Here’s how to file DMCA takedowns‒no lawyer needed

DMCA letterA little while ago, I noticed a familiar headline in a Google alert on a topic I follow — it was my own article, reprinted without permission on some other site!

I quickly sent off this email:

The following article on the website somewebsite.com, hosted by SomeHostingCompany, was reprinted without permission.
Infringing article: The link to their article was here.
Our article: The link to my article was here.
Please either take down the infringing article or just use the first two paragraphs and link back to our site for the rest.
Thank you very much!

I sent this email, along with my standard signature line that included all my contact information, to the webmaster of the site and to their hosting company.

The article was taken down that same day. The website itself was also soon gone — apparently, stealing content isn’t a great business model.

I do this on a regular basis. The infringing content is usually immediately removed, or the site owner emails me to apologize because the full article was posted by mistake.

It doesn’t take a lawyer

If you’re a content creator who thinks that the DMCA process requires that you have to hire a lawyer — relax! All you need to do in most cases is send a simple email or fill in a form.

This is what typically happens:

  1. The site or grid gets your note and takes down the content. They HAVE to do this — no ands or buts about it — because if they don’t, they open themselves up for legal liability. If they take down the content right away, they’re in the clear. They don’t have to do any investigations, they can just take your word for it. But…
  2. The person who uploaded the content is notified about your takedown request. If they think their content is legitimate — either they bought it legally, and you forgot you sold it to them, or they created it from scratch and it just looks similar to yours — they ask for the content to be reinstated. And the site or grid HAS to put the content back. Again, the grid doesn’t have to do any investigating, they automatically put the content back. But…
  3. If the content is put back, you get notified — and you get the infringer’s real contact information. Now you have to decide whether you’ll take it further.

The cases that show up in the news are the extreme ones, where people go to court. But 99 percent of the time, when you file your initial takedown request, that’s the end of it. Infringers are embarrassed to be caught. They don’t want to draw any additional attention to themselves.

The ones who protest are usually the ones who have a real case. And that’s when the creator will typically let it go. After all, the other guy isn’t actually taking any money away from you, at worst, they’re taking money that could have potentially gone to you — but you have no way of knowing whether or not it actually would have.

Is it fair?

I’m sure plenty of people are going to post in the comments about how this system is biased one way or the other, that filing takedown requests is too easy and is abused, or that some grids drag their feet when complying with requests, or that infringers just put the bad content right back up again.

Again, let me repeat — it’s the marginal cases that everybody talks about, but they’re also the least likely to occur. Content thieves don’t want to draw attention to themselves. Grids don’t want bad reputations with creators. And nobody wants a lawsuit.

Don’t forget to step back and take a breath and remind yourself that nobody is actually getting hurt by this. You’re not being robbed at gunpoint. The odds that some creep on a tiny little grid somewhere giving your content to his friends will cut into your actual business revenues is nil — those folks aren’t your target customers, anyway.

And nobody is taking away the right to your content — you can’t lose your copyright just because people steal your stuff. The only way you can lose it is if you sign it away. It’s not like a trademark, where you have to actively protect it.

So here’s my three-step simple plan to content protection.

1. Decide how much risk you’re comfortable with

The more people see your content, the more likely it is that some will steal it. And the bigger the grid, the bigger the mall, the bigger the store — the more potential thieves will see it and want to copybot it.

If you have extremely valuable content and you are very averse to risk, sell your content to individual, trusted customers.

If you have rigged or scripted content, sell it on closed grids where you trust the grid owners.

For standard content, you can protect it to some degree by selling it only on online marketplaces like the Second Life Marketplace or the Kitely Market — thieves are not going to want to pay for your content, when there’s other content they can rip for free from malls.

Then decide how much time you’re going to allocate to protecting your content.

If the most you can do is an hour a month, that’s fine.

2. Look for stolen content where your customers would look

You don’t have to shut down all infringers. You just have to focus on the ones who could lure away your customers.

Fortunately, most of the work here can do double-duty as marketing research. Where do your customers prefer to shop? How do they find out about new products?

Rank these places based on popularity and, every month, check in on the easiest ones to visit or the biggest ones, and, if time allows, one or two of the smaller ones. Over the course of a year, you’ll have visited most of the places that could do harm to your business. And if every creator did the same, all the biggest infringers would soon be gone.

