[sldev] Re: Exporting stuff, permissions, and licenses

David M Chess chess at us.ibm.com
Mon Aug 25 21:23:05 PDT 2008

In terms of trying to figure out what carts and horses might look like :) 
I'd urge people to take a look at the draft trust-model use-cases on the 


These give various use-cases to try to put some reality behind the 
asset-related parts of OGP (which are just starting to be developed).

The use cases are built around the various stakeholders and requirements 
outlined in the draft trust model:


and finally I've tried to synthesize the existing discussion as it relates 
to OGP requirements for asset handling (as well as pointers to other 
related pages) here:


So far it doesn't look to me like there has to be much about asset 
permissions in OGP.  An asset's permissions need to be represented in its 
metadata, and either every domain must know out-of-band what permission 
scheme(s) are supported by the other domains with which it does business, 
or OGP needs to have a way for one domain to ask another domain that 
scheme(s) it supports (and for it to understand the answer). 

Not looking like rocket science so far.  :)  And it being a Wiki and all 
constructuve comments and improvements and expansions are eagerly sought.

And little or none of this is assumes anything in particular about what 
the permission system is (i.e it can be c/m/t, or anything else 
machine-representable that you like).  It only assumes that if I'm (say) 
SL, and I only want to (say) let a given no-copy object flow to other 
grids that support no-copy, I need to be able to determine whether or not 
a given other domain supports that.  (Where "determine" doesn't mean "have 
impossible magic knowledge of", but more like just "find out what the 
likely / declared state of affairs is".)  And similarly if I'm some other 
virtual world, and I only want to (say) let this always-free item flow to 
other grids that support always-free, I need to be able to determine 
whether or not a given other grid supports that.  Very simple.  :)

In terms of the  higher-level discussions that have been going on here, I 
have to say that I take the pragmatic view that, while it's certainly true 
that no machine-representable permission bits are going to completely 
capture all of the legal and illegal uses of a given virtual object in a 
given jurisdiction, it can do a good-enough job in a large-enough set of 
circumstances to be well worthwhile.  A system where the software allows 
anyone to arbitrarily copy and modify and transport anything, and for IP 
enforcement we rely on human-readable licenses and the eagerness of all 
end-users to understand and obey the IP laws, doesn't seem like a system 
that would actually work, attractive as it might be otherwise.  (And 
apologies if that description is a total straw-man; I have to admit I 
haven't understood 100% of the recent discussion in this thread.)

Dale Innis
DaleInnisEmail at gmail.com
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