OpenSim community comes together to defend content

Grid owners, content creators, and other members of the OpenSim community are working to solve a serious case of alleged content theft that surfaced recently on the Alife Virtual grid and may involve several other grids and 62 allegedly stolen OARs, or region backup files.

On Thursday, Genesis Metaverse CFO Janet Smolko, also known as Candi Genesis in-world, met with the owner of the VirTec multi-grid vending system and learned that content from her grid was possibly being illegally distributed on Alife Virtual, as she explained in a Google Plus post.

Janet Smolko

 “As we have never released any OARs to anyone for any reason I immediately went over to verify his statements,” she said. “They had all been accurate.  A region created by one of our long time residents was used in Alife without the creator’s or Genesis’ permission.”

Soon afterwards, DigiWorldz owner Terry Ford confirmed in a separate post that his grid’s content was also being illegally distributed there.

Other content creators and community organizers quickly drew attention to the issue, including well-known content creator Linda Kellie and Han Held, who run the OpenSim Everything community. VirTec created a Google Plus collection to present evidence of the problem, on both Alife Virtual and the Brazilian AllCity grid.

Allegedly infringing content distributed on the Alife Virtual grid. (Image courtesy Noxluna Nightfire.)

Content creator Noxluna Nightfire visited Alife Virtual this week and found content from many creators she knew, creators who were not knowingly distributing their content on that grid.

“I TP’ed to various sims and was completely stunned to find what appeared to be the whole stores of certain Second Life creators,” she said.

For creators, there’s also an extra worry, she said. It’s not just that their creations are being distributed illegally. It’s that they may have used content from other sources as part of their products, and the license they signed requires them to protect that other content. For example, she found items from one creator who uses third-party full-perm content — those items can be tracked back.

“This could conceivably cost her those license — and a crap ton of money,” she said. “Very not cool.”

Alife Virtual promises swift action

In response to the allegations, Alife Virtual has taken all involved servers offline for a content review, grid owner  Sorin Todys told Hypergrid Business.

Sorin Todys

“All servers are stopped and will be evaluated one by one with region owners,” he said. “If needed, we will delete everything owners say it was not done by them. I think that is the most drastic measure that could be taken. I apologize in advance to all users who will suffer unfairly.”

The evaluation has already started and will take about a month to complete, according to Todys.

“It will be internal evaluation with Alife region owners and our team,” he said. “Anyone outside is welcome anytime.”

But Alife Virtual’s reaction to this incident has not been completely positive. At first, content creators said that they were getting a negative reaction from the grid, or were even banned from visiting the grid altogether.

There have been other problems with the grid, as well. Even though it reports more than 1,000 active monthly users on its stats page, there have been repeated problems accessing their stats on a regular basis, or getting any explanation from grid owners about stats-related issues. As a result, Hypergrid Business has not been publishing its active user stats for about a year. Similar problems have caused the grid not to be included in Magnuz Binder’s grid stats.

In addition, its Google Plus page shows no activity, and its Facebook page just runs the same ad once a month.

62 OARs still being distributed

Alife Virtual isn’t the only grid caught up in this illegal content scandal.

That’s because the main problem is that the source of the infringing content seems to be a set of allegedly stolen OAR files — and those files are still out there.

An OAR file is a backup of an entire region, including all objects on that region and their scripts. So if proprietary vending machines were on a particular region, the OAR export of the region would include those machines and their scripts, and the person uploading that OAR would be able to set themselves as the creator of those machines or any other content in that OAR file.

The OARs were reportedly taken from several grids, including Genesis Metaverse, and distributed on a site well-known for distributing stolen content.

As of this writing, the OAR files were still up on the site and available for download.

Screenshot from copybot website distributing 62 stolen region OAR files.

According to Nightfire, members of this site not only share stolen content, but also tips and tools about how to steal the content in the first place.

“It’s a very slimy place,” she told Hypergrid Business.

The 62 OAR files were allegedly traced back to an individual who worked on the AviWorlds grid when the content was stolen and distributed via the copybot website. As of this writing, we have not been able to contact that individual for comment.

Alexsandro Pomposelli

AviWorldz denied wrong-doing. The grid was taken down couple of months ago and it does not have any infringing content,  AviWorlds owner Alex Pomposelli told Hypergrid Business.

“I just now found out what happened and this really has nothing to do with me,” he said. “The evidence is pointing to another person whom I did employ but fired him as soon as I saw trust was no longer present. I had no idea of what had happened and just found out.  I hold no unauthorized OARs from anyone.”

He said that he is firmly opposed to content theft.

“I am against that practice and if anyone came to me and pointed at any content illegally brought into AviWorlds, I delete it on the spot and purge it from the database,” he said.

The AviWorlds terms of service also requires users to agree that no content owned by other creators should be brought into their grids and that if such a thing happens, it would be removed.

It’s unclear to what extent AviWorlds would be liable for actions by a former employee if that employee was acting on his own.

Genesis Metaverse, one of the affected grids, said that they are pursing legal action both in the U.S. and in the U.K., and posted an official statement on their Facebook page.

According to grid owner Cliff Hopkins, the AviWorlds employee copied the grid’s content last summer, while the grid was being hosted by AviWorlds through its OpenSim hosting service, Avi-Labs.

The employee “copied all Genesis Metaverse OARs … and made them publicly available on a public forum free of charge without our consent of knowledge and used the excuse ‘we pissed him off’ as a reason to why he made them public and stole ours and our residents content and creations,” Hopkins wrote.

These OARs have since been found on seven different grids, he added, and he has sent take-down notices to all those grids.

“Our lawyers will also be chasing this up to make sure these grids have responded to our legal request to remove our content,” he said. “If they refuse then we will go straight to their host.”

Under U.S. laws, and the laws of almost all other countries, content-sharing platforms like social media sites — or OpenSim grids — where random users can upload random content have a “safe harbor” under which they are exempt from copyright lawsuits as long as they promptly take down offending content. Otherwise, these platforms would be getting hit by lawsuits constantly, and would all quickly go out of business. But if a site or grid fails to take down infringing content quickly, it may lose its protected “safe harbor” status. The same applies to the data centers that host the grids, and to the domain registrars where their URLs are registered.

