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Posted: Feb 13th 2010 5:09PM Cinnamoon said

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This happened to me once in UO. I made the mistake of posting my best house design to the building forum, and within a month, a (prominent) person on another server had copied it to the tile, posted it up as her own, and I started getting angry accusations of theft on my in-game bulletin board. Five years later in the "hall of fame" thread, said person is still getting credit for my design, and their plagiarized version still stands to this day. Mine, of course, I took down -- the accusations were mortifying and spoiled my enjoyment, never mind that they were wrong and that I was the victim.

But if you really want to get into IP pirates and vigilantes, you need look no further than the Sims!

Posted: Feb 13th 2010 11:34PM (Unverified) said

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Good article. It is certainly a murky situation if you do not have first hand knowledge of the rights involved. However, consider the situation when you are a copyright holder such as your friend Jon. Let's suppose he was very unhappy with Jacob's copying of his design (for the sake of argument, let's assume it is an exact copy). He can file a DCMA complaint with LL and they will take down Jacob's content. Jacob will file a counterclaim with LL and then they will restore his content. LL's hands are clean now and it is up to the parties to settle in court. That costs real cash money. In 99.9% of the cases it is hard to imagine that it is cost effective to sue. So what are Jon's real options? He can let it slide or he can make life miserable for Jacob so he takes down the content himself. Its easy to see how vigilantes arise in this situation when the spirit of the law cannot be otherwise enforced. LL ToS is insufficient to handle these kinds of disputes in-world.

Posted: Feb 14th 2010 2:03AM (Unverified) said

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Sounds like the exceedingly rare cases you mention. The vast majority of the "vigilantism" you decry that I see involve people actively looking for people wearing obviously copybotted items. They are not hard to spot. Wearing an obvious dev kitties wig yet the wearer is the creator of all the prims. There are organizations active in identifying these people and sharing the information so these people can be banned from regions across the grid. But no DMCAs are filed unless the actual creator is notified and the actual creator files the DMCA. And that is where your story breaks down. Linden Lab doesn't go around removing content without a DMCA like that unless there is a trademark violation. So there seems to be something vastly wrong with your article and I wonder why you would publish such misleading patently false disinformation.

Again: Linden Lab does not remove content without a DMCA unless it involves a trademark. If Linden Lab did then they would be liable for lawsuits. But don't take my word for it. You are a journalist. Go interview Marty at LL and get the same information I just stated from him.

Posted: Feb 14th 2010 5:32AM (Unverified) said

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The specific actions I cited of Linden Lab taking down content all involved trademarks. Linden Lab does not actually have any special method of reporting trademark infringements (other than their published procedure of filing an abuse report - which could well be outdated considering the amount of confusion I had in getting the Lab to deal with an infringing trademark in SL just a couple of months ago, in my capacity as a rights-holder). Thus, no 'disinformation'.

As for Marty? Past attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful. Attempts to clarify trademark handling procedures have been responded to by misinformed Lab staff who aren't clear on the difference between a copyright and a trademark. But I'm not a journalist, so I'm probably pretty low on the PR totem-pole.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2010 8:21AM (Unverified) said

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@ Otoole who wrote: "I wonder why you (Tateru) would publish such misleading patently false disinformation."

The word disinformation is defined---misinformation that is deliberately disseminated in order to influence or confuse rivals or business competitors---.

You deliberately libel the journalist but I wonder why you would do that. Do you run your own blog or forum?
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Posted: Feb 15th 2010 12:57PM (Unverified) said

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Ann - (who said) "The vast majority of the "vigilantism" you decry that I see involve people actively looking for people wearing obviously copybotted items. They are not hard to spot. Wearing an obvious dev kitties wig yet the wearer is the creator of all the prims"

Okay - try this: buy some prim hair that is copy/modify.
Rez it on the ground.
Edit it.
Shift-drag.
Then INSPECT the copy.

It is OBVIOUSLY a copybot copy.
Right?

Even though you purchased it legally.
Even though the creator has give you the power to copy it.
Even though the creator has given you the power to modify it.
It is still *wrong* to shift-drag-copy what you have legally purchased and are allowed to do... because it is an obvious copybot copy.

