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How do I appeal to suspected item theft in the marketplace?


Majatek
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About a year ago (or so) I decided to set up a shop, and decided that the best items to sell would be cheap gaming related ones - Such as Team Fortress 2's bonk cans.

This is all fine and good, but I have recently recieved a message from a certain user (who I will keep anonymous) who also has a shop, with ideologies much like mine - He has also created items such as Team Fortress 2's bonk cans.

The problem is that he thinks that I have stolen my work from him, as evident by the following chatlog:

Imageshack image (click me!)

What's sad is that he is deadset on the "fact" that I have stolen items from his marketplace, and then put them into mine. I worry about this because he could legitimately file a complaint due to how similar our two designs are, and label mine as "theft of his work".

All that I want to do is to make sure that neither of us are hindered by copyright laws and that we are still allowed to distribute items from another game through Second Life, as well as the fact that I really don't like the prospect of being banned a good thing since I did nothing wrong.

Thanks for any help :)

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It's not like I'm making any money off of it anyway lol. If they do get removed however, I have the right to report his just as much as he had the right to report mine then.

All I want to do is to make easy to use items and gestures, easy stuff that would be popular in the SL croud who like to communicate with each other by gesturbating and showing off their props.

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As Dillbert points out, your biggest problem is not this other resident but rather Valve Corporation who own the rights to TF2, but lets leave that aside for now.

If this other user decides to take this further, which I very much doubt he will, he will have to file a DMCA against you, when he does LL are obliged to take down your items, since you didn't steal the items (from the complainant) you could then file a counter claim and your items would be restored until the issue is resolved in a court.

Although he doesnt need it to start the complaint, he would eventually have to produce evidence such as project files etc which demonstrate that he created the item before you.

If this was me, I would email Valve Corp, explain that I was a huge fan and ask if they minded if I made some fanware to use here in SL, since this is promoting their business right in front of a competitors nose they may well enjoy the irony and say yes, you are then in a position to report every other resident who makes such items without asking permission first, Of course if they say no your are screwed but then so is the other guy.! MUAHAHAHA!:matte-motes-evil-invert:  

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Majatek wrote:

About a year ago (or so) I decided to set up a shop, and decided that the best items to sell would be cheap gaming related ones - Such as Team Fortress 2's
.

This is all fine and good,

 

No, it's absolutely NOT fine and good.  You've stolen someone else's intellectual property.  The texture imagery on those cans, whether you ripped them or recreated them by hand, is owned by Valve Coproration, not by you.  Ditto for the name, "Team Fortress".   You have no right, whatsoever, to use either one, unless you first obtain permission directly from Valve, which you obviously have not done.

So you understand, the textures are copyrighted, and the name is trademarked.  Trademark holders are legally obligated to defend their marks, whether they want to or not, lest they risk losing them.  So, Valve does have an obligation to defend their trademark on "Team Fortress", at the very least.  Whether or not they also choose to also defend their copyright on the textures is a separate matter.  I imagine they'd want to do both.

The fact that you've managed to slip under the radar this long doesn't make it OK.  The plain and simple fact of the matter is that It's wrong to take what does not belong to you.  The ONLY right thing to do here is to remove the cans from SL, as well as from any other systems in which you've placed them, and to do the same with any other items you have that were likewise illegally created.  Nothing short of that will do.

 


Majatek wrote:

but I have recently recieved a message from a certain user (who I will keep anonymous) who also has a shop, with ideologies much like mine - He has also created items such as Team Fortress 2's
.

Pot calling the kettle black, much?  Basically, what you're saying here is that you feel stealing is perfectly OK, until and unless another thief comes along to claim that his own stealing is more OK than yours?   Wow.

Look, you're not going to get much sympathy from anyone here, I'm afraid.  Regardless of whatever happens with this other thief, show some integrity of your own.  Do the right thing.  Stop stealing.  Delete any and all stolen content that you have.

 

 


Majatek wrote:

The problem is that he thinks that I have stolen my work from him,

No, the problem is that both of you are thieves in the first place.  You both stole from Valve.  Neither of you stole from each other.

 


Majatek wrote:

as evident by the following chatlog:


So let me get this straight.  Not only do you think it's OK to steal intellectual property owned by others, you also think it's OK to publish chat logs without the permission of the other person involved?  Do rules, laws, and agreements mean absolutely nothing to you?

When you signed up for SL, you agreed to abide by the Terms of Service and Community Standards.  In section 4 of the Community Standards, it very clearly states, "posting conversation logs, or sharing conversation logs without the participants' consent are all prohibited."

 

 


Majatek wrote:

What's sad is that he is deadset on the "fact" that I have stolen items from his marketplace, and then put them into mine. I worry about this because he could legitimately file a complaint due to how similar our two designs are, and label mine as "theft of his work".

No, what's sad is that neither one of you seems to see any problem with stealing in the first place.  You only think something's wrong now because there happens to be a little friction between the two of you.  You're both sorely missing the far more fundamental truth, which is that neither of you has the right to use the stuff to begin with.

As for his potentially filing a complaint, he'd be awfully stupid to try.  As soon as the Lindens look at your stuff and his, they'll remove all of it, because none of it should be in SL in the first place, unless Valve themselves decide to put it there.  With that in mind, I sincerely hope he IS that stupid.