And make it easy for your customers to tell you about infringers. Have a list of your legitimate distributors on your website or marketplace page, and give customers a discount or gift certificate or present if they take the time to report an infringement.

3. File takedown requests

You can use provided forms such as the Kitely DMCA notice form, or grab this Sample Content Takedown Notice.

Here’s the order you should file your requests in:

I recommend starting with the store owner first, then moving up to grid owner, then hosting company, and saving the ISP for last.

What if I don’t want to tell people my legal name?

If you want to use the legal system to protect your content, then, at some point, you’ll have to claim legal ownership of that content.

A fictional character can’t own property. You can set up a business under your avatar name, and be an officer of that business — but you’ll still have to provide your actual name as that officer.

Think of an avatar as a virtual costumed character. If McDonald’s sees that another chain has stolen their menu, they’re not going to send someone in a clown suit to court. They’ll send the CEO, or a lawyer, or some other person who is legally able to represent the company. The actor in the clown suit is there for marketing purposes. And that’s what your avatar is — the marketing face of your virtual company. But not the legal face.

You could try to fudge things. In the letter to the store or grid, instead of saying that you are the copyright owner, you can say that you just represent the copyright owner. Or you could file the letter under your avatar name.

The store owner will probably respond even if you’re writing as an avatar. The grid might, or might not. But if they get a lot of complaints about a particular store, they definitely will — that store is a potential legal ticking bomb for them.

Either way, if the infringer, instead of quietly going away, decides to complain, they’ll be able to legitimately claim that since you didn’t provide your legal name, your takedown request isn’t valid. And they’ll have a point.

The bottom line is, if your business is starting to bring in substantial money, enough that you’re starting to take copyright infringement seriously, then it might be time to get professional and stop thinking of it as something your avatar does for fun. Start thinking of yourself as a professional 3D modeler and virtual content creator, instead.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • markjohnwiseman

    Great article! thumbs up.

  • For grid owners, the big question is, should they be policing in-world stores, or just reacting to DMCA take-down requests?

    On the one hand, if they ARE policing, then a content creator can argue that they SHOULD have known about the infringement — but deliberately didn’t do anything about it, and sue them.

    On the other hand, if people just keep re-posting illegal content to the same freebie stores, then you’re indirectly profiting from having illegal content on the grid.

    I think the Megaupload case demonstrates that there’s a middle ground:

    1. Do not, ever, under any circumstances, reward people for uploading illegal content. Even if you don’t save the emails thanking them, the other guy will.

    2. If you have good reason to believe that something fishy is going on, you can go and check. For example, if you start hearing rumors about a freebie store that’s too good to be true.

    3. If you show up to clean up one piece of illegal content and can plainly see a lot more of it, you can go and clean it up.

    4. Finally, you can have a grid-wide policy that stores must have a clearly-posted sign listing license terms and provenance.

    For example, something like this:

    * This content is original creations by Joe Schmoe and Joella Schmoella and is only licensed for use on this grid, for personal use.

    or:

    * This content is by Linda Kellie, and is licensed for any use anywhere.

    or:

    * This content is by Schmoe Designs, and is sold here with permission. It is licensed for use on an grid, but cannot be resold or modified.

    Having a sign like that in place helps put the customer’s mind at ease — nobody wants to be caught with stolen lilies in their front yard. (cough) And it is also particularly helpful for hypergrid-enabled grids because you can never tell whether you’re allowed to take stuff with you to other grids or not.

    • I don’t think the grid owners can handle this very much different than what LL does in SecondLife added some adaption to accommodate the legislation the grid is located in.

  • Susannah Avonside

    This is true for grids hosted on servers in the USA, but probably not for grids located on servers in the European Union. In the UK, and in Europe. (remember the whole drama over OpenSim Creations a couple of years ago) as well it will require the use of a lawyer, as it is standard practice to have a solicitor’s letter issued in the first instance before taking further legal steps.

    America isn’t (yet) the whole of the world!

    • DMCA is a US only legal procedure, and any recommendation around this procedure is valid for the US only.

      Any grid located elsewhere must follow their local legislation, procedures and practices so they don’t get in conflict with the local law or expose their grid and users to legal action.