As a result, grids that do not comply with the US DMCA or the similar laws enacted in other countries can quickly disappear from the Internet.

“We would also like to apologize to all those affected by this theft in 2016 and rest assured we are now hosted with a much better company who actually have morals and respect our users creations,” Hopkins said.

Earlier this month, Genesis Metaverse decided to host its grid with DigiWorldz. AviWorlds itself followed suit yesterday.

The story with VirTec

Virtouse Lilienthal discovered some strange numbers when checking his VirTec vending machine records. We had actually asked him for the records to do a latest report. He thought he had made a mistake by replacing one grid name with another, but revealed otherwise after further investigations involving checking the name of all registered grids, vendors, owners of the vendors as listed and locations of those vendors.

“I started listing those vendors in my database and I found that there were vendors which had my products in them, but were owned by completely different avatars,” he said.

That’s when he discovered offending content on Alife Virtual, including a region that was originally hosted at Genesis Meterverse. He found his items on sale and having a different owner, Sorin.

“That is the moment when I stumbled first across the Alife Virtual region which contained the exact replica of a region I remember being at the Stargazer Genesis grid before the owner left and the region was shut down (I actually moved to another region on that grid at that time). ”

He then explained the issue to Genesis Meterverse and they accepted to visit the region and so confirmed the issue together.

VirTec, the vending system company, does not, on its own, make content for sale, but it does own the rights to its vending machines. If someone else takes over those machines, it could create security issues for the vending network, or allow unscrupulous users to sell stolen content.

VirTec items that were allegedly stolen and used without permission on Alife Virtual. (Image courtesy VirTec.)

Fortunately, there is no evidence that the VirTec vendors were used on Alife Virtual to sell infringing content, company owner Virtouse Lilienthal told Hypergrid Business.

However, he was able to find copies of his vending machines with unapproved owners on the Alife Virtual grid and with other users — including some that had been rebranded.

Advice to grid owners and content creators

Grid owners need to know their residents, act immediately if something is reported and it is found to be true, said Smolko.

“Investigate personally, make the time,” she said. “Spend the money to protect your residents and their creations.  They spend hours, days, sometimes months creating a single item, it’s your duty to keep that protected.”

And creators need to be responsible in protecting their content, she added.

Creators need to know well their grids, grid owners and staff and if they are unavailable, give canned responses, disregard creators’ fears or issues, then it means they will likely not protect creators and the items they create, and so it is good for creators to find a better home to host their creations, she said.

Grids also need a strong policing policy to end content infringement, said AviWorlds’ Alex Pomposelli.

“The only way to prevent people from taking or using stolen material is to police and enforce the terms and conditions,” he said. “You see it — you take it down.”

Grids should also make it as easy as possible for creators to file take-down requests, with easy-to-find contact information. Don’t make content creators chase you down in-world.

Kitely, for example, has a simple take-down form on their website which should serve as a model to all grids.

By making the process quick and easy, creators won’t be tempted to go elsewhere to seek redress — such as social media and other communication channels, or filing take-down requests with hosting companies and registrars. The first option could seriously damage a grid’s reputation. The second would put it out of business immediately.

Grids, even those not based in the United States, should also register with the U.S. Copyright office if they distribute content from U.S. creators, or have users who live in the U.S. Registration, which costs a one-time fee of $105, is the best protection against lawsuits by Americans.

Kitely, InWorldz, DigiWorldz, OutWorldz and many other grids are registered.

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David Kariuki

David Kariuki is a technology journalist who has a wide range of experience reporting about modern technology solutions. A graduate of Kenya's Moi University, he also writes for Cleanleap, and has previously worked for Resources Quarterly and Construction Review. Email him at [email protected].

  • Quick note about DMCA registration — do it through the official US Copyright Office site, not through sites like DMCA.com, which, as far as I can tell, are just a scam.

  • first off im not a licensed PI so my investigation and findings are of a civilian and any testimony I give is of a civilian observation.

    On close completion of my investigation (just need to get dates from alex) i do find that Quill did take the oars and put them on that site and sorin did use the oar, however, after talking to Terry Ford on how oar’s are imported i have found that Sorin then copy botted items to put on that sim as well as other sims in ALife Virtual grid as some stuff such as the roads and a house from Anshe Chung were never in Genesis grid. (I do hope Terry chimes in to explain how oar’s are imported)
    I do believe (from a civilian point of view) that Genesis does have the right to go after Quill for the stolen oar’s but any stolen content such as VirTec vendors should turn their legal attention to Mr. Tody himself for copybotting other people’s content.
    As for Mr. Pomposelli involvement, I still yet to talk to Alex about all of this so i can not say much yet.

    Background about me: I spent 5 years a real life security guard and have learned some things from private investigators that i use to work with. I bring my skills and knowledge to virtual worlds because i believe in justice in both as a roleplayer and when something like this happens. I like to get down to the absolute truth with proof before accusing anyone of anything. Now for a little joke.
    I didnt spend 5 years a security guard just so i had an excuse to sleep on the job and eat donuts 😛

    Ill post more soon on any new information i find.

  • Hello Maria.. just a quick correction… DigiWorldz did not have any oars stolen or used on this grid, but we did find several items from DigiWorldz in the Alife Virtual grid which have never been distributed outside DigiWorldz and some were exclusive content owned by Tr Lifter, our grid manager who “Had” the only copies. We believe these items were “Copybotted”.

    We have a region on DigiWorldz owned by TR Lifter called “Pangea” and several weeks ago the HyperGrid Safari came to this region and Sorin was one of the visitors in this group who visited this region. Some of the content found on the Alife Virtual grid from DigiWorldz contained “Roads” which were only in the Pangea region inside DigiWorldz.
    It is our belief these items must had been copybotted and then taken back to Alife Virtual.

