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Do you care if content is ripped?


Pamela Galli
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I just read some shocking reports of major SL brands —  award winning ones invited to every major event, including events stipulating original content only — being proven, and admitting, to passing off stolen mesh models as their own original work — for years*. At least one of these “creators” had a representative publicly apologize to customers and other creators— other SL creators for unfairly competing by  illegally downloading models and churning out content rather than spending the huge amounts of time that creation actually takes — to say nothing of those creators who actually made the stolen models and were cheated out of compensation for their work, but the apology did not actually include them.

What was interesting (on SL Secrets) were customer reactions. While some were outraged at the duplicity, others claimed than no one cares if content is original or stolen. It seemed that the outraged ones outnumbered the complacent ones, but not overwhelmingly.

Are you outraged? Or not really very concerned if content is original work or not?

* Theft has been going on for years, and has flooded SL, but this time it is very public and incontrovertible, committed by respected, established merchants.

Edited by Pamela Galli
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Much as I hate to do it, I am posting on an alt account because I have seen how these posts have turned into something not very pretty on social media and other forums and I wimped out. 

Organisers of events stipulating "original mesh" content should police that and not let it past if proven. No matter if it's "big brand" name or a friend.  I know some customers don't care if its original or not they are gimme nice stuffs but there are other customers who do appreciate that a creator has worked hard on something unique and expect that is what they are getting when they go to these "original mesh" events.

I do think this whole thing has made customers more aware of it.  There was a lot of naming and shaming other creators who had been inspired by something and created their own version.  Its a very murky quagmire right now and I do believe a lot of "big brands"  may have taken shortcuts shall we call it, and are a little nervous right now. These brands in these big events are under a lot of pressure to get out 2, 3 even more products a month into these events but why not step back for one round, give another brand a chance to get showcased in the event. 

Downloading from a site and passing it off as your own is theft, especially if you had no licence to do so.

 

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While I'm sure to some this will seem like stating the obvious, I think it's worth pointing out for the sake of this discussion that there's a huge difference between a creator being "inspired" by other designs and making something similar (or, in the case of some, copying that design outright) and someone downloading 3D models from a site and attempting to pass those items off as their own original works. 

While the former may indicate a lack of imagination (and a certain amount of dishonesty if the creator in question is attempting to pass said items off as their own original creations), the latter is, as Tourdeforce points out, nothing short of theft and clearly against the law if the person doing it hasn't been granted a license to do so (and even in the case of those that have been granted license to use that content within SL, if said license doesn't permit them to grant LL the rights to use it according to the current TOS then it's still against the law).

Furthermore trying to use the excuse that "I'm so busy that I just can't keep up with the workload" is simply unacceptable, the truth is that in SL we always have a choice as to how much work we take on since each creator is essentially self-employed, so the "I just couldn't keep up" excuse basically translates to "I'm greedy and/or incapable of admitting my own limitations".

The sad thing is, nature is literally full of weird and wonderful things which can be drawn upon for inspiration.  Some of my favourite RL artists are those that have managed to combine inspiration gained from the world around them with their own imaginations to create stunning and original works.

Am I outraged?  I can honestly say I really wish I was, but for the most part SL content creation seems to rely on the honour system, and my faith in humanity has long since waned beyond the point of shock or outrage, these days the most I can muster in cases such as this is a general feeling of disappointment. :(

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I'm mostly of the same mind as Fluffy just above me.

 

I will add on with the following: If they don't charge for the model that is ripped, then all should be fine.

 

EDIT: I meant of like Blender Models, not of things in SL Itself.

Edited by Marth Coberts
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   I want the things people sell in SL to be their own original creations, or, I want them to have the actual creator's permission to port them into SL for whatever purpose.

   I agree that event organizers, setting rules for admission, should be expected to enforce those rules proactively, investigating and vetting each submission. That this isn't happening is neither an outrage, nor a surprise, but a disappointment. After all, with the exception of a few, possibly exemplary individuals, the only oversight that exists for this type of thing is public opinion, which requires public awareness.

   I want to add that my faith in humanity is constant, eroded by some, and bolstered by others. People still surprise me.

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Most designers get inspiration from real life no matter what they are making and no matter what the media. This applies to all areas from real life watercolorists to sculptors to 3D modelers of virtual items. I see designs from "top designers" all over Google Images and while there are a few new ideas around, not much and not often. 

Not only have I  dropped some top brands from my blogroll for heavy mesh, I have dropped them for --- let's say improper uploading.  When you see a brand whose work is all over the map from a style that appears to be a brand new mesh maker (think my tutorials but not Cycles :D) to one that is made with many thousands of vertices for a render not an upload -- you begin to get suspicious.  Add the recycling of "their own" products over and over and I simply can't support that -- as a creator, a blogger or a customer. 

I am spotting this activity more often these days. Yes, it is illegal and often against the TOS of the 3D download website, but more than that it is immoral. It is NOT a "even playing field". 

