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Emuna Zamani

Caught in the Middle

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(Based on the way you write, I am going to assume you are the person that contacted the OP. If that's an incorrect assumption, my apologies.)


Xavier Pomegranate wrote:

What happened was a thief was caught in the act and Linden Labs has already begun to take action against him. Because you were in the Thief's store VIP group, then it is safe to assume that you may have purchased his items at some point in the past.  The Second Life Merchants that this thief stole from have already filed DCMAs against him, and they are now keeping tabs on you and everybody else that was associated with the thief just to be sure that you are not selling stolen merchandise, knowingly or unknowingly.

Right now, you are as much of a victim as the merchants who had their intellectual property stolen from them. As for the Merchants that might be keeping an eye open for any products that you may be selling...... what would you prefer them to do? You had access to their stolen items, and now you may have the ability to resell those stolen items. And, if you did resell them, knowingly or unknowingly, you would also be in violation of the DCMA.

Keep in mind that if you were selling products that you spent many hours creating, and a thief had stolen your items and was reselling them with full permissions, these same Second Life Merchants would be checking up on everyone associated with that thief and letting you know if they found your products being sold without your permission.

Don't blame the Merchants, blame the thief.

I highlighted your last statement precisely because you are not heeding your own advice. The OP was every bit as much a victim as the animators that claim their creations were stolen. The message the OP received, and the overall tenor of your post above blames her as though she was a willing party to the theft. She had NO idea the animations were in contention. In fact there is no way for anyone to tell. And yet you insist on using language against her that insinuates she was a willing participant. Clearly she was not.

The animator who claims original ownership of the supposedly stolen animations has the option to contact the OP if they suspect she may be selling stolen creations and advise her of the DMCA action in progress. But NEVER should the tone be one of accusation or complicity. On the contrary, the whole thrust of this has been assigning guilt to the OP as though she knew and continued to sell her creations anyway. Furthermore the OP has no responsibility to do anything different. She is not able to judge the validity of a claim against the person she purchased the animations from; that is LL's job. So by all rights she can continue to sell her creations including the animations she purchased .. and dump the warning in the trash. (She most clearly would not have done that, but she still would be within her rights to do so.)

FWIW: If at some point in time Linden lab decides the DMCA has merit and takes action .. THAT is the only action that can and should be taken. At that time they will reach into the inventories of EVERYONE in possession of a "stolen" animation and remove it, replacing it with a marker that gives clear indication of what has happened. Before then, no one can or should change their behavior in any way shape or form. The person the OP bought the animations from MAY VERY WELL be totally innocent. The accusations thrown at the OP are abusive, wrong and presume guilt where none could even possibly be found.

If you are the person that sent the OP that initial message, you disgust me. And I do not use that word lightly. You have behaved in an irresponsible and improper manner, and at the very least owe the OP an apology. Had you taken the PROPER approach and contacted her to advise her that her purchase may actually be stolen content, that would have been proper. But you don't have a place to throw accusations at anyone.

(And again, if you are not the person that sent the OP that initial message, then my apologies. However if you would make sure the true sender reads my reply here, I would appreciate it.)

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I do believe that some people forget that there are very few, and I mean very few, business checks and balances in sl.  You are acting outside the realm of the real business world - there are no licensing requirements, few legal guidelines, no consumer protection, etc etc.  The only legalities that apply are those that apply to the internet. One of those is content theft & the DMCA procedure.  This is a legality they must comply with and like any buisness, will do whatever is required to do so ... and  no more.  

If you want an analogy of doing business in SL, you are putting your eggs all in LL's basket & are relying on them 100% for your survival.   No LL - no sl - no business.  Meanwhile, LL is a platform that includes a mickey mouse economy as part of it's environment.  But this is not a real economy.  A real economy is driven by people who NEED to work to live. The majority of SL residents spend little and take much.  This is just one aspect of a functioning economy and not having that bit is like carrying water in a bucket full of holes.  It takes a lot of work, you have to do it fast, and when you get from A to B, there is very little water left in the bucket.

