Feeds

Telstra in Second Life 'Ayers Rock' kerfuffle

Aboriginal owners probe virtual Uluru

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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." ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.