      It is important that HGB, when giving advice and recommendations on legal issues, make it clear what jurisdiction the recommendations are given for. Even within the US there are differences between the states that might be significant to grid owner. Gambling is one such issue.

      • I’m not a lawyer, so the following should not be taken as legal advice but … now that I’m done with that disclaimer … in my experience covering these issues over the past few years, I’ve been gathering the impression that other countries typically vary in the details of how they implement the laws, and the degrees to which they are implemented but that, overall, the spirit of the legislation is the same pretty much everywhere.

        For example, in the US, content-sharing sites are expected to register with the US Copyright Office to have safe harbor from prosecution. (Non-US companies can register as well, since the US is the source of so many lawsuits! Kitely, for example, is based in Israel but is registered.)

        But the general idea is the same everywhere. If you have a platform that allows users to upload content, and the platform stores that content (instead of just links to that content), then the platform has to honor takedown requests.

        if you don’t honor the requests the punishment is NOT that you get fined by your government. That’s not the point of the laws — and not the point of the DMCA.

        If you don’t honor the takedown requests you open yourself up to lawsuits.

        The goal of the US DMCA and similar laws in other countries is to PROTECT filesharing sites from lawsuits. Otherwise, they’d be getting sued right and left and they’d all go out of business instantly.

        In recent cases where major file sharing sites in China and elsewhere have been sued (and they have, and have been taken down) the argument is NOT that they had illegal files — the argument was that they were not complying with the takedown process or helping users evade takedowns. (For example, by encouraging users to re-upload content after it had been removed.)

        Other sites are trying to evade these laws by just hosting the links to the content, or links to the torrent files, and not hosting content themselves, and this is now being fought over in the courts. This approach isn’t particularly suitable for OpenSim grids however.

        And, as a content creator myself, I’d argue that distributing content in violation of its license terms is wrong and bad business. Maybe creators are being short sighted by not offering better license terms — I would personally argue against using digital rights management and other technologies that hurt usability. But it’s up to the creator to decide. If users don’t like the license terms they’re offered, there’s plenty of other content out there available under better license terms.

        There is no moral right to entertainment. You could make an argument that we, as a society need to provide people with food and shelter, and access to useful information. (I would love to see Internet access become a basic human right.) But given how much free content is already available out there, I would not want to make an argument that people deserve free and immediate access to all content created for entertainment purposes.

        At the same time, however, I wouldn’t want to spend too much money prosecuting infringers. I’d rather use the money to go to Mars.

        • If your data is hosted in a US datacenter it might make some sense for a non US grid such as Kitely to register with the US Copyright office as you could be subject to takedown requests via DMCA at the data center level.

          For everyone else registering just gives the (false) impression of “protection” by a legal procedure that is not recognized by the legislative system you are operating out of, and could actually bring you in conflict with it.

          • It also has to do with where your customers are based and Americans do spend a lot of money. And they also sue a lot.

            The DMCA protects you against lawsuits in US courts — which have shown over and over again that they’re perfectly willing to go up against companies based overseas.

            Again, EVERY company SHOULD be complying with takedown requests — no matter what form they’re in, no matter where the company is based — because a, it’s the right thing to do, and b, most countries have similar laws on the books.

            Two main international agreements are in force here, the Berne Convention, and the WTO’s TRIPS agreement. Countries that haven’t signed one (like Taiwan) would have signed the other. There are VERY few exceptions — even North Korea is a signatory — and for the most part, the countries that haven’t signed, aren’t countries where you’re likely to be running a grid:

            Afghanistan, East Timor, Eritrea, Iran and Iraq, Somalia, and Turkmenistan. And a couple of tiny places I’ve never heard of.

            Full lists here:

            http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?treaty_id=15
            http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/other_treaties/parties.jsp?treaty_id=231&group_id=22

            Back when I was running a news bureau in China, I covered a lot of the WTO and copyright-related issues.

            So if your grid doesn’t yet have a copyright protection page up, put it up, and email me the link. Also, create an email address such as [email protected], and post it where people can find it. And appoint someone in management to check that email address daily! Or put an autoresponder on it, saying that you’ll be looking into the problem within the next 24 (or 48, or whatever) hours, and giving follow-up contact information if the situation isn’t resolved in that time, so that the person emailing doesn’t feel that their email went into a dark hole and will never be seen. (And BCC key staff on that email.)