    Why was all of the illegal content found on the Alife Grid in the owner, Sorin Tody’s name?
    Did Sorin download the Genesis oars from the link posted in the King Goon forums?
    Was Sorin using a copybot viewer the day he visited the Pangea region with the HyperGrid Safari and “Aquire” a copy of TR Lifter’s roads?
    Why were the roads, which are only found in this region on DigiWorldz found on his grid, in his name?

    • Thanks for the correction — and now it makes sense. I’d been wondering how the rogue AviWorlds employee got his hands on DigiWorldz OARs. It makes total sense that he didn’t. I updated the story.

      And personally, I do find it suspicious that Sorin’s name was on the pirated content. If it’s just a random grid user uploading stolen stuff, that can happen on any grid. But when grid owners do it themselves, the liability is different. They personally know what content they’re uploading and, usually, whether it’s legitimate or not. (Sometimes people do make mistakes, and content they THOUGHT was legal, turns out to be pirated. Most of us have been there. I’ve been there. You clean it up as much as you can, and be more careful in the future.)

      If a grid owner doesn’t respect creator rights or copyright law, are they going to respect the rights of their customers? Are they a good person to enter into a business relationship with? Are they a good grid for merchants? Since commercial grids are built on the goodwill of content creators and rent-paying residents, this is a really huge issue.

      • Karen Lee

        My content was apart of the Avilabs hosting company at the time of this unfortunate breech. How do I find out which regions were indeed stolen and passed out like candy?

    • VirTec

      > Did Sorin download the Genesis oars from the link posted in the King Goon forums?
      This is the question I would like to get answered as well, I have the feeling however that there was some more curation going on.

      Just as a side FYI I can tell that the one OAR with my vendors on has been loaded at least on 56 regions which mostly don’t exist anymore…

      • i believe so VirTec but i also believe that your content was acquired and put on the sim in question by other means.

        • VirTec

          It wasn’t by other means than an oar import because I arranged the vendors myself exactly like this on this region

        • Sorin Todys

          Hello,
          Buch Arnold say I participate in a HyperGrid Safari but I never participate in a HyperGrid Safari, this enlightens me a lot to understand what happens. My
          digiworldz account was hacked, or someone there with admin power
          change my password and use my account. This is crazy to realize right
          now…

          • so that same person just happened to then hack your alife admin account and aquire items from other grids?

          • Jessica Random

            I agree that doesn’t sound very likely does it!

            Reminds me of the same kind of conspiracy theory from a Cult British SciFi comedy show:

            Rimmer: Aliens!
            Lister: What?
            The Cat: What are you talking about, grease stain?
            Rimmer: It’s a well documented phenomenon. They kidnap you, give you a mind probe, erase your memory, and put you back.
            Lister: OK, aliens came aboard.
            Rimmer: Without question.
            Lister: They broke my leg.
            Rimmer: For some reason.
            The Cat: They broke MY leg.
            Rimmer: Right.
            Holly: And then they did a jigsaw.
            Rimmer: Right.
            Holly: Well, that’s cleared that up then.

          • now lets get ship wrecked and comatose while sipping on fresh mango juice

          • Sorin Todys

            Buch Arnold will send me the log, there is time, ip and mac and i will understand…

          • Linda Kellie

            Or possibly you were there during the same time that the HyperGrid Safari was there so it looked like you were with them.

          • Sorin Todys

            Was there more people who participate i think, so they can tell us…

      • David

        Did you ever find how the content was taken away?

        • VirTec

          I will let you know by mail – This is getting out of hand here

    • Sorin Todys

      Hello,
      I never participate in a HyperGrid Safari It is a lie, but it enlightens me a lot to understand what happens.
      My digiworldz account was hacked, or someone there with admin power change my password and use my account. This is crazy to realize right now…

      • Hello Sorin… you had used your avatar from your grid on this particular day.. I can share the log files if you like.
        Maybe someone hacked your avatar in your grid and participated with it that day?

        • Sorin Todys

          Please do it, share the log file please…

          • Hello Sorin, would you like me to include your Mac address and Ip address as well?
            Would you prefer I do this privately, or would you rather I paste it here for all to see?

          • Sorin Todys

            Please include all in a private email on gmail i think you know my email, i don’t know if is permited to share here the email, that help us to understand and give us the oportunity to talk. Thank you very much!

          • Hi Sorin… I sent the info to your shoutcast email address which I have on file at DigiWorldz.

        • Sorin Todys

          Buch I need you to know I don’t receive your email yet I will wait…

  • Also, props to David for spending the last day — and night! — following up on all this stuff.

    • David

      Thanks

    • David

      thanks

  • Joseph Zazulak

    I wonder if there has been any feedback regarding the OS grid regions with copybotted items as well??

  • Thank you David for giving Kitely’s online DMCA take-down form as an example. As an aside, Kitely Market includes an even simpler way to report possible copyright violations in marketplace listings. Every product listing in Kitely Market includes a “report product” link that can be used to report various problems with a listing, including suspected copyright violations. For details, see the “Report Kitely Market Products” section in: https://www.kitely.com/virtual-world-news/2016/05/23/improved-viewer-login-page/

  • lmpierce

    Just a note on comments here…

    Any discussion about content appropriation can express the results of investigations, for example, where content was found but not authorized. However, comments calling any person a thief or any service a front for stealing, will be removed.

    Investigations create evidence and any persons involved are entitled to their side of the story, and most importantly, their day in court. Now if a court says the goods were stolen, and the knowledge is made public, certainly we can use the word “stolen” in association with a particular person or service. The court of public opinion, compelling as it has been for social media and sometimes even mainstream news, is still just that, opinion. Often times, tragically wrong as well…

    To quote from the article, “By making the process quick and easy, creators won’t be tempted to go elsewhere to seek redress — such as social media and other communication channels, or filing take-down requests with hosting companies and registrars. The first option could seriously damage a grid’s reputation. The second would put it out of business immediately.”