 


Majatek wrote:

All that I want to do is to make sure that neither of us are hindered by copyright laws 

Hindred by copyright laws?  Really?  What an amazingly disgusting attitude.  As creators, we are all PROTECTED by copyright laws, not hindered by them.  The only people "hindered" are thieves, which is the whole point.

 

 


Majatek wrote:

and that we are still allowed to distribute items from another game through Second Life,

What do you mean, "still allowed".  You were NEVER allowed to do that.

Again, the fact that your illegal activities happened to have gone unnoticed until now does not make it alright in any way.

 


Majatek wrote:

as well as the fact that I really don't like the prospect of being banned a good thing since I did nothing wrong.

You really think you've done nothing wrong?  My god, man; what the hell is wrong with you?

You've broken the law, you've broekn your agreements with LL, and you've broken your agreements with Valve.  You've stolen what does not belong to you, for your own purposes, against the will of the rightful owner.  You don't see anything wrong with any of that?

 

 


Majatek wrote:

It's not like I'm making any money off of it anyway lol.

That's not the point.  If you were making money, that would be just another illegal activity, in addition to the ones you're already committing.  The fact that you stole in the first place is the issue here.  Reselling the stolen property would simply compound the already existing problem.

 

 

 


Majatek wrote:

If they do get removed however, I have the right to report his just as much as he had the right to report mine then.

You can "report" whatever you like.  But the fact is neither one of you has the legal right to file a DMCA takedown notice, because neither one of you owns the IP in question.  Only the rightful owner can legally file such a notice.

You should be aware that if you knowingly file a false takedown notice, you will have committed perjury.  The fact that the DMCA is a federal law automatically makes it a federal crime.  The penalty for perjury, under fedearl law, is up to 5 years in prison.

So far, the worst you've shown yourself to be is an infringer.  You're not yet a criminal.  You really want to step your wrongdoing all the way up to that level?

 

 


Majatek wrote:

All I want to do is to make easy to use items and gestures, easy stuff that would be popular in the SL croud who like to communicate with each other by gesturbating and showing off their props.

If that's really all you want to do, then it's easy.  Create original works, and there will never be any problems.  Don't steal IP that is owned by others, ever.  It couldn't be more simple.

 

 

If you want to create fanart, you MUST first obtain permission from the rightful owner of the property.   Under the law, the answer is always no, until and unless the owner has said yes.  If you haven't asked, then they haven't had the opportunity to say yes.  If you ask, and they don't respond, that's the same as their saying no.  Until and unless they specifically say yes, their stuff is off limits.

Have respect for the rights of hard working content creators, who are people, just like you.  It's too easy to childishly and naiively think of an entity like Valve as this big faceless corporation that just magically spits out games, just for you to enjoy.  But the reality is it's just a relatively small collection of individual people, whose livings depend upon their ability to control what happens to their IP. 

Whether or not you make any money from taking it isn't the point.  It's not for you to decide what happens to someone else's property.  

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Ry0ta Exonar wrote:

LMAO He mentioned clearly textures were ripped out of TF2 on his ad.

This guy reminds me of the villains' henchmen in the old Adam West Batman show.  They'd have the word "henchman" written right on their shirts.  "Hey, Batman, come beat me up.  I'm a bad guy."

In this case, it's "Hey, LL, please delete my content.  I'm telling you loud and clear that I stole it."  Or possibly, "Hey, Valve, please sue me.  My favorite activity is being sued.  I love it.  So, I'm putitng up a big sign that announces I stole your stuff."

 


Ry0ta Exonar wrote:

If he files a DMCA on your item, you could file a counter DMCA.

There's no such thing as "filing a DMCA".  The DMCA is a law.  It's already been "filed", by Congress.  The phrase you're looking for is "filing a takedown notice", which is done in accordance with the DMCA.

In any case, as I just said to the OP, neither one of these theives can legally file a takedown notice.  Only the IP owner can do that, which in this case, happens to be Valve.

 

 

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Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

As Dillbert points out, your biggest problem is not this other resident but rather Valve Corporation who own the rights to TF2

I'd phrase this a little differently.  The biggest problem is not Valve Corporation itself, but the fact that these two people somehow thought it was OK to steal from them.  The only party with any teeth here is Valve, since they own the IP in question, but that's not what the problem is.  If these two hadn't stolen in the first place, there would be no problem at all.

 


Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

file a DMCA against you

 

As I just said to Ry0ta, there's no such thing as "filing a DMCA".  It's filing a takedown notice.  The DMCA is a law.  Takedown notices are one of the tools the law gives us to use.

 


Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

,when he does LL are obliged to take down your items, since you didn't steal the items (from the complainant) you could then file a counter claim and your items would be restored until the issue is resolved in a court.

This explanation is slightly off the mark.  Here's how the process works:

1.  The accuser files a takedown notice.

2.  LL, upon receiving the (properly filed) notice, is obligated to remove the content referenced in the notice.

3.  If the accused feels the removal was unjustified, he or she can file a counter-notice.

4.  LL, upon receiving the counter-notice is obligated to put the content back.

5.  If either party wants to take the matter further, the next step is to go to court.

 

In this particular case, the notice wouldn't be properly filed, since neither of the two parties actually has the right to file it in the first place.  Once again, only the actual owner of the IP can legally file a takedown notice.

