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Grand Theft Auto in Second Life


Ishtara Rothschild
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Gavin, I'm not sure that is entirely accurate.  Apple has been accused of fraudulently altering a photo submitted to demonstrate that the Samsung product is substantially similar to the IPad.  And the original injunction was eu wide, I believe, but it was reduced substantially  to the boundries of Germany until a final decision on 9/9/11.

I'm not a lawyer, so I may be incorrect in my facts.  And Germany, issued an injunction, which I don't think is the same as a decision, just an action to halt things until a decision is made.  Which may very well be in Apples favor. 

This is just fact checking on my part.  I have no "pony in this race" as the expression goes.

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Yes, that is what you have been led the believe if you only refer to the Fandroid blogs. The legal team of Apple are not amateurs...

The main point here is that the legisation around this is very different around the world, and failure to comply with legislation can block access to a market.  This also means that creators needs to act according to the legisaltion in their country of residence and protect their IP there too, and not only rely on US legislation just because LL is incorporated there. 

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Deej,  I also hope you do not disappear out of frustration.  I, for one, appreciate your point of view and your contributions very much.

I've been once called a "fan boy" of LL on this forum, which made me and folks that know me laugh. In reality  I consider myself a realist and not wedded one side or another.  It's very difficult, I know, for folks who are committed to a high standard of performance to witness  the messy and inefficient way this or any other business is run. The waste and blunders, etc.  But this can be due to any number of things that are difficult for our voices here to make an impact on:  lack of vision, budgeting constraints, manpower constraints OR or in a positive vein, enhanced vision of things to come we are not privy to.   I can't think of a single business I deal with in RL that doesn't have customers who both love and hate them, and want them act on what seems obvious. 

 I've been a customer of SL a few years now and I am equally frustrated as you on other issues,  but  I'm realistic that SL is first and foremost a business.  If the market for virtual worlds is sufficiently  profitable, and LL doesn't perform to customers expectations, inevitably there will be competition to take over and everyone will jump ship. That really hasn't happened.  So there's a rational for why LL, who has public meetings and takes input from its customers, doesn't perform in the way a lot of people hope or want them to, it's all based on the bottom line.

We often sweat about the result of policy/feature changes in SL our own businesses (well I personally don't plan to own a business here, which makes me a second class citizen, apparently), but business owners have set themselves up and invested their time with full awareness and knowledge that they are all dependent on the whims of their  "landlord" and his/her OWN business concerns.  The bottom line of the landlord will always trump theirs.  So, not unlike  RL investors who take the risk of doing business in a going into a new country, They weigh the risks, fully aware they are subjected to the vaguries of the laws of this host country , regime changes, confiscation of their assets, imposed trade restrictions or oppressive taxes levied at any moment, and plan accordingly.  There is rationally considered risk associated with doing business here in SL. 

Edited to clarify the last part, and fix a few typos.

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Ok, I take your point, and its a fair one, however you wrote:

"Yes, that is what you have been led the believe if you only refer to the Fandroid blogs. The legal team of Apple are not amateurs..."

No the legal team of Apple are not amateurs, (nor those for Samsung, no doubt), and  I clearly stated I AM an amateur  in law related issues.  However,  I  neither referenced nor  read "Fandroid blogs" for information about this topic.  I did a web search on the case and read a broad range of publications and news reports (none which were blogs) to learn more about the topic.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

I disagree. You are speculating. The real questions are: Is the model a copy? Is the design patented or trademarked? Both of the answers are, most likely, no. Can huge corporations design a box and try to patent it? Well, of course, something similar happens almost on a daily basis. This does not mean they get the trademark or patent.

 

QFT

This reminds me of the days when I'd come across some drama thread or blog where someone (usually well-meaning) would claim that skin merchant B stole skin merchant A's skins. However, that person didn't know that both skin makers used the same skin merchant resource to make the skin. This is why the IP holder is the only one that should go around accusing people of infringement. And even then, the case may be so grey that only a court could sort it out. The main point is that there needs to be evidence such as wireframes and progressive work files presented before people start declaring that one creator infringed another's copyright.

On a side note, that car design is not that visually unique. I surely wouldn't go around stating that it was infringement based on those pictures.

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I happen to follow some of these stories quite closely since I have worked in Apple product managment, and recognize when some of these stories goes viral. In this case, the information originated from a Fandriod blog posting. The information about faked photos where available to the German court when it upheld its original decision, and obviously did not impress the court.

