back to article Telstra in Second Life 'Ayers Rock' kerfuffle

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, reports. Telstra opened its virtual presence, The Pond, back in March. It features a "scaled-down" Uluru which, although protected …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't tell them about google,131.042261&spn=0.02172,0.040169&t=k&z=15&om=1

  2. Lathem Gibson

    This is inane.

    WTF? These items are iconic landmarks that go beyond the 'property' of one group of people or another. Does New York have a monopoly on scenic snaps of the Statue of Liberty, or London prevent people from seeing Trafalgar Square without paying admission? Are you allowed to look down while flying over cities, or must we all wear neck braces, to make sure we don't accidentally see the holy interior of the temple of whosits from 10,000 feet?

    The major benefit of digital map making and photography is that the whole would *can* see these amazing and beautiful things *without* having to trek there in person, turning sacred and remote cultural sites into tourist traps.

    Hell, the first thing I did when I saw Google Earth for the first time was zoom in on all the cities and places I've always wanted to visit. I would have been chagrined, to say the least, if there'd been a big grey blob over Red Square, or the Eiffel Tower, or the Vatican. Probably have it marked "Pay-per-view."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to paraphrase Crocodile Dundee

    "Why can't I take a photo of the northeast face? Do you believe it will steal your soul?"

    "Nah. You've got the lens cap on."

    It does seem bizarre that photos of a geological feature are prohibited.

    As for the "traditional owners", I was under the impression that the land owned the people, not the other way around.

  4. William Bronze badge

    It is nothing to do with copyright - but a lot to do with respect.

    Just like you can't go into a mosque with your shoes on. Seems like people in the West don't give a damn about the Respect of other peoples cultures or religions. Says a lot about the type of person who fails to understand this.

  5. Graham Marsden

    Inane or insane?

    > Does [...] London prevent people from seeing Trafalgar Square without paying admission?


    (AMENDMENT No: 1) BYELAWS 2002"

    * * * * *


    Acts within the Squares for which written permission is required

    5. Unless acting in accordance with permission given in writing by-

    (a) the Mayor, or

    (b) any person authorised by the Mayor under section 380 of the Act to give

    such permission.

    no person shall within the Squares -


    (11) take photographs or any other recordings of visual images for the purpose of

    or in connection with a business, trade, profession or employment or any

    activity carried on by a person or body of persons, whether corporate or


    * * * * *

    Of course how they can actually tell the difference between a "professional" and an enthusiastic amateur isn't made clear, but apparently this doesn't stop "Heritage Wardens" from hassling anyone who has more than a snapshot camera...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Religious nuttery...

    ...and selfishness, too.

    That rock has been there since before we humans crawled down from the trees. For any one group of people to claim it as "theirs", even so far as to ban depictions of it, seems just a bit silly.

    "Kinda like two fleas fighting over who owns the dog they're living on."

  7. Benjamin Kunz

    Also, ..

    Don't tell them about google earth - which links straigth to imagery of the northeast face.. here -

    I'll file this as "Second Life hype", tyvm.. (The Matrix has you.)

  8. James Cleveland

    Re: ...and selfishness, too.

    Yet we're the ones that stole their entire country >_>

  9. Anthony Bathgate

    What about C&C3?

    That game allowed me to NUKE Ayer's Rock and turn its eastern flank into an endless killing field.

    Granted, it looked NOTHING like Ayer's Rock, but it still let me fling nuclear weapons at it and I turned its easternmost tip into an endless meatgrinder at which hundreds of my men perished and THOUSANDS of my opponent's units.

  10. John


    Does that mean I have to burn all my school trip photos of Ayers Rock taken back in 1978?

    When do they men in black suits want to come around and check?

  11. Tim Bates

    Which side to take?!?!!

    On one side, I am always for bad things happening to Telstra's marketing machine.

    On another, I can't help but think only bad things can come from people investigating illegal images on a "website" when it's not a website. If you don't get the technology, you shouldn't be applying the law to it.

  12. Dan


    Quote: >>As for the "traditional owners", I was under the impression that the land owned the people, not the other way around.

