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If you had things copied, were the copiers banned?


Pamela Galli
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On another large very popular forum, the owner started a sub forum for IP theft issues, along with a thread in which one can report the results of a DMCA -- were the infringing items removed, were the copiers banned?  So far not many have noticed it. Anyway, would be interested to hear from merchants the answers to those two questions. 

I have just filed a 20 page DMCA that took four days to do, so will be interested to see what the outcome is. I know that copiers are sometimes banned and sometimes not, but I don't know what criteria is used to make this decision or who makes it. Anyone have a clue?

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Thank you Shelby.  It was an unbelievable amount of work -- If my asst had not helped with taking a bazillion pictures and organzing them, I would still be at it. That's a lot of lost work time for two people.

I have hope, but no expectation that the thief and her alt(s) will be banned because I don't see a pattern. Even in the TOS it says something like they will be banned if they copy "repeatedly". Yet some do get banned right away, while others go into business.  And I have wracked my brain trying to figure out what advantage LL sees in keeping thieves on the grid?  They are only going to cause more DMCA work for them. And they certainly do take a lot of the joy out of creating. What is there to be gained?  Or what is there to be lost by banning them (which I realize only slows them down,but that's really all LL can do).

 

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This is true -- it is a game of whack a mole that only slows them down. But it that is all LL can do -- slow them down -- then DO IT. Do what you can, LL, that's all we ask. 

 

The person who ripped my kitchen did it on a main. They are not all bright enough to avoid that. But he is still on the grid. They are not all bright enough to avoid IP bans, or mac bans, or any bans, either.

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My way of frustrating the copiers is simply to assure than everyone else can also do it, so there's practically no profit in it for them. People will buy my stuff even though it's somewhere out there for free, because somewhere out there isn't always very convenient to get to, especially if you're not 100% sure about exactly what you're looking for.

I have encouraged specific people to re-market my items in Spanish and German, but I have not tried to specifically stop others from doing so in English or other languages. When it has happened, merely subjecting the reseller to various forms of unwanted attention has proved oddly effective. Just because there's no rule against doing something doesn't mean that someone won't eventually regret doing it, or that they can't be made by legitimate means to regret doing it.

If something has been resold after it has been appreciably modded, I not only do not discourage that, I consider it to be a desireable outcome, provided that the effect of the mod is not to produce total crap. 

I understand that this is not the way that most people think here, but I also understand that I'd rather spend my time making and selling stuff than spend my time tediously scrutinizing everybody else's products for some hint that they may be derivative. The system is what it is, and it's only ever going to change so much. Until then, at least,  it just seems easier to me to work the system that is.

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I think the guy who ripped Mote and resold it on the Marketplace was banned. At least, he is no longer available in search, nor are the other 2 names I submitted in my DMCA report. If their disappearance means they were really kicked off the grid, then it happened almost immediately,  within a couple of days.

It may depend on how "serious" LL thinks the infringement is. That's not saying that all infringers aren't equally at fault, but in my case I had more than one level of copyright abuse. It wasn't just that they stole and resold my software, but also that they used my marketing images, my marketing text copy, my company logo, and they were misrepresenting themselves as part of my (real world) software company. They also screen-shot my copyright notice from the software, added their own text to it and then put it up as a marketplace image.

Now that I'm a little distanced from it, the stupidity astounds me. But LL took care of it pretty quickly.

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As cynical as I am about many such things, I am glad to hear that.

If the guy was dumb enough to duplicate your marketing in addition to duplicating your product, I don't see how he imagined he would get away with it. But maybe he just figured that for as long as he would get away with it, doing more work to try to get away with it longer wouldn't warrant the effort. 

I suspect the guy who was marketing copies of my stuff with the same pictures, which actually had my own very distinctive avatar in almost every frame, did not expect to keep doing it forever, but instead thought he could pick up some fast coin until someone stopped him. Again, since my own stuff is full perms, it was merely a question of honor with my products. But what he did with my products got him noticed for his basic business model, which I understand had some more serious issues.

My father-in-law has published books in RL that are repeatedly infringed. He won the first case simply by showing that the cover picture on one book had been reversed, and that it was very clearly a picture of his own 2 kids. He says that had they not used the same picture, he might not have prevailed, and that he would not have been able to protect the books from subsequent infringements by others. Connecting yourself with your product CAN be important.

Much to LL's credit, I assume they realize it's a better risk to shut down an accused unauthorized copyist and possibly need to resolve things with him later and a worse risk not to shut him down and assuredly invite an escalated pattern of complaint by his accusers. I do not advocate some kind of witch hunt, but I see the logic of shooting first and asking questions later, provided that anything the bullets do is more remediable than what is already happening without them.

There's a mentality among some in SL that it's better for consumers if everything gets copied. Although my own stuff is intended to be copied, I don't agree with the larger idea. As in RL, unauthorized copies can drive down the market value of authorized copies and divert income away from people trying to produce things toward people who get paid basically for pressing the copy button. Some things in SL "don't want to be copied" and require so much time, skill and licensed software to produce that they become net loss items for producers if they are copied. If this is not diligently policed, it will send a message to producers of high-overhead items that they should expect to lose money by contributing to the SL economy. That's a bad message, and I'm happy to hear that LL is making a point of not sending it.

