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Pamela Galli

Want to read something depressing?

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Of course you do, if you are a creator of original content.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/business/alibaba-fake-merchandise-e-commerce.html?action=click&contentCollection=Magazine&module=Trending&version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

At least Alibaba thinks it has some obligation to screen for fakes, even if it doesn't do a very thorough job.

Not all online marketplaces even bother. ?

 

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Its depressing, kinda... 

What I think is that there will always be this "cheap" kind of people, ones who try to get something for nothing and 9 out of 10 times these people will actually get nothing for the little price they pay. Its like trying to buy a shirt for 5 dollars, yes we can find them, nice design, pretty colors... wash it one time and you can throw it in a trashcan lol. Thats 5 dollars of wasted money. People who spend 25 dollars on a shirt can wear it for many years, and it will always be pretty.

(I took random numbers, please, anyone who reads this, do not try to correct me and say shirts in your country don't have these prices).

Same is for every product out there... we have cheap stuff that lasts only for a little while and pricey stuff that lasts for years... this little manufacturer makes quality furniture, hand-made and, maybe with a little bit of advertising in the right direction, they don't need to worry. 

In SL its kinda same... I sell poses, many of them I created looking at some real life photos I liked. I see similar poses released after mines, that look same as mine. I can't prove they copied my work but I don't really have to. I spent days tweaking them to look right and I am 100% sure that people who buy my products will get quality, something that looks natural and great from many angles, something that you can use over and over and over again ;) 

 

 

 

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Except in SL, they are selling exact copies, down to the pixel, not just copying the design.

Would be nice if LL took some of the measures Alibaba or YouTube does.

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It's true, and China has always been that bad. It's actually become worse and more organized since the internet. In the early internet days we were doing import/export on Usenet news groups. Since then, I've got many horror stories. Alibaba is only now starting to be concerned about it. Pre-Yahoo ownership of Alibaba, they were not.

Prototypes sent over for manufacturing, only to see the prototype have an accident, and then see the product appear on the market a few months later.

Products manufactured for the client only to have the exact same product produced as a knockoff by the exact same plant.

"Too good to be true" deals of free prototyping and manufacturing to be paid on delivery. Why? Because if it sells, it will be duplicated and sold by another Chinese company, so even taking a loss from the original client is still profitable.

To some extent, it's organized by geographic regions and controlled by what, in the U.S. would be considered organized crime.

So yes, there are parallels between SL/digital goods and Chinese manufacturing. And the same lack of policing and disavowing of responsibility.

In any other criminal activity, all parties involved would be complicit where there is an overwhelming amount of criminal activity happening. Not so in some companies that claim to be innocent third parties. We need more accountability from middlemen across the board.

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Agree with all, except that LL no longer does any policing at all, and drags its feet when forced to. What good does it do to remove stolen content from the marketplace but not from invnentory, including inventories of those who received copies? And when there are no penalties for it, when the offender can repeat as often as he likes, it's hardly worth the effort to file a dmca.

Edited by Pamela Galli

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Thanks for sharing this.

Pam I am not calling you out in a negative way but I'd be pretty pissed if I purchased an item which was copybotted (unbeknownst to me) and then had it removed from my inventory without refunding me the money I paid for it. I am NOT supporting the botters but that would also effect the consumer base and their confidence in making purchases to some extent. I definitely agree that some of these shady vendors are easy to spot and therefore avoid BUT some are also not so easy to spot. Over the years we've also seen more then a few very established vendors called out for botting other creators work. So what happens then? To your point Pam—with the level of accountability currently in place the people on the short end of that stick would be the consumers.

I just wish there was more being done to protect these creators because many have left for this very reason.

 

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19 hours ago, Pamela Galli said:

Agree with all, except that LL no longer does any policing at all, and drags its feet when forced to. What good does it do to remove stolen content from the marketplace but not from invnentory, including inventories of those who received copies? And when there are no penalties for it, when the offender can repeat as often as he likes, it's hardly worth the effort to file a dmca.