            Or put up a simple form like what Kitely and some other grids have.

            Startup grids have enough obstacles facing them — marketing, management, technology, dealing with growth, etc… — few are as easy and simple to deal with as copyright issues. Put a process in place, and you don’t have to worry that a random copyright lawsuit will destroy your grid just as you’re getting going.

          • I want you to consider this text that is displayed on every video Apple publish, because it very accurately reflects the real situation that exist.

            “This broadcast and its contents are the sole property of Apple, and are protected by Federal law and international treaties. You are strictly prohibited from making a copy or modification of, or rebroadcasting or re-encoding, this broadcast without the prior written permission from Apple Public Relations, except as may be permitted by law.”

            It contains some very important clauses; “…protected by Federal law and international treaties…”

            The Berne Convention, and the WTO’s TRIPS agreement are exactly that – international treaties, and these work by being implemented in the legislation in the signatory nations; they don’t stand on their own – they can’t be policed on their own.

            For you it means that you have to trust that the legislation of another nation has sufficient coverage to satisfy the conditions and clauses in the treaty they have signed. It does not mean the legislation of the country is IDENTICAL to the US legislation.

            This also means that any business or individual must operate within the legislation the person reside in, or the business operate out of, and exactly that, and not in the spirit of some other county legislation or a treaty. The courts do not recognize in the spirit of in this context. A legal procedure that is not recognized in the legislation will not be acted upon by the legal system of that country.

            The other important clause is “…except as may be permitted by law.”

            Many countries, in Europe in particular, grant consumers much wider rights to how they can use content they have purchased than what is the case in the US. This does not mean they can sell it, but there are rights for derivative work, protection against blocking content via DRM and the right to make a fair number of copies for personal use. The EU definition of what constitutes a consumer which is defined as

            “consumer means any natural person who, in commercial practices covered by this Directive, is acting for purposes which are outside his trade, business, craft or profession”

            In SecondLife and in most grids close to all transactions are consumer transactions.

            The exception is if the grid (if registered as a business) sells services or goods to a business, or if a registered businesses operating out of the grid sell goods or services to other registered businesses. In this case it shall be reported and taxes be paid on the transactions as mandated by law. The transactions must also be conducted in real currencies and not game tokens as all virtual currencies are defined as in the EU (with the exception of Bitcoint in a couple member states.)

            This means that what is legal in the country the grid operates out may not at all be legal in the US, or vise versa in terms of what rights are given a consumer to use a copyrighted work.

            Also the courts and legal system does not operate on virtual identities, meaning it only operates on the individual behind the virtual identity (SSN or Business ID).

            Unless you as a merchant or consumer operate with a real identity, you have no rights in the legal system as far as filing anything. It will not be recognized by the courts.

            Equally important, clauses that tries to limit usage between you and you (the real identity) via limitations to a virtual identity will simply be dismissed by the courts. You, the individual, have the full rights the law permits to use of copyrighted works you have purchased or licensed. (you often see this stated you cannot use the item with an alt…)

            If you think these differences are too much to stomach for your audience to make business on non US grids, then tell us all and we can deal with it. This wishy washy hinting all the time that non US citizens and business must comply with legislation not recognized by their own legal systems starts getting a bit tiresome. – Really!

          • Susannah Avonside

            To clarify, though Apple don’t exactly say that you can produce a spoof of their marketing videos, except a rather oblique reference to “except as may be permitted by law” the fact remains that in the UK, since laws about this were relaxed to allow such use a few months ago, it’s perfectly legal to make spoofs as derivative works to satirise Apple products – not that I personally would satirise the products, mind you, but the users… (Sorry Geir! *grins*), and remain immune from legal harassment from Apple.

          • Trust me, both Apple and its users are quite used to be satirized ;-))

          • Although I have not seen too much satire over OpenSim, I think we all have experienced some of this in our virtual careers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flkgNn50k14

  • Delana —

    I routinely give permission to people to use my content, but I DO get annoyed by the content-scraping sites that don’t seem to have a legitimate purpose for existing.

    But, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, over time I’m spending less and less effort on content protection, for two reasons:

    1. The obvious content-theft sites are being taken down anyway, because they’re not just stealing my content, but also that of larger publications with employees who do nothing but take down infringers. And also because those sites are typically click-fraud sites designed to scam advertisers, so the ad networks themselves are also working to take them down.

