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Friday, March 06, 2009


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BJ Tunwarm

Unbelievable that intellectual property thieves are getting ripped off by other intellectual property thieves. This is what we call a full 10 on the irony meter. Really, what is there to debate? That store owner deserves to be ripped off for what they are doing and anything original they created should be ripped off. It is simple justice.

Frankly SL is the only art community I have ever scene that openly and blatantly contemptuous of copyrights. In the real 3d art world no one would ever dare try to sell a copyrighted item like that Ipod. The other artists would tear them a new one because the other artists know that just opens the door to theft of their material. Mass theft of in world work is the only logical result of this cavalier anything goes attitude.

Ann Otoole

BJ has never been to Renderosity to study all the ripped brushes and textures the so-called artists stole to resell. Second Life is just another place that is not managed properly and take downs are not done in a manner that deletes it, and all the cascading sold copies, from the asset system. If the DMCA take downs were done correctly then 50% of all the builds in SL would go missing image. This might look bad but when all those people went hunting for those that sold the stolen content then those would be accounts you would never see in sl again. Thus the common sense that theft causes angry mobs and account deletion would begin to develop and the copy leftists would get mad, stamp feet, and leave. Good riddance.

Doubledown Tandino

In my opinion, the irony forms with two seperate intellectual property issues being brought up.... the real life trademarks/copyrights, and the SL trademarks/copyrights.

Slapping an Apple logo on a SL rectangular gadget doesn't make it an Ipod. It makes it the appearance of the IPod. When people buy a SL gadget that is named the "Apple IPod", do they really think they are buying the real thing from the real company? No. All SL creations that draw from RL company's products are an appropriation. In my opinion, the RL companies stand to do better by encouraging people to create SL versions of their RL products.

Doubledown Tandino

by the way... I want to bring up Andy Worhol's Campbell's Soup artwork (among many other of Worhol's art pieces that displayed trademarks, products, or logos).

What would the point have been for Campbell's Soup to have an issue with Andy Warhol? Campbell's Soup was proud.

Real Life companies should appreciate that their customers enjoy their products so much, that they want to create a virtual representation of that RL product. It only helps for promotion.

Plus, we all know that the RL company doesn't make their SL goods. Coca-Cola in RL MAKES their product... but they do NOT in SL. When Apple actually makes a SL version of their products that are better than the SL content creator's versions, then people will actually start to consider the correlation between the sl product and the RL company.

Veeyawn Spoonhammer

I thought a lot about this during the copybot(tm) uproar.

A lot of shop owners and content "creators" are using imagery, textures and full on copies of products that are not theirs to use. I don't think the responsibility falls on LL to make sure every user is obeying copyright laws just as I don't think it's Google's job to actively monitor what goes up on You Tube. If there's a complaint, by all means, they are responsible to rectify it but it's impractical to think they could monitor all creation.

As for BJ's comment...I think the art community is far more aware of this than your run-of-the-mill store owner. Artists are generally pretty sensitive to this stuff as no one wants to be ripped off themselves. Don't lump actual creators in with the folks who are looking to make a quick L$.

Veeyawn Spoonhammer


Yes, companies should certainly enjoy the fact that so many people are spreading the word about their product but that's entirely up to the company. We all watch in horror with the way some IP holders react to things but it is their IP and they can react as foolishly as they want to.

Frans Charming

"This makes me wonder if content theft in Second Life is greatly increased via a "broken windows" phenomenon."
I think this is a large contributor to the problem. It gives people a opportunity to rationalize their behaviour with a quick: "But they are doing it too."



Those RL companies paid to trademark those logos. Whether you think people would get confused or not, the content creators using them still do not have the right to. Confusion or not is not the issue.

OTOH, I've been calling the designers in SL shrilling about DMCA and acting like everything everyone's ever created in SL has been ripped off and resold hypocrites for some time now. Who hasn't used real world inspiration for their own designs? When someone truly is ripped off, ie, their actual textures or designs were stolen, fine. That's theft. When they are imitated and the imitator actually made their own designs or items based on theirs, well, then it gets fuzzy. What's inspired by, and what's a ripoff? Most of the SL designers don't even want anything that looks close to their own design to exist, which is absurd, stupid, and short-sighted.