Forget policing, LL is profiting from it. They take a cut of every sale on the MP. Every copybotter or rip off artist that sells empty boxes, LL gets a cut. I bought a breedable horse from the MP a few years ago, back when that was a big thing. 10K $L for what turned out to be an empty box. $40 USD only to be told by LL that "we don't get involved in user to user disputes." But they took their 1000L cut and the cut when the person cashed out. It's just wrong. 

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6 hours ago, Chase01 said:

Thanks for sharing this.

Pam I am not calling you out in a negative way but I'd be pretty pissed if I purchased an item which was copybotted (unbeknownst to me) and then had it removed from my inventory without refunding me the money I paid for it. I am NOT supporting the botters but that would also effect the consumer base and their confidence in making purchases to some extent. I definitely agree that some of these shady vendors are easy to spot and therefore avoid BUT some are also not so easy to spot. Over the years we've also seen more then a few very established vendors called out for botting other creators work. So what happens then? To your point Pam—with the level of accountability currently in place the people on the short end of that stick would be the consumers.

I just wish there was more being done to protect these creators because many have left for this very reason.

 

Do you believe the same should apply in RL? Someone steals a bunch of jewelry from a store and sells it, so the innocent buyers get to keep it because they paid for it? 

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7 minutes ago, Pamela Galli said:

Do you believe the same should apply in RL? Someone steals a bunch of jewelry from a store and sells it, so the innocent buyers get to keep it because they paid for it? 

There is a difference. In RL you aren't buying said jewelry online(MP) or in a brick and mortar store(IE inworld) you are likely buying it from the back of a van or some shady guy with a cart. In SL these are "Merchants" selling on the MP just like every other merchant does. If there is no way to know if an item was copybotted, how is a shopper to know? Are we really supposed to search every item we want to buy by the listed name to see how many different people are selling it? I think the innocent buyers should be reimbursed by LL. After all, LL did profit from the theft and subsequent sale of said stolen goods. 

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As you must know, Drake, there are more often than not multiple signs that a seller is not kosher -- but that is beside the point. Forget how understandable a mistake may be. The fact is, Sometimes when you make a mistake, it ends up costing you. In this scenario, the only one who did not make a mistake or commit a crime is the creator (for whom the loss is far greater than possible for any of the other principals). Yet it is the creator who lost the hours, days, weeks of time he spent creating. Not pixels, time. 

In SL it seems the creator is always supposed to absorb the costs of others' mistakes, accidents, misunderstandings, failures or crimes, whatever they may be. It would be fine with me if LL or anyone else helped absorb the loss, if it was not all on the creator.

Edited by Pamela Galli

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7 hours ago, Chase01 said:

Thanks for sharing this.

Pam I am not calling you out in a negative way but I'd be pretty pissed if I purchased an item which was copybotted (unbeknownst to me) and then had it removed from my inventory without refunding me the money I paid for it. I am NOT supporting the botters but that would also effect the consumer base and their confidence in making purchases to some extent. I definitely agree that some of these shady vendors are easy to spot and therefore avoid BUT some are also not so easy to spot. Over the years we've also seen more then a few very established vendors called out for botting other creators work. So what happens then? To your point Pam—with the level of accountability currently in place the people on the short end of that stick would be the consumers.

I just wish there was more being done to protect these creators because many have left for this very reason.

 

 

My original point was about alts or other sellers the stolen goods were given to full perm, but would apply to anyone in a position to resell. The question of buyers of non full perm copies is different, but I will share my thoughts on that.

As it is, end consumers bear no cost or responsibility, it is ALL on the creator -- the buyer gets a premium product at a tenth the expected price, the seller gets money for no effort -- and the creator gets nothing. Gets nothing, times however many times the item was sold or given. And while more often than not there are signs that a seller is not legit, there is no incentive for a consumer to look for them or care one way or another. Why should they? Some do, of course, for ethical reasons. But to reduce the market for stolen goods, there needs to be some other potential disincentive. Potential loss of whatever stolen goods you bought is a big one in RL.

