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Grand Theft Auto in Second Life


Ishtara Rothschild
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You have pointed us to a 2008 case which has no relevance that I can see to what we are discussing here.  LL is not willfully piggybacking it's product on the back of another company's game.  As follows:

 

"Glider, also known as WoWGlider or MMOGlider, was a bot created by MDY Industries, which interoperates with World of Warcraft. Glider automates and simplifies actions by the user through the use of scripting to perform repetitive tasks while the user is away from the computer. This allows the user to acquire in-game currency and level-ups of the character without being present to perform the required actions. [6] As of 2008, it has sold approximately 100,000 copies.[1]

[edit] MDY v. Blizzard

While MDY Industries asserts that the software is meant to overcome design flaws in the World of Warcraft environment, Blizzard contended in a 2006 United States federal lawsuit that the program's use violated their terms of service.[7] In July 2008, the court entered summary judgment holding MDY Industries liable for tortious interference and copyright infringement, based, in part, upon the legal premise that users of the World of Warcraft client software are licensees rather than owners of their copy of software.[1]

Public Knowledge, a public interest group which filed an amicus brief in the case,[8] criticized the decision, saying it makes the loading into memory of legally obtained software an act of copyright infringement subject to high statutory penalties, if the user has violated the software's license agreement in any way.[9][10] The court did not hold this view and found that Glider infringed upon Blizzard's intellectual property by making an illicit copy of the World of Warcraft client in order to avoid Blizzard's anti-cheating software, Warden, and ordered MDY Industries to pay Blizzard six million dollars.[11] In finding this, the court agreed with Blizzard that World of Warcraft is licensed, not sold.[12]

Following the judgment, Blizzard petitioned to enjoin MDY Industries from distributing Glider or releasing its source code.[13] In March 2009, MDY Industries suspended Glider sales and operations pursuant to an injunction.[14] On December 14, 2010, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling. They agreed that users were licensees rather than owners of the software. They changed the ruling on copyright, stating that users were in breach of contract concerning the end-user license agreement (EULA), but that this did not constitute a violation of copyright. Nevertheless, they ruled that the bot violated the DMCA. Accordingly, the case was sent back to the district court for review in light of this decision.[15][16""

 

Edited to correct line to properly read NO RELEVANCE

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And again.  Limewire: "On October 26, 2010, US federal court judge Kimba Wood issued an injunction forcing LimeWire to prevent "the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality" of its software in Arista Records LLC v. Lime Group LLC.[3][4] A trial investigating the damages necessary to compensate the affected record labels is scheduled to begin in January 2011.["

You are comparing a company who offered direct  file sharing of other companies  product (music). Hasn't this discussed to death with Napster?  There is no relevance here, since what is being copied is not (which again we all agree is wrong and LL has made it a requirement that its customers prove they understand this policy before allowing them to upload)  the GAME, but characters or backdrop items in the game.  It is the perogative of the company who owns these images to demand they be removed, but it is  no basis for an all out cease and desist order of the entire LL company or demand for some crushing damages award.  And a smart game company will turn a "blinds eye" to this type of copying since its excellent advertising for the actual game, its product placement here will induce people to talk about the game and purchase it.  Again, I'm not advocating anyone use this as an excuse to copy anything without direct permission. 

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I am sorry you are so misinformed. You make me sad.

I would be willing to bet that you never bothered looking into what exactly a copyright violation is. I have. Dont worry, I doubt you can find something that says making something generic from scratch is illegal. Just to be clear, I never advocated making an exact model from scratch and uploading it to SL, although you apparently have that impression. I am sure I could have worded things more clearly, but that wont stop you from being misinformed.

Go educate yourself some: http://www.bannerwitcoff.com/_docs/library/articles/Katz%20and%20Cardy%20Innovation%20article.pdf

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You wrote: "Go educate yourself some: http://www.bannerwitcoff.com/_docs/library/articles/Katz%20and%20Cardy%20Innovation%20article.pdf"

That was very informative. And it serves as information, but not reliable legal advice, as the disclaimer states.

It seems simple to me.  You are free make a model of a chair.  You are not free to copy the Herman Miller interpretation of a chair, famously known as the Eames chair.  Particularly because this company has gone to a great deal of trouble and legal expense to protect it's design and has made the choice to retain rights to it into the 3D realm.  From the sounds of that article, Herman Miller decided to enforce it's perogatives and sell its designs in SL.  I'm sure they contacted LL's legal department at some point to insure that any copies of their products are deleted.  It doesn't appear they brought this issue to court.  It's in the best interest of businesses to act reasonably.  So let us not sensationalize this issue, please.

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Quoted for emphasis.

 These are not the same model. They may be both based on the same model of RL automobile (because GTA's autos -are- based on real world designs, they are just altered slightly and renamed), but they are quite obviously not the work of the same modeler if you take a moment to get over the kneejerk reaction and really look at the differences.