No, the SL designers tend to be the type of people who make the riaa look reasonable, and all they do is give the average person like me a desire to never purchase their stuff, and to not care about their problems or believe that they even are getting ripped off all that much.


A culture based on theft considered ironic? Pathetic.

Nexus Burbclave

I believe I pointed out this hypocrisy during a discussion of the theft of the virtual New Orleans.

While I'm not unsympathetic to the idea of creating tributes, it is still ultimately up to the original copyright/trademark holder how to treat such material, with the sole exception of parody, which has a lot of case law backing it up.

Doubledown Tandino

Let me ask this question... if (in SL) I were to create some form of creative art installation that was a statement on demonizing corporations (or somethin artsy like that)... and I used the Apple logo in some form of mockery, trying to show a humorous hatred towards the Apple brand, and then sold copies of that artwork.... would that be trademark infringement? or would that be protected under my artistic expression and freedom of speech?
...just curious.

The dude that drew the mustache on Mona Lisa and sold copies of his new version... is that allowed?


footnote: Technically and legally it is not allowed to take a trademark, slap it on something, and then sell it. but it depends if you want to call your product a product... or a piece of artwork that is reflective of a RL product.

Nexus Burbclave

Double, it sounds like you would really benefit from learning more about intellectual property. Please note, what follows below is informational, and not intended as legal advice.

First off, I'm not sure what sort of copyright protections the Mona Lisa had when it was painted back in 1506, but I can assure you that they have long since expired. There are art forgery laws that would still apply if you attempted to pass your copy off as the original, but this wouldn't have any DMCA implications.

Regarding your first point, what you seem to be trying to get at is the fair use provisions of free speech. In the case of "making an artistic statement", the only fair use provision with any relevance is the one for satire and parody. Tributes do not have any fair use protection. Here is a very good link explaining the legal precedent and the conditions required to qualify for it:

Arcadia Codesmith

While the Mona Lisa itself is not copyrighted, photographs of the painting are. In other words, if you travel to Paris and photograph the Mona Lisa (against the rules of the Lourve), you can use that photo in whatever blatantly commercial way you wish. If instead you surf the 'net and grab a picture of the Mona Lisa that is not explicitly in the public domain, you're a thief.

I have no issue with RL companies vigorously enforcing their IP. I only wish they'd come up with a more nuanced response than the DMCA smack-down; specifically, evaluate the quality and context of the infringement and offer a limited license if the material reinforces the brand.

If LL offered services to confirm, register and certify such licenses (for a fee, naturally), we could see more quality approved merchandise rather than the slapdash trash that many of these rip-off artists specialize in.

Chez Nabob

Unfortunately, many of the points raised here about the attitude of many content creators are all too true. Since I launched the I.P. rights campaign (one year ago yesterday as a matter of fact), I've watched in disbelief as some creators made illegitimate claims against "thieves," each other and anyone else that made something that looked vaguely similar to a product the creator was selling.

I saw creators attacked in blogs with accusations made against them based mostly on personal issues between the blogger and the creator. I saw blogs stir up their readers because *gasp* someone dared to use a photo sourced image in their creations regardless of the fact that the creator may well have been within their rights to do so (the bloggers neglected to check this fact before forging ahead with their post).

All the false claims, witch hunts and childish, petty drama got me thinking about more than just the legalities of IP rights, but also the ethical issues that seemed to be getting trampled on left and right.

I wondered how many creators were using pirated copies of Adobe's Creative Suite to produce their products, how many blogs railed against content theft, but then turned around to praise the new hockey jerseys available in-world that were bearing the copyrighted logos of NHL franchises.

Originally I had intended to introduce successive rounds of ads to accompany the original IP rights ads Hamlet linked to above, but I've put those plans on hold. At this point I think it would do more harm than good.

I think all the bickering and infighting, false claims and drama have turned people off the very real and serious issue of IP infringement in SL, and content creators bear a LARGE part of the responsibility for that.

Legitimate creators need to act more professionally and hold their ethical standards higher if they want the respect of the larger community of SL residents and more importantly if they expect LL to take the issue of helping them better defend their IP rights seriously.

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