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Shaodie Parx

Copyright Infringement Issues

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Am I the only merchant out there that is frustrated when they see someone making money off things like "spiderman tank-tops" when we know they don't own Spiderman? I am seeing this practice increase dramatically, I mean its always been there but now even some reputable stores that never did that kind of thing are using trademarked things in their creations.

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And the chances of that happening are pretty much zero. Then they have to monitor to make sure nobody else comes out with spiderman stuff. Meanwhile the honest merchants that dont do things like that are losing money to the ones that do. 

 

Its just overall frustrating and I'm happy to know that there are a few others out there that are frustrated by it as well. 

 

It would be nice if LL would do something about it though.

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They won't and as much as it can be annoying I guess I've had to learn that it doesn't really matter to me personally. it doesn't affect my bottom line and all it does is annoy me and what good does that do me? I actually had a huge issue awhile back when I noticed that someone had ripped a bunch of Skyrim statues, armor, etc straight from the game. I took such offence to it I guess because it's one of my all time favorite games. I'm even naming my baby after a character in that game (ya I'm that dorky). I even sent Bethesda, the maker of the game a message about it and heard nothing back. That's when I just figured eh...whatever, let them get ripped off. On the grand scale of things, I just don't think they care. The amount of money that is being made on those things probably isn't worth their legal fees so they could care less.

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Yah I see alot of stuff from left for dead 2 and other games as well. I think it just irks me most because I see alot of honest business owners struggle, but the ones that rip directly from another game or sell hello kitty and minnie mouse things make a descent living off it.

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Been wondering about this a very, very long time...

Why can`t LL use commen sense and remove these things automatically  unless that person can varify that they are a licenced content creator?

 

Guess i`m just stupid...

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(Devil's Advocate Time .. but keep in mind I don't consider it fair or right either.)

1. LL isn't doing anything to stop the sales of copyrighted material because there may very well be license agreements in place with some of the folks. If they DO police sales (MP only or both MP and In-World) and take action to disable/remove the items, they may very well remove rightfully licensed materials. That would cause a major kerfluffle.

2. LL doesn't have the support staff to handle those cases/complaints filed already. Adding additional workload isn't something they can pay for or fit into their existing work force.

3. (Conspiracy Angle) LL is either making money via commissions or sales via Alts on those items. The increase in sales we are seeing is because they've started ramping up those Alt and commission sales activities due to their current cash shortfall issues.

Of the three above, I'm placing my money on #2. However I think the reason we're seeing an uptick in sales of copyrighted materials is because of the "New Breed" of customer being attracted to SL. A large number of new sellers/users are of the "hit n git" generation that has grown up with their world stuffed to the top with branded merchandise. They see it everywhere and assume it's normal. Having never learned the laws regarding licensing of merchandise and trademarks/copyrights, they continue that practice into SL sales. Furthermore they are less "Residents" .. meaning they do not so much LIVE in Second Life .. and more "Users" .. meaning they just consume and don't really consider themselves as part of the community.

This feeds off my theory that as SL attracts more and more new-age customers, those that play 20 different games in a day and have no concept of Loyalty or participation, we will see more and more cases of "I'm just using it, I don't care about the rules."

It's basic Human Nature. Those things that we are not particularly invested in, we are more prone to abuse or use improperly. Those things in which we invest ourselves or have a measure of dedication to, we treat with respect and caring. It's the same reason you see people dump their fast food trash bags on the street; they only USE the streets but don't OWN them, so they have no particular interest in caring for them.

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

(Devil's Advocate Time .. but keep in mind I don't consider it fair or right either.)

1. LL isn't doing anything to stop the sales of copyrighted material because there may very well be license agreements in place with some of the folks. If they DO police sales (MP only or both MP and In-World) and take action to disable/remove the items, they may very well remove rightfully licensed materials. That would cause a major kerfluffle.

2. LL doesn't have the support staff to handle those cases/complaints filed already. Adding additional workload isn't something they can pay for or fit into their existing work force.

3. (Conspiracy Angle) LL is either making money via commissions or sales via Alts on those items. The increase in sales we are seeing is because they've started ramping up those Alt and commission sales activities due to their current cash shortfall issues.