These kinds of witch hunts don't help the cause of people concerned about IP infringement. The first fact that has to be established before you can even start screaming "thief" is that the work is actually stolen. The accusation fails on the basis that there is no evidence this is the same 3D model of this car. To continue to scream about it after that is proven will appear reactionary.

I don't claim to have knowledge of whether the SL creator made this from scratch or ripped a model, but if he ripped a model, it's not the one in the comparison photo when you really stop and examine it. Moo is absolutely right that there are too many differences for this to be the same model.

  


Moo Spyker wrote:

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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It's actually quite fun to compare the two.  I took the liberty of flipping the SL version to the same orientation and sizing them to be more close in size for an easier comparison (If this is against tos, I apologize and will delete the image immediately on anyone's request)  The SL model is quite detailed and the  interior is not at all similar, plus all other points mentioned:

comparison.jpg

 

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This makes me wonder if anything is truly 'safe' to be made in SL.

If creator A makes a model and put it up for sale, then creator B sees creator A's model and makes a model that looks practically the same but with improvements in details and sells it. Is creator B wrong? If creator B is not wrong then wouldn't it be alright for anyone to just copy (or rip) someone's design, keep it looking very similar but add some details then putting it up for sale? Although creator A's item is the original, creator B's item will look the same but with improvements, surely the customers would prefer creator B's item, which makes it really unfortunate for creator A.

If it's ok just create something that look practically the same as something already available, there will be chaos! A lot of people would just be copying the item they like and modify it with some minor improvements and reaping the profits of the true creator which the idea came from!:matte-motes-sour:

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There IS a bit of chaos in RL on this topic.  Its a messy world we live in.

If the first designer of a chair got the design of a chair got it ALMOST right, but we all got splinters in our butts when we sat down on it,  then someone else came up with a different, but improved design, that works for the good of society, that has to be allowed.  If change wasn't permitted because the rules were so restrictive as to respect only the rights of the original designer, it would be very problematic for many more people then the original designer.

It is however also the option for the first designer to compete and make a third design, improving on his/her imitator.  And she/he could adopt a better overall business model: do a better job at advertising,  customer service, public relations. She/he could expand into other areas, tables, beds, etc.  Again, this benefits society because now competition improves design and our choices are increased.

If you choose (and these are all choices we make freely) to set yourself up in a business that sells items that are mostly utilitarian, like cars, tables, etc. you are not permitted to corner the market.  You can add decorative elements to differentiate them, but due to the nature of how these things are used for utilitarian purposes, there is a limit to how distinctly different they may be.  I've done some shopping in SL and there's quite a bit of difference in design quality, but a table is a table.  Most look fairly similar as they copy the designs of what we see in our RL furniture stores. Some stores are more fun to shop in, and some do a better job at displaying their product, some deeply discount their items.

And there's a number of reasons customers might prefer creator A's product. It might cost less, for example. It might include a script to give the customer the option to change unique textures or have unique particle effects, for example.

And when you state: "A lot of people would just be copying the item they like and modify it with some minor improvements and reaping the profits of the true creator which the idea came from, you are describing the fashion industry in RL.  A dress is a dress.

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They are both models of an approximately 1975-1980 Buick, which was a fairly popular car at the time.  The possibilities include both modelers working from the same original car from reference photos, or possibly obtaining a source 3D model from the same place, and then doing different optimization and detailing on it.  Both processes are prefectly legal, if the source model allowed commercial use. 

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I'm not talking about RL at all. Not about fashion or a dress. Just look if the original GTA car was made in SL by a SL creator (i know it's not, but just take as an example) then the second car was made by another SL creator after he's seen the first car. If both cars were made in SL by SL creators and sold in SL, surely customers would prefer the second car with improved details. This applies to everything that is made in SL (sculpts, furniture, clothes, houses, everything). Another example, if a creator makes a skin that has become popular, then another creator makes a skin that looks practically the same as the original but add more details to it and calls it their own. This has happened before and it was not ok. If it is ok, then why not just make a skin that looks just like a Curio skin but add more defining shadows to it and sell it. Or take a unique furniture design that was made in sculpt by one creator, remake it in mesh and sell it as your own.

Look at the very first question in the mesh tutorial upload quiz:

Daniel is a very talented artist. He is also a huge movie fan. Daniel made a 3D model that looks just like a character from his favorite movie and want to use it as an  avatar in Second Life. Can Daniel upload his 3D model as a mesh and use it for his Second Life avatar?

Everyone should know the answer to that. Now referring to this situation:

______ is a very talented artist. He is also a huge GTA fan. ______ made a 3D model that looks just like a car from his favorite GTA series and want to use it as an  toy/decoration in Second Life. Can ______ upload his 3D model as a mesh and use it for his Second Life toy/decoration?