This should be taken into consideration when deciding just how serious any business venture in sl should be.  JMO.

 Edited to Add:  this is not in direct response to your post but a comment on the subject in general.

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I am indeed the one that sent the OP a message saying that she likely had purchased stolen items and that she should be aware that other merchant groups are now keeping an eye on anything that she might be selling. Why? Because it is true. I am not trying to come across like a jerk, but when you spend thousands of hours creating animations to sell and then some thief comes along and takes it all and sells it for practically nothing, one would think that you would be pretty upset too.

I never accused the original poster of doing anything wrong, but I did make it clear that as a result of the thief, she was now under scrutiny and she should stop reselling any items using anything urchased from the particular thief. Should she be worried? No. As long as she is not selling anything with stuff she bought from the thief then she has no reason to worry. But, if she has, then there is likely to be some mess that would need to be cleared up. And, if she has and continues to do so, then she is placing herself in the path of DCMA filings and possible lawsuits.

If it was the original poster's property that was stolen I am sure she would want to know everyone that had access to it so that she could let everybody know and inform them that, if they use/resell that property, there could be legal ramifications. That is what merchant protection groups do. They make sure everybody is staying legitimate. She admits to have purchasing stolen intellectual property, now she has an obligation to make sure she handles it properly. She should file abuse reports on the Thief and try to get her money back. She can be mad at me all she wants, but I do understand that she is also a victim. I was just making sure she knew what happened and giving her notice that there could be ramifications if she kept selling any thing tied to the thief.

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Yes, the ramifications are that person A makes a claim against person B and LL takes em down until it is all sorted out.  This is the most effective way for them to do this as a business.  There are no protections for person B should they be innocent. This is wonderful for the guilty but in the real business world would be used as a tool against competition (sound familiar) & put them out of business in an instant.

Not the best method but then LL is not in the business of policing it's residents...it's up to them to do that.

The bottom line is that we can argue all day long on what is right, what should be done, but the truth is that there are going to be losers because there is nothing in place to assure an honest proper outcome for all involved.  There are going to be innocent people getting the shaft regardless.

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Xavier Pomegranate wrote:

I never accused the original poster of doing anything wrong, but I did make it clear that as a result of the thief, she was now under scrutiny and she should stop reselling any items using anything urchased from the particular thief. Should she be worried? No. As long as she is not selling anything with stuff she bought from the thief then she has no reason to worry. But, if she has, then there is likely to be some mess that would need to be cleared up. And, if she has and continues to do so, then she is placing herself in the path of DCMA filings and possible lawsuits.

Please clarify.   Clearly if she has bought anything from him that shows you as the creator when she inspects it, she shouldn't be using it.   But why do you say she should not be using anything that is clearly made by the person from whom she bought it?

Surely if what you say is true, the Merchants' Group should have no difficulty whatsoever in providing her with a list of animations they say are stolen, along with the names of the relevant creators, since the group's members must already have compiled this information for LL.   

Why not send it to her, since it must be available?

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When a thief steals a virtual item via "copybot" program, the thief becomes the creator of the copied item. The copy is an illegal duplication regardless of who it says created it.

It is usually difficult to know exactly when an item has been copybotted/stolen. But, in the case of animations it is pretty easy to tell when you play the original animation next to the copy. The timing and degrees of movement for the body parts will be exactly the same for the duration of the animation. It is almost statistically impossible for two animations made by two different people to be exactly the same. I know the animations that the thief was selling were mine. His upload dates were later than mine, and the knucklehead didn't even bother to change the names.

If you are worried that you may be about to purchase stolen items then consider the following: The Second Life age of the avatar that you are buying from. The size of the store you are buying from. The price of the item. (If its too good to be true then it is probably stolen material.)

EVERY ANIMATION SHE PURCHASED FROM THE THIEF WAS STOLEN. He created none of them. NONE. He used a copybot program to steal them and in doing so his name appears as the creator, but they are ALL stolen intellectual property from other animators.

