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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


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Frans Charming

"do we instead seek the route of making interesting and compelling designs that prove hard to mimic easily and which are often easy to spot when knocked off?"

That might be impossible for SL, because the problem is not making a knock off, but it is someone making a exact digital copy.

Everything is easy to mimic and impossible to see if it is a knock off.

What people might have to do is put their own brand logo on all their clothes. While that can still be copied and removed, that does ask for more work, and if somebody wants the logo on the copy, it is still creating brand awareness for you.

Ann Otoole

Copyrights are copyrights despite what self appointed experts think of them. If your copyright is infringed upon then file a DMCA. Then get a lawyer and file suit. The best approach is to just tell lawyers to go for the max $150,000 per infringement (like RIAA does) on a contingency basis. If they score a win then some person that thought they were untouchable behind a monitor just got screwed for life.

This is digital graphic art. Not RL fashion. I am unsure how anyone could make a connection.

Net Antwerp

Content THEFT = Selling/Passing off other people's work as your own. No exceptions.

Meanwhile, building on top of someone's principle ideas are acceptable, and is widely used in all walks of life. Patents don't last forever, etc.

The grey area - getting content for free. Some industries thrive with a mix of free/paid content, some don't. SL businesses aren't built on financially stable ground - hence the importance of copy protection in SL.


RL products are in this respect not comparable to digital products. in all the copy-bot discussion it's not about 'copying' another designer, but 'copyboting' another designer (which in rl is not possible unless someone invents a startreck replicator).
One can be innovative as much as one wants, if someone 'copybots' the thing within 5 minutes after release and spreads it over the grid this has NOTHING to do with above ideas expressed in the video.
Honestly I still don't understand why you continuly try to downtalk this issue on your blog. This is like the 5th blog post where you try to tell us "copybotting is good for you"

Hamlet Au

I didn't mention Copybot in this post at all, actually. But since you brought it up, it's not that dissimilar from the extremely cheap Gucci knockoffs Tom Ford mentions in the video, which he says do not cut into Gucci's sales, since the knockoffs are not being bought by their market. But even if you don't agree with that comparison, do watch the video, there's a lot of ideas in there worth discussing here.

Patchouli Woollahra

I'll be brutally frank - I've been copybotted before on several occasions as well as falsely DMCAed once. it hasn't soured me off being creative.

I've always believed that the trick to defending against such content theft is to present a sea of moving targets - provide customer service, provide quantity, and provide quality. This TED talk basically confirms what I've suspected after two years of doing exactly that! :)


I swear every one of these TED talks I've seen features one lamebrain after another trying to justify data scrape in all forms and telling us to sit back and take it. So the lamebrains in these videos can get stupid rich.


There is a difference between physical fashion and graphics. Believe me, if fashion could be copied detail for detail in a matter of seconds and sold to anyone for nothing compared to the thousands one couture dress costs, the real fashion world would be screeching. That is not in peril. Because dressmaking still takes technique that can't be copybotted.

Now...Vogue, Elle, and the other magazines ARE in the same position as the copybot plagued SL designers. They are being data scraped into oblivion. Their business is being forced to the ground because people wrongfully steal their copyrighted images and devalue them.

Culture cannot be protected while rampant theft takes place. It turns everything into a ghetto.

Which is what these TED people want obviously. Then they can be the local warlord Kingpens of the crime ridden neighborhood

Isabeal Jupiter

I think there is wisdom in this video.

I suspect that copybotters are not ever going to be customers, and those to whom they pass their stolen materials are not going to be customers either. The designer's creations are going to be out there to a greater extent, but the designer probably hasn't really lost as much as feared. It's the Tom Ford/Canal St. argument, and I find it compelling. Not mentioned is the MIT study that shows that 40% of knockoff purchasers will test out the knockoffs and then go on to buy the originals.

I also think that SL designers should pay attention to the target hardening strategies mentioned in the video. This is basic law enforcement stuff. Make your creations difficult to steal and easy to recognize if it is stolen by creating a solid brand and having a steady stream of new products.

Finally, what Blakley failed to mention is the importance of culture. There are some cultures that simply have no concept of intellectual property rights, and people from those cultures are in SL. Right now, the SL culture is dangerously close to that type of culture in general. Little is done to integrate new members into a community and to socialize people to recognize the benefits of supporting content creators. I particularly liked Harper Beresford's letter to Blue Linden posted the other day on SL's contribution to the freebie culture so prevalent now. http://harperberesford.blogspot.com/2010/05/letter-to-blue-linden.html

Arcadia Codesmith

I see the point, but I'm not quite buying it. If I'm packing a fake Gucci, it may increase Gucci's brand exposure, but it's damaging to Gucci as a status symbol if the brand is overexposed in this manner.

On the flip side, for small and medium sized creators there's no benefit at all to having unbranded knockoffs, since the style isn't recognizable as yours and there's no way to track back to your legitimate wares.