Google has a vested interet in this case, as the operating system used on the Samsung devices is Google's Adroid tweaked by Samsung to look like iOS.  You should not be suprised if google searches produce results that present their product in a favorable view.   Also, google use links as perhaps the most important ranking factor, so any Apple story, and they tend to get massive press, will rank very high. Negative or rumor type Apple stories are very popular with the media as they produce very high hit rates and usually rank highest. 

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Thanks sincerely for this information Gavin. It makes sense to me.  I usually am cautious about news sources I rely on, but it's getting ever increasingly difficult to find news and/or statistics that are truely meaningful. 

This kind of discussion goes on in my RL household daily and I plan to share your last post with my husband who has become alarmed that the search results from google have become increasingly useless and suspect.  And, although its a bit off-topic, if you could recommend a better search engine, I'd be grateful.

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IDK, I still use google most of the time, as I have other sources of information that can steer me for things I am interested in. 

There was a study published just a few days ago that concluded that users of Bing and Yahoo search often ended up with both a faster and more accurate result from the query than users of google, but I have not researched the origin of that story. It could very well have been seeded by the owner of the search engine used by both Bing and Yahoo; Microsoft. 

Aparently there is a Russian search engine, Yandex http://www.yandex.com/ some people think are pretty good. I have not researched it. 

Cheers, ;-)

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

The real questions are: Is the model a copy?

 

What you actually do is encouraging people to rip whatever they can get  from the web and illegal web databases and upload, sell it, and make some quick and dirty money by doing so. Because it still is speculation if some obviously ripped model is a copy or not.

Apart from the fact that you obviously do not have the slightest clue on international IP rights treaties, the real question is not "Is the the model a copy?" but the question "Do Microsoft, EA, Google, Blizzard and the entire game and 3D modelling industry see any value in figuring it out?" If they do, and this is the case as long as there is money in Linden Lab, they WILL figure out, regardless the cost. There are enough methods to figure out of which you obviously are not aware of.

And if this happens, byebye Second Life.

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""Do Microsoft, EA, Google, Blizzard and the entire game and 3D modelling industry see any value in figuring it out?" If they do, and this is the case as long as there is money in Linden Lab, they WILL figure out, regardless the cost. There are enough methods to figure out of which you obviously are not aware of."

And do these companies even care about such small potato infringements  or do they see the brand promotion benefits of such activites.  If I owned a car or watch company, I'd be delighted to see kids knocking off copies (up to the point it doesn't effect what I'm obliged to object to to maintain copyright control) of MY brand rather then my competitors brand.   It's like giving out t-shirts, visors and free frisbees at a college home coming game with your logo imprinted on it, but without the expense and time.

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When I take a good look at both models, I come to the conclusion that these are two different models. The creators might have used the same blue print. But the car in SL has much better quality then the car in TGA.

cardetail.jpg

For example the rounding above the wheel is much smoother, the corner at the bumper is more round, and the texture quality is much better in the SL car.

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Vivienne Schell wrote:


Medhue Simoni wrote:

The real questions are: Is the model a copy?

 

What you actually do is encouraging people to rip whatever they can get  from the web and illegal web databases and upload, sell it, and make some quick and dirty money by doing so. Because it still is speculation if some obviously ripped model is a copy or not.

Oh really!!! And where did I encourage people to rip stuff? I, in no way, encouraged any1 to do this. And what makes the model obviously ripped? I take 1 look and it is not the same model, there are obvious differences that any person that can make a model can notice by just glancing at both models. 

As I have said before, any1 that can use a 3d modeling tool, can create whatever the heck they want in a half hour to an hour. Texturing it will take another few hours. Why would some1 who can do this steal something from a site, or game? Chances are, you can make something twice as good as most game models. Plus, when you know exactly how the model can be used for a game, then you model it to fit the game.

I'll end my contribution to this thread by saying, Some people in SL are under the impression that either SL does not have good content creators, or that somehow designers outside of SL are better. My experience in SL tells me that even tho many creators don't have the 3d background that traditional 3d artist's have, I've seen some amazing quality. My only knock on the vast majority of creators is that they do not take lag and the total amount of space their product consumes into account. Much of this blame can be placed at LL's feet. Mesh gives every1 the opportunity to customize their work to not only look good, but also be lag friendly. Any creator would do well to learn as much about mesh as they can. It is liberating.