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You are mistaken.  When a thief steals an object by using a copybot program, the new object, to be sure, shows as being created by whoever made the prims from which the new object is built.

Since, though, we are not discussing objects, but animations, that is not very relevant.

As you will know, being an animator yourself, you can't even download your own animations back to your PC to edit and re-upload them, let alone download someone else's.   I'm a scripter rather than an animator, but I work closely with one particular animator, and have done for over 4 years now, and I do know a bit about the business.   I also keep any eye on what ripper viewers are supposedly capable of doing, and I've yet to see any of them claim (let alone substantiate such a  claim) that they can make transferrable copies of stolen anims which show the thief as the creator.

You said in an earlier post that someone else had successfully filed a DMCA take-down notice.  I would be very interested to know, if you can persuade this person to contribute to the thread, who showed as the creator of the animations he or she successfully complained about.

You say that you've filed a DMCA takedown notice on which LL have yet to act.   It may well be that the person against whom you've made the complaint has denied it, affirming (under penalty of perjury) that he is, in fact, the creator.   In that case, you will have to ask the courts to resolve the matter.   As it is, you seem to be ignoring LL's own procedures and the law of the US, preferring to take the law into your own hands.

 

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Well, I can tell you for sure that, with the items this thief is selling, the thief is showing up as the creator of animations that I made and uploaded years ago. They are exact duplicates. So, it is obvious to me that these thieves can indeed make themselves the creator of products that they stole.

I can take you over to my store and drop out an item from this thief and then play my animations for you right next to his and you will see that they are the same. The only difference being that the thief is listed as the creator for "his" and my upload dates are way earlier than his. (Because mine are the originals.) This thief is even over in Inworlds doing the same exact thing with my animation products and the products of other animators.

If you would like to discuss the particular DCMA that already got some items black-listed then head over to Silva's Animations. (I don't know her entire SL name.) All I can tell you for sure is that somehow this thief was listed as the creator of my animations...and I am pretty sure you will discover the same was true for Silva.

As for the "taking the law into my own hands" remark, I simply notified original poster that she had been dealing with a thief and now other SL merchants would be making sure she was not selling any stolen products, knowingly or unknowingly. Don't blame me, blame the thief.

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Xavier Pomegranate wrote:

If you would like to discuss the particular DCMA that already got some items black-listed then head over to Silva's Animations. (I don't know her entire SL name.) All I can tell you for sure is that somehow this thief was listed as the creator of my animations...and I am pretty sure you will discover the same was true for Silva.

There doesn't seem to be any "Silva's Animations" listed in search or in the marketplace, so I can't.   Are you possibly thinking of the well-known animator Sylva Petrov, who runs Sylva's Animation Factory?   I know she's constantly fighting a  game of whack-a-mole with ripped animations because she sells copy-transfer animations to approved builders, so it's inevitable that some get into the wrong hands and sold contrary to the licence (though retaining her name as creator, of course).

I have to say I find it rather odd that you are so well-informed about "Silva's" DMCA but aren't even sure about her name.  Is she not a member of this group of yours who you say are keeping an eye on this chap?   If she isn't, why is that?

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OMG. Yes, her name is Sylva Petrov. I do not have any direct contact with her, but I do have a notecard containing the response that she received from Linden Labs regarding her DCMA filing against the particular thief that started this whole mess. I only know of Sylva through the owner of Xclusives Animations. I am a member of the Merchant Protection Alliance group, the Pro Builder Group, and a few other Merchant Groups that keep me informed of copybotters and thieves. As it turns out I think Silva is also in the Pro Builder Group.

Is there anything else you might be curious about? Would you like to add me as a friend on Skype so I can tell you all about the situation? Or do you want to just sit there and continue to doubt me. I have all the evidence I need against this particular thief. The problem is that Linden Labs does nothing proactively, they must be poked and prodded to take action. I have no tolerance for theives and I will continue to share information with "watch-dog" groups to ensure that theives are dealt with accordingly. I would think that most SL merchants would be grateful that there are people out there trying to protect the things they make to sell.