What would likely happen is that the process would cause LL to notice that the content does not actually belong to either person, in which case they probably would remove all of it, in accordance with their own IP policies.

 

It's important to understand that the purpose of takedown notices is to protect service providers.  It relieves them of the burden of having to play police, judge, or jury.  When they receive a takedown notice and/or a counter-notice, they simply act in accordance with how the law says they have to, without prejudice.

 

 


Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

he would eventually have to produce evidence such as project files etc which demonstrate that he created the item before you.

It's not about project files, or even about dates.  It's about how the idea for the work was inspired.  If two people happen to independently create similar works, without one having been being aware of the other, there is no infringement.  Both works then independently enjoy full copyright protection.  It doesn't matter which one came first, and it doesn't matter that they happen to look like each other.  What matters is that they were each created by a person who thought he or she was doing something original.

In this case, both parties have admitted that neither one of them believed they were being original.  They both ripped off the work of a third party.  Thus, neither has any case whatsoever.  They're both in the wrong.

 


Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

If this was me, I would email Valve Corp, explain that I was a huge fan and ask if they minded if I made some fanware to use here in SL,

Absolutely the right way to go about it.

 

 


Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

since this is promoting their business right in front of a competitors nose they may well enjoy the irony and say yes,

I wouldn't discourage anyone from asking, but I very much doubt they would say yes.  First of all, they've got an obligation to protect their trademarks.  Second, if they want a presence in SL, they're more than capable of doing that themselves, with their own people.  They've simply got no reason to let some amateur third party represent them.

Not all IP hoders see fanart as "promoting their business".  Many see it as interfering with their business.  Both viewpoints are equally valid, and the arguments in favor of each are myriad.

 

 


Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

you are then in a position to report every other resident who makes such items without asking permission first,

Again, anyone can "report" anything to anyone.  But when it comes to filing takedown notices, only the rightful owner of the IP can do it. 

If an IP owner grants permission to a fan artist to make replica items, the fan artist does not automatically own those works.  The replicas are not original works, under the law.  They are dirivitive works.  Under the law, the owner of the original IP automatically owns any derivatives.  If the owner's intent is to allow the fan artist to retain any rights, then they need to draw up a contract stating that.  In the absense of such a contract, the original owner owns everything.

So, let's imagine for a moment that Valve were to say to Majatek, "Sure, go ahead, and recreate all the Bonk! cans you want."  That wouldn't mean Majatek now owns those cans in any way.  Valve would still own the IP.  The replicas that Majatek made would just be copies of Valve's existing property.  Since Valve owns the copyright, they effectively own all the copies.

 


Ziggy21 Slade wrote:

Of course if they say no your are screwed but then so is the other guy.! MUAHAHAHA!**Only uploaded images may be used in postings**://secondlife.i.lithium.com/html/assets/emoticons/mattemotes/evil_invert.png" border="0" alt=":matte-motes-evil-invert:" title="" /> 

If they say no, you're in the same boat as if you'd never asked.  There's no permission until and unless they specifically say yes.

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Chosen Few wrote:


Ry0ta Exonar wrote:

LMAO He mentioned clearly textures were ripped out of TF2 on his ad.

This guy reminds me of the villains' henchmen in the old Adam West Batman show.  They'd have the word "henchman" written right on their shirts.  "Hey, Batman, come beat me up.  I'm a bad guy."

In this case, it's "Hey, LL, please delete my content.  I'm telling you loud and clear that I stole it."  Or possibly, "Hey, Valve, please sue me.  My favorite activity is being sued.  I love it.  So, I'm putitng up a big sign that announces I stole your stuff."

 

Ry0ta Exonar wrote:

If he files a DMCA on your item, you could file a counter DMCA.

There's no such thing as "filing a DMCA".  The DMCA is a law.  It's already been "filed", by Congress.  The phrase you're looking for is "filing a takedown notice", which is done in accordance with the DMCA.

In any case, as I just said to the OP, neither one of these theives can legally file a takedown notice.  Only the IP owner can do that, which in this case, happens to be Valve.

 

 

Yeah, for someone who persistently calls IP infringement theft, before then declaring that the OP has only infringed and done nothing criminal, I don't think you're really in a position to nit pick.

Most people seem to understand what is meant by "file a DMCA" just fine, even if this is not sufficient for pedants, but obviously you are no pedant when it comes to your own expression.

IP infringement is not theft, which does not mean it's not criminal.  Theft entails denying the legitimate owner of ownership, not merely denying them some benefit, exploiting from their work, or trespassing against their rights.  IP infringement is no more theft than if I snuck into your yard illegally to draw your apple tree so I could sell the resulting art work.  It's illegal and wrong, but it's not theft.

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Chosen Few wrote:


The replicas that Majatek made would just be copies of Valve's existing property.  Since Valve owns the copyright, they own all the copies.  That's why it's called "copyright" in the first place.

 

Lol, no.

It's called copyright because it is the right to produce and publish/distribute  copies, and to determine who else may produce, publish/distribute copies, not a right to own every copy in existence.

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Anaiya Arnold wrote:

Yeah, for someone who persistently calls IP infringement theft, before then declaring that the OP has only infringed and done nothing criminal, I don't think you're really in a position to nit pick.

