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.

DMCA crackdown in Second Life (FINALLY?)

I’m not fully up-to-speed on this issue, but I’ve seen a couple blog posts that refer to a mass deletion from the Second Life database of presumedly pirated intellectual content…

Again, I don’t know anything about this…but it appears that yet another change in corporate philosophy is coming from Linden Lab.  And this change has been a long-time coming.

I hope I didn’t buy anything pirated!  Sounds like inventory items are getting pulled with no warning.

Has anyone had their items deleted by Linden Lab?  Did you get any notice?

Random thoughts on a Sunday NetVibes scan…

  • I probably ought to read The Making of Second Life, but I’m not sure I can stomach another fanboy piece. We get enough of that on some of the more “popular” SL blogs.
  • The Lindens released a “clarification” (my term, not theirs) on their new trademark lockdown rules. Within 24 hours, a wildcat user group called DiSSENTiON released this video warning to Linden Lab, calling them out on their bass-ackwards trademark stance as well as their intents to wall off the grid for corporate customers. Lest you think that these guys are jokers, they did some (un)healthy damage at the opening of the I-World sim. I wouldn’t mess with them, especially as they’re threatening to release the CopyBot to the public. Oh, wait, the Lindens don’t care about content theft
  • Charlot Dickins is one amazing SL sculptor. And she even made sculptie feet!
  • Hyper-interactive modern art garden? Ummm…..ok….
  • I’m not a woman, nor are any of my avatars, but they would shop at PixelDolls if they were. Consistently wonderful designs that appear to execute well in Second Life.
  • Speaking of consistency, the SL Fashion Diva blog is the place I go when I want to see fantastic SL photography, guaranteed. These ladies have made WindLight their own.
  • Lastly, a bit of a funny (At least I think it’s funny) – I was looking at blog traffic, and it seems that while the blog is called Second Arts and dedicated to Second Life-generated artwork, blog readership spikes whenever I write about something NOT related to Secodn Life art!  Sigh…

Linden Lab’s “stand” on intellectual property says…

it’s your responsibility.  Not theirs.

Now, if the Lindens put some vigorous enforcement into DMCA reports, we might be getting somewhere.  But to tell the userbase that it’s THEIR responsibility to inspect individual items before purchasing…well, that’s crap and we all know it.  Especially when one of the commenters on their blog post reframes the issue a little more strongly than me:

The words of this post are about as comforting as an unexpected notice from the IRS.

Nice feign there Lindens, but not enough.

YOU need to do your part on DMCA’s and follow the law as well by removing all instances of a stolen item, THIS INCLUDES THE DATABASE, not just in world copies which are easily stored on the alternate account of any individual who makes their money off of stolen content.

YOU need to boot the confirmed thieves instead of just slapping them on the wrist because you don’t want to lose their tier money.

YOU need to act more quickly when proper DMCA’s are filed, and work to prevent the individuals responsible from simply signing up another account and starting over again.

This is NOT about how the content creators haven’t been doing what they need to. Yes, the DMCA process is difficult to understand, but why bother spending the time to go through the process when Linden Lab will not enforce it as it is required to be enforced?

Content theft in Second Life is not out of control because the content creators aren’t being careful. It is out of control because Linden Lab allowed it to get out of control simply because the individuals stealing and reselling content were also paying tier.

Linden Lab is complicit in the theft of content by their inaction, and evidence would lead one to believe that the reason is because they were more interested in the tier payed by thieves than they were enforcing rules that might actually take a little effort to enforce.

Well said.  Delete the pirated content from the database once (if?) you determine it to be stolen.

Snarky side note: We Americans are used to the White House putting out news that is unfavorable to them on Friday afternoons when reporters are basically done working for the week.  Things like increased unemployment, deaths in Iraq, etc.  Am I out of line in thinking that Linden posted this item on a Friday afternoon for perhaps the same reason?

Linden hypocrisy re: intellectual property

From Miss Hera, posted on the JIRA:

“Linden Labs should”, unforturnately isn’t the same as ‘linden labs does”.
Look up the amount of resold stolen item and the percentage of items where linden labs removed the UUID after a DMCA.

I’ve got a nice collection of stolen skins  of which all still work and none have a removed UUID. I ask every supernewbie who wears an expensive brand skin but no other items, to give me a copy of the skin so I can see it is stolen.

So far I’ve got:
Dante – tanned and beard – UUID not removed Alina – 2 versions, UUID not removed
X2 male – UUID not removed
X2 female 2 versions – UUID not removed
FNKY skin – UUID not removed
Envision skin – UUID not removed

All full perms, and all still working. So what does this say about Linden Labs DMCA? They do not remove it.

And more news on the stolen skins front: secondlifes most well known self proven skin thief is back with a new store on the frontpage of the classifieds. He renamed his store to “ATENAS store”, but they still are affiliated with the “help brazil” group an the well known “rubnet olivier” is still the owner. Just so you know, this is the same store as the one previously called “SOUL”

Nice, Linden Lab.  Protect your own intellectual property, but leave your residents’ content exposed to theft and don’t give them the power to correct the measure.   Stay classy.

I complain because I love

Harper’s comment about the increasingly dour tone of this blog in recent weeks has had me reflecting on why I would be going in this direction. I think I’ve come up with a couple notions.

To preserve the visual integrity of this blog, I’ll put my extended thoughts after the fold. Read on…

Continue reading

How can honest creators win?

I was all ready to smack Hamlet Au around for his Linden-fanboy post, “If CopyBot Comes Back, Should Anyone Care?
But then I saw this comment by a reader named Zetaphor:

CopyBot 2.0 is here. CopyBot never left us, it simply went into hiding. CopyBot is nothing more than the export and import commands of TestClient, written by Eddy Stryker. As of today there are multiple CopyBot applications floating around the web, some free, others not. One of which is SLBot, on SLX. All this is was a copy of TestClient, with an interface wrapped around it. SLBot required registration as part of the purchase, because those idiots think selling free and open source software is fun. So then the Patriotic Nigras took a copy of SLBot, and decompiled it. They then released it on their blog as an executable, and the source over SVN. So yeah, CopyBot is alive and kicking, and this time he has a pretty interface.

Whether or not CopyBot is of any real importance is up to the individual, but at least now you know the facts.
/me flips the bird to those idiots who think selling free software is a good idea!

Information like this is so incredibly frustrating. Clearly, Linden Lab lost control of their Second Life system when they open sourced the viewer. The reverse engineers created OpenSim off of it. And now we’re learning that this evolved CopyBot is all over the grid. Did the Lindens let the genie out of the bottle? If they did, can they stop the damage? Is the reason that they are ignoring one of the most important issues on the JIRA not because they don’t want to fix it – but instead because there’s nothing they can do?

I’m no tech expert – not by any stretch of the imagination. But knowing what I know, I just can’t see a way that the current SL economy grows under these circumstances. And alternate virtual world platforms (at least any that are halfway decent, unlike The Sims or There) should be able to exploit this fundamental weakness in the grid with ease.

Sigh. Guess Second Life will be a haven for hobbyists.  I’ve never been a fan of the corporate takeover of SL, but I’ve enjoyed the creation of cottage industries for some very, very creative people.  How can that culture continue for the long haul?