    2. Since the only visitors to these sites are bots, they’re not actually costing me any readers.

    • Delana Quinn

      I absolutely agree with and don’t fault you for the scraper sites and click bots but that’s not exactly the context I was referring to. I loathe the scraper sites that spit out reproduction articles that sound like they hired an illiterate foreign monkey to write for them and none of it makes a shred of sense ;-p

      But for virtual worlds, there are a half dozen or so “residents” who seem to do nothing other than whine and flip out about the idea someone might steal their stuff, like it’s the end of days…and in reality, nobody cares but them. It irks me that hosting providers and even HB seem to just pander and cater to them repeatedly, always making a point to point out how much they protest content theft. In reality content theft in this space is just not that prevalent. It’s happened but it’s not such a big issue that this kind of attention needs to be handed to these people. They need to suck it up and walk it off. If something they make gets swiped, they can deal with it same as any other outlet.

      It’s always reminded me of the uptight, repressed, dimwitted sorts who might work say at walmart and some kid rips off a comic book or some candy or a toy or headphones and this worker starts screaming like a gang of armed ninjas stormed in, held everyone at gunpoint, threatened their very lives and are lurking behind every corner just waiting to steal more candy…let’s file lawsuits to protect ourselves!

      Here’s the problem. Aside from them being annoying and useless, and getting far too much attention, there’s only a small segment of the population that even remotely cares about 3d worlds. This is by no means a mainstream thing so when 3d VR kicks off and gains momentum, more people will be turned onto opensim worlds and if all they hear are these half a dozen nitwits flipping out acting like opensim is nothing but piracy and theft and outlets like HB give them a voice and cater to then, nobody’s going to mess with it and eventually demand for open sim will just die off.

      If these people are so terrified somebody’s going to take something and not pay them or put their name up in lights, they’re in the wrong business. Nobody acts this way in real life or in material pursuits so giving the virtual screamers a platform is like giving Ann Coulter a platform…sometimes you just need to say NOPE.

      Ya know?

      • Delana — You know, and I know, that content theft is a vastly bigger problem INSIDE Second Life than out here in OpenSim (where there’s very little to steal!).

        But there’s a PERCEPTION among some content creators that OpenSim is not as safe. That grids don’t respect creator rights. That’s there’s not market for legitimate content.

        Meanwhile, according to the last user survey I ran, the number one thing OpenSim users want is more content:

        http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/12/content-tops-user-wish-list/

        So yes, I’m bending over backwards to try to show that OpenSim grids are responsible. That you don’t have to be scared to come here and sell your stuff. That you don’t have to have a lawyer on staff to protect your content. That it doesn’t have to take up all your time.

        Plus, my primary goal with this site was originally to promote the use of OpenSim for enterprise users. These are schools, companies, and government agencies. They want legal, licensed content, they want lots of it, and they’re willing to pay for it.

        And I want that, too.

        • Delana Quinn

          Point taken. I can appreciate that.

          I’ve been involved in the 3d virtual worlds since 2005ish, early 2006 one, and I am “in” all the way. I love it. I love everything about it but some of the “residents” don’t seem to grasp that opensim/second life is not the center of the metaverse but it could be if they wouldn’t freak out about every little thing like drama queens.

          I’ve been working for awhile now on a project that is designed to *hopefully* coincide with the consumer/commercial launches of the VR goggles and direct my marketing efforts to mainstream public, as opposed to the “choir” of the VW community who already know about open sim and Linda Kellie and HB.

          I am looking toward venturing into an entirely different arena and promoting the metaverse and worlds/environments, putting together a library of worlds so working with other content creators who want to add to the collection (and make money) will be something coming up hopefully by the end of the year or Q1 next year…but it’s disheartening to keep reading these kinds of articles that focus on a group of people who can’t get a grip about the idea of content theft and accept that it’s going to happen but it’s just not a huge “crime” going on in these parts as the attention would suggest.

          I want content creators who get it and keep moving forward without getting bogged down in whether or not a piece of an item was originally created by someone else and can’t release a full thing because this or that restriction.