The terms "IP Infringement" and "IP theft" are synonymous. They are both used all the time, by everyone from creators, to news reporters, to lawyers, to judges, to the FBI.  Even McGruff the crime dog calls it "IP theft".  The word "piracy" is also often used.  All three mean the same thing in this context.

As for the subject of it not being a crime, that's just a fact of law.  There are plenty of illegal activities that do not amount to crimes.  Speeding, for example, is an infraction in most cases, not a crime.  At the level we've been discussing here, IP theft is a tort.  Torts are violations of the law, but they are not crimes. They are civil violations, rather than criminal violations.  There is a difference. 

Well, there's historically always been a difference, anyway.  That may change.  As you may or may not be aware, there's an active effort in Washington right now to try to criminalize just about all IP theft.  We're not there yet, but we might be in the near future.

(Oh, and by the way, if you're now planning to make a stink over the fact that McGruff the Crime Dog has the word "crime" in his name, or that the organization for whom he is the mascot also has that same word in its own name, don't bother.  They're not about to rename the organization or the character, just because they happen to have taken up the cause of tort law in addition to criminal law.)

 

In any case, the reason I so "persistently", as you put it, use the word "theft" in any and every discussion like this one is to underscore the point of how wrong it is.  It's no joke, and people like the OP here absolutely MUST be made to take it more seriously.  For whatever reason, people don't tend to take the word "infringement" to heart as easily as they do the word "theft".  Hence, I make this deliberate choice of wording for very important reason.

 


Anaiya Arnold wrote:

Most people seem to understand what is meant by "file a DMCA" just fine, even if this is not sufficient for pedants, but obviously you are no pedant when it comes to your own expression.

It's not a question of whether "most people" might or might not understand it.  It's a question of making sure EVERYONE reading it can understand.  Terminology is important.

It also wasn't an attack on anybody, so I have no idea why you see this apparent need to be defensive about it.  There's nothing wrong with someone making a mistake, and there's nothing wrong with someone pointing out a mistake.  However, there is something wrong with stubbornly definding a mistake after it's been pointed out.  You'd do well to be a little less concerned about defense, and a little more concerned purely for the accuracy of information.

 

 


Anaiya Arnold wrote:

IP infringement is not theft, which does not mean it's not criminal.  Theft entails denying the legitimate owner of ownership, not merely denying them some benefit, exploiting from their work, or trespassing against their rights.  IP infringement is no more theft than if I snuck into your yard illegally to draw your apple tree so I could sell the resulting art work.  It's illegal and wrong, but it's not theft.

Absolutely not true.  Theft simply means the unlawful, fraudulent, or otherwise wrongful, taking of property.  There's nothing that says the property must be physical.  If you take ANY property that doesn't belong to you, be it physical or intellectual, you will have stolen that property.  It's a simple concept. 

Look, I realize a lot of people tend to check their powers of comprehension at the door as soon as any legal discussion begins, but this really isn't rocket science.

Your imagined requirement that the owner must somehow no longer have access to the property in order for it to have been thieved, is not in any way in tune with the legal reality, or even common sense practicality.  Whatever the owner may or may not be denied as the result of a theft is just that, a result.  It's merely one potential consequence of theft.  It's not in any way definitive of, or causal to, the act itself.  There is no actual requirement that an owner be denied anything at all in order for a theft to in fact be a theft.

 

 


Anaiya Arnold wrote:

It's called copyright because it is the right to produce and publish/distribute  copies, and to determine who else may produce, publish/distribute copies, not a right to own every copy in existence.

You misunderstood my meaning.  I can see how, if taken out of context, my words might have been less than clear.  I apologize for any confusion. I've gone ahead and removed that sentence from the post, to hopefully avoid any potential similar misinterpretations by other readers.  Thanks for pointing it out.

Let me now clarify what I meant.

I was not trying to imply that copyright means the right to own every copy in existence.  That obviously would be silly.  What I was referring to was the right that every copyright holder has to determine whether and how copies get to exist in the first place. 

With respect to a system like SL, in which the users do not actually own any copies of anything, but merely have certain rights granted toward the usage of data within the system, the IP holder is the only actual owner there is.  Therefore, when it comes to those cans, Valve effectively "owns" the copies, no matter who made them.  If they decide to press the matter, all the unauthorized copies would poof out of existence, since LL would be obligated to remove them, under the law.

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Chosen Few wrote:


Anaiya Arnold wrote:

Yeah, for someone who persistently calls IP infringement theft, before then declaring that the OP has only infringed and done nothing criminal, I don't think you're really in a position to nit pick.

Wow, you're that offended at having been corrected that you now feel the need to pick apart my own wordings?  Sigh.

Just in case, I wanted to say she and I are not the same person. xD

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First - OP face falm - Valve I am sure by now have the link from somebody so guess either way they will either ignore or file the takedown under DMCA etc.

In relation to the theft part...if that is the case why did they actually name a bill with Digital + Theft in it? I have always wondered that when the old argument of theft/infringement comes up.

H.R. 3456, the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999.  etc etc.

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Chosen Few wrote:


Anaiya Arnold wrote:

Yeah, for someone who persistently calls IP infringement theft, before then declaring that the OP has only infringed and done nothing criminal, I don't think you're really in a position to nit pick.