It boils down to this. If I catch somebody selling or reselling animations that I have spend hours and hours to make then I will do everything in my power to inform everyone of the violation. I would do the same for you too if I discovered your items had been stolen and were being resold. But, I guess that makes me the bad guy, huh?

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Xavier Pomegranate wrote:

I am indeed the one that sent the OP a message saying that she likely had purchased stolen items and that she should be aware that other merchant groups are now
keeping an eye on anything that she might be selling
. Why? Because it is true. I am not trying to come across like a jerk, but when you spend thousands of hours creating animations to sell and then some thief comes along and takes it all and sells it for practically nothing, one would think that you would be pretty upset too.

I
never accused the original poster of doing anything wrong
, but I did make it clear that as a result of the thief, she was
now under scrutiny
and she should stop reselling any items using anything urchased from the particular thief. Should she be worried? No. As long as she is not selling anything with stuff she bought from the thief then she has no reason to worry. But, if she has, then there is likely to be some mess that would need to be cleared up. And, if she has and continues to do so, then she is placing herself in the
path of DCMA filings and possible lawsuits
.

If it was the original poster's property that was stolen I am sure she would want to know everyone that had access to it so that she could let everybody know and inform them that, if they use/resell that property,
there could be legal ramifications
. That is what merchant protection groups do. They make sure everybody is staying legitimate. She admits to have purchasing stolen intellectual property, now she has an obligation to make sure she handles it properly. She should file abuse reports on the Thief and try to get her money back. She can be mad at me all she wants, but I do understand that she is also a victim. I was just making sure she knew what happened and giving her notice that there could be ramifications if she kept selling any thing tied to the thief.

If you do not wish to come off as a jerk, then stop acting like a jerk. The phrases I boldfaced are especially rife with "jerkiness". Keeping an eye, under scrutiny, possible lawsuits .. it's all overwraught emotional BS that makes you out to be a jerk.

Your statement that you "never accused the original poster of doing anything wrong" is patently false. Why else would you put her under scrutiny, keep an eye on her and state that she might be subject to possible lawsuits? Those statements absolutely scream "THIEF" .. and you have used them repeatedly, without stopping to think how they make the OP feel.

You ask that she consider how you feel. Well put that shoe on your foot for a minute Xavier. Stop to think how you would feel knowing that your every move, your every sale, every person that comes into your shop or chooses to purchase your goods is suddenly suspect. How does that make you feel?

What you have done is leapt to the conclusion that she is just as much a crook as the person you claim stole your animations. You never gave her a chance to give ANY indication what she might or might not do. You simply ASSUMED she would run off selling what you claim is your stuff .. and placed her on a watch list. Next you post here reminding her that she is under scrutiny .. and generally abusing her in a very disgusting manner.

You are neither law enforcement, LL Legal Counsel .. nor even proven to be right. So far you only CLAIM that what the OP purchased MIGHT have been one of the animations stolen from you. You have no proof, you don't even know what she purchased, and yet you INSIST on treating her like a horrible criminal.

Before you start judging anyone else Xavier, before you start demanding that people respect your rights and your creations, you would do very well to turn that spotlight on yourself and make sure you are above reproach first. From what I'm seeing, reading and understanding so far .. you're the dirty one here .. and TBH if anything comes of this, I'm hoping you get banned or removed from SL. We do NOT need more strong-arm bullies throwing their weight and abusive harassment around here.

When you PROVE that the animations the OP purchased are actually yours, and when you PROVE that to the satisfaction of LL, THEN action will be taken by LL according to the requirements of the DMCA. But anything .. and I mean ANYTHING .. else that you do is outside the bounds of good faith, legal activity and overall decency.

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As I have stated earlier, several times in fact , the original poster has nothing to worry about, provied she does not resell anything that she obtained through the thief.  Call me a jerk all you want. The original poster admits to having purchased from the specific thief. This thief was selling MY animations with full permissions. The original poster HAS NO RIGHT to use MY animations in ANY of her products, and she has been notified of that. Silva can verify that this perpetrator is indeed a thief. The original poster has been duly notified by me that she is in possession of my stolen intellectual property and what she does with that information from here is up to her. I can only hope that she is honorable about the situation. I can present her with all of the evidence to get her to believe me, but while I wait for Linden Labs to remove all of my stolen property from the grid, I am losing sales while the thief continues to profit.