          That said, if my project/venture gets rolling in this frame I’m hoping to be the bridge between mainstream public and the long timers in the OS/SL community, bringing the content creators together with a whole new market so they’re not just making things for each other. 😉

          So if I copy/paste an article from HB on my site without permission, my agenda isn’t theft, it’s additional promotion and I’d add credit and links anyway. I just may not have the time to make a bunch of submissions and wait for however long for someone to get back to me. I’ve copy/pasted articles for years as a measure of preservation because I got sick of my dead bookmarks after 3 or 4 months of not visiting…site’s gone, articles vanished, good information history. A case in point is Ener’s site…tons of valuable information and tutorials and even more great info in the comments and it’s all history because she shut it down with little to no warning.

          Unless she’s intending to put it up somewhere later, then all that information is just gone. That’s why I copy and paste and preserve, and help promote. If people consider that theft, they got screws loose ;p

          But yes, I concede to your point. I acknowledge that I wasn’t quite set on the point of HB and presumed it was an eclectic virtual world magazine aimed at “everyone” instead of a more select audience. My apologies for that 🙂

          • Well, Hypergrid Business has been around for six years now, and I have no plans to shut it down.

            I think you can be relatively safe just pasting the first couple of paragraphs of an article and linking to the rest.

            Plus, I have no problems with people emailing copies of the article to themselves or their friends, or printing them out, to have as personal backups.

            In fact, there should be “email” and “print” links somewhere around … and I don’t see them. Arrgh. Why do things never stay where I put them? I’ll track them down and put them back up.

          • Okay, the email and print links are back, right at the top of the page. And the email one sends the whole article. Feel free to email to yourself, friends, students, colleagues, etc…

            And the print button strips out all the advertising and formatting, and creates a convenient list of links at the end. Cool!

          • Delana Quinn

            OMG Woman. Thanks to you I stayed up all night reading up on google cardboard! Hahah! Totally lost track of time. ;-p

          • Susannah Avonside

            Yes, it’s sad about Ener’s site – and a huge shame that it wasn’t put on the Internet Archive, which even has the web pages to the old version of the now defunct New World Grid. I can understand that people may not wish to continue with their blogs, or websites, but why not then donate that stuff to posterity in the Internet Archive? That way the knowledge remains accessible to all.

  • “Maria, I’ve enjoyed reading HB but sometimes even you sound like a paranoid crackpot flipping out about content theft.” but we love her anyway!!

    • Delana Quinn

      I love HB, read it daily and I love Maria. My issue was with the screeching “zomg theevez is gun steel r stuff runnn!” sorts who seem to think someone stealing and not giving credit to someone who made a tree deserves the same sort of penalty as a real criminal. So when these HB articles pop up catering to them, as this one did, well, sometimes a girl’s gotta get it off her chest. Giving those sorts a platform, why not the other side who are sick to death of hearing about content theft, dmca, and how to protect your stuff when there are tons of other and cooler things to write about. This dmca article could’ve been switched out for a VR headset demo or a tutorial on how to convert an oar to unity for the vr headset. That would rule.

      Hint to Maria – you could still do that if you need article suggestions! ;-p

      • Delana — Nice thing about having a website as opposed to a print publications — no space limits! I can do both!

        Meanwhile, here’s a funny example of a site that’s probably designed to steal money from advertisers that is JUST on this side of copyright infringement: http://www.derbygardens.com/landscaping-brings-in-the-dough-on-kitely-market/

        They REWROTE the introductory parts of the story, linked to the original for the rest, and I’ve already given blanket permission for people to use my charts, as long as they credit Hypergrid Business, and these folks have done it. Normally, I’d just laugh at it and move on, but I thought… maybe you guys could use a laugh as well.

        Here’s the thing: if you try to read the article, you’ll quickly see that it makes zero sense — they’ve used a computer to replace words with their synonyms! Which makes it totally unreadable. Plus, it’s a story about landscaping content on the Kitely Market — which has nothing to do with real-world gardening. But their computers don’t know that.

        So you’ve got a site that’s not designed to be read by humans, but which IS running real ads. My best guess is that they have bots visiting the site and clicking on the ads, stealing money from oblivious advertisers. If I was a better human being I’d stop and give the advertisers a heads-up that they’re being scammed. But I’ve got to go write an article about how to view an OpenSim region with a VR headset…

        • lmpierce

          Here’s my favorite line from their ‘story’: Tochner also pennyless out a statistics for that categories of calm brought in a many income final month.

