Agenda and Announcment for 06122007

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Kamael Xevious

unread,
Jun 12, 2007, 5:26:46 PM6/12/07
to SL Pride 2007
Well, I just tried to save this to a notecard, and the asset server
crapped out on me (surprise), so I'm posting it here first. IF, by
some miracle, SL decides to work between now and the meeting, I'll
have them on a notecard as well.

=========ANGENDA==========
Second Life Pride Festival 2007
Agenda for 12 June 2007

1) Announcements (Available from the Announcements Kiosk)
2) Old Business:
a) Approval of Minutes for 29 May 2007
b) Report-Operations Committee (Mounier)
c) Report-Finance Committee (Mission)
d) Report-Building Committee (Sojourner)
e) Report-Marketing and Advertising Committee (Summers)
f) Report--Security (Archer and Sachs)
g) Report-RL Liasion (Speculaas)
3) Action Items (No Action Items)
4) New Business (No New Business)
5) Adjournment

========Announcement========

As I said earlier this week, the Celebrate Couples Project has been
cancelled. There were several reasons for this, which I'll get to in
a minute, but for now I'd like to bring you all up to speed on where
that leaves things:

* Control of the Art Gallery and Exhibits remains under the Building
Committee. JoshBear Sojourner had a couple of people in mind to
curate the exhibit--he'll be reporting on that in a few minutes.

* The pictures already taken of couples for use in the Exhibit are
legally the property of the photographer (if the people photographed
signed a waiver) or legally the property of the person(s) photographed
(if no waiver was signed).

Rather than sorting through the tangles of liability over this issue
(and we would have to), it is easier for us to return any photographs
taken under the AEgis of the Second Pride Festival Committee 2007 to
the person(s) photographed. Sorting out this tangle is the primary
reason the project was cancelled--as is the lack of time to deal with
any potential negative press that might arise as a result of this
mess.

Because of this fiasco, several persons have withdrawn their
membership in this committee and one person has withdrawn their
financial support. (I am covering the loss.) This is largely because
these people have no concept of the legalities of intellectual
property rights, nor any real understanding of plagiarism, fraud, or
copyright. One of the things I noticed immediately in dealing with
those who accused various members of this committee of plagiarism was
that they claimed 1) plagiarism is illegal, 2) it's a crime, and 3) a
lawyer could shut down Pride for committing it.

NONE of these are true. Please note, I speak to this issue as the
author of a very well respected and frequently imitated policy on
plagiarism for a public university in the midwestern United States,
and as someone with a doctorate in one of the two fields that deals
with intellectual property rights. I know what I'm talking about, and
I know when someone else doesn't.

To clarify matters a bit--in order to qualify as an act of plagiarism,
two tests must be passed. First, person A must publish the work of
person B in a way that would make a reasonable person believe that
person A was the original creator of the work. Second, the work
published must not be available from more than 5 to 10 other sources--
otherwise the work constitutes "Common Knowledge." In the case of the
Celebrate Couples idea, several things prohibit any legal action
against the Second Pride Festival.

In the case of the first test, NO publication of the Celebrate Couples
idea was made by the Second Pride Festival 2007--nor will any be
made. It is also extremely doubtful that any reasonable person would
look at the Celebrate Couples project and think that it was the idea
of the Committee or its members.

As for the second test, a quick Google Search of the term "Celebrate
Couples" resulted in 241 hits, 25 to 50 times the number needed to
count as "common knowledge." It also identified the original idea as
the brainchild of Richard Keen for use as a slogan for the Marriage
Week UK in 1996 and NOT the person claiming to originate the idea.

Ideas and titles do not qualify for copyright protection, though they
may qualify for plagiarism protection. This idea, however, doesn't
even qualify for plagiarism protection. Claiming that use of
"Celebrate Couples" constitutes plagiarism is akin to going to a
wedding, seeing a wedding cake with a plastic couple on top, and
creaming "thief" because you had a wedding cake with a plastic couple
on top at your wedding. It's not even far removed from claiming that
having a wedding in the first place is plagiarism because your parents
had one.

The idea that anyone on this committee, or the committee itself has
done anything unethical or illegal in this matter is laughable. No one
on this committee has done anything unethical or illegal. Nor has any
member of this committee acted without the best of intentions. I
would also like to make clear that of all the people I have talked to
about this issue, the only ones who were "unprofessional" were the
ones making that very charge against the committee. Those persons are
no longer members of this group or this Festival.

Finally, I want to commend Kris Mounier and Kimber Enoch for their
patience throughout this entire situation. They suffered the biggest
barbs and vilest insults of anyone, and nothing said about them was
justified or deserved. This committee, and the Festival itself, is in
their debt.

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