The terms "IP Infringement" and "IP theft" are synonymous. They are both used all the time, by everyone from creators, to news reporters, to lawyers, to judges, to the
.  Even
calls it "IP theft".  The word "piracy" is also often used.  All three mean the same thing in this context.

As for the subject of it not being a crime, that's just a fact of law.  There are plenty of illegal activities that do not amount to crimes.  Speeding, for example, is an infraction in most cases, not a crime.  At the level we've been discussing here, IP theft is a tort.  Torts are violations of the law, but they are not crimes. They are civil violations, rather than criminal violations.  There is a difference. 

Well, there's historically always been a difference, anyway.  That may change.  As you may or may not be aware, there's an active effort in Washington right now to try to criminalize just about all IP theft.  We're not there yet, but we might be in the near future.

(Oh, and by the way, if you're now planning to make a stink over the fact that McGruff the Crime Dog has the word "crime" in his name, or that the organization for whom he is the mascot also has that same word in its own name, don't bother.  They're not about to rename the organization or the character, just because they happen to have taken up the cause of tort law in addition to criminal law.)

 

In any case, the reason I so "persistently", as you put it, use the word "theft" in any and every discussion like this one is to underscore the point of how wrong it is.  It's no joke, and people like the OP here absolutely MUST be made to take it more seriously.  For whatever reason, people don't tend to take the word "infringement" to heart as easily as they do the word "theft".  Hence, I make this deliberate choice of wording for very important reason.

 

Anaiya Arnold wrote:

Most people seem to understand what is meant by "file a DMCA" just fine, even if this is not sufficient for pedants, but obviously you are no pedant when it comes to your own expression.

It's not a question of whether "most people" might or might not understand it.  It's a question of making sure EVERYONE reading it can understand.  Terminology is important.

It also wasn't an attack on anybody, so I have no idea why you see this apparent need to be defensive about it.  There's nothing wrong with someone making a mistake, and there's nothing wrong with someone pointing out a mistake.  However, there is something wrong with stubbornly definding a mistake after it's been pointed out.  You'd do well to be a little less concerned about defense, and a little more concerned purely for the accuracy of information.

 

 

Anaiya Arnold wrote:

IP infringement is not theft, which does not mean it's not criminal.  Theft entails denying the legitimate owner of ownership, not merely denying them some benefit, exploiting from their work, or trespassing against their rights.  IP infringement is no more theft than if I snuck into your yard illegally to draw your apple tree so I could sell the resulting art work.  It's illegal and wrong, but it's not theft.

Absolutely not true.  Theft simply means the unlawful, fraudulent, or otherwise wrongful, taking of property.  There's nothing that says the property must be physical.  If you take ANY property that doesn't belong to you, be it physical or intellectual, you will have stolen that property.  It's a simple concept. 

Look, I realize a lot of people tend to check their powers of comprehension at the door as soon as any legal discussion begins, but this really isn't rocket science.

Your imagined requirement that the owner must somehow no longer have access to the property in order for it to have been thieved, is not in any way in tune with the legal reality, or even common sense practicality.  Whatever the owner may or may not be denied as the result of a theft is just that, a result.  It's merely one potential consequence of theft.  It's not in any way definitive of, or causal to, the act itself.  There is no actual requirement that an owner be denied anything at all in order for a theft to in fact be a theft.

 

 

Anaiya Arnold wrote:

It's called copyright because it is the right to produce and publish/distribute  copies, and to determine who else may produce, publish/distribute copies, not a right to own every copy in existence.

You misunderstood my meaning.  I can see how, if taken out of context, my words might have been less than clear.  I apologize for any confusion. I've gone ahead and removed that sentence from the post, to hopefully avoid any potential similar misinterpretations by other readers.  Thanks for pointing it out.

Let me now clarify what I meant.

I was not trying to imply that copyright means the right to own every copy in existence.  That obviously would be silly.  What I was referring to was the right that every copyright holder has to determine whether and how copies get to exist in the first place. 

With respect to a system like SL, in which the users do not actually own any copies of anything, but merely have certain rights granted toward the usage of data within the system, the IP holder is the only actual owner there is.  Therefore, when it comes to those cans, Valve effectively "owns" the copies, no matter who made them.  If they decide to press the matter, all the unauthorized copies would poof out of existence, since LL would be obligated to remove them, under the law.

They are not synomonous, and personally, if everyone including the newsman, the FBI, judges and some mascot took to jumping off bridges, I don't see that as any reason why I should.  More pertintently to your choice to nit pick at the expression of others, just about everyone says "file a DMCA" too and if that's important to get right, then so is the fact that IP violation is not theft.

The use of the word "theft" more widely seems to stem from nothing more than a misguided attempt to socially engineer outrage.  It's obviously not theft though.  If I steal your stuff theft has occured and you don't have your stuff anymore.  If I violate your IP, a wrong has been done, the law has been violated, but you still have your stuff. 

Why anyone misguidedly thought it was desirable to detract from the obvious wrongness of IP violation by giving an invitation for people to rationalize to themselves "they say it's theft but obviously it's not, since no one is denied the property concerned, so it's ok for me to ignore IP rights", I don't know.  It makes as much sense as calling theft assault and thinking this will clarify and focus efforts to reduce theft, when really it just invites argumentation over namership and an opportunity for someone to rationalize that "it's not assault like they are claiming, so it must be ok".

