to violate copyright, here it was found to be reasonable and necessary in light of the intended use. Lastly, the court found that the market for the original photographs would not be substantially diminished by the creation of the thumbnails. To the contrary, the thumbnail searches could increase exposure of the originals. In looking at all these factors as a whole, the court found that the thumbnails were fair use and remanded the case to the lower court for trial after issuing a revised opinion on July 7, 2003. The remaining issues were resolved with a default judgment after Arriba Soft had experienced significant financial problems and failed to reach a negotiated settlement.
From this, it looks to me that use on Second Life could be a violation of copyright regardless of whether Second Life is commercial. Those who hold the copyright would IMHO benefit from having their images so displayed, but that wouldn't be a defense should someone decide to take action.

It's perfectly possible I'm wrong about this -- I've been wrong about many things! -- but I have done a little reading on this and from what I've read, non-commercial use is not by itself a defense against infringement.

I'm sorry. :( I hope there is an intellectual property attorney here who can shed more light on this; I'd welcome correction.
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by makc » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:26 pm

it looks to me that use on Second Life could be a violation of copyright regardless of whether Second Life is commercial.
same can be said of any of dozens existing apod mirrors. never the less, they do exist, and noone sues them.

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owlice
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by owlice » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:36 pm

makc wrote:same can be said of any of dozens existing apod mirrors. never the less, they do exist, and noone sues them.
APOD mirrors are not the same as Second Life; I'm not an attorney, etc., but I suspect a strong case could be made for fair use covering mirror sites.

I don't have the time to research this, but perhaps someone else might do so. One source that is useful on this subject is the US Copyright Office:
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by makc » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:28 pm

owlice wrote:I suspect a strong case could be made for fair use covering mirror sites.
A "strong case" can be also made against it, if you want to, as with most of subjects :wink: E.g. if they have google ads, you can go like "they steal traffic from main apod site to make moneys and, since my copyrighted image is in there somewhere, I want my profit share".

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owlice
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by owlice » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:05 pm

makc, the purpose of my first post on this thread was to point out that non-commercial use of a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright holder can still be a violation of copyright. Such use isn't necessarily permitted by the Fair Use doctrine.

There are excellent resources on the web for researching intellectual law. I don't know whether case law exists which covers Second Life, but if you research this, I'd be interested in what you find out.
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makc
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by makc » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:43 pm

you mean we cannot discuss anything else beyond the purpose of your first post on this thread?

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owlice
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by owlice » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:28 am

makc wrote:you mean we cannot discuss anything else beyond the purpose of your first post on this thread?
No, of course I don't mean that, at all. Discuss whatever you'd like!
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RJN
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by RJN » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:42 am

Owlice,

Thanks for your thoughtful post. I am also not an attorney, although I have watched several episodes of Law and Order on TV. I agree with your greater point that if copyrighted images are posted on a non-commercial web site, they may indeed, in theory, cause harm to the copyright holder and hence not be Fair Use. However, in the case of APOD, images sent to APOD, it seems to me, are intended to be used "on APOD", and that includes APOD's mirror sites. The NASA APOD and the APOD mirror sites are non-commercial, and so there is, quite possibly, the presumption that APOD will use these images non-commercially.

There are a number of gray areas. What is "advertising"? What is "commercial"? Currently, we allow mirror site operators to identify their home organizations, as they are supporting and enabling that APOD mirror. Is that advertising? I don't know. The NASA APOD, for example, clearly identifies NASA and Michigan Tech as supporters. Is this advertising of NASA and MTU? Let's say we expanded the NASA letters to be larger, would that be advertising? Let's say we ran a banner "ad" for NASA. Would THAT be advertising? Dunno. Let's say APOD runs a line over the Tomorrow line advertising a Post on the Asterisk. Is that advertising? Dunno.

Anyway, the way I see it just now, and I am still not an attorney, is that any APOD mirror that does not carry "commercial advertising" is OK, no matter where it appears. But how should "commercial advertising" be defined? Still, in my view, so long as Second Life does not carry commercial advertising on the same page as copyrighted images, and so long as the APOD mirror is a true mirror in the sense that it is intact in text and credits, it is OK. In that case, I would consider Second Life to be just a fancy mirror site. It may or may not be standard "Fair Use" (I think it is), but when a copyright holder submits an image to APOD, that image is then fair game for APOD to use (and re-use) on APOD and any APOD mirror site, in my view.

I hope this is a help. If I am in obvious error please, anyone, correct me. It is better for me to know I am wrong now and change things then have APOD closed later for an oversight.

- RJN

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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by owlice » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:26 am

RJN,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. My thinking is along the lines of yours: images sent to you are for use on APOD, and that includes mirror sites. I should think sending the image certainly constitutes permission to use it, and to have it appear on all the mirrors!

If Facebook and Second Life are mirrors, I don't see how any reasonable claim could be made for infringement, whether there is advertising on these sites/they are commercial or not. Consent for "use on APOD and APOD mirrors" is implicit when sending the image (and requesting that it be considered for use on APOD!).

My point really was that it's possible to infringe on copyright even for non-commercial use, that that is not necessary a defense. It's a very common to think noncommercial use is invariably fair, as Wikipedia puts it, and that was the only point I really wanted to address, however much I may have muddied the waters by doing so!

Owlice
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by AJG » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:43 am

hi everyone!

