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Is oblivious/indifferent author a valid excuse to sell stolen content for profit? (Flagging policy)


Runk Scientist
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Sure I get it that only the original creator of the stolen content can take any real legal actions, but why can't a regular "civic detective" even give a hint about clearly suspicious content?

Whenever I browse the Marketplace, there is always quite a high risk of bumping into content blatantly ripped from video games and such, sold as personal works for big money. As a sharp eyed OCD gamer, it is not very hard for me to notice the lack of the tiniest difference between a sold item and its original video game counterpart. Heck, I've even seen the works of my personal modder friends being sold here without their permission. (Who however, as the real authors, probably managed to get them down after a hint.)

But yeah. It's not like every video game producer or modder could just go through the whole marketplace in search for their content. Maybe the smaller producers, most people don't even know, can't get to hear about their content. Maybe the bigger ones don't even care. But does this actually make it any less wrong to steal content and get away with it?

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The law in the United States, as it is right now, makes the holder of a trademark or copyright solely responsible for protecting his or her rights. If you hold a copyright or trademark, only you can enforce your rights to it. Part of this is because it's difficult to determine if the holder of a trademark or copyright has sold a license to use it to a third party. Most of the content you see that appears to be ripped or otherwise in violation of those laws is, in fact, in violation; but you don't KNOW that. It's possible, for example, that Disney has sold a license to create and sell Mickey Mouse ears in Second Life to Joe Schmoe. Not likely, but possible, and you don't know for sure that that did not happen.

You might get an interesting discussion going posting this over in the main forums, perhaps somewhere in Creation or in the General Discussion area.

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One might ask why you feel compelled to stick your nose into places where it has no legal business.  Or, on the other hand, one might applaud your civic virtue...simply depending on one's perspective!

In any case, as you yourself know, it's up to the owner of intellectual property to protect their rights.  But that does not mean that you can't call their attention to a possible infringement.  You can't go to LL yourself...as the lawyers say, you have no "standing".  But you CAN contact the person or company you believe has been infringed upon, and send them a link to the infringing content. 

Then it's up to them to take it from there.

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