    An additional consideration is that the Discussion Guidelines specifically indicate that, “We will remove content that could put us [Hypergrid Business] in legal jeopardy. This includes postings that appear libelous or defamatory…”

    I understand that a discussion on these matters treads in a lot of gray area, so there will be some tension however opinions are expressed. If you feel you are being accused of theft in a comment, flag the comment or email me, and I will do additional review of the comment.

    • Thanks, Lawrence for the heads-up. And I also recommend that people preface any potentially libelous comments with the old stand-by: “allegedly.”

      Also, as a cybersecurity writer, I have to point out that online attribution is EXTREMELY problematic. It’s easy to create an account almost anywhere under any name whatsoever, either to harm the other person, or just to throw investigators off the track. This is especially true when the alleged perpetrators are particularly tech-savvy. (See how I said “alleged” there?)

      Until the content sharing site that is distributing the 62 OARs takes them down (and no, we’re not posting the link here) then I strongly urge all grid owners to educate themselves about the content in these OARs and make sure that none of it turns up on their grids.

      And if anyone wants some legal OARs full of GOOD content, I recommend you check out the following:

      Linda Kellie OARs: http://zadaroo.com/?page_id=1588
      OutWorldz OARs: http://www.outworldz.com/cgi/freesculpts.plx?q=OAR-

      Linda Kellie’s content is all original creations, licensed CC0 for ANY use ANYWHERE — including in commercial projects.

      The OutWorldz content is distributed under a variety of Creative Commons licenses, including CC-NC (non-commercial) so be sure to check the license terms before using.

    • Linda Kellie

      Ah the voice of reason. 😛 There always has to be one grown-up in the room to spoil all of our fun lol.

      • Jessica Random

        Down with grownups!!!

  • Posted my input in a G+ post so to not violate any guideline rules set on this website.
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ChristopherStrachan/posts/FZHkk3GXWEX?sfc=false

    • Linda Kellie

      I’m banned from your G+ but I am going to vote this up anyway just because 🙂

      • oO do i even want to know how?

        • Linda Kellie

          How I voted up? I clicked the little up arrow thingy under your post here. I don’t think it actually does anything but I think it’s kind of like doing a “like” on facebook or a +1 on “G+”

          • i mean on how you were banned from g+, its a real shocker since it takes alot to get banned by google.

          • Linda Kellie

            You banned me from yours. We got in a fight a long time ago. I don’t remember what it was about. And please don’t remind me if you remember. Ignorance is bliss ya know. 🙂

          • oh derpy derp read that wrong sorry, all good and unblocked eh. forgive and forget the past, my meds are working great now so new me, new start at life

          • Linda Kellie

            yay thank you! Now I am going to go read what you posted. I might have to take that “vote up” back after reading though 😛 (just kidding of course)

      • Han Held

        >I’m banned from your G+
        You too? I’m in good company! 🙂

        • urgh, me too, and I recall under what conversation…I don’t care tho, I love being banned by people and grids…it makes me feel so special-)) I just read his link via another g+ acct I have.

          • 1derworld

            LOL Minetheree and the nerve to talk about me 🙂

          • curtseys demurely while winking at my devoted audience-))

          • Sunbeam Magic

            I think we should start a “BVB” group…. Banned Virtual Beings LOL wouldn’t that be a HOOT!!

          • hoot hoot! nice to see you keeping up here (if that is even possible) lol sisheart!

        • its not a ban, its called a block. and i have very good reasons to block you and minethere.

          • Han Held

            Naw, if the reason was as good as all that, both of us would know what it is.

            But whatever, though. I’m able to read what you write on those very, very rare times that it’s relevant to anything. The rest of the time your absence is more of a relief than a loss.

          • Han Held

            At least I don’t have to take back my apology since you threw it back in my face. No more olive branches for you, young man! :p

        • Linda Kellie

          You don’t owe me any apology for anything. I haven’t seen anything you have written that would call for an apology. But thank you anyway 🙂 HUGS

  • hack13

    Zetamex Network discovered a copy in use on our system, we have contacted the user and purged the OAR from their account. As per any content that you believes is infringing on your copyright please keep in mind Zetamex Network is registered in Germany and takes matters of copyright serious. People can always submit reports to [email protected] which we will then have then run through legal. http://zetamex.network/TOS.html

  • VirTec

    I just notiecd “including some that had been rebranded.” – Those rebranded ones weren’t on Alife Virtual and have been also already taken down by the person in question.

  • Linda Kellie

    Thank you David for putting the time and effort into making this more public.

    Things like this don’t just hurt the creators who’s items were “allegedly” (that word is used on the advice of Maria) stolen. It hurts all of OpenSim. It will make creators not want to sell in OpenSim and some will go back to SL or maybe just to another closed grid. It will make the places who make the 3rd party kits decide that OS isn’t safe enough and they will stop allowing use of their kits outside of SL. We will have less trust in the system. Less trust in grids and grid owners. Grid owners will have less trust in technicians they may think of hiring. Grids will have less trust in their hosting service. It really will spiral.
    So what I am saying is this is something that we all need to take a stand. We need to lock arms and make sure that we don’t fight with each other but that we help where we can and we stand together against anyone that does this sort of thing even if it doesn’t directly effect you.

    In this case the grid owner (s) could have just loaded an OAR on the request of one of their residents and had no idea what was on that OAR. This is going to make it less likely for grids to offer this service now. Of course…. the grid owner could be the one that obtained the OAR from the “alleged” copybot site.I hope that the truth comes out.

    In the article it says that these unauthorized items were found on 7 grids. But as far as I can tell only two were listed. May we have the names of the other 5?

    Oh and Kitely…………… KUDOS for your “take down” form. I think that’s a great idea and every grid should have one to make it fast and easy.

    • I believe while there may not be a way to completely stop the “Copybot” use and practice, we as a community have to “Step Up” and call these individuals out on this practice when it’s found to exist. Maybe the embarrassment of being caught, the damage to their integrity and reputation, and the unwelcome feelings they are shown will help to curb this practice.

      Often times, this practice goes unnoticed, or an individual may decide to “Look the other way”, but in “ALL” cases it is my belief these individuals should be confronted and the findings shared with the community so that we as a group may better protect others in our community with the knowledge gained.

