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Nicholas Melchior

Rampant Theft and Fraud on MP

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It's becoming increasingly disturbing how slow LL is in responding to fraudulent merchants on MP selling stolen full perm mesh. Every day I see listings for full perm mesh that are clearly recognizable as belonging to other established creators and being resold as full perm in violation of IP restrictions. And it's always the SAME PERSON OR PERSONS doing it. Even though they occasionally get taken down, they will immediately re-list under another name, but the listing images are clearly from the same source, using the same style and fonts every time. I know the original creators are monitoring MP and constantly reporting these listings and "merchants," and yet the listing seem to stay up for days and days at minimum. Meanwhile LL takes down other legitimate listings on meager technicalities with lightning efficiency. 

Seriously what is it going to take for LL to take this situation seriously and establish a dedicated resource for protecting content creators from these abuses? A number of talented creators have already simply given up and ceased producing any full perm mesh altogether because of this rampant theft. Allowing this to continue  will only stifle what little market is left for full perm mesh.

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Sadly there is a  solid system the copy botters use to share the stolen mesh products on MP. They make an alt and just publish everything and leave it there for one hour, then they take it down  and  go on another alt doing it again. It's probably automated on their side, I doubt they'd be so patient to do that all the time, but it's how it works and LL would need extra effort to go to the source of these stores. The best thing to do is report and let the original creator now.

Edited by Sylvannas Zulaman

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2 minutes ago, Sylvannas Zulaman said:

Sadly there is a  solid system the copy botters use to share the stolen mesh products on MP. They make an alt and just publish everything and leave it there for one hour, then they take it down  and  go on another alt doing it again. It's probably automated on their side, I doubt they'd be so patient to do that all the time, but it's how it works and LL would need extra effort to go to the source of these stores. The best thing to do is report and let the original creator now.

Well, even as a partial measure, I think adding some sort of human verification to the listing process - a captcha or some such method - would be in order to at least combat the automation.

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That would just make listing process extremely long and LL would have to hire more professionals what would increase the costs for the company and subsequently the fess we all pay in SL.

Edited by Sylvannas Zulaman
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Just now, Sylvannas Zulaman said:

That would just make listing process extremely long and LL would have to hire more professionals what would increase the costs for the company and subsequently the fess we all pay in SL.

That's simply not a valid objection. We aren't talking nickels and dimes here. These fraudulent transactions quickly add up to significant amounts of real money. LL has a significant responsibility here since, let's not forget, they take a cut from every illegal sale.

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2 hours ago, Nicholas Melchior said:

Seriously what is it going to take for LL to take this situation seriously and establish a dedicated resource for protecting content creators from these abuses? A number of talented creators have already simply given up and ceased producing any full perm mesh altogether because of this rampant theft.

there is a tool, and the only one: DMCA filed by the rightfull owner of the copied items.

IF you'r not such person your claims will be rejected, and LL doesn't need to take it down.

All you can do is inform the rightfull owner, and let him/her handle it.

AND don't buy it. If everybody would skip the fishy things on MP it would be gone fast.

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42 minutes ago, Ethan Paslong said:

there is a tool, and the only one: DMCA filed by the rightfull owner of the copied items.

IF you'r not such person your claims will be rejected, and LL doesn't need to take it down.

All you can do is inform the rightfull owner, and let him/her handle it.

AND don't buy it. If everybody would skip the fishy things on MP it would be gone fast.

Totally agree about the DMCA, but the "if no one would buy it" part is not really realistic. I shop a lot and I do my research on what I buy, including checking demos or in-world stores in case of furniture, buildings, decor and landscape stuff. If I see something I don't recognize and price is suspiciously low, I always make sure to check the seller's profile, their MP and in-world (if it does exist) stores before buying.  So yeah, I do my best to skip buying resold FP items and stolen things.

But we can't really expect most people (especially new residents) to invest large amount of time and efforts to find out what is legit and what is stolen/resold. They just search for things they want to buy, maybe change sorting to the best selling, newest or cheapest first and that's it. In case of gacha items it's even worse, without knowing the average market price for that item you can't even tell what is too low or too high. And again, no way an average buyer who just want a certain item will spend their time researching the market of said gacha to find out if that deal is fishy or not.

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1 hour ago, Ethan Paslong said:

there is a tool, and the only one: DMCA filed by the rightfull owner of the copied items.

IF you'r not such person your claims will be rejected, and LL doesn't need to take it down.

All you can do is inform the rightfull owner, and let him/her handle it.

AND don't buy it. If everybody would skip the fishy things on MP it would be gone fast.

Yes, I know those are the only current tools. That's precisely why I'm saying there need to be additional ones because those are entirely insufficient. The problem is the original creators DO file those reports and the offending listings STILL take forever to be taken down.

