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Violaine Villota

Why is LL stuck in the 80's when it comes to filing DMCA reports??

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Nearly every website out there has an online DMCA form to make it easy for people to file takedown notices when they find their IP is infringed upon... except Linden Lab. No, we have to use a fax machine.

I don't own a fax machine. Yes there are free fax services online but they are limited to maybe 3 pages and I usually have more than one item to report at a time, as the infringers tend to make more than one thing from my art. So, I've had to purchase an online fax service JUST for this purpose. I have no other reason to fax anyone anything.

In June I had a bunch to report and requested that an email address be made available to me for future reports as I tend to have them often and it's really impractical for me to fax them. I was emailed from their IP team with a request for additional info, and even sent a few DMCA notices to that email address that were successfully dealt with so I assumed all was good and I wouldn't have to go back to stone age communication methods.

Until now, as the one I filed late last week is apparently not going to be accepted via email and I will have to fax them instead.

Even though the reported items and my original work will all need to be viewed on a computer, because all evidence is in the form of urls.

Even though they are completely capable of accepting it through email and have for me within the last couple months, I'm now being told that was 'just as a courtesy' and DMCA reports must be faxed.

Seriously, why? Does anyone know? 

Kinda seems like it's set up to make it harder for people to report.

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1 hour ago, Violaine Villota said:

Kinda seems like it's set up to make it harder for people to report.

Maybe truer than you think.

I'm guessing LL feel they've had more than their fair share of false take-down notices, and want to make it harder for that to happen.

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One other possible reason - for every day the infringing item stays up, they get a cut of sales :/ 

Of course, they're going to keep that and I won't be reimbursed for the fraudulent sales. If only the infringed item could be deleted inworld and everyone who bought it refunded, but I know that's not going to happen.

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DCMA reports have to be faxed for many businesses because its a legal document and physical copies on paper may be a legal requirement. Now of course they can just print an email or a sent .pdf but in some cases their lawyers simply may not accept it.

If its a serious issue, which yours presumably is, they would contact you through other means, which they have offered.

It could also be that they just dont have many requests like that and simply havent upgraded that system since... 2003 maybe. I mean many businesses still use Fax today because its more secure than file sharing over the internet, from my time in CNC i know that almost all of our business orders and financial stuff was done via fax machine because neither us nor our customers trusted email services or file hosting otherwise for that kind of important information.

And theres not really too much of a reason to change it, places like UPS stores do Faxing and you can do it from your phone for free depending on your mobile carrier i think, hell i have an office supply store like 2 blocks away that still does fax machine repairs.

And i think LL can actually delete all copies of the items and refund the buyers, im pretty sure ive heard of that happening before.

tl;dr its probably either a legal requirement or just their standard practice

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I can understand when it's really sensitive information being exchanged like social security numbers or credit card info, but for a DMCA it's just not the standard anymore. 
It's not a legal issue according to DMCA law, they are allowed to accept email or have an online form like anyone else, but they are also free not to accept it I guess.

I've gone to Staples before to fax things but it's extra time to put together all the info, print it out, drive over to wherever, fax it and pay whatever the fee is. When I find 7 different infringements in one day, it's a big chunk of my time that gets sucked away even when an online form IS provided. Having to go drive somewhere to do so just makes make more work for the people that have had something stolen from them and it's just kind of ridiculous. If they can build an entire virtual universe, which they do profit from, I'm pretty sure they have the capability to create a secure online form for an issue I'm sure they have to deal with quite a bit.
Or maybe that's the point, to keep people from filing a report at all so they don't have to deal with it?

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1 hour ago, Violaine Villota said:

I can understand when it's really sensitive information being exchanged like social security numbers or credit card info, but for a DMCA it's just not the standard anymore. 
It's not a legal issue according to DMCA law, they are allowed to accept email or have an online form like anyone else, but they are also free not to accept it I guess.

I've gone to Staples before to fax things but it's extra time to put together all the info, print it out, drive over to wherever, fax it and pay whatever the fee is. When I find 7 different infringements in one day, it's a big chunk of my time that gets sucked away even when an online form IS provided. Having to go drive somewhere to do so just makes make more work for the people that have had something stolen from them and it's just kind of ridiculous. If they can build an entire virtual universe, which they do profit from, I'm pretty sure they have the capability to create a secure online form for an issue I'm sure they have to deal with quite a bit.
Or maybe that's the point, to keep people from filing a report at all so they don't have to deal with it?

