The Worst Of ExitReality

Rory Hart, the Head of Development of ExitReality, has given an answer today in the comments of this article. They provide you two ways to prevent your objects and models to be incorporated to their search engine. Read this here.

As requested, I provide my feedback in the same article. ExitReality should not index anything without the prior consent of the builder. The builder should not do anything to prevent this.

Other software companies, like Vivaty or 3DXplorer, have their own object catalogs built by themselves, or rewarding the creators (that have previously given permission to use their objects and scenes).
ExitReality takes a great advantage over these other companies taking objects for their software without asking.

This is not how copyright works. You should ask first, and then use -- not the opposite: use first unless I forbid you to do it.


Just entered ExitReality, and discovered that the 3D worlds of some of the best worldbuilders had been linked from there. But then I saw that they were not named as authors, and that ExitReality had not even linked their websites...

I had warned about this in my previous review. This is a security flaw and a danger for the owner's copyright.

"...worlds have no editable usage rights. The author of worlds and avatars are unknown. They could add a floating tooltip or a text that said who is the creator of the worlds or avatars to prevent this."

Now, anyone (business or people) can take one of these builders' creations, and place them inside other worlds, or link them to their business or personal sites. Anyone can claim them as theirs, and use them for the purpose that they like, without asking for permission. In the minds of their visitors, those businesses or people may appear as the authors although they're not.

The only barrier is a simple question in a gray box, that is asked to everybody: "Is this your space? YES or NO".

This is not allowed in any 3D virtual community.

But ExitReality considered that everything that the worldbuilders did is free. Free and anonymous.
They talk about all these worlds, avatars and objects as "the repository". Even more, in an interview, they say that there's a lot of content "out there", as it was abandoned in a wasteland, and had no owner. They also add that the real owner will be very happy when their worlds receive "massive traffic" form ExitReality.

Oh, yes... Happy of seeing their worlds being used to promote any kind of business, without receiving any benefit of it. Happy of seeing that they are not credited anywhere as authors. And very happy when they see that they have no way to control if their place is shown or not, if it's public or not... Some will be even more happy when the bandwidth of the sites in which they host their files is annihilated by the "massive traffic" from ExitReality. And all that people that will visit their worlds will never know that they are the authors.


And.. Who Are These Builders?

There are some 3D worlds that are in the main page of ExitReality, and also in the main page of the search engine, that belong to well known VRML worldbuilders. I know them all, so here I will show you who are some of them, what are the real names of their worlds, and their websites.

They are all excellent builders, that have achieved a degree of mastery that is hard to achieve with any 3D technology for virtual worlds, even today.

If ExitReality has some problem identifying the author of something, I'm sure that the VRML community of users will identify it all in just some days. This article is just a start point for this work.


This is "Ancient Tree", the world of Argenzio. His world is hosted on http://www.dhyan.it/, which belongs to Paolo Bertucci. The URL of Ancient Tree, to visit it with Blaxxun Contact: http://www.dhyan.it/public/prova/contact.htm



These 3 worlds, that in ExitReality are named "the streets", "boat island" and "forest start" are in fact named: "Whitechapel 1890" (a world about Jack the Ripper), "Make and Break Harbour", and "Craig-Y-Ddinas" (based on Arthurian legends). They are done by Peter Griffith, also known as Griff. Griff's site is: http://www.3dworlds.ca/


This is Interneland, a series of worlds in VRML that worked with the Blaxxun platform. There's a lot of quality work here, and one can see this took them years to build all this, including the website. They wanted to build a community, maybe still want. They may be not too happy with not recognizing them as authors. Their site is: http://www.interneland.com/


This is from http://www.silondi.net/ Silondi is a laboratory of arts and new technologies, and has many works on VRML. The one of the photo is Virtual Palace Akropolis. You can see more many awesome pics here: http://www.silondi.net/infos_silondi/akropolis.htm You won't believe the pics, they reach a extreme quality.


This is called "forest" in ExitReality, but in fact, this is called "Rainforest discovery center" . This is done by Jeffrey K. Bedrick, a superb artist that has all kind of art skills, and VRML is one of them. You can read an interview about him and his works on Cybertown here, that is in his site.