      If I were to see someone going into my neighbors garage to steal things in Real Life, I would surely let my neighbor know about it, or i would call the police.
      Linda has hit the nail on the head, if we as a community don’t help in every way we can, the rampant use of Copybot will destroy the economy within our community.
      Content creators will stop making content because they are fearful their work will be stolen and their time spent making the content was wasted. If this happens the available new content in our community will continue to shrink and these creators will move to another platform.

      If we as a community value this content, then we should do all we can to help protect it, even if we don’t like the content, or want the content.

      I fully respect the rights of all content creators and those who have purchased the content legally and I will, with every opportunity continue to “Call out” those individuals whom I find have illegal content and will always “Watch the backs” of those within our community.

      • Arielle

        Your taking every opportunity to call out individuals whom may knowingly or unknowingly be wearing or have in their possession illegal content and share their identity with the community at large, will surely do more damage to the community as a whole then the copybotted content ever will. It makes you untrustworthy from the standpoint of users who don’t know where their content came from or who have a differing viewpoint about the legalities of content from creators that do not have a marketplace in Opensim. Commercial creators may laud your stance as judge, jury and executioner as being commendable but remember they only make up 1 or 2% of the entire opensim community. The rest of us users and consumers have rights also that you appear to be not very respectful of. Secret content police, kangaroo courts, vigilantes and lynch mobs are not conducive to good community building.

        • Maybe I was unclear of the context. Let me try to rephrase so there is no confusion.
          I completely understand there are individuals in our community who are not knowledgeable of this sort of thing and maybe pick up something not knowing it is illegal content. This isn’t the case I was referring to.
          The cases I am referring to are situations like this when someone posts obviously illegally acquired content for free or for sale.
          Obviously, my position may not be liked by some, but it’s liked by me and that’s all I care about in this situation. I’m not taking my position based on what the community or other individuals think of me, I’m taking my position based on my beliefs and my morals, therefore if someone doesn’t like the way I believe, so be it. I like it, and that’s all that matters to me.
          I like Mt. Dew, others hate it, that’s how life goes.

          • i love rawstyle and you dont but we still friends 😀

          • Da Hayward

            Hate both But Chivas regal is nice…you can have the Mt.Dew and Rawstyle I’ll have the whiskey….. Grins

          • Linda Kellie

            Ah it all makes sense now. For the last 10 years I have wondered where you got all of your energy. Now I know it’s Mt. Dew. One mystery solved.

          • lol

          • now im tempted to start drinking MD again. Forget Redbull.

          • Arielle

            Thanks for clarifying. I did find your line:

            “I fully respect the rights of all content creators and those who have purchased the content legally and I will, with every opportunity continue to “Call out” those individuals whom I find have illegal content and will always…”

            to be ambiguous as it implied to me you were promoting a witch hunt of any that have suspected illegal content rather then those distributing such. We all have our beliefs and morals and as long as we don’t enforce them on others beyond the laws of the land, it is all good. There are after all policies and procedures for such infringing content which were instituted to protect both the creator and those accused of stealing their creations. Dragging one’s suspected of impropriety through the “court of public opinion” before a legitimate court has found them guilty is also wrong and over the long term can cost a wrongly accused much more then what a content creator may have lost in the short term.

          • I have similar worries about witch hunts, aside from Butch more clarifying his words and feelings.

            If anyone goes to my var and says I copybotted a plywood prim box I will have to reveal my copyright………………….

          • I like mountain dew also, but I stopped drinking sodas many years ago…makes me want to go get one tho-))

        • Da Hayward

          Butch is very considerate of users, I honestly cant see him calling out a user who in ignorance has obtained illegal content from what they thought was a legal source.
          When it comes to some one proved actually “stealing” anothers content for resale or commercial purposes I could see Butch would take some action, & I would be the 1st to support him in doing so. But honestly I couldnt see him creating a “witch hunt” on no basis to do so

        • Christine Cochran

          I very rarely speak up in these discussions, but I really feel strongly on this one. Please keep in mind that without the 1 or 2%, you would have no clothes, no house to live in, none of the things that most users hold so dear. When that content is used illegally, it deters other creators from coming to OS Grids. This is the very reason so many won’t. Those of us who do, would like to think we are supported by grid owners, hosts, and yes, the users, in making sure that content is a little more protected. No one is talking about users who buy or receive content that is unknowingly illegal. We are talking about those who deliberately misuse the creations we work so hard to bring to the users.

          • Arielle

            Although I don’t think that a lack of commercial creators would create a situation quite as dire as you portray it, I readily acknowledge that your own contributions to the Kitely market were a welcome addition. Should I run across Sapphira being distributed elsewhere by a different creator, rest assured you will know about it through a personal communication which will leave you to do whatever you see fit in response. I will not file a DMCA for you, I will not trumpet the existence of your creation throughout Opensim to any or all who are willing to listen, nor will i attempt to shame whoever is distributing the content until you specifically and unequivocally have stated the content was being copied without your consent and you were not ok with it.

          • Linda Kellie

            You couldn’t file a DMCA on her behalf anyway. That’s simply not the way it’s done.

            And for the record I would shout it from the rooftops if I saw it distributed and had talked to Christine and had her confirm that it was ripped from her. I’m not sure why you are so good at speaking up about drama and calling people out on that but you don’t want to call people out on theft. It boggles the mind.

          • Christine Cochran

            Thanks, Linda. Content theft in any form is unacceptable behavior. When it’s one creator, it’s bad enough. When it’s several, that is even worse. When it’s entire grids of content, that is beyond reprehensible and has to be dealt with.

          • Christine Cochran

            Thanks for saying you would let me know. I appreciate that about you. A lack of commercial content wouldn’t be the end of the OS Grids. In fact, it might bring out the creativity in people who didn’t think they had it. But then again, those people would probably become commercial creators and would have to deal with the possibility that their content would be ripped and distributed without their consent. And we would be right back where we started.

