2024-07-24 19:46:08
The reaction of Second Life Community to PIRACY economics/market data/virtual

As far as I can understand from the accounts (not being sucked into the SL world myself), piracy just has been introduced to Second Life via a script or bot, that is able to copy SL assets.

Now the economy of SL is based on users paying rent to the Linden Labs company and trying to recoup their living costs by developing and selling digital stuff that enhances  avatars: textures, digital flik-flaks, sword, whatever.

Now this whole ecosystem is in danger because there is no more scarcity in SL life. The reactions of users are staggering: shops selling these assets closing down, protests staged. It is interesting how these people will cope with the idea of piracy in SL. Well, actually “piracy” was there before as these users were beaming rented videos to flocks of other users, and i am quite sure that many of them have not only the SL client but bittorrent on their machines, but still, when it comes to someone stealing their stuff, it gets ruff.

Here is the reuters story.
Here are some comments from the SL blog:

“Has anyone been inworld lately? It’s intensely creepy:stores closing right and left, noobs freakin’ out, IMs flying fast and furious. I’ll stay offworld tonight and read a good book.”

“I have removed my items from SLBoutique, SLExchange, and on my shop.”

“The CopyBot is a violation. The people who take their time to create stuff for their good and other peoples good should be able to see it at their own risk. We as SL citizens should not go out to buy the CopyBot. We should work together to get rid of this CopyBot so we can keep our Businesses up and running.We will not let a CopyBot stand in our way of creating what is right for us. SO BOYCOTT THE COPYBOT!!!!!!!”

“My favourite venue to play has closed in protest. Not only do I lose this amazing place to play for amazing people, but I am also out a good chunk of change every month.”

“I see alot of people on here talking about piracy when it comes to movies on sl.. before you go off about that, know that those of us that have had to put hours into learning how to work sl to get products that sell so we can help maybe try and pay the rent really need to know that our products arnt being copied and sold off. Agreed, pirating movies is wrong, the people that make them need it to help pay the bills, and some of us on here need our products to help pay our bills as well. Thats the reason were in a huff about this, its because some of us cant afford to hear “It got out of our hands, OOPS””

I’m actually not against libSL. It sounds like they do what is needed here; developing things that show weaknesses in SLs functionality, and revealing them. What I AM against is the idea that they do it by showing every noob, greifer, hacker and moron on SL how to exploit those problems and weaknesses, yet aren’t being truly held accountable for them.

Way up at the top of this thread, someone suggested internalizing the entire project, and it sounds like a good idea. Let them do what they’re doing… just make sure they report their findings before anything gets leaked, and that someone else then gets on that exploit to remove it.

As for the idea of opensource in a world that has so many people all at once doing different things in it? Foolishness. Opensouring should be kept to test servers at best because, due to their very nature, programmers like to innovate, and doing so always comes up with something that is uncontainable and bad in general for the place they’re playing around in, as well as the good things.

Also, Copybot was leaving people like myself, who aren’t programmers or scripters or builders, just people who come into the game to meet friends and socialize, with the problem of paying for things that are unique, then having them copied and spread all over, which defeats the point of having them made in the first place.””This is a virtual world, coping someones product is theft/stealing. It’s not copyright infringement in the metaverse. If I go into a shop and run off with some clothes its theft. Its the real world concept in virtual terms.”

Hello, I took great passion in creating my content spending more time in this game then I have anything in my entire life. I had created a very very profitable business. People loved my creations. I was down to nothing in my real life untill I found secondlife. Ever since then life has been getting better, slowly but surely. I even had people are blogs about me! Now the same company I stood behind through thick and thin just killed my only hope in life. Linden labs, you made my dream a reality, and you just destroyed it.

Reporting someone who stole your content is pointless. Once 1 person gets a hold of your creation full permission, anyone and everyone now has it full permissions.

I never expected my business to go out like this.”

Finding the analogy with RL piracy
“As I tell others, it is a huge overreaction on the part of content creators, to the same tune as the RIAA/MPAA make about “music/movie piracy!! ZOMG!”.

Copyright infringement has always been against the ToS. Anyone caught doing it will be banned, and can be subject to civil and criminal penalties for doing so.

What has changed?

Nothing, except a bunch of folks getting their panties up around their armpits, artificially causing more of a problem than the offending application ever could represent by itself.

Now, let’s all take a collective deep breath, and move on to more pressing concerns.

In the meantime, if you catch people copying your stuff without your consent, REPORT THEM! If you catch people selling unauthorized copies of your stuff, REPORT THEM, and then go to http://secondlife.com/corporate/dmca.php and do your duty! The only way people get the message is when it is sent LOUD and CLEAR. Don’t equivocate, hesitate, or otherwise dilly-dally/pussyfoot around. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS! Hell, offer a bounty for anyone reporting copyright infringement of your works which results in a banning or a successful DMCA takedown or a winning court case. Make the bounties tiered if you like!

Complaining about the POTENTIAL of your rights being violated is ABSOLUTELY pointless. They will be, I GUARANTEE it. YOU should be prepared to fight for them, when and where it happens.”