 

 

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Pamela, nobody here is disagreeing with you that this is not a good thing. Like I said earlier in the thread—I just wish there was more being done to protect these creators. With that being said, buyers also have their own issues. Drake pointed out a situation where he was taken advantage of and there was absolutely no recourse for him. That kind of activity also happens frequently. These situations as a whole are not good for the parties involved, nor is it beneficial for the long term heath of the platform. In other words nobody here is advocating for this kind of behavior.

The effective change needs to happen between the creator, LL and the offender. Getting consumers involved only expands the issue.

 

 

Edited by Chase01

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If you punish the buyer, you will probably see an overall drop in sales for the whole of Second Life. Potentials users will soon realize that they might throw down $25, $50, $100 and not only not get an item, but also lose their money. Why would they go to your store and risk paying real life money for something they might not get anything for? I am not ashamed that I'm what many gamers call a "cash cow." I have no problem throwing money at games I love. But I have never, ever ran into a situation where I gave a game/virtual world real money and received absolutely nothing. If I found out Second Life might take items from me and keep my money, I'd stop putting money in the system. Right now, I view spending on SL as a gamble, but I calculate the risk and make a decision. If LL became involved in taking items and money, that would be a game changer for me and I'd probably stop spending money. I haven't been around long enough to know how to spot fraudulent sellers and I don't want to be punished because I didn't know any better. 

The ideal solution would be for the fraudulent seller to get caught and for the item to be removed from the buyer with a refund and explanation as to why it happened. Then the fraudulent seller should be banned. Or if you are feeling lenient, give a warning system. 

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4 hours ago, Pamela Galli said:

As you must know, Drake, there are more often than not multiple signs that a seller is not kosher -- but that is beside the point. Forget how understandable a mistake may be. The fact is, Sometimes when you make a mistake, it ends up costing you. In this scenario, the only one who did not make a mistake or commit a crime is the creator (for whom the loss is far greater than possible for any of the other principals). Yet it is the creator who lost the hours, days, weeks of time he spent creating. Not pixels, time. 

In SL it seems the creator is always supposed to absorb the costs of others' mistakes, accidents, misunderstandings, failures or crimes, whatever they may be. It would be fine with me if LL or anyone else helped absorb the loss, if it was not all on the creator.

Sometimes there are ways, other times that change the image to remove the original creators name. 

The creator is NOT the only one who loses money. The buyer does as well. The creator hasn't actually lost any money, they have lost potential money while the buyer who has the item removed from their inventory by LL has actually lost the cost of the item. I think if LL was forced to reimburse these buyers they would put a better system in place for the MP and police it. 

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What I find depressing is that I have to subscribe to The New York Times to read the article. Considering what The New York Times turned into lately I have no inclination to support it even at a cost of 99 cents so guess I'll never know what is in the article.

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On ‎3‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 2:31 PM, Drake1 Nightfire said:

Sometimes there are ways, other times that change the image to remove the original creators name. 

The creator is NOT the only one who loses money. The buyer does as well. The creator hasn't actually lost any money, they have lost potential money while the buyer who has the item removed from their inventory by LL has actually lost the cost of the item. I think if LL was forced to reimburse these buyers they would put a better system in place for the MP and police it. 

They never will. It's much easier to just take their cut and then claim it has nothing to do with them.*

*As someone that's disputed LL credit charges before, I can assure you, they're not as free of liability as they'd like to believe.

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There was a time when LL would remove items that were found to be copybotted from a  customers inventory.  You buy something, you have no idea it is illegal, you log in one day and it's gone and in it's place is something called a placeholder, which is actually not something usable to replace the actual item, just a dummy item to show they removed stolen content form your inventory.  It happened a few times to me over the years and yes I was pissed, but, every thing we spend money on in SL is  a risk, you know that going in, you chose to take the risk and honestly, today I am glad they used to do that, I don't want to unknowingly support thieves.  I hate I lost my money, but, I'm glad LL cared enough to try and help the actual content creator.  Now, nothing happens, theft is spreading like a virus out of control and to be honest, most people know and don't care that they are buying the copybotted version of something, they are just tickled that they are "saving money" and since there really is no consequence to them (the thieves or the customers that know it's a stolen item) they go about their day happy to have pulled one over on innocent people.