        • Talla Adam

          I sure don’t the idea of witch hunts, Arielle but I think the reaction of the Opensim community to this issue could also be sending a message of reassurance to content creators and merchants that thieves can’t easily sell off stolen goods here or even dump oars to make mischief. I think Second Life has a far greater problem with this than our community dose or is ever likely to have. And the fact Sorin Todys is taking down the content in question shows that grid owners do care what the community is saying about them. I hope we all move on from this a learn its lessons.

          • “sending a message of reassurance to content creators and merchants that thieves can’t easily sell off stolen goods here” — THAT. While I have to agree this has turned into a bit of a Witch Hunt with other grids that may or may not even know the content they have is illegally obtained are now being slammed, given the way this has progressed with Todys willfully ignoring, and even ejecting, content owners when queried….well, if he had handled it as a professional from the get-go we wouldn’t be here. Been kinda sitting watching this unfold on G+ with a big bowl of Popcorn.

            That being said, as a recent SL to OS transplant here’s my take on the outside looking in – Having my content stolen terrifies me, and is exactly what has kept me from investing in OpenSim from Day 1. I was under the impression that this practice was not only accepted, but commonplace with OS.

            I was on SL for 9 years, owned a well known and popular Amusement Park amongst many other sims. At this point, after my most recent – and last – tango with the all mighty Lindens it’s OS or bust for us so our content is coming, slowly but surely. One of the most common things I’ve been asked when seeking permission from our creators, etc. to get the licenses transferred & all that good stuff is what about theft? They start babbling their 1% understanding of how that works, and off they go back to the “safety” of SecondLife.

            Content security is probably THE greatest concern creators have over the OS platform, and probably SL’s greatest boon. It’s good to see the community band together & slam it’s foot down, and quite encouraging.

            P.S. Linda Kellie ROCKS. That is all.

          • Linda Kellie

            I was reading through the posts here because…. well …. I’m so afraid of missing something. And I read yours and got to the very unexpected “PS” and almost spit out my sprite zero I laughed so hard. Besides that, the body of your post was very well expressed. In some cases it will seem like stolen content is accepted and commonplace. But the majority of OpenSim users are pretty compassionate people who don’t want to see someone’s hard work be copied and distributed willy nilly. I’m glad you are giving OpenSim a chance. You ROCK too!

        • David

          Arielle, Actually, the 1 or 2% you talked about do put a lot of their time and resources in creating stuff. the same way people get out to condemn other bad things in the society
          when they happen (name them) is the same way we need to condemn copying
          or stealing of other people’s content for purposes of reselling and
          other commercial motives.

    • David

      Thanks too Linda. Not me alone. It was team work 🙂 And I support. Such behavior hurts OpenSim as a whole.

  • what drama thank god I left opensim.. Space Engineers !!!!

    • i hear ya there homie. been playing Warface alot lately with my dad.

    • Arielle

      Yes the drama will kill Opensim long before copybotters will. Fortunately only a small segment of of virtual world inhabitants actually look through forums and such.
      As LK already said…ignorance is bliss. 🙂

      • Linda Kellie

        Well I do think that in some cases ignorance is bliss. But in this case I think that EVERYONE should take a stand. I’m sorry that you think that drama is a stronger deterrent than ripping content. This type of stuff is actual news. It is going to affect people in rl and not just this game. Some creators depend on the income they get from their virtual world sales. Some people have put a ton of real life dollars into buying the 3rd party kits so that they can have content to sell. Their investment with time and money is real. For anyone to brush it off as “drama” is just selfish and cruel.

        • Arielle

          Not everyone will take the same stand as you do Linda. I was tipped off about the ripper region before you and Han posted about it on Ops Everything and had gone there to take a look. There was only one other person during the time I spent there and I even looked in a few more times to see that there was very little traffic. After your posting about it however there was a significant increase of traffic for the next couple of days.
          I love and respect you and Han both for your contributions to the Opensim community but I don’t agree that it was the best way to go about dealing with it as it just gives those wanting such content, more avenues to look in.

          • Linda Kellie

            Yep you are right. More people did know about it. And hopefully the traffic went up because people were there to check it out, get pictures, report it to the creators in SL so something could be done about it.

            The people here who are talking about it and keeping it out in the open are showing compassion, unity, community spirit and standing together against theft and showing pride in their OpenSim community. We are showing that we don’t stand for this type of thing and when we see it then it angers us. It’s only when someone comes in shouting “drama!” that drama actually happens.
            So you can sit around and complain about the drama (thus causing it) or you can stand up with the rest of us and stand against this sort of thing. If you choose to stand with us I will be the first to take your hand and bring you in. But if you think this is just a bunch of drama then you really don’t get it.

            It was important for people to know about the rippped merchandise I found, because people are probably using it and not even knowing. Now they know. This won’t stop some people but the people who really care about OpenSim will not want to promote the use of ripped content and they will stop. I am betting that I have stuff in my inventory that is ripped. The problem is that i don’t know what free items are and aren’t. But you can damn well bet that if someone tells me that I have a copybotted item I will remove it from my inventory and purge it.

          • Arielle

            The drama comment was in relation to my perception of ongoing “space engineers” (ie: Grid owners and admins) wars, that are often a subtle thread in the comment section underneath these sort of articles. Perhaps that wasn’t what SkyLife intended but it is how I took his comment. It was not referring to the content ripping you are on about.

          • Linda Kellie

            I was referring to your comment “Yes the drama will kill Opensim long before copybotters will.”

          • Arielle

            Me too.

          • Linda Kellie

            LOL ok then I am misunderstanding. So I’m going to just drop this now. I think we have both made our points.

      • Jessica Random

        Sorry, I’m confused. How do you work out that trying to stop theft is worse than the theft in the first place? That’s whats going on here in case you don’t know. A person or persons have allegedly stolen a great deal of content and distributed it to the world in general. The creators basically will not be able to sell this stuff in future (or at least will find it harder) because its now out there free for all to use/resell. THAT can destroy opensim. Trying to stop it and take legal actions against the person or persons who allegedly did this – is NOT going to cause more problem than the theft – I am really surprised anyone would think that way.

