Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Cease and Desist," Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum in Second Life Ordered to Close by RL Foundation

What a shock it was to hear the magnificent Frank Lloyd Wright Museum was gone! I loved that museum of his homes, business buildings, glass and so much. I wrote about it several months ago after spending some times there roaming the builds. I received an invite and attended a panel discussion of the problems that caused it to be taken down.

From what I can understand, there was a licensing agreement that was set up with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in real-life some time ago after visits to the foundation by a representative of the Virtual Museum Board of Second Life. I arrived late at the Treet tv where it was held and do not want to misquote anyone so I will direct you to the website where you can view the Designing Worlds show of Monday, 6 December to hear what the panel had to say. It was very interesting.

On the show, they talked with three people involved in the Museum: – Ethan Westland, Chair of the Virtual Museums, Inc Board; Rowan Derryth, Member of the Board of Directors, Virtual Museums; and Rosalie Oldrich, Co-Director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum. In the second half they explored wider issues about bringing real world architecture and artifacts into virtual environments with Monday Beam, Attorney at Law, Roy Philbin, Founder/CEO, Second Interest, and one of the people behind the very popular Dresden Art Museum in Second Life, and Dirk Talamasca, Virtual Worlds Developer and long-time observer of Second Life.

The question that always comes up about intellectual property from the real world into Second Life is a focus of many discussions and was part of the discussion here. Saffia Widdershins and Erik Merlin co-hosted the event. I know Second Life has lost a wonderful site.There was a cease and desist order issued and it was followed. Gone!

If you have interest check here for the discussion.

Gemma Cleanslate

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I had first heard of the closing of the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum in Second Life in Facebook, the person saying it would be closed by the tenth, and confirned it with an Internet search. I also heard of the show in which some of the people involved were being interviewed, but could not get there. I tried teleporting to the sim, but found it blocked. I ported next to it and tried walking in. Sill closed. And I noticed that although much of the scenery around me had rezzed, not much inside the museum sim had. I saw someone inside taking down the buildings, the FLWM Chairman Ethan Westland.

Talking to Ethan, he explained the museum had actually closed on the 5th. Of the cease and dessist order, "... The Cease and Desist order is a normal procedure for them anytime they end a licensing agreement. They couldn't reconcile the amount of staff time that this project would take for them providing archive research with the low potential for revenue that the museum could provide."

Ethan explained they had decided to comply with the court order and remove the buildings, but would rebuild, "on the site of the previous Wright Museum and we will use the name of our RL nonprofit, Virtual Museums, Inc." He expected the opening to be in a couple weeks. It was not planned to be just about Frank Lloyd Wright, "It could be or just styles of architecture by period. The decision has not been made yet but the focus on education about architectural styles will still be the primary objective."

"We appreciate the support we have always gotten from the virtual community all over SL and the outpouring from so many have really energized us to continue on and find new ways to provide architectural and educational opportunities for our members and visitors alike."

Bixyl Shuftan

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