Telstra is being investigated by Uluru’s administrators and the Sydney Opera House Trust after cashing in on the images of Australia’s two most famous landmarks.
Telstra’s move is focusing legal minds on the commercial use of images in the booming area of virtual worlds, with thousands of Australians visiting Telstra’s virtual “island” – known as The Pond – each day.
And now tribal elders are also wrestling with the implications of the sacred sites being used for commercial purposes online as significant questions begin to emerge about famous landmarks such as the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Uluru being used in websites and games.
The Sydney Opera House has also revealed it is investigating commercial exploitation on the Telstra site.
Telstra’s BigPond opened its Second Life destination, The Pond, in March and it has since become the most visited destination in the virtual reality world.
Designers of the BigPond site included a scaled down Uluru, with a barrier to stop people walking or flying over the sacred site. However, representatives of the traditional owners, the Anangu people, warned that even with the restrictions it may be possible to view sacred sites around Uluru, although they were continuing to investigate the issue.
Concerns have also been raised that Uluru and the opera house could be exposed to digital vandalism, following an attack on the ABC’s Second Life island earlier this week.
On Tuesday unknown vandals cracked security codes and destroyed ABC Island, the third most popular commercial site in Second Life, leaving it a cratered mess.
A spokesman for Telstra confirmed the company had not sought the permission of Uluru’s landowners.
Source: Australian IT
Related Links: BigPond Second Life