Feeds

Telstra in Second Life 'Ayers Rock' kerfuffle

Aboriginal owners probe virtual Uluru

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The administrators of Uluru - the sacred rock formerly known as Ayers - are "investigating" images of the outcrop which Oz telecoms outfit Telstra has slapped on its Second Life island, news.com.au reports.

Telstra opened its virtual presence, The Pond, back in March. It features a "scaled-down" Uluru which, although protected by a barrier which stops avatars "walking or flying over the sacred site", may allow visitors to "view sacred sites" around the rock.

This is a touchy subject for Uluru's traditional owners, the Anangu people. For 20 years there have been "tight restrictions" which "limit photography, filming and commercial painting at Uluru". Specifically, taking snaps of sections of the rock's northeast face is an absolute no-no. In Second Life, however, tourists can "virtually fly in the no-fly zone to the northeast and take snapshots".

A spokesman for National Parks, which administers Uluru on behalf of the traditional landowners, said that while "rules governing photography, filming and paintings have been in place since 1987", the matter of digital images online "had never been raised before".

Accordingly, National Parks has dispatched lawyers to Second Life for a reccy, and is "considering sending a delegation to meet landowners to discuss the situation". Telstra admited it had not asked permission to use images of Uluru.

In Sydney, meanwhile, the powers that be at the famous Opera House are also probing Telstra's use of an image of the building on Big Pond. A spokesman said: "We are looking into the use of the Opera House image on that website at the moment and that's all we have to say."

Intellectual property lawyer Tony Anisimoff was more forthcoming. He described the "issue of recreating iconic buildings and sacred sites in commercial websites" as a "grey and untested area", adding that "in general copyright only protected blueprints and not the buildings themselves".

He explained: "I know the Sydney Opera House Trust does occasionally object to the use of the Opera House and puts forward an argument that it's such an iconic commercial building that its use in a certain context implies an association, a sponsorship or an endorsement. But that sort of argument has never been run in court."

Regarding Uluru, Mr Anisimoff warned that "the exploitation of Uluru for commercial gain was a dangerous move". He said: "Anyone who puts Uluru in advertising asks for controversy. As far as reaction of the Aboriginal bodies is concerned...they do tend to react aggressively against commercial use of Uluru." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.