I say bring back the "tough love", protect your creators, they are the ones keeping your world afloat, without them, customers wouldn't have their pretty baubles, fancy avatars or nice homes and LL wouldn't be making the money they make now and SL would go down like the Titanic.  People need to learn to respect other people again and actually care about what is right or wrong.

Edited by HaileeTempesta

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8 hours ago, HaileeTempesta said:

There was a time when LL would remove items that were found to be copybotted from a  customers inventory.

They still do if the copyright owner demands it. It's required by law so LL doesn't have a choice there. But most people who file a DMCA do not make that demand because they don't want to hurt the innocent.

 

8 hours ago, HaileeTempesta said:

I say bring back the "tough love", protect your creators,

Linden Lab certainly could and should do more than they do there. But to be fair, it's easier said than done. Two weeks ago I stumbled across a small alternative grid where they really take IP protection seriously (no, not the one that claims it does and then gives their users friendly advice how to rip content from SL, this is another one). It's a fairly small grid so it's easier to keep track of everything, they were prepared for the problems right from the start so unlike LL they're not trying to close the barn door after the horse had fled and since it's not completely U.S. based and locked down by the rigid, ofte counter-productive requirements of DMCA, they can sometimes find better solutions than the ones LL are allowed to use. The result is of course far fewer IP violations than in SL or on the less serious alternatvie grids but even there it's not hard to find them.

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There are plenty of places where users sell content, where theft is not rampant within those sales venues.

Let me clarify: LL makes as much or more money from virtual currency as they do land. It is designed so that this currency is bought, and then play money churns and churns, while sinks are applied, fees are applied on cash-out, etc.

It is in the best interests of a game-monetized system (and LL) to let anyone who applies sell and for anyone that wants to create (or steal) to keep this virtual money churn going on a large scale.

When you separate the game-style monetization and currency from the marketplace, you simply have less of these problems.

Take Turbosquid or Renderosity for instance. While these markets may have theft, there is little theft and resale within those markets themselves. In some markets you must register with proper real-life information and tax information before you can even start selling. In some markets there's an approval process before content is listed.

Thus the problem is eliminated in a market like Turbosquid of users ripping a Turbosquid model and then reselling it on Turbosquid itself.

There you have it. The problem will persist as long as merchants are not treated as real-life business folk, anonymity is rampant, there's no approval process on goods and virtual money is used in place of real money.

And yes there are ways L$ could be refactored to work with real money, if LL stopped pretending that it's just user-to-user transactions with no printing of virtual currency, no fiddling with seeding it, infusing it and taking an abundance out of it. We've solved it in other games with a dual currency system of real money/game currency.

This would require some overhauls on LL's part, but until those large issues are addressed, IP theft will continue to be rampant.

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On ‎5‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 9:32 AM, DartAgain said:

Let me clarify: LL makes as much or more money from virtual currency as they do land. It is designed so that this currency is bought, and then play money churns and churns, while sinks are applied, fees are applied on cash-out, etc.

It is in the best interests of a game-monetized system (and LL) to let anyone who applies sell and for anyone that wants to create (or steal) to keep this virtual money churn going on a large scale.

That's why LL will never do anything about it. They profit from it. Only reason they haven't been murdered in courts is because of the relatively small amounts of money per transaction.

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@HaileeTempesta The only way I'd agree to that is if the buyer was refunded for the purchase. Having items pulled from a buyers inventory and not refunded doesn't go a long way to build consumer confidence. At the time LL introduced that policy it is likely that content theft wasn't on the scale it is now, or was when they pulled the plug on it. It is also quite possible that it caused a lot of service issues which made them re-think their position on how best to handle those situations.