    So you don’t own your house, it owns you? Fantastic, I’ll come and camp in your garden. You can’t complain, as you don’t own the land, it ‘owns you’ in some manner.

    Quote: >> That rock has been there since before we humans crawled down from the trees. For any one group of people to claim it as "theirs", even so far as to ban depictions of it, seems just a bit silly.

    What claptrap. The Aboriginal owners are just that. They own the land, just like you own your land. If they decide they don’t want people going there, or taking photos of it, that’s up to them. As the owners, why should they have to give a reason? Do you have to give a reason why you don’t want people camping in your garden? As it happens, they ask this out of a deeply held set of religious and cultural beliefs which should be respected, even if you don’t share those beliefs. I’m not a Christian, but when culturally important sites for Christians ask people to not wear revealing clothing when visiting I comply out of respect for those beliefs, even though I don’t share them.

    Quote: >> Does… London prevent people from seeing Trafalgar Square without paying admission?

    Not at the moment, but they could if they chose. They could also choose to install a huge tarpaulin over the top to prevent you viewing it in aerial photos. And as has been mentioned, they reserve the sole right to exploit commercial images of it. Leaving aside the cultural issues, the Aboriginal owners of Uluru own a significant asset. And like anyone who owns an asset, they might reasonably want to protect its value, and not see other people exploit it for gain without permission.

    The law might be rather grey in this area, but it seems absolutely reasonable for me for the owners of Uluru to want to better understand their legal position in respect of Telstra’s use of Uluru imagery in a marketing stunt. It just saddens me that people somehow see this as inappropriate because they don’t hold the same cultural beliefs as the owners of Uluru, and somehow think their enjoyment and convenience is more important that the legal rights of the owners.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re : Dan

    "So you don’t own your house, it owns you?"

    That's a ridiculous and specious argument.

    I am not an Aborigine and thus do not subscribe to the view that the land owns me, regardless of whether the Aborigines do or not. I am simply pointing out that I have been led to believe that the Aborigines do not hold to the concept of ownership in the way that colonial Europeans do (if that's incorrect, I'd be more than happy to be put right about this).

    So yes, I do mind if you come and camp in my garden. I own it and it's off-limits to trolls.

  14. Dan

    concept of ownership

    My point was simply that people seem very keen that others respect their cultural and legal traditions (like not camping in your garden), but seem less keen on respecting the legal and cultural traditions of others (those Aborigines have a different concept of land ownership to us, so lets use that as an excuse to exploit something that’s sacred to them. But let’s not worry about the fact that under our own cultural and legal traditions long-term occupation of land infers ownership. They don’t understand that either, so we can pretend it’s not the case for them.)

    Anyway, as I also pointed out, the cultural issues (although important) are moot in any case. In 1985 Uluru (and the surrounding land) was handed over to the Pitjantjatjara people. So they ‘own’ it both in the cultural / historic sense, and also in the legal sense – they hold the title to the land under Australian law. If they don’t want people taking photos of it, then that’s their prerogative. Although the reasons why they object to photos of parts of it are in fact quite interesting, and not related to an objection to photography per se – look it up if you’re interested.

  15. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    which bit is sacred?

    The value that Uluru has to the Aborigines, is presumably different to the significance that Ayers Rock has to more recent Australians. How many religions hold the Wailing wall in Jerusalem sacred?

    Unless they are just playing dog-in-the-manger..

    By not including the spiritually significant parts there is no reason the rest of the rock shouldnt be included in any reasonable promotion of "Australianness"

    .. or some Telstra crap either.

  16. |333173|3|_||3

    It's a @#*%! rock

    Ayer's Rock is precisely that: a big rock. Therfore no-one ca hold copyright on it, and there shoudl be no way that anyone can stop anyone else making a picture of any part of it.

    I, as head of the International Reformed Pasatafrian church, declare Mt. Everest to be sacred, and forbid anyone to make images of the north face without paying me for the privilide.\end{bad_joke}

    Even if the Aborignial adminsitration hold the title in freehold, (which I don't think they do, the land is crown land and the local council administers it), that would not give them the right to prevent others producing images of part of it, any more than a farmer could prevent a landscape painter from painting his farmlands

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