        • Arielle

          Simple Jessica. Through an article and a couple of G+ posts, the whole community is now aware that ripped content is readily available through sites like the one discussed, oars and inworld locations in Osgrid as well as other grids. While some sit around wailing and gnashing their teeth, others are out exploring to find these previously unknown sources of content. Sitting around talking about stopping theft doesn’t stop theft.

          The creator will be still able to sell their stuff but maybe they should put it on the Kitely market available for export sales rather then keeping it to exclusive grids. There is a pent up demand for quality and legitimate content on opensim which btw was here and doing fine long before commercial creators came here. But now that some have come and given us a taste, it would be nice to see more.. A lack of it however will not destroy Opensim because we have homegrown talent that is getting better and better by the day.

          • I am left in a bit of a personal quandary about all this. On the one hand I embrace and am encouraged by “any” who are part of the Hyperverse (this why I am part of VisionZ which is its only focus) but also bothered about the increasingly louder typical issues with commercial grids.

            I long for quieter times even with some of the drama often associated with disparate humans in groups. There is an awful lot of super inflated ego around.

            Generally I will take the good with the bad if the results are a growing interest and use of the Hyperverse.

            I do think that the Kitely Market should be the goto place for creators and the commercial grid people would find their time much less stressful and much more pleasant. Let Kitely take the brunt of the various issues that come up and creators would reach a much wider audience making money where they did not before. I would even say that if a creator is actually making their living doing this that they are doing themselves a great disservice not to.

            Then comments such as mentioned here would mostly go away. If the growth of commercial grids who have enabled the hypergrid could let go of some ego and simply point their creator friends to the Kitely market there would be tons less work for them to do also.

            Rent regions based upon good old fashioned time honored ideals of “relax and come enjoy our grid, we have such and such to offer you”. I think that kind of marketing would be much nicer than all the strive and conflict which inevitably comes with commerce and would lend itself to overall feelings of contentment.

            Sometimes I think some commercial grid people are so used to drama it is second nature to them.

            I think they should be doing a big favor to their creators by pointing them to the Kitely market. The creators always can choose not to do that, but keeping their grids more relaxing and offering much less strife and drama would be something that many people would like, especially those coming from the over commercialized strife inherent in closed commercial grids.

            This is at the heart of why I like the “free” meta and there is no reason at all why commercial type people can enjoy parts of both styles of entertainment/living.

          • Linda Kellie

            Stopped dead in my tracks when I read “Then comments such as mentioned here would mostly go away. If the growth of commercial grids who have enabled the hypergrid could let go of some ego and simply point their creator friends to the Kitely market there would be tons less work for them to do also.”

            You really don’t get it. It’s not about ego. A commercial grid owner does everything they can to make their grid immersive and well rounded. They take on the challenge of the commercial side of things so that their consumers can have everything in one place and use their currency. I don’t see that it’s an ego issue at all. It’s a business and they are trying to run it the best that they can. The main goal of a virtual life is to be able to live a life that feels real. Grid owners put a lot of effort into helping us to have a “real” virtual life.

            I love the kitely marketplace for shopping but I would never choose to sale there. They have rules that don’t match my marketing. People need options. What you are proposing is that people should all give up their options and have Kitely be like the cable company in rl. You live in this area so you don’t get a choice.

          • Jessica Random

            Besides – any marketplace like Kitely has one issue for some creators and grids. Anything exported from Kitely MP or anywhere else, can be VERY Easily copied and stolen, given away etc etc. As soon as something is exportable it in effect becomes ful perms. I believe the majority of people buying from these are responsible and treat this with respect and do not try and rip off the creators – but it is definately a risk.

            Quite simply some creators are not prepared to take that risk and i for one do not blame them if they are not willing to risk that. A closed grid – or a grid that does not allow exports is not for everyone. I wouldnt want to be in a grid that didnt allow exports for example – i would hate to not be able to wear my same clothes when hypergridding somewhere for a start! – however for some it works quite nicely and they should have the choice.

            The Kitely MP and others are very welcome. They have done a lot for bringing in more quality items – but they are not the ultimate one stop shop solution.

          • Susannah Avonside

            No one is denying any creator choices, but they do have to deal with the dilemma that if their desirable creations aren’t available on the the Kitely Market and they restrict themselves to closed grids where they are deluded into believing that their content is somehow ‘safer’ but where content is just as easily pirated, it’s going to be pirated anyway, wheras if they put it for sale on the Kitely Market and aren’t stupidly greedy then there is a fair chance they will do well.

            Life is full of risk, and would be pretty boring and pointless if it weren’t. Getting out of bed in the morning is risky, but it also has to be realised that a fair proportion of people die in bed.

            But it’s also okay with me if creators wish to continue to stay on grids that are the OpenSim equivalents to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea too.

          • Arielle

            I agree Minethere but suspect that these other grids are trying hard look better then their neighbour by having exclusive creators and content which leads them to take shortcuts and making promises they cannot fulfill. Kitely is far and away the best place for content distribution exports but imo they lack in community aspects. The last time i landed at their Welcome region and tried to go visit some places to see if anyone was about, i could only find places where I wasn’t allowed 😉 Definitely some of these other grids could fill niches where Kitely is weak in instead of trying to compete with them in security, economy and content distribution.

          • “but suspect that these other grids are trying hard look better then their neighbour by having exclusive creators and content” but this seems to me a self-defeating concept. None of them can ever hope to get all the creators types they would want, the creators themselves will find a very finite market (and often leave rather soon), and the stress related to these basic truths are problematic in the getgo.

            Kitely’s community aspects are there but are of a different nature than what is typically thought of such things in all this stuff. There are groups that are very strong there and love Kitely a lot, but also there are those who in the background in more private ways. But it is the market that has my main interest and I see nothing but upsides to creators who need the money.