As I said in my post earlier. There are instances where even an established vendor is found out to have been copybotting (unbeknownst to the community). Right now there is a lot of controversy over one established skin creator. In this situation, the vendor is popular but has been called out for wrong doing. Imagine if LL was to pull that product from buyers without a refund ... Do you have any idea how much of an issue that would create from a service perspective?

I'd also like to point out that there is a ton of material in SL that could quite frankly get called out. Look at the tattoo market. Its filled with content that was pulled from online without permission and it doesn't end there. It is a slippery slope.

 

 

 

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@Chase

While i agree with you on the refund part, at least in my country you cannot get ownership on stolen things. Police will remove items from you without refund and with some luck they wont arrest you for "having" (not owning) this items.

So, deleting copybotted products from inventories isn´t much different.

Fair ? No, but life isn´t

Monti

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On 23.5.2017 at 3:32 PM, DartAgain said:

Let me clarify: LL makes as much or more money from virtual currency as they do land. It is designed so that this currency is bought, and then play money churns and churns, while sinks are applied, fees are applied on cash-out, etc.

That may be an exaggeration. It's hard to come up with exact figures of course but I did some quick calculations and they indicate that they make about 4-5 million USD from Lindex exchange fees, about 3-4 millions from Marketplace provisions and 30-40 millions from tier.

It's still a significant amount though.

 

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6 hours ago, ChinRey said:

That may be an exaggeration. It's hard to come up with exact figures of course but I did some quick calculations and they indicate that they make about 4-5 million USD from Lindex exchange fees, about 3-4 millions from Marketplace provisions and 30-40 millions from tier.

It's still a significant amount though.

Well, it used to be easier to see when they published quarterly reports, especially when they were more accurate (but still vague) in breaking down sinks and sources. Also, the Lindex is only telling you a fraction of what's going on, such as when sinks exceed a certain pool and new L$ are printed, etc. Remember also, that money that is taken out, must also be replaced. User to user transactions don't touch what happens when you need to print new money.

Some years ago they used to say things about how they were trying to float a pool of $100 million USD in the exchange and so forth.

I've been designing large economy simulation systems (and AI, weather, and so on) since the 90's on MUDs and then on other projects through the years. We're currently working on one game project now and working out some new currency ideas.

One thing I can say though, the best way to deep dive into how to monetize currency is to make up your own fictional game on paper and work out how you make money. Start with seeding currency with easy numbers  like backing it with $10,000 USD in initial currency sales to your users in your fake companies bank account and a conversion of $X USD equals $Y ChinRey dollars. Apply some sinks for an understanding of how to keep more of your real money in your bank account. If you're really wanting to do some exercises, mimic SL's exchange and then you'll start to see how strictly user to user transactions are impossible to maintain an economy.

Always factor in how it's affecting your real bank account and real dollars.

Give a play at churn and what might happen when the money goes from Bill to Betty to Bob in various combinations with sinks and cash-outs and new money purchases, etc..

At any rate, you should see that there's more going on in your system than user to user transactions on an "exchange".

LL's system is just needlessly complex in this modern day of monetization in everything from content sales to services to cell phone apps to many variations of F2P models. People don't begrudge a more forthright monetization and we don't have to deal with the liabilities and government regulations and theft and laundering issues to the extent that LL has boxed itself into to the detriment of their users by trying to play "virtual" money-is-but-isn't-real money. Government doesn't like Bitcoin because it breeds the opportunity to do bad things in an untraceable way.

Same with L$ although on a different level as you can see with IP theft and people not being able to instantly cash out money that they've legitimately earned without jumping through hoops.

 

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@Monti Messmer I know it is fairly common to compare RL to SL but it doesn't always compare in the same way apples to apples. So I would agree in principle it is the same in theory but here is why it don't believe it works for SL. First and foremost, SL is a business. Their decisions (whether we agree with them or not) are going to be based upon what they believe is good for profitability and retention. I would think their goal would be to minimize how these situations impact the user base and the economy. The current system does does that to a large extent.

 

 

Edited by Chase01

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