This is "Hades", a world by Olivier Lunot, also known as Tidus. Tidus is one of the most skilled worldbuilders of VRML. His site: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/olivier.lunot/web3d.html


And this is "Cave Island", that was built by Bernd Ferdinand Heilenz, widely known as Erny. A rock inside the scenery says that he is the author, something that is a good idea, and many should do that. Unfortunately, visitors not always look all the rocks they find. Erny's site: http://www.ernys.de/


This is "Alien Planet", by Graham Perrett, also known as Thyme, the developer of Seamless3D, a program to model in VRML and X3D, specially good for effects, animation and avatars. Thyme is specially skilled at all this.


This world is done by Thyme's brother, known as Bumpy. Thyme's works and Bumpy's can be reached through Thyme's site: Seamless3D.


This is called "Jungle Head" in ExitReality, but in fact its name is "Jungle Nights", and is a world of cyworx.com. All there is built by Hermetic Cab.


Solutions

I encourage strongly the ExitReality staff to fix these problems as soon as possible. May not be a problem now, but will be in the future, for ExitReality and all the builders.
Many people will be upset if they see that their loved virtual cafe is the meeting point for a gambling or porn site, or if they see that their forest site is the business site of a timber industry.

It's just asking before adding models and worlds to the search engine. It's just adding some way to display the authors and their sites. This is how Vivaty, SceneCaster and others have done. Others, like 3DXplorer, just avoid this, and you get your own embed code.

The problem with ExitReality is that anyone can add a simple line and place your world as theirs in their sites, and even edit it.

For now, I encourage worldbuilders to add a sign saying they own the copyright, and their names inside their worlds, and also saying that any use for businesses or personal site must be authorized by the owner.

-Jordi R. Cardona-


© 2008 by Jordi R. Cardona. Link to this post without copying the text.

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10 comments

Omind said...

i agree 100%. This kind of "cavalier" attitude about others creations is one of the things that started the content discussion on WBandD and cotunues to ba discussed. It is one thing to offer them as places to go while giving credit to the creator or at least aknowledging honestly where it came from, it is completely another to re-name oit and present it as their own attraction. I too like Exit Reality and would like to see it grow, but not at the expense of the original creators. It will be sad if some of these people pull their worlds down because of this. That will be a loss to everyone.

Jordi R Cardona said...

Yes, and they say, in the interview to Virtual World News, that the "repository" took them 3 years to be done. In those 3 years they had enough time to see who were the authors.

In Blaxxun, one of the worst experiences I had was when a restaurant called "Hermanos Egea" used my valley world in their site. They said "visit our 3d chat", and my world was embedded in a frame, surrounded with other frames of their business. I called the attention of their host, mailed them, and they deleted the frame that contained my world.
I also got linked from a spam porno site, that said that my 3D world was a porno meeting place, but I claimed to Google and they deleted the site from their results.

In ExitReality, danger of things like this is even bigger. Because they can do this in that 2 ways:
1) Add a link text or image saying "Visit my 3D home", and link to yours. Visitors will think this is not yours.
2) Add a frame and embed the 3D world through ExitReality inside. For visitors, the 3D world will appear as "Hermanos Egea" did with me.

ExitReality, as it is now, allows this. And the difference with Blaxxun is that with Blaxxun you could claim against the people that did that.
In ExitReality, you can't. You would have to claim against ExitReality.
So it's bad for us but also for them, that may be in legal problems in the medium-long term.

You say you fear that creators will remove their worlds. I did it. I deleted my account and all the files where I had my worlds.

When this is fixed (I hope it will be soon), all my files will be there again.

For now, please add a sign. In the next posts I'll tell what we can do to avoid this for now.

