Windlight Magazine Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with tips on how you can get a copy of a sim’s windlight settings:
It’s easy to copy a Windlight, but don’t forget its intellectual property.
Did you hear that?
That was the collective sob of thousands of Second Life photographers bemoaning the loss of a loved one: Last week, Furillen closed down.
Furillen was the creation of Serene Footman. It was a lovely, peaceful sim with wonderful, sometimes quirky, spots you could photograph over and over in a thousand different ways. And people did. Since Furillen opened, it was probably the most photographed sim in SL.
One of the more subtle elements of Furillen’s beauty was its Windlight. Serene created different Windlights for his sim providing lovely tones and wonderful shadows, beautifully complimenting the atmosphere.
Now that Furillen is closed, you might think those Windlights are lost. They’re not. I have a couple and I’m sure other photographers have them, too. Firestorm makes it exceedingly easy to copy a sim’s Windlight.
Should you copy a Windlight?
A Windlight created by someone else is essentially a creative work. They tweaked the sun position, played with the cloud coverage, and chose the ambient colors. The created an atmosphere, and just like any other creation, it’s someone else’s intellectual property. It’s hard for me to see it any other way.
It’s probable Serene didn’t create Furillen’s Windlights from scratch, but that doesn’t make them any less his creation.
However, Windlights are open source and public domain in SL whether you like it or not: there’s no way to protect Windlights in Second Life. When you create a Windlight and use it in your sim, it’s available for anyone to pick up and use. You can’t copy protect it. Whether you want to or not, you’re “giving” your Windlight to the entire SL community. Thank you. We appreciate it.
So if it’s intellectual property is it okay to copy a Windlight?
Yes, I think it is okay to copy a Windlight and use them if you like them, but I think you should give credit in your photos if you use an exact copy. With public-domain, creative works, the creators usually ask only to be acknowledged. It’s nice and not very hard to do.
If you’re using someone else’s Windlight for anything commercial, no, it’s not okay. Not without getting the creator’s permission.
If you’re comfortable editing Windlights (I’ll probably cover this another time.), you can also just make the Windlight yours: change the colors, sun/moon angle, etc. and now the Windlight is your creation.
How to copy a Windlight
Phew. Sorry about all that IP stuff, but I felt it was important.
Here’s how you copy a Windlight:
- Bring up your Phototools (Alt+P).
- On the WL tab under Windlight Presets, press Edit Sky Preset (You can copy water settings this way, too.).
- This brings up the Edit Sky Preset dialog box. Notice the Save option is grayed out. You have to rename the Windlight to save it.
- Type any name you want in the Name field. Now, the Save option is available.
- Save it.
Congratulations, you’ve copied a Windlight. You only have to change the name. Told you it was easy.
Note: You have to relog for the new Windlight you created to be available. After you log, it should be available in the Phototools Sky Preset drop-down box.
Using other people’s stuff
I don’t think a lot of people consider Windlights as something creative and probably even fewer consider them intellectual property. But they are. They’re someone else’s work and often it’s work done as part of a creative vision.
With that in mind, I think you should treat Windlights as you would any other public-domain, intellectual property: Give credit when you use them for individual, non-profit work, but be sure to get the creator’s permission if you use them in any commercial endeavor.
Thank you, Serene.