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Phate Shepherd

IP Rights... how to know for sure?

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IP rights frustrate the crap out of me. Not because I don't want to follow them, but because the licenses are so often written in a way that they are either vague, or I don't grasp them.

 

For example, some objects on Turbosquid have a license that states the purchaser can resell the object as part of a game if the binary form of the object is in a proprietary format.... well... does SL qualify for that? You can't re-download mesh items. Even if you could, they are in a proprietary serialized format. After going through the LL mesh tutorial to be granted access to mesh upload, I don't know now if they would even care about the Turbosquid license.  "Well, its from Turbosquid. We don't care if you paid for it, or how the license reads.... we are deleting it to cover our butts."  A few of the "correct" answers to the IP tutorial leaned heavily toward CYA.

 

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What this kind of license means is that you may distribute a self-made game that includes these Turbosquid 3D models in a file format that can't easily be converted into mesh. What you can't do is distribute the models themselves in any way, neither on sites like Renderosity nor in SL.

ETA: This is similar to the license of most texture creators in SL. You may use their textures in your commercial builds, but you can't resell the textures themselves. In this case, SL does not qualify as a game because you didn't create and host SL. You would only be using SL as a sales platform to resell the 3D models, and that is not allowed according to this license.

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Turbosquid specifically addresses Second Life in their License FAQ:

"I want to buy a product from TurboSquid and convert it into an object I resell in a virtual world, like Second Life.  Is this allowed?

Answer
The creators of a virtual world can include TurboSquid products as part of the virtual world or game, but users cannot purchase TurboSquid products to re-sell in those worlds."

And yes, the tutorial is to cover Linden Lab's liability against being sued by copyright holders.  It shows they are trying to deal with copyright issues rather than ignoring them, and errs on the safe side *for them*.  That means if there is any question about legality, they will say no, you can't.  That's actually the safe position for anyone dealing with copyright.  In general, you have no rights to make copies of anything you didn't create unless specifically granted those rights.

 

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Marcthur Goosson wrote:


Rusalka Writer wrote:

How to be sure? Make your products from scratch yourself.

And be sure not to be inspired by anything :matte-motes-big-grin:

Or if you are, don't tell anyone :matte-motes-grin:

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Phate Shepherd wrote:

After going through the LL mesh tutorial to be granted access to mesh upload, I don't know now if they would even care about the Turbosquid license.  "Well, its from Turbosquid. We don't care if you paid for it, or how the license reads.... we are deleting it to cover our butts."  A few of the "correct" answers to the IP tutorial leaned heavily toward CYA.


They are covering their butts, but even more they are covering your butt. When you infringe on copyrights, the legal holder of the copyrights cannot bring LL to court for your behaviour, but he can make you pay for misbuse.

You can be sure that big players in the field of mesh, like game compagnies and movie compagnies have registrated every single form of copyright right for the meshes in their products. When you get cought by one of those for using meshes without permission, it can cost you a big deal of money. LL doesn't have to pay that for you. The only thing LL needs to do is give them your name. That is why the payment info on file is needed. For the reason that the legit IP right holder can send their legal department after a RL person, in stead of after an anymous avatar. 

You can only be sure when a mesh is donated to the public domain by the original creator. You will often find those creations coming with copyleft or the GNU General Public License.

I'm not sure if there is much mesh available with these kind of licenses, I doubt it. People who are good with 3D can make good cash with their skills. But still there might be some idealists or fanatic copyleft fans who make their 3D works available for public use.

 

But you better be 100% sure that meshes you want to use in SL are free from any copyright claims. When you don't understand a license, you can better ask the seller of the license what is ment by certain parts in the text.
h
support, you can send him an IM or a notecard.


 

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Ishtara Rothschild wrote:

What this kind of license means is that you may distribute a self-made game that includes these Turbosquid 3D models in a file format that can't easily be converted into mesh. What you can't do is distribute the models themselves in any way, neither on sites like Renderosity nor in SL.

ETA: This is similar to the license of most texture creators in SL. You may use their textures in your commercial builds, but you can't resell the textures themselves. In this case, SL does not qualify as a game because you didn't create and host SL. You would only be using SL as a sales platform to resell the 3D models, and that is not allowed according to this license.

