Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rod, creators want you on our side!

If you would like to see Rod Humble, CEO of LL, speak at the SL Convention:


Video streaming by Ustream

I like Rod. He is a charming man and seems to get what makes SL the amazing shared creativity tool/platform that it is.  Yay!

And he seems to understand that piracy is a big problem that eats up a huge amount of time and effort and causes enormous amounts of anguish. Well, at least I like to think he does. He says in his speech that the lab has plans for more aggressively dealing with griefers and IP infringers at some point in the future, though doesn't say how. That's good to hear, because dealings with them up to now have been pathetically anemic and deeply discouraging to hard working creators. Some have grown so disgusted with LL's failure to take the steps available to them that they have thrown in the towel and closed up shop.

I have written several blog posts about the 20 page DMCA I spent four days preparing, only to have the IP team essentially sneer at me. I did not post the final post because I was warned by a reliable merchant that a well-known large merchant had had her account disabled temporarily for angering the IP team.  I don't know to what degree this is true, but since the IP team attempted to "teach me a lesson" and refuse to do a takedown (but then reversed themselves when another Linden requested that they respond to my emails), I would not be at all surprised at retaliation. That's the position of power that the IP team holds over merchants -- they are simply accountable to no one, and seem to enjoy making that clear to merchants.

In any case, the person (and her alt) who copied most of my store continues to list things for sale using my sculpt maps and textures, the same ones that have been removed repeatedly. This is because the IP team will take these things down when inworld or on the marketplace, all right, BUT they will not remove them from inventory.  I have supplied UUID numbers for all of the content I have identified.  I have taken pictures of her use of these, as well as my originals. But the IP team simply can't seem to find them in her inventory. And they simply cannot seem to respond to my polite request for information about how exactly they would like me to go about identifying them so that they will take them down.

One thing the IP team has made abundantly clear is that it is LL policy not to disable the accounts of proven IP infringers -- unless, LL says, the thieves "repeatedly" infringe.  I don't know how many times that is, but apparently quite a lot.

At present there is NO consequence for theft.  The person who ripped one of my kitchens and put it up for sale full perm never had his account disabled. I still have the ripped kitchen sitting rezzed in my workshop as irrefutable proof of his piracy, should the governance team ever decide to respond to my ARs.   The person who ripped half my store has her things taken down, and simply uses the same stolen content to create new items. Why should she not?  There are no consequences, none whatsoever.

And I hear the same stories from other creators/merchants over and over.

No, at present, it is only the merchants who suffer any consequences. So until that changes, Rod, I am glad you are talking the talk -- but until we see some serious walking the walk, you can expect merchants to remain skeptical that things will change. If you ask me whose side LL has been on up to now, I would have to say: the thieves. Please -- give merchant/creators a reason to think you are on ours now.

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