Why would I put her under scrutiny? For all I know she could have purchased the stolen material knowing that it was stolen in a deleberate effort to avoid paying the full price. For all I know she could make a habbit of it. The original poster purchased animations from a known thief that had stolen products from several different animators. All of those animators have the right to know that the original poster may have ended up with their stolen animations so that they can check her products to ensure that no DCMA violation has occured. Don't like it? Too bad. If it was your product that was stolen you may be singing a different tune. The original poster has nothing to worry about if she is not reselling anything she got from the thief's store, and she has been notified of that fact.

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Just a minute, Xavier.

Other than the fact you keep on saying so, what proof is there that anyone has stolen your animations, let alone that anyone has bought an animation stolen from you?

LL's actions are wholly consistent with their not believing a word of your tale.   I'm not saying that's the only explanation for their inaction, but you must admit that it's one possible inference.

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See, its exactly that kind of attitude that makes it so difficult. The original poster already admitted to buying items from the thief's store. If you really want me to show you I am fully capable if you really want to come in world and spend a half hour with me. Otherwise, you are forced to take me at my word. And, if you also purchased from this thief and do not take me at my word and continue to sell stolen intellectual property you can rest assured that you will also eventually  have DCMA's filed against you.

You really want to me to prove it to you, come look me up and I will show you his animations next to my animations as well as the notecard with Linden Labs response to Silva Petrov's DCMA filing against this specific thief. (Forget about the fact that my avatar is over 5 years old while the thief is less than one year, or the fact that my store is 2 sims big and the thief's store is GONE.) What will it take to get you to believe me, a written confession from the thief?

And since when have you known Linden Labs to do anything in a hurry? Now I know what it feels like to be a rape victim that nobody believes.

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Xavier Pomegranate wrote:

 

If you end up selling stolen items then you are just as much subject to DCMA filings and lawsuits as the original thief. I was just giving her fair notice that other Merchants are watching just to be sure she is staying legitimate.

To me this sounds very close to a threat.  I can appreciate your frustration, Xavier, but perhaps the communication could have been better worded.

 

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The OP said she bought some items in good faith from someone's shop.

You say this person is a thief.   Possibly he is, but you have failed to persuade LL of that, as yet.   Now you're offering to show me animations you say he's stolen from you, but why are you so concerned to convince me?    

What you should be doing, to my mind, is saying to the OP, "Here's the animations I say have been stolen and which I say I can prove have been stolen.  If you happen to have bought them from this chap's shop, then you should be aware that, if LL accept my assertions, they will doubtless be subject to removal".    That's the way to do things, to my mind, not issue general threats.

 

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I am going to send you the notecard with Linden Labs response to the DCMA filed by Silva against this specific thief. You will see the products of the thief's that have been blacklisted and removed. Those products contain the initials of the thief's store at the beginnings of each black-listed item. (But, something still makes me believe that your next move will be to have accused me of typing the notecard myself because you have no way to directly prove that I didn't.)

And, had you been reading my posts carefully, you would have read that Silva Petrov, a fellow animator, has already proven this person to be a thief and therefore it is only a matter of time before the stolen property of mine gets dealt with by Linden Labs in a similar fassion. This does not mean that I am not suffering damages in the meantime while I wait.

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I'm sorry, but I don't see how the fact someone has stolen animations from Sylva Petrov necessarily means he's stolen them from anyone else.    The fact he's stolen from her doesn't necessarily mean he's stolen from my business partner, so why does it mean he's stolen them from you?    

My response is to contrast LL's actions in removing animations that have actually been stolen with their failure, as yet, to remove animations you say have been stolen from you.     I also, come to think of it, contrast the professional and dignified manner in which she handles such matters (which, indeed, is how I know several animators whose work is regularly ripped handle it) with the way you've tried to threaten and bully innocent third parties, caught up in this unawares.    