I have two friends who did this very thing - they were AR'd for copybot infringement. Fortunately LL investigated and it went nowhere. It doesn't matter why they did that, only that the so-called "do-gooders" ... aren't doing any good.

My entire point is: there is *no such thing* as a "obviously copybotted" item.

Three ways to *legally* create an "obviously copybotted" item:

1) - in any of the "legal" grid viewers that support it: back-up your stuff to your hard disk drive. Then restore your stuff. All prim time-stamps are seconds apart = *obvious* copybot.
2) - Use a fully legal (by Linden Lab's own blog-posts) prim-replicator to mirror that one right shoe you spent a week creating. The left shoe prim time-stamps are within seconds apart. Make a change to that left shoe - whoops - re-mirror for the right shoe. It doesn't matter: they are copybotted - it's *obvious*.
3 - Take *anything* you have copy/modify rights to. Rez it and edit. Shift-drag a copy. The copy is *obviously* copybotted.

So even you, Ann, a Second Life user for years with adept experience on the grid and knowledge how SL works have fallen into the fray of misunderstanding about what is a problem and not a problem at the same time. And is why all "do-gooders" should go straight to the allegedly infringed creator and report only to them as they are the ones who will know whether an infringement actually occurred.

And in the case of someone with "obviously copybotted" shoes because the wearer is also the creator? - if you don't really know who the "original" creator is, it is really best you just leave well enough alone. Or better yet, what if you actually asked that wearer where his shop is so you can see the shoes he's wearing because he created them? Then maybe you'd actually know (if he doesn't have a shop or otherwise brushes you off as that's what a thief will do).

But no - it is easier to start drama in a group and mass AR's against the guy who created his own shoes (yes, true story also) - with no one even asking the guy where he got them.

:|

I am not arguing with you, or intentionally "dissing" you or any of that. Just pointing out where there is no such thing as "obviously copybotted" and how a lot of people who might mean well, are actually causing more problems for others.

@Tateru: thank you. This article is and has been sorely needed for a very, very long time. I wish Linden Lab would take it (with permission of course LOL) and make it a forced-read for every user on the Second Life grid. Like a requisite before logging in or something.
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Posted: Feb 14th 2010 12:41PM (Unverified) said

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It is precisely this reason why I don't sell anything in SL. I create things, yes; but, I keep it in my inventory, and give to my friends. Until, and unless, there is an overhaul of the system protecting IP rights, don't look to me to invest my time and energy into this. It's an exercise in futility, and I have better things to do with my SL than worry about some half-wit vigilante on an AR rampage, looking to snare some hapless innocent.

Posted: Feb 14th 2010 1:42PM (Unverified) said

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Issac the Death misses the irony of "false disinformation".

Tatero identifies the not exactly desirable situation of each Linden being allowed to interpret policy and law on a personal level and take actions based on personal opinion.

However if someone is using a trademark and they have not made available their license then of course LL might take action to mitigate liability. It is possible for trademark use to be licensed and/or authorized. However there appears to be no way to publish the license/authorization because the metatdata fields available on SL content are inadequate. Because of these inadequacies LL is unable to expeditiously query to acquire and review licensing information that needs to be published. (LL should be engaged in coding and data architecture efforts to remedy these glaring metadata deficiencies but there appears to be little interest in making these liability mitigating enhancements) Be this as it may it is quite rare for trademark use to be authorized and most trademark decorated content is just someone "getting away with it". Usually when asked about it the response from the typical infringer has something to do with the trademark owner should be appreciative of the "free advertising" even though the trademark owner did not ask for nor contract for said "free advertising" on content that may not meet the specifications for proper representation of the trademark.

Since it is literally impossible to police the entire grid it leaves us with Safe Harbor sanction of the DMCA. However DMCA generally addresses copyrights and the applicable trademark portion of the Lanham Act does not make make much reference to the internet other than definitions and appears to cover domain names. This leaves us with LL having to act on it's own under interpretation of available law to cover itself. Thus why xstreet has the ambiguous rules it has and said rules should also be applied to Second Life in general. However LL doesn't seem to keep up with clarifications on policies and instead uses the TOS as written that gives LL sole discretion in what content is allowed to remain in Second Life.