But it's mandatory that ExitReality would add some way to display the author and their sites to every visitor. Some ideas:
- a floating window when one arrives, that appears displayed for some seconds. This window may not be alterable, and will be displayed in every copy of the scene.
- impossibility to edit the scenes listed in the search engine, locate the authors and allow only them to modify these permissions (make modifications temporary only/ or never/ etc at creator's wish)

There may be more ways. The 1st way is easy. Just say authors that they must add their info in the WorldInfo node. Then, modify the search engine and the world index to display its contents, and add a floating window when they come to display it some seconds.
WorldInfo node was designed for this. See this example

Second needs a rewrite of some parts of the program. I understand that it would require more time, but it's almost mandatory. But if they just add the first easy way, it wouldn't be so bad.

Jordi R Cardona said...

Some people said that just visiting other worlds and objects adds them to the search engine. That is even worse.

Sarah (Szarah) said...

Mmmmh ...
I found mu BLACK SUN island in the "stock" of ExitReality.
Never I have granted a right to copy my worlds or directly link to the wrl's.
I have my own Blaxxun server, part public (outside.revemonde.net) and part private (inside.revemonde.net).
I'll tell my lawyer soon tomorrow.

Tidus said...

Well, that's really bad news since I was away from VRML for a (very long) while.

I don't really know how to solve this anyway :(

fabricator said...

There is no way to get 'referer' for vrml, in that you can get it for html documents. So finding out if your content is loaded by bxx, ExitReality, or vrmlpad is impossible.

Really is something the web3d consortium should look at.

Jordi R Cardona said...

This is turning into a snowball.

I'm sorry for you all. I know that making good 3D worlds takes months and even years.

Linking to an image in other server without permission is not legal. The same happens with your worlds. Taking copyrighted content from other site and showing it is an illegal copyrighted material distribution, unless the author allows you to do it explicitly.

The bad with ER is that they can waste your bandwidth because YOU host the files, and no one will know the worlds are yours. They are also getting great content (yours) to endorse their business, and nothing for you in return.

In my opinion, only the author should be able to link their own worlds. They could remove the ability to link to a VRML file from outside its domain/folder, and your works may be protected, and they could keep the ability to turn a normal web page into 3D.

I think that many of you have enough VRML knowledge to offer them alternatives that may allow them to continue their business and not harming you. ER may be good for you, just have to change and respect some things.

Omind said...

I have noticed that the linking is sketchy. I could not go more than 1 directory deep on my domain without ER not being able to load it. My worlds are in my root folder, (not for long) and they were the only ones that came up by typing the URL into a search engine. May be a glitch, but I am going to look further into it.

Rory Hart said...

Hi,

We use a crawler to collect urls of wrl files for linking in our web 3d search engine. Its useragent string is ExitRealitySearchAgent.

This crawler obeys the normal robot.txt set of rules for search engines as described in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robots.txt

To address the issue that has been describe on this forum I suggest these entries to tell the ExitReality spider not to index vrml worlds on your domain:

User-agent: ExitRealitySearchAgent
Disallow: /*.wrl$

User-agent: ExitRealitySearchAgent
Disallow: /*.wrz$

To ensure your site is crawled quickly I would also suggest submitting your domain for a priority spidering at the following url once your robot.txt file has been updated.

http://www.exitreality.com/submiturl.php

Also I noted Paul Aslin's post on the public web 3d mailing lists in regards to vrml browsers providing referrer in the http header. We already provide a referrer in the http headers when our browser makes a request. This contains the referring file (whether it is html or vrml) and was implemented to help prevent deep linking.

Your webserver can be configured to disallow deeplinking by checking this referrer and constraining it to referrers that you allow. Configuration of this is dependant on your hosting service and the type of http server they use.

All this information will be fasttracked to our knowledgebase the assist others who share these concerns.

We have read your comments on our web 3d search and are discussing your suggestions. I would like to take this opportunity to state our intentions for the web 3d search. We do not intend it to pass off others work as our own, rather the search is meant to provide an accessible way for people to find and view 3d content.

Thanks for your interest and please feel free contribute feedback.

Rory Hart
Head of Development
ExitReality
http://www.exitreality.com

Jordi R Cardona said...

Thanks Rory for your solution and listening these feedback. Here's the solution published and my opinion on it:
http://news.hiperia3d.com/2008/09/solution-from-rory-hart-of-exit-reality.html

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