Kraken are the new vampires.
Van Gogh strikes again--in starry starry cake.
Copyright infringement at the highest levels. While I still say the iconic poster, as drawn from the original image (which yes, seems clearly not the image that Fairey claimed originally), is transformative and may fall under fair use principles, the AP is stroppy over Fairey's outright lying to them in the earlier lawsuit, and lying about which image--taken by AP photographer Mannie Garcia, as it turns out--he in fact used.
And this is just ridiculous. Because Zindra worked sooooo well to enhance the "predictable user experience". I offer this translation: "Based on how Zindra killed the adult economy on SL, we're going to use those same principles in developing content protection tools, thereby killing the entire economy on SL. You can thank us later."
Interesting couple of things happened today. One, Miss Elegia Underwood announced in Caledon that there was a seminar on copyright infringement and intellectual property rights given by Kay Alderton in Wind River Territory. I decided I could take time out from frock tailoring and go sit and listen. I figured most of it I'd know, but I might learn something new along the way.
Most of what I heard I already knew, but I started applying it to what I knew of the grid. She began in very clear, absolutely unequivocal ways: if you do not know, for a surety, where your textures come from (or create them yourself); where your designs, skin and outfits come from (or buy a template you know that someone created, not hacked); where your scripts and sculpts come from (either self-created or created with a clear ToS license)--then you are violating copyright.
Think about this.
* Free textures: where do they come from? If you don't know, violation.
* Free sculpts: where do they come from? If you don't know, violation.
* Free scripts: where do they come from? If there isn't attribution, violation.
* Free skirt templates: sculpted or flexi, just like hair, where do they come from? If you don't know, violation.
Have you ever made something that reproduced any band logo, any book cover, any poster, any painting, any costume, any RL fashion designers' work, any RL shoe designers' work, any furniture maker's work, any architect's work? If it's not original, she says copyright law holds it's infringing. "Inspired by" only works for items already in the public domain.
Superheroes? Movie monsters? Cartoon characters? Tim Burton films? Computer games? Anime characters? TV shows? Actors, authors, dancers?
Music? Do you play songs in world you don't have licensing to play? Do you use clips from television shows, movies, or recorded music you don't own rights to in gestures or in-world sounds?
Do you import stories, or whole books, on in-world notecards that are not in the public domain, or allowable through library services for libraries in world? Or do you read entire books not written by you or not in public domain on voice?
Do you download anything not licensed as royalty-free or open-source from the internet?
More than that, as the digital era progresses, the more we realize that any time we view anything on our computers, whether we download it or not, the mere act of viewing that content means we have made a copy. And it's making a copy with only as many flaws as the original has; we are duplicating. We are cloning the original, as many times as we view the original content.
It's daunting. It's staggering. It's monumental. And ignorance, Miss Alderton said, is no guarantee of protection.
Boiled down: if we don't legally purchase the software we use to create textures ourselves to cover created prims we've made ourselves containing scripts we've written ourselves and sounds we've made ourselves...unless we know clearly the sources of all content we've imported in...
As much as I support people making money, and artists being able to support themselves...there has to be another way.
And people wonder why I hand-paint eyes. Photorealistic? Hells, no. But mine start to finish? Yes.
Two, I found out about this video concerning the DMCA takedown order given AnimesFree. I find this especially relevant at the moment, because the speaker is absolutely accurate--with far less than 5% of the total American market devoted to anime and manga, any infringement takes on a huge relevance and can, in point of fact, be the difference between the studio artists and voice actors eating that month, or not. Or that particular animation studio staying open.
And, apart from sites that merely provide forums--which can, "wink-wink", include external links, skating the limits of responsible copyright protections--sites like AnimesFree blatantly discard any responsibility whatsoever. While they claimed they hosted no videos, and thus could aggressively claim innocence, they were seeking to hire people who could upload and manage lifted videos! These people, once put on staff, would be lifting the videos for them--how is that innocent in the least?
Finally, Boxed Heroes has pulled the majority of their stock. Their main room is empty; in fact, how I found out was one of my loves saying to me, "Emi, you've done bad..."
This was not my intent, but when I last spoke with one of the shop owners, he did say he planned to take the store in a new direction, more original work, which might lead to some very interesting avatars, with the talent behind BH already.
And, as previously stated, he did remove the kiosk, as he felt it had been misrepresented to him.
This, from the card Step Up! gives out in world:
What is content theft?
Content theft is when the work of a creator is stolen and either sold or even given away without the creator's agreement.
This is true, as far as it goes, but "content theft" is a misnomer in the extreme. It's more properly "copyright infringement"--something a maker has designed, that the maker retains intellectual property rights upon, that is not being distributed by the maker of the item. "Content theft" is catchy, but it's not accurate--the maker doesn't lose the item, the hacker just copies it--there's no "theft" involved.