Or maybe, just maybe it has more to do with making it harder to file false/weaponized DMCA reports.

Nah, it just has to be because they don't want to deal with them. Yeah that must be the only explanation, I mean you've mentioned it twice now so that surely must be the case.

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1 minute ago, Solar Legion said:

Or maybe, just maybe it has more to do with making it harder to file false/weaponized DMCA reports.

Nah, it just has to be because they don't want to deal with them. Yeah that must be the only explanation, I mean you've mentioned it twice now so that surely must be the case.

That doesn't do anything to detour false DMCA reports though, why would the method itself stop that? Don't they have to actually review the report they are being sent?
Neither method makes a take down automatic as I understand it. If an online DMCA report were automatic, but faxes were not, that explanation would make sense, but that's not how this works.

There are more legit reports than false ones, so I don't think detouring all reports across the board would be an effective way to detour false reports only. That would be a less effective way to protect the work of artists who have legitimately had their work stolen. 
I'm open to an explanation btw and did ask them,  but no response as to why.

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If all else has failed, due to various mentioned reasons, have you thought of sending a DMCA to the legal dept of LL?

Send the notice via registered mail, signed receipt requested to their headquarters in San Francisco and clearly marked LEGAL DOCUMENTS.

I can't guarantee anything, but it is an option.

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That's just as annoying as having to fax them - which I've been trying to do tonight but the faxes have been unsuccessful O.o And snail mail takes time, or money if I don't want it to take a few days.  I suppose I could drive over but that's also taking time out of my day I could be using to work. Their IP team is who would handle it unless I was going to get a lawyer to deal with it but I shouldn't have to pay a lawyer just for a DMCA take down.

It sucks whenever I find an infringement, more so when it's one that is being sold for profit, and LL's system just makes it suck more. Especially now though, when they have been made aware of the infringement via email, acknowledged that it's been received and have all the info they need but I still have to wait until their fax line opens up while the infringer continues to profit and they make a cut.

9 minutes ago, Jerilynn Lemon said:

If all else has failed, due to various mentioned reasons, have you thought of sending a DMCA to the legal dept of LL?

Send the notice via registered mail, signed receipt requested to their headquarters in San Francisco and clearly marked LEGAL DOCUMENTS.

I can't guarantee anything, but it is an option.

.

 

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7 minutes ago, Violaine Villota said:

That's just as annoying as having to fax them - which I've been trying to do tonight but the faxes have been unsuccessful O.o And snail mail takes time, or money if I don't want it to take a few days

I understand your frustration. I was just tossing that out.

I wish you success. I'm sure something will be done.

Good luck.

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2 hours ago, Violaine Villota said:

That doesn't do anything to detour false DMCA reports though, why would the method itself stop that? Don't they have to actually review the report they are being sent?
Neither method makes a take down automatic as I understand it. If an online DMCA report were automatic, but faxes were not, that explanation would make sense, but that's not how this works.

There are more legit reports than false ones, so I don't think detouring all reports across the board would be an effective way to detour false reports only. That would be a less effective way to protect the work of artists who have legitimately had their work stolen. 
I'm open to an explanation btw and did ask them,  but no response as to why.

No, they don't investigate them and never have. If they receive a report from an individual or a lawyer which is properly/professionally phrased, Linden Lab takes the content mentioned in the report down and gives the affected party two weeks to file a counter claim at which point the content is restored.

There is a catch to this however; To file a counter claim you would have to initiate a court case and send the relevant information to Linden Lab to prove a counter claim has been made. While the content at that time is restored, Linden Lab is under no obligation to do so before the case is settled.

As to the notion that there are more legitimate reports than false ones; Truthfully neither of us can know for certain which is true concerning the ratio of one to the other. Not every person that has been hit with a DMCA has the resources to file a counter claim and some simply find the whole process to be too burdensome/tiresome to bother with.

Like it or not though, having to fax or snail mail in the reports does have an effect on the more casual/frivolous tier of false/weaponized reports as it adds in extra steps that simply are not present when accepting a report sent by e-mail. In the case of snail mail it costs actual money, cheap as postage may be.