Edited by Nicholas Melchior
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1 hour ago, Nicholas Melchior said:

That's precisely why I'm saying there need to be additional ones because those are entirely insufficient.

Well contact your politcal representatives to change that... LL is bound by the law to do as they do.

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1 hour ago, Nicholas Melchior said:

Yes, I know those are the only current tools. That's precisely why I'm saying there need to be additional ones because those are entirely insufficient. The problem is the original creators DO file those reports and the offending listings STILL take forever to be taken down.

LL has to confirm a DMCA is valid and follow appropriate procedures for a take down.  We have no clue what is involved in the process or how many DMCAs they have to deal with on a regular basis.

 

9 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

If LL is banning the people then they should not be able to come back on the same PC, right? (Ban by MAC address or whatever.)

It is easy to spoof that stuff so a true ban of someone is close to impossible, if said person knows what they are doing.

 

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50 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

If LL is banning the people then they should not be able to come back on the same PC, right? (Ban by MAC address or whatever.)

MAC addresses are not immutable and can be changed on the same PC by those who know how.  It isn't really possible to reliably ban an exact PC I am afraid.

EDIT: Should have read further down before replying, oh well.

Edited by Gabriele Graves
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2 hours ago, Nicholas Melchior said:

Yes, I know those are the only current tools. That's precisely why I'm saying there need to be additional ones

Contact your Dumbocratically Elected Professional Liar on Crapitol Hill, and demand new laws creating new tools...

2 hours ago, Nicholas Melchior said:

The problem is the original creators DO file those reports and the offending listings STILL take forever to be taken down.

That's because DMCA's need to be verified...

SL has had problems in the past with "disposable alts" filing fraudulent DMCA's against rival brands as a form of "Black-Ops" vendor  vs vendor covert warfare.

DMCA was/is a poorly designed law, and that in part is why it doesn't work as intended.

The only fix for that is... You elected professional liar on the hill, who is probably the same clueless oaf who voted for DMCA in the first place...



 

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6 hours ago, Nicholas Melchior said:

The problem is the original creators DO file those reports and the offending listings STILL take forever to be taken down.

That's likely because so many non-creators are filing ARs they shouldn't be. This could be wasting the governance team's time by clogging up the system.

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I can imagine the positive side of this situation. Creators who sell full perm items concentrate on their in-world shops (we need to see it in-world anyway) and the MP serves as some sort of list where you can search for full perm mesh... 

 

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On 10/25/2018 at 1:38 PM, Sylvannas Zulaman said:

Sadly there is a  solid system the copy botters use to share the stolen mesh products on MP. They make an alt and just publish everything and leave it there for one hour, then they take it down  and  go on another alt doing it again. It's probably automated on their side, I doubt they'd be so patient to do that all the time, but it's how it works and LL would need extra effort to go to the source of these stores. The best thing to do is report and let the original creator now.

It's easy to fix if it's automated. Just a few quick ideas off the top of my head

1. Make new accounts wait a specific amount of time before opening up a new store (least effective)

2. Require credit card to open up a store

3. Force a captcha for doing several things on the marketplace, and then let premium users skip it.

The the very least, they're manually creating alt accounts (or they've found an exploit somewhere that lets them bypass the captcha). But once that's done, I think the rest can be automated.

Something really needs to be done, these people drive down the prices of a lot of virtual goods, which discourages mesh creators. Personally, I think if you want to use Second Life to earn money in real life, there should be no line between the real life aspects of Second Life and real life. If you want to go on Second Life and live it as a purely alternative life, you're more than welcome to. But if you're going to be using it to make real life money, you shouldn't be hiding behind all this alt stuff.

It's obvious the system of waiting for something to get reported and then going through all the DMCA hoops to get it taken down is not worth it. I imagine a lot of hours get wasted by LL employees dealing with this sort of stuff.

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41 minutes ago, Flea Yatsenko said:

1. Make new accounts wait a specific amount of time before opening up a new store (least effective)

why?

41 minutes ago, Flea Yatsenko said:

2. Require credit card to open up a store

you already need payment info to do so ... again: why?

41 minutes ago, Flea Yatsenko said:

3. Force a captcha for doing several things on the marketplace, and then let premium users skip it.

and hit a lot of non-premium merchants ... again: why?

Edited by Fionalein
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On 10/26/2018 at 1:10 AM, LittleMe Jewell said:

LL has to confirm a DMCA is valid and follow appropriate procedures for a take down.  We have no clue what is involved in the process or how many DMCAs they have to deal with on a regular basis.

On 10/26/2018 at 2:22 AM, Klytyna said:

That's because DMCA's need to be verified...

When you as a company receive a properly filled out DMCA notice, you have two options:

  • Comply with it (read: take item down) as quickly as possible, or..
  • Assume full legal responsibility for hosting the infringing content.