Plain logic.

In a funny way, it is like karma for a car from GTA to get stolen lol

but on the serious side, creators should just stay away from copying.

 

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How can you say your not talking about RL?  This is real life money your cashing your lindens in for.  These are RL remedies you have to resort to to protect your work.

No one has the right to corner the market on the concept of making and selling "skin" in this game, but they cannot copy someone's artistic  interpretation of the skin, they have to come up with something with a degree of difference. Now there are only so many ways to design a skin and these choices are dictated by current fashion, lipstick colors, etc.  So the differences might be subtle.  If the original designer proves through a thorough analysis of the design that they have been directly ripped off, that's not ok, obviously. 

 AND no one can copy a skin from another game if it looks exactly like the 3d model character.  You wrote: "Daniel made a 3D model that looks just like a character".  That's unambiguous.  Note the important words here are JUST LIKE.  Identical.

One can make a character that is somewhat similar.  As did GTA, who copied the general look and feel of an actual RL car model that that another company manufactered. To date I haven't heard of GM, Ford, etc. suing GTA for use of their designs..but I'm not up to date on such things.

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Nacy, you are making this very arguementative. I am not talking about RL, I am talking about the issue of one creator copying another creator. If creators don't copy there would not be no issues that wouldl lead into RL.

The way the SL car is modelled does look just like the GTA Idaho. The original GTA car is a parody of a real life 1970's Chevrolet Caprice. The GTA Idaho just look similar to the real car at a glance but doesn't have the exact same features. This SL car is clearly modelled after the GTA version not the rl Chevrolet version. The structure and the position of the features of the SL car is too similiar to the GTA car. My guess is that the SL creator used pictures of the GTA model as a background image for reference when modelling the car and refined the details. But by adding a few different texture and tweaking the small details a little, he's getting away with it. That's my point. The skin example is to point out that if a skin 'creator' should not be allowed to make a skin that looks very similiar to a famous skin (with some minor changes that doesn't make the skin look different than the famous skin) then neither should this car be allowed because it still looks just like the GTA car even though there are some small changes.

You wrote: "One can make a character that is somewhat similar"

That is not up to you to decide. This is the reason why people/companies can sue if they want to.

-end-

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The fact that I do not agree with you does not make me "argumentative" in this discussion in a pejoritive sense of the word. I see things differently and I feel obliged to state my views.  If you feel this is an argumentitive discussion, please don't respond to my comments and let the thread die, but don't turn my contribution into something negative just because we disagree here.

ANYONE can sue for any reason.  And often these suits fails because it's unreasonable or not in the best interests of society as a whole, despite the desires of the designer.  Suing is not winning. Even the case between Apple and Samsung sited previously hasn't settled yet.  Samsung has pointed toStanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' as prior art that invalidates Apple's claim to be the original designer of the IPad.  Perhaps this is correct and the courts will decide.

You wrote: "One can make a character that is somewhat similar"

That is not up to you to decide."

Here, we do agree.  It is NOT up to me to decide. But the decision is made by others.  If you don't like the decision, I can accept that.  But we aren't discussing whether you are happy or not with the way things are, unless you are changing the discussion.  In fact the original discussion was comparing an item in SL that seemed to the OP to be a direct copy of similar item from RL. 

 Now you are stating this discussion is only about SL, SL designers copying other SL designers. However that's a seperate conversation altogether.

ETA: and you wrote "The original GTA car is a parody of a real life 1970's Chevrolet Caprice. The GTA Idaho just look similar to the real car at a glance but doesn't have the exact same features."  And this model in SL is very likely a PARODY of the GTA game and it's vehicles.  It looks similar to the GTA design at a glance, but careful observation shows it doesn't have the exact same features."

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Hi everybody :)

I found this thread intriguing in a "what  came first, the chicken or the egg" sort of way. So I did a bit of Googleing

The closest match I found for a reference is the 1976 Buick Riviera. (Image 1 )

The high poly version was made from scratch to be used as a legitimate optional replacement for the original low poly car.

Comparison RL_GTA_SL_Blender .jpg

The download for the game consists of a Texture file and a second file containing the low poly version, image 3 and the the high poly mesh ( including other high poly parts, motor, suspension etc etc, plus parts for a crashed version, dented panels broken windows etc etc ) all superimposed on top of each other with many parts bundled together in the middle of the vehicle.This I expect was done deliberately to comply with the way the game handles such files.

The wheels are missing perhaps because they got corrupted when opening in Blender or perhaps they have place holders for wheels to be attached in the game.

I hope this answers some of the suggestions made here :) .

I just noticed something, in image 5 I forgot to remove the number plate, the badge on the bonnet and the little sticker on the windscreen.

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