Adrienne here :)

Thanks for the all the comments so far, but it seems to have drifted to a discussion on copyright --- which --- is applicable (and something I already know how to handle and what the limitations/fair use/etc. are) --- but we'd really like feedback on the "general idea" of it, and, if there would be any volunteers to hold in-world (Second Life) Q&A sessions based off of APOD or other social activities around APOD for the general public.

BACKGROUND

Second Life is a 3D virtual world where folks from all over the globe interact with each other and interact with content (built by others). At any given time there are 50-80,000 unique people logged into a "virtual land mass" the size of Rhode Island. My project ('Astronomy 2009' island) resides in a science archipelago within Second Life, called SciLands. There we have over 60 islands (256mx256m plots of virtual land) dedicated to science and technology. Such folks as NASA, JPL, NOAA, Imperial College, NPL, United Space Alliance, National Space Society as well as some college/university presences for biology and molecular biology. Mostly the purpose is for science outreach and using the projects for formal instruction. 'Astronomy 2009' island is the official presence of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, and is now a "Beyond IYA" project. w00t! During 2009 we hosted/created over a dozen exhibits which you can check out here: http://secondastronomy.org --- and saw ~8,500 unique people visit us, some in multiple visits (repeat guests). We've had talk events (streaming in Adler Planetarium's Far Out Fridays and our audience interacts with the speaker for questions), the IYA2009 Opening Ceremony mixed-reality event, authors giving talks on their books, a Solar Dynamics Observatory launch party, and a live broadcast unveiling a set of Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra murals from the winter AAS meeting this past January. Our goal is simple: Engage and inspire the general public in astronomy. We host an interactive From Earth to the Universe, collections from The World at Night, 365 Days of Astronomy, The Artists' Universe from IAAA, among much more.

So - we're active, we have a steady influx of new visitors each month (roughly 400, depending on events and exhibits). We were featured on the Second Life login screen last August (everyone sees it who logs in) and we had ~1200 unique visitors in a 24-hr period!

WHY APOD IN SECOND LIFE?

Why not! It's something to try for sure, and to have it be a live social activity would really take advantage of the environment and culture of Second Life. Even just having a "billboard" with a nice APOD frame as an "active" webpage (or mirrored as y'all have described here) gets more people looking at APOD and could bring traffic to the website outside of Second Life. Having a second mirror on our neighbor's island (MICA, Meta-Institute for Computational Astrophysics) during their well-attended (30-50 people) public talks would also increase exposure to APOD.

ANSWERS

Advertising: No, Second Life does not have advertising like Google Ads or on Facebook's sidebar. 'Astronomy 2009' island is currently under the ownership of the American Astronomical Society (501c3 Not-for-profit) and will soon be under the ownership Astrosphere New Media Association (also a 501c3).

Copyright: The display is a "webpage on a prim" --- it's the exact APOD website that you see in your IE, Safari, or Firefox but is being viewed on a screen in-world. A comparable "real-life" situation would be to have a large LCD screen & laptop set up in the lobby of an Astronomy Department at some big name university, which shows the APOD webpage live. Permission is granted from the owner of the website. The new SL viewer allows this --- otherwise --- I *would* have to download and "texture" and upload each APOD image each day to be shown on a board. THAT process would violate copyright of the owner of the image unless permission was granted. It would not fall into Fair Use.

SO - ANY IDEAS FOR LIVE APOD EVENTS? Going above and beyond "APOD screens" (live webpage on a prim) is our goal -- but we need unique ideas or volunteers to help with live weekly or monthly APOD sponsored events. Live events bring my island more traffic, and more traffic means more people are exposed to the beauty and wonder of astronomy, so that's my benefit :D

Discuss! :wink:
Adrienne

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RJN
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by RJN » Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:50 pm

Unfortunately I don't have any good ideas for APOD events on Second Life. I also don't have any visualization ideas/designs/APOD logos or motifs that might be useful. I think the idea of having APOD mirrored on a Second Life prism, as it is -- as best as possible, without embellishment, would be a good thing. I think it would be good for APOD to have a Second Life presence, and I think an APOD prism could help attract Second Lifers to astronomy educational infrastructure buildings and events run by others.

Here is a question, though. Would the prism/web page update every day by itself, or does some avatar need to come by and click "refresh"?

- RJN

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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by AJG » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:43 pm

hey RJN :)

I'll do up some boards and take screenshots and you can decide what you like best (within the next 2 weeks - I have an NSF advisory panel thing this week).

I'll test the refresh, I'm fairly certain that the webpage doesn't "load" or "exist" on the prim (-- not prism) until an avatar can "see" it, which means being close enough for the prim/webpage to "rez" (or load). Following that logic, it should be the most updated webpage when an avatar encounters the prim/webpage in Second Life as if they typed the URL into a regular web browser.

Adrienne

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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by alter-ego » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:45 am

Generally speaking, I'm for any process that promotes astronomy to the public. I don't understand all the resource requirments to employ what you suggest, but even if it's low-level, low-maintainence web site, BB or whatever, ANY effort is worthwhile. Start easy and build on it if successful, BUT focus on interaction. "Build it and they will come." I'm an optimist maybe, until we try, we'll never know. The APOD readers who want DIGG back are probably a sign that something more can be done. That's my two-bits.
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Re: APOD on Second Life?

Post by wonderboy » Sun May 23, 2010 11:01 am

It should also be on PS3 Home aswell.

All those lovely APODs in full 1080p HD glory :)

Lovely




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