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Copyright infringement

Teresa Matfield

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I spent months working on a collection of lightrays and then decided to put them up for sale full perm for other builders to use. I chose to let others resell the lightrays as long as the permissions were set to 'no transfer'. I set the price at $L300, which I thought was a reasonable price, and each lightray could be purchased for $L40 by those who only needed a single or a few lightrays. Then someone decided to put my entire lightray collection up for sale on SL marketplace in a 'no transfer' version for $L25!! Less than I sell a single lightray for.

I was shocked and appauled but knew I couldn't do anything to prevent it as I'd given permission to do so. Yes, perhaps it was a bit naive and maybe I trusted too much in people respecting my work as most other creators do. But what made me angry was that the seller markets the collection using MY picture - only the text has been changed, but still my picture ...which I assume she must have copied/pasted from my store. At least she could have made her own. 

Anyway, I decided to do nothing to begin with as throwing myself into a battle over a few pennies seemed undignifying. But then I read the seller's profile and noticed how she markets MY work under her own design company's name. That really pissed me off! Besides, what she was doing was just as illegal as using my picture, which I never gave anyone the rights to use.

I contacted her about this but received no answer. Then I thought about putting the price of my own collection down and give the earnings to charity which would be sure to wipe her ass off the market. But by doing this, I would only be doing the same as her; dumping the prices on lightrays so that no one else, including other creators than myself, would have a chance to sell their original work in this segment of the market.

It seems that no matter what I do it either hurts other creators or I will stand out as a greedy, bitter person quibbling over a few pennies. So the question is what can you do in a situation like this one?

The first thing I did was to check and change the permissions on all my other items to prevent anything like this from happening again ...hoping that most will respect it as there is no copyright police in SL as there should be. But apart from that it seems there is little else I can do. Being wiped off the market by someone else selling the work I spent months on perfecting really sucks. 

The possibilities of protecting your work in SL are LOUSY to say the least. If anyone infringes on your copyrights, it is up to you to solve the matter and take any legal action if required. But everybody knows that no one will do anything about it as the amounts most creators earn in SL are negligible. But there are some who live on this or hope to do so. But if it's all about earning a fast buck and not caring about anyone else on the market, the prices will one day be so low that we may be looking at a future SL where all the talented creators have gone elsewhere to build. Is this really what we want with SL? Maybe, if we creators unite and channel money into a common fund which will have the single purpose of funding and supporting us in protecting our copyrights, this would have some preventive effect ...?


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For months LL has been allowing the reselling of full perm items being resold full perm -- with sculpt maps, and the creator's name on them.


The avi that copied my kitchen and put it up for sale full perm on the MP is still in game, despite me having bought a copy of the copied kitchen as proof. 


LL will not enforce EULAs or do anything about those who just copy.

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I'm sorry this is happening to you, as it must stick in your craw a bit, after so much work. I don't envy the creators of full perms packs their position at all, as this kind of bad behaviour is always possible.

I agree that ARing the use of your vendor ad might be a good beginning, as that's just a tacky thing for her to do. In future, you could include a EULA, and have it as part of the purchase agreement, so that it can offer you better protection (and protection for your other customers who also purchased to resell in good faith). If you want to be credited as the designer of the rays, or set standards such as how much your work must be altered before resale as someones "original" work, or what the minimum resale price must be, you'd have to have customers read this and understand that it's part of the agreement between you both if they purchase from you.

Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

of course it is your responsibility to protect your creations.

if you cannot handle selling full perm in sl, which means that you may... or probably will have to take legal action.. just don't do it.

either you take the risk, makin a few lindens more selling it full perm, or you don't ...

if you do .. just do it but then also let it go once it sold.. don't drive yourself crazy trying to follow the steps of people and alts that have bought it... you will live a whole lot longer..


if you can't handle it and you don't have legal insurance. just don't sell it full perm


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I can't believe I missed this post as it is an area that I know well. The person who "infringed" on your content did not actually violate your copyright as much as they violated your licensing agreement. You sold it at full perm and allowed them a license to resell it. However, under the terms of what you stated, they did not fully follow the terms of your licensing agreement.

What you have here is not a violation of copyright, what you have is a violation of the licensing around your copyright. If you placed in your terms that this mean an immediate revocation of the copyright, then you need to revoke it formally then it can become a copyright issue. 

I hope this makes sense. In the end, Linden Labs cannot nor should not enforce your licensing agreement as it is a contract between you and that user. 

If the DRM which is embedded in LL's system had be breached, then Section 1201 of the DMCA prevents the tampering of encryption and reverse engineering. If in fact that had taken place, you may have a case there but this does not seem to be the case.

In the end, unless want to hire an attorney and have the legal entity identified as in who that user is in RL, then you just need to take a deep breath and move on.


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Chelsea Malibu wrote:

I can't believe I missed this post as it is an area that I know well. The person who "infringed" on your content did not actually violate your copyright as much as they violated your licensing agreement. You sold it at full perm and allowed them a license to resell it.
However, under the terms of what you stated, they did not fully follow the terms of your licensing agreement.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get how you've reached this conclusion. The way I read it, the only stipulation the OP put on the resale of her lightray pack was that the reseller could only sell them without transfer rights. I see nowhere that there was a restriction on pricing in what she stated. She even said she'd given permission to do so.

While I understand her being upset about it after the fact, it seems to me, she just didn't take the steps necessary to protect herself from this happening in the first place. If I'm wrong, I'd appreciate you pointing out the reason, I'm sure I have a lot to learn.

The use of her promotional picture is, of course, a different story... that's just plain wrong. But that appears to be the only claim she has against this unethical ass. I'd like to be wrong.

...Dres (I can't believe they **bleep** out bast*rd and not ass... lol.)

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for all the answers to my post. Food for thought - and action, so thank you! :-)

Since the incident happened, I have talked to the customer and she has given me an apology and agreed to raise the price - still to a low level but at least she wasn't rude or incooperative so I haven't gone any further with this. She also agreed to credit me in the item description as the designer of the lightrays.

The real issue wasn't that she resold my collection of lightrays - she didn't violate the terms of conditions I had set up. She changed the full permissions to 'no transfer' as I had requested in the item description. It was the fact that she marketed it as her own design using my picture with only the text changed and even at 1/12 of the original price, which gave me completely unfair competition. So I guess it was also a question of business ethics and what we find is right and wrong and you can't expect others to share your views.

Where I come from, you automatically have the copyrights to your own creative work and unless you state that your work can be used by others commercially, they are not allowed to use it unless they ask your permission first. So to me, using my picture and calling it her own design, was a clear case of copyright infringement. I can see that under international conditions, it is a question of making an EULA that covers everything you can possibly think of may occur.

I have thought about LL's role in this and have also come to the conclusion that it is not their responsibility to protect my rights unless the customer has violated the rules set up by LL for commerce.

I think what bugged me the most in all this, was one of ideology and politics. My customer had chosen to resell the collection at 1/12 of the original price because she wanted to offer a high quality item at a price where everyone could afford to buy it. However sympathetic this view is, she did it on my expense ..not to mention all the other sellers of light rays that may have felt the result too. But this is really a discussion that deserves a thread of it's own.

When all that is said, I am sorry to read that others have had the same experience as I have - you have my sympathy.

And once again, thank you for all the great answers. I will use them as tools to become better at protecting my work.

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