          • Delana Quinn

            Hahah!

        • Delana Quinn

          LOLOL yep those are exactly the ones I was referring to.

          I don’t blame you for not giving the advertisers the heads up about it but I think they know. There’s a whole “movement” just about for internet marketing scrapers so it’s hard to not know what you’d be getting into. Then again, the advertisers may not even know their ads are up. Apparently it’s become a “thing” to actually host big name display ads so it looks like they have the business, in order to get actual business.

          Here’s something you might consider exploring – advertising is a dying medium and in its place is viral marketing, story building, story branding – and these things can find a spectacular home in virtual worlds, virtual and augmented reality. We block advertisements because nobody likes advertisements…but we love viral media, promotional gaming events, coupons, hunts, etc. Lots of interesting possibilities for opensim world enthusiasts to get into viral marketing…

          • lmpierce

            That’s awfully extreme…advertising is not dying; rather, social marketing has taken off and added to the cacophony of messages. In fact, using social marketing as a rebranded form of advertising is one of the most sly forms of advertising/marketing I’ve seen recently.

            When a story goes viral, that’s a whole other story and has an organic basis. Sometimes that happens with virtual worlds. But most of the outright advertising I see for this technology is to the community, and acts as both advertising and de facto public service announcement. The number of users is so small that without this advertising, we would be hard pressed to find hosts and other services – there just isn’t enough viral activity.

            I think advertising will also continue because it still serves to reach people outside of specific social groups, even if social marketing might be preferred within those networks.

  • Sara Baxton

    I think that I would be more worried about these stores and marketplaces allowing stolen Mesh to be sold than anything. Like posted if its looks to good to be true, More than likely it isn’t. As we mentioned before removing mesh items from online games and animated type of movies is wide spread in SL. Why wouldn’t it be in Opensims as well.

  • Stabitha 88

    What if the person is using artwork of someone who isn’t in second life? The case is this person is selling a game ripped ghostbusters vehicle, that I can’t do anything about as I am not associated with the creation of the object. However, in an attempt to disguise the stolen content he has used art that is ripped off from a friend of mine. On top of that, I had contacted the guy who is selling it about the art he is using and he now goes out of his way to brand me as a copybotter. The guy is a real piece of work. Any advice would be awesome, thank you.

    • If Person A is infringing on the rights of Person B using a platform owned by Person C and you are not A, B, or C, then legally you have no role in this process.

      You could, if you wanted to, notify Person B that there was infringement going on, and then it would be up to Person B whether to pursue it or not. They might decide it wasn’t worth the effort, or that it wasn’t costing them any business. You might try to make it as easy for them as possible to file, by providing them with everything they would need — the location of the infringing content, etc… but really, it’s their decision.

      You could also, if you wanted to, notify Person C that their website or grid or region or store or whatever was being used to distribute infringing content. Person C would be under no obligation to pay attention to you, since you’re not the injured party. But they might follow up, and if they see that there are other problems with Person A, they might take proactive steps anyway to get things cleaned up.

      If there’s a possibility that the infringement was accidental, you might also contact Person A. Quite a lot of infringement is, in fact, accidental — the person who originally steals the content passes it along to others who use it in good faith, and then are extremely embarrassed to discover that they are in possession of stolen property and act immediately to correct the situation.

      You can also contact the media. I get emails regularly from people who have spotted infringing content somewhere. Since I have all the contact information for OpenSim grid owners, I contact them first and they usually deal with the problem very quickly and efficiently — no grid wants to be known as deliberately violating copyright law. if you do, then you lose your Safe Harbor status under DMCA and become a target for lawsuits. Since most grids are startups, even a small suit would put it out of business immediately, and if their local courts or the legal bills didn’t close them down, their hosting providers would.

      And, at the end of the day, the biggest victim is likely to be the grid owner, after all. The original content creator is probably not losing any money here, since these are likely to be sales that they wouldn’t have otherwise made, or care much about. And you can’t lose your copyright by not defending it (that’s trademarks, not copyrights). The customer, if they paid for the stolen content, is out the money, and may have to buy legal copies of that content at some point down the line, but this is usually a small amount of money.