Pirated Animations and Content Theft

There’s been a lot of frustration in Second Life from content creators… from texture artists, to animators, to builders, to scripters… everyone has felt the squeeze and frustration that comes from hard work being ripped off by someone else.  Copybots, illegally selling or giving away textures and animations… all sorts of things.  It’s always been around.  Seriously the first time I was really faced with some of these issues was within the first 6 months of being in SL over two years ago. 

I was sort of new, wanting to create and bought a splash animation.  You know… kicked back in the water where your arm swept around splashing.  You see it a lot, it’s pretty common.  I had gotten it from a yard sale for like 50L.  I thought it was a great deal, it was no mod though… and I was really new, didn’t know much about things at the time… so I contacted the animator (which most people know this guy.. Craig Altman, awesome stuff… love the slow dances at Bits and Bobs, not to mention some of the other ones!) to talk about it.  We chatted for quite awhile.  He asked me to send him a copy and when he replied he told me I had basically gotten an illegal copy, he also told me how frustrating it was for him… and he told me about another lady, Nytemyst Grace, who basically was having even more problems.  How her business was really really being effected because most of her poses were full permission while he only kept a few that way.  I remember this conversation with a great bit of clarity, I also recall that even though the copy of the animation I had was illegal… Craig gave me a full permission modifiable version and he didn’t ask for me to pay for it.  He just handed it to me, said he wished people wouldn’t resell his stuff without his authorization and was going to end it there.

You know even then I was floored because… really… his stuff was being ripped off, people were abusing the rights that he gave them with it, and still he gave me a copy to fix the problem I was having.  I hadn’t even bought it from him.

I sent him the money for it right then.  At the time it seemed like a lot, and now it doesn’t so much.  1000L, not really much at all for an animation… maybe it wasn’t much but I told him how I appreciated the work he put in and that it was the least that I could do.  Also said that I understood that without him or people like him willing to put themselves out there at risk of having their things abused then people like me, who couldn’t animate themselves if they tried, would be royally screwed over.

This place is a community, we work together… whether we wish to or not we pool our resources, knowledge, and ideas to try to better each others work and fantasies.  I bristle whenever I see in a few of the learning groups people asking for animations to just be passed out… or textures.  “hey does anyone have a float animation…” or whatever else they are begging for and then the inevitable parade of people all asking for free copies of someone elses hard work.

There is a list of animations right now that is going around, most of them are basically free now because a few people sold them full permission without the right or authority to do so.  I know I have some of them, I don’t really use them.  I joined the groups for Nytemyst’s animations so if I wanted one I could go pick em up (and really she sells them for hardly anything… why not) and I pick up things when I can at different stores where I have been given the privilege to buy and then sell in my creations.  It isn’t easy, I wish I could spend all the money I wanted to get all of them at once so I don’t have to worry about them being gone tomorrow since things change so quickly in SL but I can’t.

There’s a designer who has turned off their vendors because of the content theft.  Going to everyone’s stores in their group looking for people who may be selling pirated animations or thieves.  Sadly I’m sitting there scared that I will be tossed from their group because I actually went to Bits and Bobs, bought most of those couples sets that are now on the pirated lists and the sit poses… and due to the few people who decided to be idiots I wonder if I will be painted with the same broad strokes as those people, kicked out of the group and unable to continue purchasing what I really work hard to get.

It’s sad… it bothers me a lot.  I wish there was more that I could do besides a few posters in my place, and not breaking the TOS for them.  I know that it is not easy to make it in SL, and I know that people will take short cuts because it is so competitive… so difficult to get ahead.  I just hope that in the process the people who try to stay legitimate don’t end up getting caught in the crossfire along with them while creators protect their work.

How can I tell pirated animations? <this post has a small list of animations that are going around… most of them CAN be purchased legally if you go to places like Bits and Bobs or Nytemyst Isle.  Please support Content Creators in Second Life!

Animations: Which are public domain, which are not?

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