My view on Linden Lab’s midnight DMCA raid

I’ve had a chance to think about the Lindens’ unannounced erasure of allegedly pirated inventory items over the weekend, and what I’ll say probably will stun those who’ve seen my ongoing criticism of the way that they’ve conducted their business.

I am 100% behind Linden Lab on this.

To explain further, I have a few points to consider:

  1. To conduct a selective deletion of inventory items is just as questionable as the action that has caused resident concern (like this example from Doubledown Tandino). Probably would be much more difficult to perform.
  2. I can’t see anything positive in telling the userbase before performing this mass deletion. Would it have changed what was deleted?
  3. Unlike the banking and casino bans, which came just as suddenly, the userbase SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that Linden Lab feels strongly enough about the issue to put a DMCA link on their front page. Banking and casinos, on the other hand, were bolts from the blue. No one knew that the Lindens cared one way or the other on those issues.

Then there’s my overarching issue: After all of the grief that I have given Linden Lab for tolerating content theft and loose morals on intellectual property in Second Life, why in the world should I criticize them taking meaningful steps to address this problem? Sure, it’s inconvenient to the folks who lost inventory items…but that’s what happens when you buy your content from anyone less than the content creator.

There will always be room for criticism of how our digital overlords conduct their business and inworld practices. In this case, the cause outweighs the means by which they conducted this action.

Here’s hoping the Lab keeps it up. They might want to check out this JIRA entry for some other leads.

4 Responses

  1. Generally, I’m with you, except for #2… but even though I’m for the takedown, there’s just a few idiosyncracies… which, aren’t the point exactly… but it’s why this takedown (as opposed to others) bothered me. Not because this specific one, but because it will set a precident on how LL decides to act upon takedowns.

    Firstly, I’m in total support of the take down as well.

    Secondly, I am in support in non-selective takedowns. When there’s gonna be a take down it should be wiped.

    Secondly part B, in the RL if you have contriband, you can usually keep it in your house, or hide it, and it remains in your possession until you get caught (much like the casino ban). In SL, we never thought it worked like RL… but this take-down proves that nothing you possess is 100% safe. With the casino takedowns, it was based on reports… but they did not remove every item in SL named “slot machine”… which makes sense that they wouldn’t.

    Thirdly… so they have the exact names of people strealing stuff and then distributing. And other unawaring people buy the stolen stuff.. it makes sense that when LL does the takedown, it happened the way it did.. suddenly things are missing… that’s the way it is and how it should be.

    Fourthly, which I think is my strongest objection… The way that LL went about the removal and also the failure to mention that they could and would do that kind of wipe of fraudulent goods. The way they went about it reminded me of the crooked warden from Shawshank Redemption. It’s like LL is saying “see, we told you about DCMA. We warned you all, now here are the consequences”

    All I feel that was needed was a firm and final warning that LL is going to begin impactful deletion (with “the cleansing” or some term from a sci-fi movie when the goverenment purges something).
    No one would be able to prepare persay… but LL giving the notice that various creator’s items will be removing soon. I’m not saying I expect LL to warn us or give us knowledge of anything, but when they act the way they did, it smells of tyrany and irrational quick-decision thinking.
    I think the way that LL showed they went about this takedown is a very odd message… it’s saying “yes, we follow the rules. We follow them in the way some deranged warden follows the rules at Shawshank”

  2. I just thought of a great scene from Shawshank Redemption actually that relates:

    andy: can’t I at least get a hearing?
    warden: now now andy, let this idea go.
    andy: how can you be so obtuse?
    warden: what did you call me?!
    andy: obtuse…
    warden: OFFICERS! Get in here! Give andy THE HOLE! A MONTH!

  3. Now that LL has backed down on the takedown (which appears to have selectively deleted open source scripts and left some infringing animations in place) what do you have to say about it?

  4. Hi Peter – My reaction is right here.

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