Jul 5, 2009

Creators Worst Nightmare

There is a certain joy in creating items for second life.

From the moment the idea is conceived, through the long hours of creating offline, to the final uploading and assembling the product, the creator works mostly alone or perhaps with the input one or two close friends or partners.

Then the creation becomes a product and there is reward in the response of the consumer.

But with most successful creations comes the almost inevitable crash of being copied and dumped full perm on the world. More and more often Xstreet is the dumping ground.

The creator can file for a DMCA takedown and Linden Labs is required to respond to the takedown request. But recently response is slower and slower, especially now that the Governance Team is busy with the Zindra Landswap.

It becomes more and more disheartening for creators as they see their products being sold full perm for days and sometimes even weeks on end. Every day that goes by means more DMCA, because LL does not remove the offending item from the database, but merely from the offending avatars inventory and from the inworld sales location and/or Xstreet marketplace.
The onus is on the creator to now go out and find all the copies that were sold and DMCA each and every one.
LL has the transaction history of all the sales of the item, but does not act on it. Nor does LL offer any help to the creator by giving them this information. Sometimes not all the locations listed were included by LL, so the creator has to revisit and check each report.

Another problem is that disposable alts are used to sell this stolen content, and as soon as the item has been deleted from one avatars inventory, there is a new alt putting up exactly the same content for sale, within hours in some cases.

If creators need to spend all their time tracking down and protecting their creations, where is the joy? Where is the energy left over to create more wonderful items?
The only reason copybotted items continue is because there is a market for them. If consumers refused to buy them, then eventually the demand would dry up. But if things continue in this vein, then new content will dry up and SL will be a barren world of copies of copies of stale old fashion.

DMCA process..
Be lucky enough to discover the theft, or have someone very kindly point it out.
Buy the item. No matter what the price and no matter the bitterness that comes with having to pay a thief, the product must be aquired to compare properly to the original.
Confirm the theft.
Write a DMCA including all known locations (SLURL) of all variations of the copies. Any locations missed will be ignored by LL, even though it is pretty simple for them to delete all inworld items of that name, owned by the offending avatar.
This can literally take a whole day, TPing from location to location, ARing each item, noting down the names and locations
and copying them into the DMCA notice.
Supply discription and location of the original item.
Add real name and contact info .. and then sign (or digitally insert a copy of your signature) and send by snail mail or fax.

the stress the waiting all adds up.

We all need to be aware!


Shimere Felisimo said...

Kendall, I think that a lot of people just don't know that what they're getting is stolen. There's just so much stuff for sale in SL, it's impossible to keep track of it all. One reason I rarely buy from XStreet directly is my fear of stolen merchandise. I like to check if the merchant has an inworld shop and visit it to see if it looks legit, or if it looks like a freebie dump. Also, I think a merchant who has a storefront has more of a reputation on the line than someone who is just a name on XStreet.

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