I DO care that the "original mesh" IS original. I care if the creator made the effort to bring an idea into our virtual world, did the work, spent the time -- in order to reap the rewards.  And yes, some top events are featuring these works. And yes, some of the event owners know and don't care. 

So I am supporting the folks who either make their own mesh or use work for hire originals. 

 

For those of you not familiar with "work for hire" it is a bit like ghost writing; people hire someone to bring their ideas to life. I was "work for hire" for many years in the real world. The folks producing in that manner are doing it by choice and don't care about the fame and glory. They enjoy the work and the profits from their labor and that's enough for them. In that case both parties are helping out each other.

I do not agree that one needs to sell a product in order for this illegal activity to be wrong. It is simply wrong.  

Thanks to Pamela for starting this thread. I thought about it several times.

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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I think that, if they say it's original, it must be original, done by them, etc. If they don't say anything, it doesn't matter to me because I hardly doubt they will just upload the product without any texturing, scripting, etc (as much as I know some did, one of my biggest regrets is shopping a certain baroque styled furniture at a certain store in marketplace, they look bad. Two different stores had this same model, both with bad textures.)

As for things like using trademarked items form RL in SL, I do agree that they should have been licensed to do so, but I do like seeing products from RL in SL just because it gives a nice feel of reality inside this virtual place.

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Funny enough some pointed out - and I agree - that all the Original Mesh craze is partly to blame for this also. I do not care if it is original or not - I do care if i has been legitly accquired, but apparently buying something designed by another, tweaking it and retexturing is not enough for our fellow SL citizens bent on uniqueness - even if the "unique thing" is taken from a 3rd party repository which's TOS does not allow reuse in virtual worlds like SL. But scoffing at anyone who uses a reliable 3rd party fullperm source... 

Edited by Fionalein
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2 hours ago, Marth Coberts said:

I will add on with the following: If they don't charge for the model that is ripped, then all should be fine.

EDIT: I meant of like Blender Models, not of things in SL Itself.

I happen to know a little bit about the case Pamela mentioned and the models there were bought from an online store that doesn't allow their models to be redistributed and even specifically forbids their models to be uploaded to SL.

Edited by ChinRey
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17 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

even if the "unique thing" is taken from a 3rd party repository which's TOS does not allow reuse in virtual worlds like SL.

This isn't so much about some "craze" over unique mesh, it's about respecting the rights and wishes of the people that spend time creating the original content. 

Personally I have absolutely no problem with an SL store owner hiring someone else to create mesh for them or purchasing the rights to upload their creations, but as ChinRey pointed out in the above post there are some online stores that don't allow content sold on their site to be uploaded to SL, or even distributed on other official 3rd party repositories (in the case of those that do the online store will often take a much higher percentage of the profits from each sale than they would if the item were available exclusively on their site alone). 

Creators who choose to make content and sell it on those sites often rely on those profits in order to help pay their RL bills, and by allowing those creations to then be uploaded to SL they are in effect breaking the online stores TOS and therefore risk having their accounts disabled and losing the income on which they rely.  This can lead to them being put in a situation where they have no choice but to file DMCA takedowns to protect their livelihood.  If a creator is selling their content on one of these online stores they have invariably had to agree to a TOS, and, regardless of how cute an item is or how much anyone may want a copy in SL, that doesn't give anyone the right to put someone elses livelihood in jeopardy, regardless of whether the SL store owner pays for a limited license or not.

If a content creator has agreed to an online repositories TOS and an SL store owner really wants a copy of an item that they can upload to SL then they should contact the original creator of that item and negotiate a price for them to create a similar item which won't be covered by any existing TOS and can therefore be uploaded to SL legitimately.

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1 minute ago, Fluffy Sharkfin said:

This isn't so much about some "craze" over unique mesh, it's about respecting the rights and wishes of the people that spend time creating the original content. 

Its a public secret most don't - they just hire contracters to do the "original" work - so much for respecting the customer desire xD

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3 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

Its a public secret most don't - they just hire contracters to do the "original" work - so much for respecting the customer desire xD

I'm talking about creators of original content sold on 3rd party sites, not SL store owners... perhaps you'd like to read the rest of my post before responding? :P;)

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2 minutes ago, Fluffy Sharkfin said:

I'm talking about creators of original content sold on 3rd party sites, not SL store owners... perhaps you'd like to read the rest of my post before responding? :P;)

Why should I? It's long and you didn't take the time to try to understand my argument either?

Edited by Fionalein
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25 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

Why should I? It's long and you didn't take the time to try to understand my argument either?

And what leads you to believe that I've misunderstood your argument, cos I'm fairly sure I understand what you were saying quite well?! :)

 

ETA: @FionaleinOkay, having re-read your post a couple of times I will freely admit that I got the wrong impression. I misconstrued your meaning and assumed that the part I quoted was condoning the use of models acquired from such sites when what you meant was that it's better to purchase mesh created by others and customize it rather than upload "unique" meshes from illegitimate sources. 

