|Sheepsearch and Private Property||2007-04-17 09:50:00 GMT
by Kami Harbinger
I'm trying to listen to the latest SecondCast (#57), where they're discussing the SheepSearch. Lordfly Digeridoo and the Sheepdroid keep making strawman arguments that simply don't apply, and fail to consider the real consequences.
First, the comparison with real-world land ownership rights. In the real world, we have pretty precise boundaries of what's trespassing:
If you trespass in any of those cases, you will be arrested, tried, and sentenced to some months in prison, more if you can't at least fake remorse and an understanding of your crimes to the parole board; the Sheep have been nothing but arrogant and sociopathically insensitive about this entire situation, so they'd clearly be doing the entire sentence.
Many of us have told the Sheep to leave our land. Anshe's told them to leave her entire estate and stop running their spying and thieving bots, and they ignored her wishes. Many people, as soon as they were aware the thing existed, banned Grid Shepherd. A responsible, ethically mature company would have informed the public of the exact details of what they were going to do, and how to keep it out, long before they actually did it. Sadly, we have the Electric Sheep Company instead, who've never heard of "business ethics" and wouldn't care if they did. If a responsible company had informed people first, people would have grumbled a bit about the opt-out, but not taken deep offense to having to ban Grid Shepherd (as long as they don't start adding Grid Shepherd 2, Grid Shepherd 3, Grid Shepherd 300, etc.).
Instead, the Sheep sent their agent out as a peeping tom in the night, looking through peoples' windows to see what they have. They came into private homes, possibly while people were upstairs having sex, and examined their property for price tags.
If we consider SL land identical to RL land, the Sheep clearly belong in prison. They have committed thousands of felony trespassings. If they did this in the real world, they would already be in prison, and there would be a long line of people waiting to file civil lawsuits against these criminal scum. Assuming some heroic landowner didn't just shoot them, which would be likely, and the landowner would never be charged in any civilized state.
Worst of all, though, is that banning them doesn't protect you. They scan at long range. They can see your products from off of your land, even if you've banned them personally. They're standing off your property, peeping into your bedroom. So now you have to go to Sheep Island and hit their opt-out button, and maybe shout "FUCK OFF, SHEEP" at them while you're there, and hope that they'll actually honor that. But they're honorless peeping tom cowards, so why would they?
All of this begs the question: Is SL land identical to RL land? Probably not. We don't have the full range of protections afforded to RL landowners, at least until some legal precedents are set, so we can't imprison them yet... It's entirely possible that, with the right judges trying the first few cases, we could establish some decent private property rights. Or Linden Lab could step up to protect us, since they're the ones who keep allowing this stuff.
Or we can take matters into our own hands. If there's no law, that works for us as well as against us. We can shoot or imprison (cage) Grid Shepherd, and set up automated systems to do so when we're not home. I can't see how it's a TOS violation to kill their bot, since it's not abuse against a person. If their bot is endlessly abused until it no longer works, maybe the Sheep will learn the Spam Lesson:
Opt-in takes more effort, but pays off because it doesn't make anyone despise you.
Opt-out only works if you think people have no means to express their displeasure with you.
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