Fashion isn't protected by copyright, but as Ann pointed out, texture files (including sculpties) are. It is prudent and proper to register your copyrights, and to hit infringers up for the maximum damages allowable by law.

If Linden Lab is unable or unwilling to enforce IP protection, it's up to us to do it. On the other hand, if you think copyright protection law is too draconian, it's on you to gather support and get the law changed, NOT just ignore it. If you choose to ignore it, don't cry if you get caught and have to cough up a whole lot of cash.



Get back to us when she's created something worth stealing.


There is quite a bit to be said as to whether what we make in a digital world (and this includes software) should in fact be copyrightable in the first place. The usual criteria tend to imply software is more towards utilitarian than artistic on the graph used in the video. In alot of ways what I've made and what other designers make is in fact more like RL fashion than some of you may want to admit. That graph does in fact show the typical separation between what is and isn't allowed.

If you'd like to see more discussion relating to software try: http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/05/25/2222207/The-Fashion-Industry-As-a-Model-For-IP-Reform?art_pos=4


I didn't get much from the video, I couldn't get the subtitles to work.
But I think I can add something anyway. I used to make and sell with an alt. I was copybotted a few times, but I never really felt any effect from it. Oh yes, I got very mad and spent so much time trying to track down the people, that I got way behind in my work.

When I quit selling, it was not because of copybotters, it was because of all the competition. The market was and is still saturated with the items I made. I always felt and was told my items were superior and technically they were but, newer methods were overtaking me. People were doing incredible things with sculpties and textures that while inferior to my products, were more desired by customers. I couldn't compete with sculpties (I suck at sculpties), I couldn't keep up with the scripting and I was swamped by the amazing marketing skills of my competition. While I was perfect prim by prim, others used almost no prims, had changeable, customizable products that the customers wanted. At one point, I just had to face the fact that I wasn't willing to learn all these things and fighting it was taking all the joy out of my Second Life. So i stopped.

But i did learn something. A very big something. You know what makes your business bulletproof? What allows you to survive with tons of competition, theft and propaganda... Customer Loyalty, Customer Service and Quality.

It's been two years since I sold stuff, but I still get occasional messages from people who happen to see my stuff somewhere on the grid and just have to have one. I still see people wearing my clothes, fairly often. I always give someone the items when they ask, usually a lot more than they wanted (╹◡╹). My old customers still bug me for new items. And I sometimes will make them a little something to make them smile, often little accessories and always for free. But I don't want to take college courses to compete with everyone else, haha. So it's not a business anymore.

But if you want to thrive, take care of your customers. Someone may steal from you, but your customers are going to keep buying from you. If someone gets crazy stupid with stealing from you, it's pretty easy to find out and you can stop them. There's always going to be theft, usually from people who will never sell the things, but give them away or just use them their self. But your loyal customers are always going to come back, because you support them. You are the merchant who sends the a little gift when they buy from you, the one who helps when they destroy the things they bought from you, the one who will take that special request and always listen.

Stop dwelling on content theft, it makes you miserable. If someone is stupid enough to try making a business from your creation, sue them. But how often does that happen? Not a lot, really. You're going to lose some stuff, in Second Life, Real Life, even in your dreams. Enjoy your time here! Money is good, but don't let that be all it's about. If you make the good stuff, you're going to sell it. If you don't sell as much as you think you should; look at your items, look at your competition. You may find that your stuff or service could be better. But mostly, enjoy!

Murphy Alderson

YES! Please dear lord...so much moaning and crying about content theft. The fact of the matter is, there is no stopping theft of digital content, if someone REALLY wants it. All the banning in the world wont' stop it. All the so-called copy-bot protections won't stop it. You don't need some cryo-life kind of viewer to snag textures. Those can be snagged easily enough since SL uses OpenGL, and it is open source, and there are products out there that can capture textures from the GL stream. And this is from a content creator. Sure, I don't make a living at it, but it pays the SL bills. All 'real world' businesses take theft into account. Super markets, discount stores, clothing shops - they all work a certain amount of dollars for shoplifting into their annual budgets. It happens, period. The feds aren't going to go after some skin thief. And unless your pockets are as deep as the RIAA, you can't do anything about it yourself (though, if your pockets ARE that deep, I don't suspect you'd be complaining anyway).

Peter Stindberg

http://stindberg.blogspot.com/2009/12/short-history-of-copying.html (originally posted July 2009)

Adric Antfarm

What was Ellen doing there?

Hamlet Au

Ellen? She looks more like Téa Leoni to me!

Dave Bell

Theres some basic economic theory on some of these issues, especially the differents sorts of goods that can be traded, and how they can be handled by a market.

But trying to squeeze the sort of content that is SL clothes, or a film, or a book, into the economic models which cover motor cars and TV sets, may be futiles. See this article as a starting point on the complexities.


Idea is different from the execution of it. It is up to the consumer to determine the quality of materials and construction. THOSE skills (materials + construction) should be not copyable, and is what we pay for quality.

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