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Paladin Pinion wrote:

I think the guy who ripped Mote and resold it on the Marketplace was banned. At least, he is no longer available in search, nor are the other 2 names I submitted in my DMCA report. If their disappearance means they were really kicked off the grid, then it happened almost immediately,  within a couple of days.

It may depend on how "serious" LL thinks the infringement is. That's not saying that all infringers aren't equally at fault, but in my case I had more than one level of copyright abuse. It wasn't just that they stole and resold my software, but also that they used my marketing images, my marketing text copy, my company logo, and they were misrepresenting themselves as part of my (real world) software company. They also screen-shot my copyright notice from the software, added their own text to it and then put it up as a marketplace image.

Now that I'm a little distanced from it, the stupidity astounds me. But LL took care of it pretty quickly.

Good grief,  I knew you had been copied but this guy went all out!  I mean, he wanted to BE YOU! Kind of like being a stalker.

 

I have received an email from LL and this is their official policy:

"Regarding your request that we terminate the Resident account(s).  Residents that continually re-post content that is subject to a valid DMCA may be terminated under our repeat infringer policy."

There you have it. Repeatedly. And that does not mean twice, it means over and over. Peeing in the punchbowl is not enough to get you thrown out of the party. You have to pee on the cookies and sandwiches too, maybe the canapes and dip.

 

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I'm sorry that happened to you Pamela.

 

I encourage everyone to post results of DMCA's at the forum that allows it.

 

I really love SL (and some of the other grids too).  I don't want everyone to go to the other grids and abandon SL entirely because SL is not addressing copybotting seriously, but it looks like that is the trend.

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Pamela Galli wrote:


I have received an email from LL and this is their official policy:

"Regarding your request that we terminate the Resident account(s).  Residents that
continually
re-post content that is subject to a valid DMCA may be terminated under our repeat infringer policy."

There you have it. Repeatedly. 

 

I wonder if they make a distinction between real-world stuff and SL stuff. They might have been afraid I'd sue them in RL. Most residents here won't go to that much trouble.  But who knows what goes on in the higher eschalons.

 

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Josh Susanto wrote:

People will buy my stuff even though it's somewhere out there for free, because somewhere out there isn't always very convenient to get to, especially if you're not 100% sure about exactly what you're looking for.


See this is something I have often wondered regarding the whole copy bot thing.

Pam I'm really sorry this has happened to you and I in no way want to trivialise the trauma and annoyance of someone stealing your work, but I just want to come at this from a slightly different angle.

What are the hardest and most important parts of creating a successful business (ie, selling lots) in SL? I'd say marketing factors -  advertising, building a brand, finding customers, generating good word of mouth, actually getting your products in front of customers, getting a good reputation for quality and support.

Anyone can make stuff, and quite a few people make really good stuff, but whether people actually find it and buy it is another matter altogether.

How many copy botters really put in the effort of marketing anything effectively? How does anyone find their stuff? I suppose they can stick it up on the SLM, or put it in a freebie box? I could see you losing some sales on the SLM maybe, but your core market of people who buy $US 20 houses are not going to be digging around in freebie yards.

I guess my point is that many of the things that make marketing a challenge in SL for legitimate businesses, also make things harder for copybotters to actually make any profit (apart from those whose motives are purely griefing).

Eg a shopper like me never even *knows* if there's a ripoff version out there, because of the way I shop. If i want lingerie, i'll go to Blacklace, plants i'll go to Heart, and if I were ever in the market for a kitchen or mansion (highly unlikely because I spend my days on a platform surrounded by scripts in boxes) but I'd go straight to la Galleria. Why? because I know they make good stuff, it suits my tastes, it's good quality, the owners are decent human beings, their stores are beautiful, inspiring and a nice place to spend some time, and one way or another their products are in my face regularly enough that I'm reminded they exist. And most importantly, at some stage in the past all these things together have converted me from just a shopper  into their customer.

I would suggest that if you're good at the business of making customers, not sales, there is a limit to how much these things can affect you. I'm lucky in my business that scripts can't be copied the same way as builds (and I do have sympathy, I know it's sickening), but people eventually copy every new idea I have - it's the price you pay for being innovative. It pisses me off, yes, but I've just resigned myself to creating quality, value and ease of use and to keep turning new problem-solving ideas into reality. Any skilled scripter can copy a product's functions, but not many have the design ethos and imagination to do that in a way that is efficient, intuitive and user-friendly to the point where they have customers like mine who say "I want to buy an x but I want one made by you."

A couple of things people have said lately that have stuck in my head: "No one in business ever went wrong providing quality and value" (I forget who that was now, sorry) and Sassy Romano who said "I worked out long ago that my customers are my greatest sales force." All you can do is keep doing what you do better than anyone else and keep your customers happy. 

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Thank you.

Finally, someone is seems to be understanding some of the points I keep making in forum.

Copybotters will get some money, but unless what they sell is cheaper or easier to find, they can't really compete with the legitimate vendor. Whatever you're getting paid, the amount of money of which they're depriving you is probably less than that. 

It bears reiteration that customers don't come back because every product is perfect; they come back because they are treated with respect, whether they are satisfied with a specific product or not.

How do you think the product support and customer service from copybotters tends to be?

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I am not very concerned about ppl selling my things -- I know they are no competition. My concern is about my things becoming full perm freebies. Josh sells full perm items for 1L each I think, which is a very different business model.

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