Content could be anything in Second Life. It could be hair, clothes, skins, houses, furniture, transport. All of these have been stolen in Second Life. And much, much more.
Content theft hurts creators. It takes away the income and the credit that should be theirs.
It's accurate that "content" in SL covers "anything one can make in SL"--meaning skins, outfits, homes, furnishings, weather, rocks and trees, cars, sounds, songs, gestures--anything that can be dreamed up, than a maker can make: that is "content".
I'll also agree it hurts creators, but I don't necessarily agree on the second point. If someone has zero brand loyalty, and their prices are so absurdly high that, if attacked, people will not prefer the originals to going off and buying the hacked copies from someone else, then that business has technically failed anyway.
How'ver, if the maker has a good rapport with customers, good support from the grid and gets hacked, people will make a point of going to the source of the creations, so to speak, and buy things directly from the maker.
From another section of the card:
If the store claims to be selling goods by well-known content creators at fantastically cheap prices, with full permissions (to modify it, to copy it and to transfer it to someone else), then it may well be stolen.
If price seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Sometimes people genuinely don't know. It's on the tacky side, but I ran into a maker tonight who was offering a Wingless Emoto furry in her Midnight Mania. She had this impression that if she wasn't profiting from it--and, technically, she isn't, at least, not directly--then it wasn't copyright infringement. The avatar was given to her in a full-perm box; the avatar inside was full-perm; she received it over a year ago; where's the harm?
I tossed her a link on provisions in the DMCA and digital content law explanations, but I don't think she understood the point, at any time.
People do this continually on the grid. A maker has a freebie; they didn't make it; but it's full perm; why not use it? Outfits, clothing, vehicles, gestures--it's full perm, so it's okay to give away, right?
Wingless Emoto originally packaged up everything ever made into a full-perm box and set it out because of a disagreement over copyright, and there's at least one maker out there who's used the full-perm nature of these avatars to start her own fur avatar business. Which is copyright violation in a whole other direction, but that's neither here nor there.
Use the Edit menu to check. Right Click on the object for sale, and see if the creator's name matches the name associated with the product. It doesn't? This could be stolen!
Check to see if a shop is selling mixed styles that look to be made by more than one creator. Right-click on a couple of the products that seem wildly different. Do they have the same creator? It could be stolen!
Look at the creator's profile. Did they start Second Life last week - and yet they're already making fantastic clothes or skins or hair? That content could be stolen - using alts is a popular trick for the thieves!
These aren't bad tips, but they do tend to increase guild paranoia. If we're all running around self-policing, at the end of the day we can't say we had any fun, unless reporting avatars for purported violations is fun for us. In the end we're just tired, drained, and even more resigned. It is a big problem, but it's not pandemic yet. And Step Up!'s notecard seems to play it like it is.
What to do if you think something has been stolen
NEVER confront the thief yourself.
This is perhaps the truest bit in the entire notecard--save for that use of "thief". Remember, copyright infringers are copiers, first and foremost; think of it like Chinese knock-offs of popular products. They're not making original works, they're just recreating what's popular. Remember, you still have the original item in your inventory, so no "theft" can take place.
Content creators appreciate your support and your loyalty, but this will only put you at risk for being Abuse Reported and cause the thief to switch locations and accounts making him / her more difficult for the content creator to track. Creators need that time to investigate and gather information to file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
Because anyone can AR another resident, but only that particular creator can file a cease and desist order with the Labs, it is important to send off a notecard from wherever you happened to see the infringing content, and let the maker know. I'd say it's going to become as common as reading labels in RL stores: eventually, people who need to will do it, and the rest of the people won't bother.
If you think content in a location may be stolen, but you don't know where it originally came from, contact the CCA at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will investigate quietly.
I don't know how closely Step Up! is allied with the Content Creators' Association--from the membership list for both groups, I'd assume pretty closely. But I do see now where the owners of Boxed Heroes had no idea the group was trying to enforce copyright, grid-wide, and not just protest "content theft" on an individual basis.
It's still a difficult and tricky issue, and we are taking the very first steps in 'frontier law', so to speak--there will be damage done to both sides, and misunderstandings will race. Rumor, after all, travels on the fastest of wings, it always has. All we have is what we see, what we can do to affect change, what we can do to change ourselves.
But we can begin by properly identifying what the problems are. They're not "content theft". Though it's a very catchy phrase--and I and everyone else on the grid have used it--it's time to set that aside and see it for what it really is--copying the original, not lifting it and stealing it away.
(Does it really make the act of copyright infringement on the grid any easier to bear? No. But at least we--and the law--know what we're talking about when we talk about it. That, at least, is a step forward.)