 

Every user who registers an account with Linden Lab signs a TOS which says (this is kind of an aside, but required by copyright laws):

Quote

"In connection with Content you upload, publish, or submit to any part of the Service, you affirm, represent, and warrant that you own or have all necessary Intellectual Property Rights, licenses, consents, and permissions to use and authorize Linden Lab and users of the Service to use the Content in the manner contemplated by the Service and these Terms."
https://www.lindenlab.com/tos

 

One of the requirements for a DMCA claim is:

Quote

"(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law."
https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html

If that (and all other requirements, mainly personal details and contant info) are fulfilled, Linden Lab must -- according to US law -- act on it. Otherwise they are liable.

Again, it is not required for a DMCA claim to be verified as legitimate, only the requirements of a valid document must be checked, not the validity of the claim.

Edited by Wulfie Reanimator
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4 hours ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

Again, it is not required for a DMCA claim to be verified as legitimate, only the requirements of a valid document must be checked, not the validity of the claim.

You kind of missed the point...

The identity of the DMCA filer has to be verified...

That is, that the DMCA comes from a REAL person, with a REAL Snailmail address, and a REAL tel. number, and that they or their Lawyers can actually be contacted...

What's supposed to happen after the temporary take down is that the takedown victim is given the DMCA filers Firstlife contact details, included in a DMCA to that the takedown victims lawyers and the DMCA filers lawyers can meet in court to do battle...

DMCA is and will always be a failure, because, it's far too common that a takedown is issued based on a DMCA from people who subsequently cannot be traced, no contact, no court case, no proof of innocence or guilt, no chance of a defence...

"Fraudulent DMCA's from un-people as vendor vs vendor black-op covert warfare"

That's why LL require the paperwork they do, before accepting a DMCA report.

Your "valid document"...

5 hours ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

and all other requirements, mainly personal details and contant info


 

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19 minutes ago, Klytyna said:

You kind of missed the point...

The identity of the DMCA filer has to be verified...

That is, that the DMCA comes from a REAL person, with a REAL Snailmail address, and a REAL tel. number, and that they or their Lawyers can actually be contacted...

What's supposed to happen after the temporary take down is that the takedown victim is given the DMCA filers Firstlife contact details, included in a DMCA to that the takedown victims lawyers and the DMCA filers lawyers can meet in court to do battle...

DMCA is and will always be a failure, because, it's far too common that a takedown is issued based on a DMCA from people who subsequently cannot be traced, no contact, no court case, no proof of innocence or guilt, no chance of a defence...

"Fraudulent DMCA's from un-people as vendor vs vendor black-op covert warfare"

That's why LL require the paperwork they do, before accepting a DMCA report.

Your "valid document"...

"and all other requirements, mainly personal details and contact info"

Literally anyone can file a DMCA claim. You can easily use fake details of a real person.

According to dmca.com:

Quote

"ISP's / OSP's / Web Hosts do not have the right or responsibility to arbitrate the takedown process between parties or determine whether the takedown is valid or not."
"...the onus is on the party requesting the takedown to proceed to the next level legally..."
"The content or website must be taken down before the counter claim can be launched."

https://intercom.help/dmca/takedowns/general/i-just-received-a-dmca-takedown-notice

If you choose not to respond to a DMCA claim that you weren't able to verify for whatever error, but it turns out to be real, you are risking liability. You are also risking liability if your investigation takes too long. I think you can agree that it is always safer to simply take down the item and let the merchant selling it file a counter-claim. That way you are not liable and it stays between the two parties.

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To be fair, the DMCA laws are the minimum required. Many companies that host content do more. LL simply chooses not to.

On the other hand, costs and fees for everything in SL would spike if they did.

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11 hours ago, Gadget Portal said:

To be fair, the DMCA laws are the minimum required. Many companies that host content do more. LL simply chooses not to.

On the other hand, costs and fees for everything in SL would spike if they did.

I doubt costs on SL would be any higher if LL "did more." (Could you elaborate on that?) LL's legal department would exist regardless and you wouldn't hire one guy to exclusively handle DMCAs.

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19 hours ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

If you choose not to respond to a DMCA claim that you weren't able to verify for whatever error, but it turns out to be real, you are risking liability. You are also risking liability if your investigation takes too long. I think you can agree that it is always safer to simply take down the item and let the merchant selling it file a counter-claim. That way you are not liable and it stays between the two parties.

I'm sure Netflix's legal affairs team would agree with you after Disney bankrupts Netflix with punitive damages for taking down all the disney content because they received a DMCA from a "Mr Noname Mc Nobody" with no traceable RL contact details via a mobile Web cafe in a Yurt in Outer Mongolia...

Obviously, if Mr Mc Nobody felt strongly enough about Disney pirating all that movie IP from him, to climb on his pony and ride for 3 days and two nights to the web-yurt to file a DMCA, no further validation is needed to takedown all Disney owned IP, right?

Hahahahahaha


 

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