 

Your reasoning is misguided and assumes that A) people are stupid and cannot figure out what words mean for themselves, and that B) the backlash of mislabling something to manipulate how people feel about it, will not result in them rejecting the wrongness you are trying to convey. 

If something is wrong, there is no need to manipulate how people feel about it by misnaming it rather than relying on more honest discourse and explanation of the true facts, and the fact that someone feels a need to mislable something to convey that it is wrong, gives many people the impression that it's not wrong and one can only make it appear wrong by misnaming it.  We (those interested enough to find out) already know that blowing the potential harm of drugs out of all proportion and realism can in fact encourage people to see drugs as being less dangerous than they are, and to dismiss concerns about them.  Why you think this would not equally apply to attempts to manipulate perception about IP infringement by misnaming it,I don't know.  Possibly you've not thought very deeply about it.

 

If you percieve someone is mislabling something to manipulate how you feel about it, does this make their arguments about the quality of that thing more crediable to you?  I find it discrediting and evidently, I resent attempts to manipulate my perception, especially attempts that rely on mislabling something.  That's essentially lying to manipulate me and it surely does not make me sympathetic to whatever argument or point someone is using such an ill conceived tactic to further.

If you don't think infringement gets the point across, you could try violation of rights. No one wants to be violated or to have their rights violated.  Note that when discussion of theft comes up, particularly burglery, it's not uncommon for someone to claim the violation is worse than the deprivation of property.  Violation is a strong word, often much stronger than mere theft, and unlike theft, it's not a lie when you apply it to the violation of IP rights.

The criminality of IP infringement has been greatly expanded on in various jurisdictions and I'm not entirely certain that what the OP describes is not already criminal in some applicable jurisdiction.  Given the hodge podge of IP law and its state of recent flux, I would certainly not be willing to claim that no jurisdiction where the content is available has criminalized such content, no matter where it is published from, where that content is available within the jurisdiction. 

 

Your claim that the property does not have to be tangible is utterly irrelevent.  You admit theft involves taking the property, not merely use of it, but taking it.  If the original owner still retains the property, then it has not been taken, anymore than your property has been taken if I tresspass on it.  No one feels a need to describe tresspass as theft in order to convince anyone that it is wrong and if people started to do so, this is more likely to make people question whether it is theft and therefore wrong, than convince someone who previously thought it was trivial that it is wrong.  If you want to convince someone tresspass is wrong, you might point out how violating it can be, but it would be foolhardy to simply call it theft and expect anyone to gormlessly swallow that, just as though they do not know what theft means.

It's not rocket science indeed.  But the fact is, use of something without authorization is not theft in and of itself.  Anyone who has not checked their comprehension at the door can tell you as much.  I reiterate that you are just inviting people to reason that it's not theft and to rationalize from that, that it's also not wrong.  That's counter productive.

 

@RyOto: yeah, I also noticed that we're not the same person too, although this fact maybe less important to people who are not either of us .:matte-motes-wink-tongue:

 

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You're making a big point out of something very small I think. If I were to define theft, it would be something like: "taking something that doesn't belong to you". IP infringement perfectly fits that desciption. Whether the "taking" involves the original owner being left without the "stolen" goods makes no difference to me really. For example I can "take" a picture, that doesn't mean I've taken the subject.

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Your ad says you are "USING TEXTURES RIPPED STRAIGHT OUT OF UF2" ... which is an confession that you are infringing their copyrights on the textures.

So both of you are vulnerable to a DMCS complaint and/or a copyright infringement lawsuit. It doesn't matter that you are not making money at it ... you ripped their textures for your own use. That's what copyright infromgement is.

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This post seems to have degraded (as many interweb discussions do) to a contextual argument based on misinformed perception of comprehension, for the sake of  keeping the spotlight focused on a few egos at the expense of many.

Owning a product and owning its license are two different things.

Without license, you 'own' a copy but not its license; in other words, you are paying to borrow the item. License can be revoked, read the fine print.

Crossing the line between virtual and physical theft to suit your argument makes as much sense as saying that because the banks only borrowed the money, those taxpayers deserve to foot the bill for the bailout and homeowners deserve to lose their homes, and is a primary contributor to why you are confusing yourself.

Bait and switch tactics are quite malicious, and ownership is usually identified or interpreted externally as a display of unexplainable defensive behavior. And we all do it, it is a factual matter of human sociology. 

It is not a question of physical ownership, it is a matter of wrongful acquisition and infringement of copy RIGHTS, aka LICENSE.

The content creator at ALL TIMES unless they specific otherwise MAINTAINS THEIR LICENSE.

You are talking about an intangible or non-physical product, and the rights to protect that license extend to anyone willing to protect them.

Licenses can be acquired or sold, which removes or transfers IP RIGHTS for LICENSE not 'product ownership'. Ask Paul Mcartney about how he felt about Michael Jackson outbidding him for the IP rights to his own music, which he waited his whole life to get back. Do ya think Paul decided to just go ahead and use the music he created anyways, even though the license belonged to someone else?

Get it?

This is the same concept that the insurance industry uses to bully government powers into cooperation with their system.