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"I take 1 look and it is not the same model, there are obvious differences that any person that can make a model can notice by just glancing at both models. "

Lucky you!

"As I have said before, any1 that can use a 3d modeling tool, can create whatever the heck they want in a half hour to an hour. Texturing it will take another few hours. Why would some1 who can do this steal something from a site, or game? Chances are, you can make something twice as good as most game models."

AMAZING. If it´s so easy, why do professional 3D model designers get paid for their fulltime job at the studios? Guess you missed your job. Did you apply at Blizzard? They may need someone who can re-model WoW within an hour!

"...but also be lag friendly."

What is lag friendly about a format without any upper limits if it comes to polygons? Twice as good as "any game model" maybe - but ten times more laggy for sure. "Lag friendly" would be restricting 3D imports rigidly. But then nothing would look much better than the ripped car which is subject of this thread.

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Nacy Nightfire wrote:

And do these companies even care about such small potato infringements  or do they see the brand promotion benefits of such activites.  If I owned a car or watch company, I'd be delighted to see kids knocking off copies (up to the point it doesn't effect what I'm obliged to object to to maintain copyright control) of MY brand rather then my competitors brand.   It's like giving out t-shirts, visors and free frisbees at a college home coming game with your logo imprinted on it, but without the expense and time.

This isn´t a matter of "brand" or "patent", this is a matter of license. When you buy a game, you agree to a license contract which STRICTLY DISALLOWS any extraction of the models embedded in this game, for whatever purpose. So, if someone rips a model from such a game, it´s a violation of this license agreement. And if this stupid someone uploads it - or a modified version of it - into another game (Second Life) for almost the same purpose (Playing a game) and makes money by it (Linden Lab charges for uploads, and some heinis certainly will try to sell such stuff), then there are all the reasons given for any judge on this planet to intervene. It only needs a proof, which isn´t such a technical problem to get for someone who needs one.

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Yes people copy content. No, there is no way at this point in time to completely stop it. This will always be fact for the foreseeable future regardless what it is, whether mesh, sculpty, whatever.

In the end, I dont think the companies care that much if someone copies their content as long as said person isnt making money and as long as they arnt doing widespread distribution. Depends on the company, and depends on how said copy is used really, so dont go thinking I am saying its ok.

Let me tell you a little story. I am involved with making models(for mods) for a certain game. The company who made said game has ruled that we cant import models or textures from the more recent sequal to said game for any of these mods(in other words, copy). Guess what though, I can make something from scratch that looks practically identical to the original models and its completely ok to do so. I get no trouble about it at all and I post in their official forums with pictures and all. From what I understand, its usually ok if you make stuff from scratch, its a definite no-no to just copy something; but of course most people agree with that.

Oh, and one time I contacted Games Workshop legal department about people selling space marine models in SL.(this was a couple years ago and the owner of said sim was generally cosidered an idiot) Guess what happened? Nothing, they didnt do anything at all and anyone who knows what they are like, knows they are quite lawyer happy when they want to be.(heck, they forbid a fan film from being distributed because of a quirk of german copyright law that allows artists to retain some rights to what they make regardless)

It also helps that SL is a small environment with money amounts being tossed around of only millions(couple hundred million for all SL). If I was owner of a company and I saw people copying some content from one of my games to SL, I would likely find out that chasing these people and bringing them to court would probably cost more than its worth. A single good game can bring in more money than all that exists in SL so its hardly worth spending any to stop this sort of thing when the impact is quite small(as opposed to torrents but thats another story). Plus, it makes for good free advertising anyway. I am sure not all companies would feel this way, but you should get the point.

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If I were you i´d be a bit more careful with exposing your illegal actions regarding "this" game, of which you obviously seem to proud of. Getting away with something does not make it more legal. Nothing you mentioned makes an illegal action legal.

If you sipport such morals, go ahead, but don´t expect that anyone loves you for this. There is only one point you make which I agree to: The games industry and the studios will not go after someone like you or me, they´ll go after the company which tolerates such actions, profits by such actions and to the place where the money is , which is Linden Lab.

I do not know if you are really fully aware of what you proclaim in your post, but such morals endanger the investments of anyone who ever invested more than a ripped game model into SL. It delivers all of us to the mercy of the game industry, which has shown not much mercy at all in comparable cases.

 

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You wrote: "There is only one point you make which I agree to: The games industry and the studios will not go after someone like you or me, they´ll go after the company which tolerates such actions, profits by such actions and to the place where the money is , which is Linden Lab."