Of the three above, I'm placing my money on #2. However I think the reason we're seeing an uptick in sales of copyrighted materials is because of the "New Breed" of customer being attracted to SL. A large number of new sellers/users are of the "hit n git" generation that has grown up with their world stuffed to the top with branded merchandise. They see it everywhere and assume it's normal. Having never learned the laws regarding licensing of merchandise and trademarks/copyrights, they continue that practice into SL sales. Furthermore they are less "Residents" .. meaning they do not so much LIVE in Second Life .. and more "Users" .. meaning they just consume and don't really consider themselves as part of the community.

This feeds off my theory that as SL attracts more and more new-age customers, those that play 20 different games in a day and have no concept of Loyalty or participation, we will see more and more cases of "I'm just using it, I don't care about the rules."

It's basic Human Nature. Those things that we are not particularly invested in, we are more prone to abuse or use improperly. Those things in which we invest ourselves or have a measure of dedication to, we treat with respect and caring. It's the same reason you see people dump their fast food trash bags on the street; they only USE the streets but don't OWN them, so they have no particular interest in caring for them.

One of the concerns expressed when DCMA was enacted is that if a company 'self-policed,' they could then open them selves up to liability and could actually put their safe harbor at risk.  How valid this is I don't know, but if I was a business, I wouldn't take the risk.

 

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I'm not sure if spiderman is from marvel or DC comics, but they say DC is quite tolerant of fan art. On the other hand Disney and Sanrio are very strictly policing.

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All very good points. LL does in fact make money on the sales from the marketplace because they take a small cut of every sale made. I would think that that fact alone would make them "accomplices" to the theft and be almost as liable as the seller. 

 

It's just overall frustrating and I needed to vent originally. I think that if LL would simply request a license verification from the merchant, and give them say a month to comply before they shut them down it could be done. record it in their records and maybe even a small spot on the marketplace that states they are an authorized reseller of ______.  As far as resources go that would take very minimal resources. 

 

Fan art and making a living off something that doesnt belong to you are vastly different things. I write fanfiction for a certain book series and the authors very cool with people doing that unless they are selling what they write, then it gets into a sticky spot. 

And marvel owns spiderman :) Just sayin <3

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I know that several large-ish companies are very active in finding and having removed those items that infringe on their trademarks. DC Comics and Disney are two very prominent examples. But I wonder if a seller in Second Life could go about it using either one of the two following approaches to help either minimize the chances they'll be the subject of a DMCA Takedown or perhaps just receive a notice from the Trademark Holder.

1. Go the route of attempting to contact the licensing departments of the companies involved. While I'm not familiar with the exact specifics in dealing with companies like DC Comics and Disney, I suspect they have boilerplate agreements and standard arrangements that a smaller seller/manufacturer could take advantage of. However, it's also just as likely that they do not have any interest in entering into an agreement with sellers with less than a certain number of sales and amount of income for them. After all, it takes money for them to create the documents, administer the sales and collection activities, etc. So unless they're going to make a fair size income, they probably would just say 'No' without even a moment's consideration. (Does anyone have any experience trying to contact companies like those with the intent to license their trademarks on a small and varying quantity basis?)

2. Take extra measures to state very clearly that the seller is not the trademark owner and then state very clearly who is, where their outlets and other income earning properties are located .. in essence using your items as leads to guide customers to places where the Trademark Owners can make further sales and income. Basically the idea is that if you help funnel visitors and income toward them, they may decide to go easy on you .. and perhaps give you a "Pass" just because you're at least trying to help them protect their trademarks and earn income from them. I seriously doubt any of these companies would really do such a thing, as it sets a precedent that could be used by large illegal operations to get off on a technicality, but it's something that I've wondered about for a while.

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Ry0ta Exonar wrote:

I'm not sure if spiderman is from marvel or DC comics, but they say DC is quite tolerant of fan art. On the other hand Disney and Sanrio are very strictly policing.

And you know I can understand that, i see lots of fanart all over Deviantart too. But to rip the mesh models straight from the game...that's not fan art.

 

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This can be very frustrating, but as it's been pointed out in this thread, there's no easy way around it.

 

But yeah, specially now with the introduction of Mesh into SL, I see it all the time when people take models from other games and sources they obviously don't have permission from, and upload it into SL and sell as their creations. Very irritating for those of us who put time and effort into making original content!

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At the risk of being banned from this board for commenting on this particular topic again, let me just state that copywrite infringement and theft are not legally the same thing. Two different animals. One is a big animal, and the other is a small one. ;-)

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