Witchy Wednesdays: A Kitty Rant…

For today’s Witchy Wednesday I was going to feature a couple of nice items that I’d spotted at quite a well-known Wiccan store, but instead I’m going to talk about IP infringement and copyright theft, because it  is pretty rampant amongst the in-world Pagan community, and no one seems to be addressing it.

Seek out a Pagan/Witchy store in Second Life  and you will probably find some textures there being used on posters, pictures and even rugs that shouldn’t be. Some of the most recognisable names in esoteric art are being ripped off, probably unbeknownst to them, and I’m sick of it.

Last night I received a notecard from a store to announce some new items for sale, and off I trotted to take a look. Within seconds I’d found texture rips of images by artists like Anne Stokes and Lisa Parker. There were other images too by artists I am not familiar with, but you can bet your bottom dollar that none of these people  had given permission for their work to be used in this way. They may not even be aware that it can be.

As long as I’ve been in Second Life I’ve seen textures used upon items for sale that aren’t legitimately sourced. It’s nothing new sadly, and is a difficult issue to fight, as I am sure we all know by now.  But visit areas of interest particular to those of us of a Pagan/Wiccan persuasion and the volume seems to increase tenfold. It seems that the stores  aimed at our demographic just can’t exist without ripping off someone else’s work.

It seems strange to me that the in-world Pagan community hasn’t been more strident in insisting that people take a stand against this, and yet many of the well-known markets and meeting places are drowning in stolen imagery.  It’s incredibly depressing.  There are content creators in-world who are Pagan and create original content for sale, for example Robin Sojourner, so if she can do it, why can’t everybody else?

And therein lies the rub; despite the spiritual beliefs that we as a community hold so dear, there is always someone trying to make a fast buck. Or in this case a fast Linden. And for that we should be ashamed.

Please, don’t buy from such places. As tempting as it may be, it’s not right that someone can profit from someone elses artistic creations.  Even if it is just a few Lindens, it doesn’t matter.  Making money from someone else’s hard work is unethical, plain and simple.  I’m also mindful of the Wiccan Rede applying to this situation too.

I don’t want to name and shame, that’s not really my style, but I do think we should take action.  Therefore I’m asking that as a reader of this blog, if you spot textures and artwork  being abused in this way challenge it. Often people don’t think that they’re doing any harm by reproducing works without permission, and feel embarrassed when you point it out to them. But there are some people that just don’t care, and it’s only by standing together and making a point about these actions that we can make a difference.  It’s my firm belief that our sacred in-world communities will not suffer through this, but become stronger.

Think of all the original mesh creations and textures that should be used instead, and how they can enrich the virtual world that we call home.  A tantalising prospect indeed…let’s make it happen.

Home & Garden Expo 2014: Rustic simplicity with a magical touch from R (S) W

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The 7th annual Home & Garden Expo begins tomorrow, and as ever it is going to be a HUGE event, raising funds for Relay For Life of Second Life.   If you’re seeking a brand new virtual home, or looking for individual pieces to furnish your existing one, you’ll find everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink at the event.  You have until September 28th to enjoy it, and you’ll need to take your time. There are 9 sims, featuring the work of over 85 creators!

I had a nosey and my first impressions are that there are  a lot of shabby chic and rustic pieces this year (as well as more modern furniture and homes too)so if you like your home to rock a boho vibe you’d be wise to pay the event a visit. There are also a lot of traditionally styled homes too, more than I’ve noted in recent years, with greater more emphasis on period living and role-play too.  It’s great to see how this event has truly evolved over the years , and there are plenty of  wonderful items to appeal to every kind of avatar.

Here’s an example, this beautiful ‘Farm Chair- Eyeback’ has been lovingly crafted by Robin Sojourner, for her R (S) W brand. I absolutely adore the simplicity of this piece of furniture; it looks extremely effective with a fabulous worn texture, and would work just as well as a display item as it would a functional chair. Place it in a corner and pile high with books and candles, or you could choose to decorate it with this stunning fantasy piece from Robin, a ‘Dragonfly Dragon’.  Both items have a land impact of 1.  I’ll be featuring more items on these pages during the event but be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are covering this occasion, as well as the official Flickr group too!

The Drax Files: World Makers [ Episode 10: Robin Sojourner]

The latest episode of  ‘The Drax Files: World Makers’ has dropped, and it’s one that really resonates with me.

You see, the lady featured is Robin Sojourner, who I know better as Robin Wood, the creator of some of the most beautiful Pagan artworks I have ever seen.  Her work adorns my most beloved deck of Tarot cards (The Robin Wood Tarot) and her artworks adorn many a treasured tome on my Witchy bookshelves in my real life home.  She’s also the proponent of the theory of cat gravity, something to which I fully prescribe. I guess that you could say I am a bit of a fan..

When I joined Second Life I wasn’t aware that Robin used it as a vehicle for her creativity, so I was of course delighted to discover that she has an in-world presence. Not only that, but as I’ve blogged before, Robin has a fabulous Wiccan Learning Centre in world that you can visit to discover more about this particular Pagan path.

However this episode isn’t about Robin’s Pagan persuasions, but about the way that she uses Second Life.  Robin waxes lyrical about the virtues of our metaverse, and how it can be an essential tool for creative development, arguing that there’s not much difference between real life work and engagement in the virtual, and that both are equally valid.

I adored this episode. It was so lovely to see someone I really admire featured, and I also think that Robin may actually be Mrs. Santa Claus! (If the gentleman in the video is indeed Robin’s partner as I am speculating, than check out his amazing beard! What a guy!)

Here’s to another fantastic instalment of this essential machinima series; great work as always Drax!