Common Carrier

There is such an idea in law, a common carrier. While it has been variously applied to communications, there is one interesting feature of a common carrier. It can’t discriminate and has to be consistent.

Something that Linden Research Inc. has problems with, even though they try to paint themselves as an utility service provider, which concept shares a lot of traits with a common carrier. They “sell land” with one hand, then claim they’re “just providing server space” with another hand, use a governance policy that doesn’t exist as a written text as any kind, and otherwise needlessly distress thousands of people. And now these people are planning to sue. Now, for a million dollar question.

What if Grid Representation Foundation wins?

It is too easy to think of LL as of keeping money in the coffers and being rich, considering how much of our money ends up there, but I suspect, very little money actually stays around. They have to pay bills. They throw money at problems habitually, because they really aren’t used to solving problems nobody has encountered before, as far as I can see, but they are the kind that show up most in running a virtual world. They employ expensive consultants hoping to get out of this mess.

Will they even have US$20 million to spare? Will they be able to continue this business if they lose?

Why is it that words ‘lawsuit’ and ‘damages’ are so inherently tied in US law practice, anyway? It’s as if money is equivalent to every insult, every slight and every injustice. But there’s one thing money won’t buy. It’s a future. And I’d rather take a future of a stable Second Life that runs well, doesn’t drive away the people I like, and will stay around — over any kind of money, any day. Well, maybe, short of a sum that would let me pay through the development of it all over again.

True, a proper lawsuit would be indispensable to clear up a lot of things in today’s Second Life, but damages would be the last thing I would be seeking.

Truth would be what I would be suing for.

We built magnificent castles almost literally on air — unstable not because they aren’t resting on actual soil, but because they are dependent on someone’s mercy and a locked platform that keeps it in their power for perpetuity. A culture that rests on an uncertainty, that at any moment can vanish, because the platform is buggy, because they can raise prices, because they can charge you out of the blue anyway, or simply ban you for no good reason whatsoever. All these things really cannot be expressed in money.

And it’s high time that uncertainty be cleared up in search for deeper truth, before we pour even more effort into it.