I understand and agree with that. But after taking the LL IP tutorial, they avoid the fine grained details like:

Say I purchase a 3d horse model. I turn it into a product and resell it. I do not sell the mesh full perm. Is that OK? By my reading of the license, I am not redistributing the mesh for reuse, it is for direct sale as an item.... no different than selling a game or movie that contains that 3d character. If that is not a legitimate use of the mesh, then why doesn't the license simply state "YOU CAN"T UPLOAD THIS TO SL". Done.

 

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Rusalka Writer wrote:

How to be sure? Make your products from scratch yourself.

Absolutely! If I have the time and the patience, that would always be my preference. But, if the time I spend is worth more than the purchase price, I have no problem spending the money on a mesh if it meets my needs, and there are no legal issues.

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Nix Manx wrote:


Marcthur Goosson wrote:


Rusalka Writer wrote:

How to be sure? Make your products from scratch yourself.

And be sure not to be inspired by anything :matte-motes-big-grin:

Or if you are, don't tell anyone :matte-motes-grin:

Its getting to the point that if you want to make, say, a 3D horse mesh, you would be good to visualize a cow while you work.

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Phate Shepherd wrote:

 
I understand and agree with that. But after taking the LL IP tutorial, they avoid the fine grained details like:

Say I purchase a 3d horse model. I turn it into a product and resell it. I do not sell the mesh full perm. Is that OK? By my reading of the license, I am not redistributing the mesh for reuse, it is for direct sale as an item.... no different than selling a game or movie that contains that 3d character. If that is not a legitimate use of the mesh, then why doesn't the license simply state "YOU CAN"T UPLOAD THIS TO SL". Done.

 

 

That would be akin to reselling full perm textures after limiting the permissions, imho. The permissions don't matter if the license basically says "may be used as part of a build or project, but no resale as is". In your example, you wouldn't be selling a game or a movie, you'd be reselling the item itself, only on a different platform.

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That was my initial reaction, but then suppose he is not just selling a horse, but selling a horse breeding and riding game, part of which is a horse based on that mesh? OK, it's only playable on the sl platform, but platform restriction is common in games. Hmmmm.

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Say I purchase a 3d horse model. I turn it into a product and resell it. I do not sell the mesh full perm. Is that OK? By my reading of the license, I am not redistributing the mesh for reuse, it is for direct sale as an item.... no different than selling a game or movie that contains that 3d character. If that is not a legitimate use of the mesh, then why doesn't the license simply state "YOU CAN"T UPLOAD THIS TO SL". Done.

 


Yes, in that case you are redistributing the mesh for reuse. You must reuse not interpretate from your position, with you as starting point, but the from the original creator.

When you buy a mesh car for example that is not allowed to redistribute for reuse, this means that you are the end user of the car. You might be allowed to upload it to SL, but you are not allowed to make any copies of it except for own use.  You can not sell an object in SL that doesn't come with permission to redistribute. 

Why doesn't the license simply state "YOU CAN"T UPLOAD THIS TO SL"? Because people can neither upload it to InWorlds, Avination, Blue Mars,  IMVU, Deviantart and so on and on and on...

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But it's about being creative, that's what SL is supposed to be about.

I do understand that most would rather just be creative sales-people because yes, it's soo much work to make that crap. (I'm not talking about consumers.)

Self made = ALL rights. Can even put it ON Turbo squid for sale there too!

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Phate Shepherd wrote:


Nix Manx wrote:


Marcthur Goosson wrote:


Rusalka Writer wrote:

How to be sure? Make your products from scratch yourself.

And be sure not to be inspired by anything :matte-motes-big-grin:

Or if you are, don't tell anyone :matte-motes-grin:

Its getting to the point that if you want to make, say, a 3D horse mesh, you would be good to visualize a cow while you work.

A thin cow would do it...

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Drongle McMahon wrote:

That was my initial reaction, but then suppose he is not just selling a horse, but selling a horse breeding and riding game, part of which is a horse based on that mesh? OK, it's only playable on the sl platform, but platform restriction is common in games. Hmmmm.

That is indeed trickier. A breedables business could be seen as a game, coming to think of it. I have no idea in this case, but I guess that the quote from Turbosquid's License FAQ that DanielRavenNest posted still applies. 