All this notecard proves is that the only animations we know for sure have been stolen cannot possibly be the ones the OP bought, since those have been removed. 

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Are you really that Naive? I have offered to prove it to you, but all you do is sit there an try to cast doubt on my claims. Find me when you log in and I will happily shove all of the evidence in your face. And, when I am done, if you still don't believe me then you can feel free to continue to cast doubt on my claims in this venue. But, until you decide to do some REAL investigating regarding my claims you are doing nothing more than stirring the pot and defending the thief in the process.

Two houses right next to each other get robbed. One family comes home a few hours later and call the police. The other family does not get home for a few days and then calls the police. Tell me, do the police have any reason to believe that the second house did not get robbed at all just because the second family called later? Maybe the police should accuse the second family of lying because maybe they could claim losses on their home insurance.

I got robbed. I found out after Silva did. I am telling you the thief has my animations in his products. WHAT ABOUT MY CLAIM IS NOT BELIEVABLE?

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

As you will know, being an animator yourself, you can't even download your own animations back to your PC to edit and re-upload them, let alone download someone else's.   I'm a scripter rather than an animator, but I work closely with one particular animator, and have done for over 4 years now, and I do know a bit about the business.   I also keep any eye on what ripper viewers are supposedly capable of doing, and I've yet to see any of them claim (let alone substantiate such a  claim) that they can make transferrable copies of stolen anims which show the thief as the creator.

I tested this today, and can confirm that it is still quite possible to extract and re-upload animation assets, using the standard LL viewer plus public documentation.

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How on earth do you expect to persuade me that the OP bought stolen animations when you don't know what she bought?    

In any case, I'm not the person you need to persuade, because I am not the person you're asking to write off a not inconsiderable amount of money she's spent in good faith and against whom you're making what seem to her (and, indeed, to me) veiled threats if she doesn't comply with your demands.    It's the OP you need to convince, not me.

 

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

Heavens.  I didn't realise that, Cerise.  I was mistaken, then.  That's very concerning.

Agreed, very concerning. At least Scripts are still protected to a greater degree. (touch wood) So far no one has downloaded and "Busted" my "Script Buster" test object. TBH I kinda live in fear that one day I'll open my email and find the Secret Phrase. When that day does come, as I'm leaving the building and turning out the lights, I'll make sure to post one more "HOLY MOLEY" blog .. just to let y'all know why I've decided to go back to real Reality. (If it will still have me. LOL)

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Xavier,

I have just determined that at one point in time, you downloaded an image from someone else's website and used it in an email to a friend of yours. Since you've demonstrated your willingness to steal copyrighted artwork from others, I have decided to place you on a "Watch List" and will now be "Supervising" your every move in Second Life. Anything you sell, any images you use, and anyone that buys anything from you will be subject to complete examination .. and most likely threatened as being a blatant Thief because they bought something from you .. and after all you ARE known to steal copyrighted property from others.

I'm very disappointed that you would stoop so low as to steal stuff from others, especially since you find it so distasteful when you think others might have stolen from you. But since you did take that image, and then further compounded that illegal action, it's obvious to me that anyone buying from you is equally dishonest.

Also note that I'm just liable to seek legal redress from you because I think you may have at some point in time possibly stolen something from someone else .. and even though I can't prove you stole from me, that doesn't really matter, does it?

(Okay, now that I've spun this fanciful story with you as the "Bad Guy", do you begin to understand how positively preposterous your position is? Or are you still going to insist that the OP deserves your continued threats just because she happened to buy something from someone that you suspect may have stolen from you?)

[NOTE: The above message is FICTION and is not based in reality. I have posted it only to try and prove a point. No actual illegal acts can be proven against Xavier .. I just used this to help him see what he is really saying.]

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I feel sorry for you and well understand your frustration. I have one IP complaint having been processed since 28 Sept and 5 others too. Hope they will be processed asap.

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