If I take your car without your permission, and return it, I still have STOLEN it.

If I take your credit card and return it, I have STOLEN it.

If I take your idea and profit from it, I have STOLEN it.

If I share your corporate secrets and company policies with your competitor, I have assisted in stealing it.

If I take your idea to another country and make knock-offs, I have STOLEN IT; even if the laws in each country conflict.

If I buy a copy of your CD ( note that when you buy music, you are borrowing the CONTENT, not buying the LICENSE) and make copies and give them to my friends, i have STOLEN it.

If I take ideas from companies and share them with other companies, even though the first company still has their idea I have still commited a crime called THEFT.

Read the news sometime this stuff is all over the place.

This is really simple stuff. Which is probably why most people don't get it.

The only time it is not theft is when the creator cannot or does not wish to maintain their license, and we have a category just for them; we call it Public Domain.

There also exists a means for helping define and solidify shared works, rights, licenses and other concepts, known generally as Creative Commons. 

At this point, from reviewing the web log, I believe you are just bickering about grammatical semantics for the sake of arguing, because attention is fun!

But playing referee as to the meaning of 'theft' and its mechanical application is the one thing that serves no purpose whatsoever, seeing as the real decision will not be based on armchair blogattorneys making grand assumptions, anymore than all LL problems  will be resolved by that one or twenty guys who want to start shouting in forums about how to reverse or fix their latest patch or update with a revert.

Attempting to affect public opinion by smearing the terms  under accusation of a scare tactic is a scare tactic in itself. And this is what we call bait and switch.

The license to the design belongs to the designer unless otherwise licensed, and the weight of responsibility falls upon the content creator to pursue protection of their LICENSE.

NO amount of bored people on Second Life forums arguing about how many shades of white "white" really is, will ever change that.

Using insider information to profit from stock markets is theft. Stealing company secrets, granting homeloans to people you know cannot repay them, IP theft, identity theft, content theft, copy botting, embezzlement, copyright AND trademark infringement, plaigarism, piracy are all theft.

Theft is theft, whether physical or virtual, just like water is wet, whether or not it is potable.

However license is only as enforceable as your ability to enforce it. So good luck with that.

 

But that of course is only my opinion, which you are welcome (and likely) to completely misinterpret or disregard as usual.

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:

You're making a big point out of something very small I think. If I were to define theft, it would be something like: "taking something that doesn't belong to you". IP infringement perfectly fits that desciption. Whether the "taking" involves the original owner being left without the "stolen" goods makes no difference to me really. For example I can "take" a picture, that doesn't mean I've taken the subject.

It's a bigger point than nit picking over using DMCA as short for "file a takedown notice using the DMCA provisions".

 

You cannot take something and leave it in place at one and the same time.  People are not taking the property, but rather producing unauthorized copies, and indulging in unauthorized use.  If it's such an irrelevant point, it's somewhat of a wonder that anyone would risk encouraging this conduct by insisting on using the wrong terminology.  I've seen people rationalize their violation of IP rights on the basis that people are calling it theft and they reject that it is theft.  There's just no need to invite such a rationaliztion.  It's a violation of rights, plain and simple.  No good comes of mislabling it in a manner that invite rationalization of wrong doing, and calling it theft does exactly that.

 

Your example is absurd.  The picture and the subject are two things, like A & B are two difference things.  So you are suggeting that IP violations are "theft" because if you "take"*** A, that does not mean you've taken B.  I cannot explain why that makes sense you to, it's nonsense to me.

 

***of course the word "take" in this sense does not actually mean "to remove", "to take into one's possession" or even "to transport" but really "to cause the creation of", which only makes your example more bizaare.

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Dirtnap Mumfuzz wrote:

This post seems to have degraded (as many interweb discussions do) to a contextual argument based on misinformed perception of comprehension, for the sake of  keeping the spotlight focused on a few egos at the expense of many.

Owning a product and owning its license are two different things.

Without license, you 'own' a copy but not its license; in other words, you are paying to borrow the item. License can be revoked, read the fine print.

Crossing the line between virtual and physical theft to suit your argument makes as much sense as saying that because the banks only borrowed the money, those taxpayers deserve to foot the bill for the bailout and homeowners deserve to lose their homes, and is a primary contributor to why you are confusing yourself.

Bait and switch tactics are quite malicious, and ownership is usually identified or interpreted externally as a display of unexplainable defensive behavior. And we all do it, it is a factual matter of human sociology. 

It is not a question of physical ownership, it is a matter of wrongful acquisition and infringement of copy RIGHTS, aka LICENSE.

The content creator at ALL TIMES unless they specific otherwise MAINTAINS THEIR LICENSE.

You are talking about an intangible or non-physical product, and the rights to protect that license extend to anyone willing to protect them.

Licenses can be acquired or sold, which removes or transfers IP RIGHTS for LICENSE not 'product ownership'. Ask Paul Mcartney about how he felt about Michael Jackson outbidding him for the IP rights to his own music, which he waited his whole life to get back. Do ya think Paul decided to just go ahead and use the music he created anyways, even though the license belonged to someone else?

Get it?

This is the same concept that the insurance industry uses to bully government powers into cooperation with their system.

If I take your car without your permission, and return it, I still have STOLEN it.