You're free to believe that these changes were made for other reasons of course and free to believe that any content taken down and never restored is the result of a legitimate claim but do bear in mind in such matters that very little is ever quite so black and white.

Semi-relevant; You may wish to read the following thread as well, it also contains a slightly more concise outline of the process Linden Lab uses for DMCA filings.

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I read the thread in the link you provided, however it doesn't give any more detail into how LL decides on DMCA reports, only how the process works in terms of the steps involved on our part and what happens if it's taken down. 
I've had DMCA's not taken down immediately and asked for additional info, so I still think that they are in fact reviewed and they aren't just removed every time without verifying a match.
Do you have info directly from LL that proves they don't review their DMCA reports for validity?

8 hours ago, Solar Legion said:

No, they don't investigate them and never have. If they receive a report from an individual or a lawyer which is properly/professionally phrased, Linden Lab takes the content mentioned in the report down and gives the affected party two weeks to file a counter claim at which point the content is restored.

There is a catch to this however; To file a counter claim you would have to initiate a court case and send the relevant information to Linden Lab to prove a counter claim has been made. While the content at that time is restored, Linden Lab is under no obligation to do so before the case is settled.

As to the notion that there are more legitimate reports than false ones; Truthfully neither of us can know for certain which is true concerning the ratio of one to the other. Not every person that has been hit with a DMCA has the resources to file a counter claim and some simply find the whole process to be too burdensome/tiresome to bother with.

Like it or not though, having to fax or snail mail in the reports does have an effect on the more casual/frivolous tier of false/weaponized reports as it adds in extra steps that simply are not present when accepting a report sent by e-mail. In the case of snail mail it costs actual money, cheap as postage may be.

You're free to believe that these changes were made for other reasons of course and free to believe that any content taken down and never restored is the result of a legitimate claim but do bear in mind in such matters that very little is ever quite so black and white.

Semi-relevant; You may wish to read the following thread as well, it also contains a slightly more concise outline of the process Linden Lab uses for DMCA filings.

 

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21 hours ago, Violaine Villota said:

Nearly every website out there has an online DMCA form to make it easy for people to file takedown notices when they find their IP is infringed upon... except Linden Lab. No, we have to use a fax machine.

 

Nope, i'm confident that LL will accept a signed email signed with a qualified signing certificate.

2009, not 1980 https://www.engadget.com/2009/10/31/how-to-email-a-second-life-dmca-notice/

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1 hour ago, Sassy Romano said:

Nope, i'm confident that LL will accept a signed email signed with a qualified signing certificate.

2009, not 1980 https://www.engadget.com/2009/10/31/how-to-email-a-second-life-dmca-notice/

Ah! Thank you! It's definitely worth it to get a digital signature notarized, I have to report them often enough. 
Hopefully this hasn't changed since 2008.

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On 10/9/2017 at 4:51 PM, Violaine Villota said:

Nearly every website out there has an online DMCA form to make it easy for people to file takedown notices when they find their IP is infringed upon... except Linden Lab.

Your timing in asking this is very good. We're in the process of testing a form for this on LindenLab.com now; it should be available quite soon.

It really isn't because we wanted to make it harder, we've just been focused on other things.

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5 hours ago, Oz Linden said:

Your timing in asking this is very good. We're in the process of testing a form for this on LindenLab.com now; it should be available quite soon.

It really isn't because we wanted to make it harder, we've just been focused on other things.

