Content Theft; a Plea

I’m a bit somber today and have a lot on my mind.  Over the past couple of weeks a good friend of mine has had to combat  thieves on more than one occasion stealing his hard work, and his designs, making copies of them with copybot or whatever they decided to use.  The latest has his buildings set out as free to copy, and no I’m not going to name the sim… but I walked the area looking to see if anything of mine was there while talking to him.

This is at least the third sim that I’ve run across with this type of thing in the last week or so.  Role-play areas being built, set up, and then opened up with tons of stolen content as if somehow they are not going to be caught or the items recognized.  They even have rentals; market stalls trying to bring in the very creators they are stealing from to help support their sim!  It astounds me beyond all measure that folks really don’t think that it will be seen or is it that they -know- that it will be seen… they just don’t care.

I’m not angry, not outright… I know there are a lot of people who think this is just a game.  I know there are a lot of people who will get whatever they can from others without giving anything back.  I know that people see the price tag on a build and try to find ways to cheat the system.

But knowing it, and seeing it over and over kind of takes something from you.  I’m not angry… I’m very sad, and frustrated.  I keep hearing how freebies are killing our markets but at least freebies… honest to goodness decent freebies are someones creation, someone’s work.  It isn’t like there isn’t a whole lot of really good things to use on a tight budget but it takes some effort.  I am instead watching over the course of a couple of weeks the disheartening wearing down of a creator who I think is very talented.  I love what is put out and look forward to seeing where they will go with things…. but I’m watching him lose that spark.  The spark that I used to see coming from him when he talked about a new build, or a new creation being replaced by a bitter outlook along with the feeling that sooner or later… what’s the point.  To be a creator you have to have a certain level of creativity but also a desire to put yourself out there.  To extend yourself and let other people see into you a little bit.  At least some of us do.

I’m watching that spark die in someone and it saddens me more than I can get across to all of you.  This is the real casualty in content theft.  The money and all… you hate to lose it, you hate to feel robbed but the thing that tears at me the most is seeing a part of someone I care for die slowly and not be able to do a damn thing about it.

It might just be prims.

But there’s a hell of a lot more to it than that.

In my frustration I know that those who understand what I’m saying would be the last ones to take that from us… I know that the people who need to understand it never will.  I feel quite powerless at the moment and rather disheartened myself.

I started typing a plea… to think about what you might be doing to someone elses SL experience before doing something like this but I know that those people don’t care and only worry about their own.  To spend hours or days on creations, working on things, trying to come up with new things, trying to come up with exciting ways to get them out there… so other people can enjoy themselves… these are things that I found exciting and is what made my SL enjoyable.

But you begin to question why….  I don’t want the spark that I have to die.  I am trying to jealously guard it and keep it safe.

Copiers need to be held accountable.  Thieves need to be held responsible.



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?