Vivienne, I believe I've read this from you before.  What's your point?  Are you saying that the sky is falling, LL is going to be sued out of existence and everyone will lose their businesses here?  What does this have to do with mesh on the creation forum?

I think you would be much better served contacting the Linden Lab attorneys and giving them your legal advice.  As for the average creator, I'm not sure they can respond to something you agree won't effect the average SL creator, but will only effect the LL corporation.

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When i read some posts here, and if these posts reflect the opinion of the majority of the 3D model importing creators,  I am almost convinced that Linden Lab will get sued at some point of the story - just a matter of time. This is much more dangerous than any "copybot" could ever become, and the word "copybot" alone still causes some major hysteria.

And if you are actually supporting the "Oh, we all will get away with a little bit of crime" this won´t help at all. A sim is 1000 dollars set up fee and 250 dollars a month,that´s a lot of money for the average resident. Linden Lab makes millions. Not peanuts.

About the Linden Attorneys - I am pretty sure that they know about the risks of unrevised model imports. They only won´t tell us. It would cause a major exodus.

 

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Hmmmm. You wrote: "About the Linden Attorneys - I am pretty sure that they know about the risks of unrevised model imports. They only won´t tell us. It would cause a major exodus."

This makes no sense.  Would the LL attorneys not explain to  their client of the risks to the company if their customers upload copied 3d meshes and suggest they not go forward with their plans to introduce it if a crippling lawsuit was possible.

I'm sure they have their own best interests in mind.  If there is infringement (and no one here is suggesting there should be or it is in anyway acceptable) there may be a demands from time to time for LL to shut down the SL vendor and delete his/her product as a first step, which LL will comply with.  It's in no company's interest to go aggressively after another company as small as LL and jump into full blown litigation.  Notices are filed and there is time to comply.  Judges look for reasonable behavior on the part of both parties, particularly attempts at mediation before trial.  LL is doing nothing willful here and they've warned their customer base to also refrain from willful copying.  If an incident happens, LL wil act in good faith to correct it.  This happens in RL business every day.  There's nothing so complicated here as the issue of Samsung and Apple.  Everything we do here is a drawing or a code that can be easily erased.

 ETA: and the issue is getting very muddled.  Are we concerned about our own designs being copied and the fear LL will be unresponsive?   Or are we concerned that someone will copy another game mesh and the whole company will come crashing down on our heads.  I think perhaps the former question is the one people find to be a believable scenario.

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Well you certainly have no idea what you are talking about. I had to laugh at your post. Not that I think you will, but, go look up Morrowind modding if you think I am somehow going to get sued.

There is nothing wrong with making stuff from scratch. You seem to think however that if someone makes something it has to be completely different from anything out there which many people will tell you is simply not true. Oh, and Linden Lab has policies in place for this stuff and will do whats needed so they are not held accountable. I would like to see you try and sue an ISP because someone is using it to destribute stolen content. I will wait for your results on that.

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Those are NOT the same model nor are they the same textures. It may look the same but it was not extracted. Look closer at the details. Not saying its alright just saying its not extracted. It was a remodel.

 

Differences are as follows:

1. different polygon counts, most notable above the wheels

2. 4 lines across the grill on one, and 5 on the other

3. different wheel texture

4. different body texture

5. mirriors dont have the same poly shapes

6. white line across the side of SL one

7. interior seats appear to be different (hard to see from the angles)

8. head lights are vastly different

9. extra lights on the bottom front of the SL car

10. arm holding the mirrior up

 

While they look very close you can tell its not a direct extraction. The SL one was modeled by someone else.

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"Well you certainly have no idea what you are talking about. I had to laugh at your post. Not that I think you will, but, go look up Morrowind modding if you think I am somehow going to get sued."

No , i do not laugh on declared content rippers and copycats. The opposite is true. I heartily congratulate Linden Lab for attracting exactly this kind of character with their implementation of unrevised 3D object imports. It certainly will boost the further trust of investors and serious creators in the platform. People will happily be shopping for virtual goods which they cannot be sure of if they are legal or not.  It will bring us exactly the kind of content and shiny progress we all waited and begged for.

 

 

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Nacy Nightfire wrote: It's in no company's interest to go aggressively after another company as small as LL and jump into full blown litigation.  Notices are filed and there is time to comply.


Really?

Look up limewire.com

And the ever ongoing case here:

http://az.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20110627_0001117.DAZ.htm/qx

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