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Marcthur Goosson wrote:


Rusalka Writer wrote:

How to be sure? Make your products from scratch yourself.

And be sure not to be inspired by anything :matte-motes-big-grin:

Sure you can...but replicas? This is another issue.

Look at the OK'd avatars they have recently released directly from LL! The cars are a recognizable as being inspired by famous cars. I see an enzo, a VW bug, uh...I can't remember the rest lol. But, yeah...you can see it! They are obviously not replicas though. There are to many bits missing, not the same or just wrong. BUT, they might argue parody!

We have no word on it, so we don't know. NO lindens wishing to say weather they let the avs pass on parody claims or simply just to different and obviously so?

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Phate Shepherd wrote:

IP rights frustrate the crap out of me. Not because I don't want to follow them, but because the licenses are so often written in a way that they are either vague, or I don't grasp them. 

I deal with IP rights issues professionally, daily, and when I do I'm putting myself and my own company at risk. I'm not a lawyer, but I do retain a good one, and I'm experienced. I feel your pain, but maybe I can make it clearer.

IP rights issues are vague. Whatever you do, you are at risk. The law is not precise, and is it not like code. In the end, you must make a judgement about whether you are likely to be sued or prosecuted, and what the damage will be if you are. This is true even when you believe you are doing all the right things both morally and legally.

When you read a license agreement you are not just trying to interpret it literally, but also trying to understand how a court would interpret it in the case of prosecution. Many things in license agreements are in fact unenforceable nullities. You have to pay a lawyer to find out, and even then he is only giving his professional opinion — a prediction of what a court would decide. A good lawyer will tell you how sure he is.

A lot of apparent legal documents written by SL residents are total nonsense. People have seen software license agreements or other licenses and think they can write whatever they like. However you still can't ignore such documents. A court will try to understand the intention of them, within what is legally allowed. So you must do the same.

In the end: assess your risk, make your decision, be sensible, behave well, and listen to LL's guidance ahead of that of random residents (me included!)

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"Say I purchase a 3d horse model. I turn it into a product and resell it. I do not sell the mesh full perm. Is that OK? By my reading of the license, I am not redistributing the mesh for reuse, it is for direct sale as an item.... no different than selling a game or movie that contains that 3d character. If that is not a legitimate use of the mesh, then why doesn't the license simply state "YOU CAN"T UPLOAD THIS TO SL". Done."

I think it's more accurate to say: "I alter the product and re-DISTRIBUTE it".  since it is already a product that you purchase from Turbo Squid.  Regardless whether you restrict your customers from further distribution of the item, you have put yourself in the distribution chain and set yourself up as a distributor if you buy a product from Turbo Squid and sell it as a mesh in SL.

I believe the intent for products sold on Turbo Squid is tbe sold to the end user. The end user then can use these items in photography shots, and/or in the context of making movies and animations, as fixed props or characters in games and for such purposes as props for architectual renderings, etc., etc..  You are probably are allowed to upload it to SL and play with it yourself, but not allowed to pass it along to any other person to use (for free or for sale).  If they admire it, you can point them to Turbo Squid where they can purchase the mesh. Otherwise, if you purchase a mesh item from Turbo Squid and then sell the mesh on SL marketplace  it's like reselling it back on Turbo Squid.  Clearly that's not what is intended. 

I would gather, should the creator of the mesh on Turbo Squid be amenable to your redistribuiting the items in SL or any other similar platform, you'd need to purchase a distribution license which most likely would be a whole lot more expensive then the end user license.  Also you'd probably be required to give the mesh creator a percentage of your sales and keep him or her informed of your intended marketing plans, providing details regarding how you plan to alter, and sell the his/her product.  Just because the item isn't being sold currently in SL by it's creator, this doesn't limit the creator from  reserving exclusive rights to do so in the future.  It would be foolish not to reserve that right.  

I'm guessing the license doesn't clearly state you cannot sell the item as a distributed mesh in SL, because it's somewhat obvious that's not the intention of the seller.  It would make more sense for you to check for licenses that clearly state "May be redistributed in Second Life".  If the license such a statement then you are good to go.  Or your other option would be to contact the seller of the item and ask for a distributors license and pay an appropriate fee for this arrangement.

 

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