“I have to say… I think it is dumb how all of you people are blinded.. and all… It’s really sad, Yes it is sad that things like this exist. But how come you people all decide to use the movies here in SL and stuff like that. I am sorry but a lot of you people that are against copy bot are kind of biggots. I don’t mean all of you because I am sure not all of you watch pirated movies here in SL. But look at that, You don’t complain about that but when it comes to your own creations your right on top of it. That is kind of sad really. ”

“And this is the 100% perfect exmaple of the bigots, one who cares about their own works being used, but not of others.”

Arguing for proprietary technology instead of open source:

“I would yet strongly suggest to stop all activities connected to libsecondlife. Your ownership of protocol is an enormous asset, if you can not communicate running an environment that allows business if you do not have transaction security in your protocol. If you support activity that can weaken this hard point of every system that desires an own economy, then you will appear unprofessional.

This is not the first hassle connected to libsl, as prokofy pointed out griefers that LL permbanned seem to have used the project to even educate themselves.

So you run Sl as a platform we users and businesses can use. We users and business people rely on the security of the platform, it’s stability and availability. If you intend to continue the libsl project and head for a client/server open source in the end, i think this now is the right point to tell us, the community that this is indeed the case.

But if you do so, you also need to make a statement how asset and transaction security will be handled in an open source development environment. Will we see clients designed to “click and copy” every asset then? Or will this be efficiently prevented. You as company need planing security, we do so too.

You speak of incentives that libsl gave certain sub communities of Sl users. Many of us yet had hassles like with the god mode tool, which enabled highly efficient stalking and other things. Whats a valuable feature for some is a dangerous weapon for others. Checks and balances here, if you have implemented indeed much of the security in the client, then you have to move it to the server level asap and ensure that knowledge of the protocl can not cause harm to ownership of assets.

I really and sincerely hope, that SL moving to open source does not mean the abandonment of in system asset security. I know very well that this would be the end for the in system content creators, the small vibrant community that built sl with so much creativity. The ones who do not need that security of assets are the newcomers, the rl businesses who do not care if a milk box texture is copied and reused, who only care for a click and the rl revenue generated by using SL as sales platform for rl goods. In RL, they have somethign we cant rely on Sl now. Propper protection of property.”

And here is the official response:

Today I met with a large group of Residents, members of the Sellers Guild, to talk about the implications of a recently-developed LibSL product called CopyBot. CopyBot allows the user to create a replication of an object, including textures, that is fully permissive. Needless to say this product has caused tremendous worry among content creators who want to understand how its use may possibly affect their business. In particular, they are concerned about theft of their creations, and the potential for unscrupulous people to undercut their prices and essentially take away their business.

First a caveat. Copying does not always mean theft. There can be legitimate uses for copying, just as there are on the web. As Cory has written previously, copying is not necessarily theft, and in fact nowhere in the copyright laws does the word “theft” appear. Instead, the language focuses on the idea of violating a copyright — i.e. I have an idea which I own a copyright on, and you have profited from presenting that idea as your own. You have violated my copyright.

Merely copying something doesn’t mean that a copyright violation has occurred. The law discusses ‘fair use’, for example, as one type of copying that is not a violation. If you DO think someone has copied something you made and is violating your copyright by profiting from the copying then you do have the option of using the DMCA process to file a complaint. It’s a difficult process, but it is one that we’re willing to help enable because we agree that copying is a disincentive to creation.

Ideally we’ll build ways that you can better identify your work as your own so that copying it is not profitable. For example, here are some ideas that we’re pursuing to help you prove your ownership of an idea or object:

* You may have heard us talk about “first use metadata”, that is a time stamp that is attached to your creations, including uploaded textures, that shows first use. First use is an important part of being able to claim copyright ownership. This work is started, and we are committed to completing it quickly.

* We could work to reduce how much avatar/clothing data is downloaded, so that a copy can be made of the baked texture and shape but not the pieces. We’re interested in your thoughts on that option.

* We can reduce incentives to copying content within the system, by preserving the creator attribution such as with creative commons licensing.

* We could create hover text which would act like a garment label does, exposing both the first use metadata and also a brand name, reducing the incentive to copy by making it obvious that copying is occurring. If your work is “signed”, and clearly you developed it first, then the person who purchases the copy is not unlike the person who buys the fake Rolex off the back of a truck. Plus the signature becomes a recognizable asset and could be coupled with a landmark as a form of advertising.

These options allow you to prove that your creation is in fact yours, but ultimately it’s the DMCA process that provides you with the channel to protect your investment. It’s to your benefit to review the government’s rules for filing a copyright and protecting it, posted at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html. More government-provided information on copyrights can be found here: http://www.copyright.gov.

Copyright law is very complex, and for those of you building businesses protecting your investment will be an on-going challenge. We recognize the importance of helping you to manage your copyrights, and will make every effort to build features into the system to mitigate the negative impact of copying. Beyond that we will help you initiate the DMCA takedown process when appropriate.

I know you will have ideas and suggestions, so please feel free to post them here. While we can’t answer every post, we will be reading your comments and taking them into account in our ongoing development efforts.”

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