I'll leave my original ramble as is since the information regarding the TOS constraints of 3rd party model repositories may be of some relevance to the discussion in this thread, but I do hereby sincerely and profusely apologize for the misunderstanding and will now go sit in the corner and think about what I've done... Sorry Fionalein! :$

Edited by Fluffy Sharkfin
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7 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

Its a public secret most don't - they just hire contracters to do the "original" work - so much for respecting the customer desire xD

And you know this how?

Because the impression I get is that most creators are single individuals.

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1 hour ago, Pamela Galli said:

And you know this how?

Because the impression I get is that most creators are single individuals.

I think it depends on subpopulation - furniture "just" needs designing, scripting, animating, meshing and texturing, fashion also needs rigging on top of this.

And while I think there might be some successful lone wolfs out there the romatisized ideal of the Leonardo Da Vinci of Original Content is mostly a fairy tale in my eyes. Don't get me wrong, doing a fashion drawing and handing it to a contracted mesh artist is nothing wrong - no one would expect RL fashion designers to sew all their stuff either. But it is not what people imagine when they are told it is 100% original content... (which IMHO it already stops being if you use the famous AV-Sitter scripts)

Edited by Fionalein
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1 hour ago, Pamela Galli said:

And you know this how?

i think it's actual really true...

i seen it happen quite a lot, in special male shirts/jeans/t shirts... when one comes with a ribbon, within a week they all have the same ribbon, just different colors.. also the big A brands

 

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1 hour ago, Fionalein said:

I think it depends on subpopulation - furniture "just" needs designing, scripting, animating, meshing and texturing, fashion also needs rigging on top of this.

And while I think there might be some successful lone wolfs out there the romatisized ideal of the Leonardo Da Vinci of Original Content is mostly a fairy tale in my eyes. Don't get me wrong, doing a fashion drawing and handing it to a contracted mesh artist is nothing wrong - no one would expect RL fashion designers to sew all their stuff either. But it is not what people imagine when they are told it is 100% original content... (which IMHO it already stops being if you use the famous AV-Sitter scripts)

I am talking about mesh models being imported illegally from outside SL, some of which is being billed as "original mesh" but even when not, is still illegal, because people are being cheated out of compensation for their work. I purchase scripts and depend on Rolig for brilliant custom scripts, and I buy animations, but I alone use all these components -- legally -- to make my creations. I don't employ a team. I am not above buying a full perm model now and then -- but again, legally.

The point is not to cheat people of any compensation they are due.

ETA I don’t mean to suggest that the problem is only with importing models into second life. There are stores in SL selling my content, some of it full perm, some of it free.  But most well-known merchants are not going to do that. 

Edited by Pamela Galli
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1 hour ago, Fionalein said:

But it is not what people imagine when they are told it is 100% original content... (which IMHO it already stops being if you use the famous AV-Sitter scripts)

Should someone making original clothing in real life also weave their own silk from silkworms they've raised?

 

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1 minute ago, Theresa Tennyson said:

Should someone making original clothing in real life also weave their own silk from silkworms they've raised?

If they claim they really did it all by themselves... of course? Most tailors however just claim they only buy the finest selection of fabric most instrument makers claim they only buy the finest tonewoods - if my luthier however declares he also did the tonewood selection before felling for one particular instument I pretty much think he should really have done so when he was claiming that...

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I don't think I've seen a sign "100% Original Content" on anything. All I see is the "Original Mesh" label. I've always thought that meant the person who is listed as the creator actually did the modeling of the mesh. I've never thought it meant anything else. It doesn't mean the person did the texturing or scripting or rigging even. But that's what I've always taken it to mean. I know you can buy templates/models here in SL. I bought a couple myself in the early days of mesh, but it kind of felt like I was cheating to use one, so it was a great motivator to make me buckle down and learn Blender. Don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with people buying and using templates/models in compliance with the license agreement. It just wasn't something I felt comfortable doing myself.

I am a firm supporter of creators both here in SL and out. Modeling mesh is time consuming and labor intensive. I am dismayed that anyone would pass off a purchased model as their own original work and especially so when the resale of the model is prohibited.

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3 hours ago, Pamela Galli said:

And you know this how?

Because the impression I get is that most creators are single individuals.

I actually do know this, partly because content creators have told me.  That has always been legal and the work is "original" in that it is COMMISSIONED WORK and the brand selling buys the copyright to that work (at least that was how most work for hire is).

I also know one content creator (second tier which is what I consider myself) that does commission work FOR a popular, very well-known brand (and yes, I was surprised). Obviously no names will be revealed. I really do know how to keep secrets.

Original in most contexts of this type of work doesn't mean "made by the owner of the brand" it means "will not be sold over and over again like template clothes".   Now if there is a venue that says the products must be MADE by the owner of the brand (Chic waves hands) THEN there are rules being broken. I have never seen an event agreement that has that in the rules but there might be one or two. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Blush Bravin said:

I don't think I've seen a sign "100% Original Content" on anything.

It is out there (I just checked one brand I remembered it on) but unfortunately that is a lie sometimes. I guess if you are going to break the rules you might as well break them all :D. 

This really is disturbing to the many of the folks that do the work ALL by themselves. 

 

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