Thank you! Thank you thank you!
I'm glad to get some kind of answer from a Linden about this, as I had always been really happy with the way that the process had gone in the past. SL had always been one of the more reliable sites to honor DMCA notices and quickly, so I was really confused about the change.
I'm happy to hear that an online form is coming. I just happen to be unlucky enough to get ripped off quite often, when I first  put my images online on my site I didn't realize how important watermarking EVERYTHING would be. My work got shared, re-uploaded and spread enough that a few people took my images and sold them for a few dollars as digital stock on Deviant Art, about 12 different designs, and I didn't catch it until a lot of people got access. They were also hosted on some hot-linked pages for download, a few were even used by a huge photo editing app company because the artist they hired lazily searched 'fairy wings' on google and used a bunch of images from the first image search page, some of which were mine and many others from wing maker friends as well. We came to a settlement, which I'll never know if it was fair to me or not because actually taking it to court and filing a finding request for the financials (maybe it's called something different) is insanely expensive so we just had to take their word about how much they profited.
I hate discovering these, hate having to file these notices, it's frustrating to find other people profiting off of my work especially since having to take care of this so often means I push back actually making my own digital stock since I only have so much time in the day. Asking the offender to remove the item, even as nicely as I've asked and even when I assume they may have unknowingly used stolen content usually results in a crazy aggressive response with them insisting I'm the mean one for asking them not to sell my work. So I just report, and even then I'll sometimes have them angrily contact me, adamant that they still had the right to use my content. 
One of the recent infringers here in the SL Marketplace that I reported had the nerve to make a slightly new version to sell with a note saying that the previous one was removed due to a "malicious DMCA" and that all the work was 100% theirs, stating that "if it's reported again I'll take legal action". When I contested that statement in the reviews, they also amazingly admitted to copying my work, "but just the veins" so they thought that was fine. As if that made it okay when obviously that is the backbone of the entire design and that's what I registered with the copyright office. 
In the past couple days I did see an article about how frivolous and actually malicious notices were on the rise and maybe that had something to do with the change to excluding emailed notices.
Hopefully the new format will help curb that problem as well while making it easier for honest notices.
So long story short, anything that makes it easier for those of us with legitimate complaints will be very very good. 
Many of us will appreciate it so much. Thank you again for the input :)

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@Oz Linden I noticed that there is no field for a link or photo of the original intellectual property that belongs to the person filing the report, only a field for copyright registration. Does this mean that Linden Lab is not going to take action on content that isn't registered? Because as it says right on the form according to US law, we obtain the copyright to our IP the moment it's created.
If that is the case - and I really hope not because I know not everyone can afford to register everything that they created and some just don't realize they need to - if that field is left blank, and there is no way to show the original work, how on earth does this prevent false DMCA reports? Isn't LL supposed to at least verify there is some credibility to the report by actually looking at the original and the pirated version? That's kind of concerning.

3 hours ago, Oz Linden said:

 

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They will take action even if you haven't registered (they have to by law).  You are correct in that you have copyright upon your original creation occuring (assuming original).

However it's best practice to always register your copyright (you can do en mass and yes all online with the U.S. Copyright Office for a small cost e.g. each quarter).  That way, should you ever enter into litigation you can claim statutory damages and attorney fees with a registered copyright case.

 

 

Edited by Charlotte Bartlett
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1 minute ago, Charlotte Bartlett said:

They will take action even if you haven't registered (they have to by law).  You are correct in that you have copyright upon your original creation occuring (assuming original).

However it's best practice to always register your copyright (you can do en mass and yes all online with the U.S. Copyright Office for a small cost e.g. each quarter).  That way, should you ever enter into litigation you can claim statutory damages and attorney fees with a registered copyright case.

 

 

Oh yes I am aware of how many more protections we get when we register and how important it is, but so many artists haven't, or can't afford to because they didn't know they could register before publication in larger batches. I was mistakenly told years ago that wings weren't something I could register because you can't register halloween costumes, but that only applies to the costumes as they are considered fashion, and therefore a functional item that isn't protected. Once I found out, I started registering but had to slowly register one by one since it's $38 a pop after publication.
It's just a little strange to not have a field for a photo or link to the original work especially if someone doesn't have a registration they can look up - and even then, the copyright office typically can take a year just to issue certificates and I don't think the images registered are even visible. 

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You can register a body of work (just include pictures of each item) even if you did annually and it's then just 38 USD a pop in TOTAL.

Also something to remember you aren't registering the RL item so those exclusions don't equate, you are registering a 3d model or piece or artwork etc. 

 

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34 minutes ago, Charlotte Bartlett said:

You can register a body of work (just include pictures of each item) even if you did annually and it's then just 38 USD a pop in TOTAL.

Also something to remember you aren't registering the RL item so those exclusions don't equate, you are registering a 3d model or piece or artwork etc. 

 

We can only register a batch like that if it has not been published yet, or if it was all published as a collection on the same day. The only other time is if it's photos, then you can register up to 500 as long as they were taken in the same year, but that doesn't apply to any other kind of art. Only photos. I wish I could do that with wing art! I do register in batches now before I even post anything, but I can only do that for new stuff. All the old stuff I have to register one by one for $38 each. 

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