So a wise person will simply not use a trademark without a license. Could it get any easier than that? If you use someone's trademark without a license and LL removes it then you have nothing to complain about. As for "mobs" if said "mob" is engaging in behavior that is disallowed under the community standards then file abuse reports. It doesn't get any more simple than that.

This article is an interesting and relative read on the topic of Trademark Infringement law has no "Safe Harbor" protections for service providers: http://www.desktopnexus.com/blog/2009/05/dmca-trademark-claim/

Posted: Feb 14th 2010 2:37PM (Unverified) said

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@ Otoole

I think we could all do a better job: journalists, bloggers, clothing designers, programmers, etc. But, you feel entitled to libel people even as you point a finger at others for being similarly dishonest. I'm picking up on the irony here, and it's precious.
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Posted: Feb 15th 2010 2:59PM (Unverified) said

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Just one fly in your ointment there Ari. The *obviously copybotted* items are sold as no mod with resizer scripts. So do please explain how no mod items are replicated? No they don't have a license to export/import for the purpose of having a backup and if they did they had to be using a counterfeiting client to override permissions and can be banned for TOS violations. I could throw an insult at you as you did me but I won't.

BTW at the rate things are going this is a moot discussion because by the end of the year everyone in SL will have switched to an "illegal" viewer anyway to take their stuff to open sim (or wherever it can be taken) at the rate Kingdon is screwing SL up. So I'm on the fence now. I see why people need to be pulling out of SL. And all that money spent is a bummer to lose.

So to me the discussion needs to stop focusing on copybot (impossible to stop, usage growing by leaps and bounds daily) and turn to examining the current content sales based SL economy that is clearly unsustainable. We either find a different way to monetize our content creation efforts or this thing is going to crash and burn. Personally I'm thinking we need the export routines to include the texture binary data so content can be sold in import packages directly from our own web sites or from a renderosity style marketplace. What do you think Ari? Tateru? Is it time to forget copybot and begin working on the next generation of 3D content economies that are sustainable? Or just let the kids keep fiddling while their rome sims burn? This thing is dead pretty soon if we don't deal with it soon.

Posted: Feb 16th 2010 8:06PM (Unverified) said

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"Or better yet, what if you actually asked that wearer where his shop is so you can see the shoes he's wearing because he created them? Then maybe you'd actually know (if he doesn't have a shop or otherwise brushes you off as that's what a thief will do).

@Ari - That is still taking on too much assumption, and still becoming the problem yourself by doing so. A perfect example of where that falls short is with creators like myself. I create a variety of high quality items for my AV that people notice and ask about all the time, but I do not sell them or have a shop. Shoes, hair, skirts, jewelry and stuff, all have my name on them. Going by what you say, that makes me an immediate suspect for ripping some other unknown creator off, because my stuff IS that good, and that pisses me off to no end. I get satisfaction by pouring my talents into standing out from the rest and being unique, and I'll be pretty furious if someone thinking like that is going to haphazardly label me as a thief in a knee-jerk assumption. People need to behave smarter than that.

Posted: Feb 19th 2010 11:56PM (Unverified) said

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I recently found an item on XStreetSL that I thought had been ripped off from a store I often buy from. I sent the store owner a notecard about it so she could decide for herself what to do about it. She's always been very nice to me and I felt I owed it to her to inform her of anyone ripping her off. It turned out that everything was okay; I had misunderstood what the XStSL item was selling: a set of poses, which were displayed by an avatar wearing an outfit from the aforementioned store. It was just that there was next to no description with the listing so it was hard to tell. Thus, I'm glad I dealt with it as I did. The problem was solved without anyone who didn't deserve it getting into trouble. I would always rather try to resolve these issues by direct communication with the person I suspect is being ripped off than by appealing to the Lindens, who I generally feel have no freaking clue what's really going on and little incentive to try to find out.

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