If I take your credit card and return it, I have STOLEN it.

If I take your idea and profit from it, I have STOLEN it.

If I share your corporate secrets and company policies with your competitor, I have assisted in stealing it.

If I take your idea to another country and make knock-offs, I have STOLEN IT; even if the laws in each country conflict.

If I buy a copy of your CD ( note that when you buy music, you are borrowing the CONTENT, not buying the LICENSE) and make copies and give them to my friends, i have STOLEN it.

If I take ideas from companies and share them with other companies, even though the first company still has their idea I have still commited a crime called THEFT.

Read the news sometime this stuff is all over the place.

This is really simple stuff. Which is probably why most people don't get it.

The only time it is not theft is when the creator cannot or does not wish to maintain their license, and we have a category just for them; we call it Public Domain.

There also exists a means for helping define and solidify shared works, rights, licenses and other concepts, known generally as Creative Commons. 

At this point, from reviewing the web log, I believe you are just bickering about grammatical semantics for the sake of arguing, because attention is fun!

But playing referee as to the meaning of 'theft' and its mechanical application is the one thing that serves no purpose whatsoever, seeing as the real decision will not be based on armchair blogattorneys making grand assumptions, anymore than all LL problems  will be resolved by that one or twenty guys who want to start shouting in forums about how to reverse or fix their latest patch or update with a revert.

Attempting to affect public opinion by smearing the terms  under accusation of a scare tactic is a scare tactic in itself. And this is what we call bait and switch.

The license to the design belongs to the designer unless otherwise licensed, and the weight of responsibility falls upon the content creator to pursue protection of their LICENSE.

NO amount of bored people on Second Life forums arguing about how many shades of white "white" really is, will ever change that.

Using insider information to profit from stock markets is theft. Stealing company secrets, granting homeloans to people you know cannot repay them, IP theft, identity theft, content theft, copy botting, embezzlement, copyright AND trademark infringement, plaigarism, piracy are all theft.

Theft is theft, whether physical or virtual, just like water is wet, whether or not it is potable.

However license is only as enforceable as your ability to enforce it. So good luck with that.

 

But that of course is only my opinion, which you are welcome (and likely) to completely misinterpret or disregard as usual.

Spin and spin as you like IP violation is not theft, just like assault, murder, rape, arson, tresspass, drink driving, and a whole slew of other really, really wrong stuff are not theft, and smearing these things as theft when they are wrongful and obviously so if described accurately, would simply be ill conceived, and in some instances would minimize the wrongfulness.

 

Theft is actually a relatively petty act in many cases, and most instances of theft are probably trivial in comparison to many instances of IP violation.  It's kind of apples and oranges to compare a 1.99 candy bar being stolen from a supermarket, to the ongoing violation and devaluing of someone else's property rights, and the persistent undermining of their ability to earn from their IP rights, perhaps going on for years on end, in respect of just a single subject of IP rights.  While theft can certainly go beyond the petty, it usually does not, but it's very common for victims of IP violations to be hit big time, over the long time, in respect of a single creative work, by multiple distributers and many, many more receivers.

You seem to be under some impression that  whether or not IP violation is wrong is relevant to whether or not it should be called theft.  Murder is wrong, but while someone attempting poety of speech might call it 'the theft of a life" it's not theft but in fact much worse than theft; it's homocide.

 

"if it is theft it is wrongful" is true, but "if it is wrongful then it is theft" is not true, is indeed very simple to understand, although I do not see that this explains why so many get it wrong so often.

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The last thing I wanted is a response like this. My entire point is..."what does it matter?" making a copy of someones belongings or taking the belongings is both illegal, plain and simple. I think we are in full agreement on that aren't we?

If I take a picture of a picture you have made, isn't that exactly the same as copying it, infringing on your right to be the only one to make copies? I now have something I am not allowed to have, let alone use and distribute, you still have your picture.

Subject A is the copy, subject B is your protected work. I would consider it theft not because you still have subject B, how do you read that in my post? I would consider it theft because I now have subject A, regardless of who now has subject B.

My example includes "to take into one's possession". I have taken something into my posession a copy which I am not allowed to have. The fact i created that thing myself doesn't really matter.

I am not disputing in any way the legal term "theft" or "stealing" is not the same as "infringing" or "copying". I just say I couldn't care less in a forum thread, just as much as lawyers and judges or prosecutors don't seem to mind in a court room. I really don't think a prosecutor will charge the infringer with "theft" instead of "infringement". That doesn't mean they can't call it that in a conversation or even in court.

The reason I replied to your post rather than to Chosen's is because the DMCA remark was a small part of the entire post, you make an entire post just about one single term. There's a difference.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Infringement is bad, no argument about that.

But twisting the language to suit your purpose, does not make infringement into theft.

 

theft

noun
1.
the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.
2.
an instance of this.
3.
Archaic . something stolen.

theft  (θɛft)
 
n
1. criminal law  the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession
2. rare  something stolen

in·fringe·ment

noun
1.
a breach or infraction, as of a law, right, or obligation; violation; transgression.
2.
an act of infringing.
infringe  (ɪnˈfrɪndʒ)
 
vb
1. ( tr ) to violate or break (a law, an agreement, etc)
2. ( intr; foll by  on or  upon ) to encroach or trespass


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