            But this is corrupted by self serving people and by disinformation by people who don’t really care about the creators, just some self indulgent feelings of one-upmanship. Of course it goes without saying that this does not apply to all people involved.

            I dunno, I just see it as one continuing drama fest and am very happy the grid I chose to base myself in is the Metro.

    • Linda Kellie

      This isn’t “drama”. This is people trying to deal with a real life issue. If your neighbors stood in their front yard and yelled at each other then that would be drama. If your neighbors were stealing from other neighbors then that would be closer to what we are dealing with here.
      And what the hell does “Space Engineers” mean? And apparently if you are still reading here and having input then you haven’t actually left OpenSim 😛

    • Da Hayward

      Whats space engineers????

  • 1derworld

    Huge Job for the opensim police, Not only is OAR’s being stolen content from online games are everywhere and yes also being sold.
    Grids who decide to stop exports do not solve any problems. They need also to stop imports can’t have one without the other. Selling Mesh imports is also a huge no no many grids do that as well. Theft of some sort is everywhere. All I can say is good luck with the hunt,

  • Talla Adam

    Well, I think the Opensim community raising awareness of this theft has had the desired effect if those distributing the content – probably without knowing it was stolen in most cases – are busy taking it down as I understand Sorin Todys of Alife Virtual is doing. The issue was raised on G+ Opensim Virtual early on and I was asked to ban Sorin but, mindful of the accusation of being authoritarian in my approach to running a large G+ group, I waited to see reason to prevail and tempers cool. I did ask Sorin to address the problem if he didn’t want to be blocked from promoting his grid in G+. I realized there might be a communications problem and we all know how easy it is to be misunderstood over the Internet.

    As it turns out there appears to be more to all this and in fairness to Sorin Todys I accept he probably walked into this with misguided ideas on what open source really means. I hope he understands now and I hope the community will be forgiving and give him a break. It is better to have someone understand the error and make an effort to work with the community than to have him get angry and go on running a rogue grid with no respect for creators and their products.

  • Alex Ferraris

    I am very disturbed to see that this happened actually I just found out Friday night and it was a slap in my face. I am very sad with all this happening. My personal opinion about all this is that I am firmly against the usage of unauthorized copies . A grid needs to strong arm this problem with strong TOS and enforcement of the same.
    I myself had no idea this individual did this although I did fire him months ago and I believe there is an article about it where I did say I fired him and another person for not doing their job correctly.
    I am extremely sorry for all that has happened. I am sure we all are going to have learned something out of this mess and I hopefully the results of this learning experience will be a positive one.

  • Da Hayward

    Actually out of character for me but I do agree with what you say Cliff.
    The really sad thing about this whole affair is although that yourself and others are taking a responsible view and action on this. really its only as good to the next time it happens. We will always be plagued by copybotters and content theives just like sl is.
    The only way to even partially combat it is for the grid owners and or estate owners to keep an eye out and act accordingly.
    But well done.

    • Dragon Heart

      ty, your areoplanes have been removed by the grid they were found on by the way so all clear there 🙂

  • Alex Ferraris

    New grid giving 1000 free regions needs PIONEERS. My name is Alex Ferraris and I need creators.
    We will be giving out 1000 free regions and we need the following items to be made in our grid. You will be the pioneers!

    2 clothing creators
    1 or 2 Homes creators
    1 or 2 furniture creators
    2 avatar creators, skin and shape, eyes
    1 hair creator
    1 scripter
    1 vehicle creator
    1 dance and pose creators
    1 shoe creator

    Each creator must offer at least 5 freebies in order to qualify for 1 FREE store and 1 region for a mega store. You will be the first ones having an advantage on the late comers.
    AviWorlds needs these items in order to be well balanced and people will be able to buy for their private use.
    This is also to prevent IMPORTS as we can see IMPORTS is a major problem.

    AviWorlds will be giving away 1000 free regions so people will need all kinds of stuff to place on their regions.

    If you are interested please email me at [email protected]

    • Linda Kellie

      Nice but…. is this the right place for you to be putting an advertisement up?

      • Alex Ferraris

        ooopsy…removed…! I miss placed thinking it was the article about aviworlds…Thanks for the heads up

  • Alex Ferraris

    I have been here and I did express my disgust about what happened after I understood what happened. I also made myself available to Christopher and he interviewed me in DigiWorldz.
    I told him what I knew.
    This whole thing is very unfortunate and that is why I am employing DigiWorldz hosting so this wont happen again. I just like to clarify here that from what I understand all this happened AFTER I fired the person in question and had also shut down the servers.
    I also want to clarify here that I do not hold any data from the servers.
    I am extremely against content theft and also unauthorized distribution.
    What happened was done without my knowledge and apparently after Avi-Labs was already shut down and the person was terminated.
    To say that I should be held responsible is not accurate and also not fair. It is impossible for me to have known this could have happened before the problem actually happened.
    Avi-Labs is no longer in existence and holds no data from any grids.

    • Da Hayward

      Actually, I believe you Alex. I don’t believe you knew what was going on and also think it’s incorrect to brand you as a content theif. No doubt there are some responsible for the alledged content / OAR theft but in my opinion you are not included amongst them.

      • Alex Ferraris

        Thank you Da. I do really thank you for your support.

    • Dragon Heart

      Its not chris you have to answer to bud, my lawyers and trading standards have been emailing you so far zero reponce from either.

      Its very easy for you to turn around and say that you knew nothing about it and you are descusted in this, however the fact remains that it was not your grid that was copies, you say you fired him so no doubt that would have “pissed him off” however your stuff isnt the ones that turned up on a forum … it was ours and our residents builds, even stuff that is licenced to Genesis MetaVerse by a SL creator only.

      With your claim that you knew nothing about it, thats a little fishy with evidance that we have passed to our laywers and they have electronic written reports of where 6 of them got the “allegeged” stolen oars from, they didnt get it from the forums.

      • Alex Ferraris

        Yes I knew nothing . And I have not received any emails from any lawyers. As far as I am concerned I have been here available to answer any questions.
        I did not know he did this and I also did not know he had a dispute with you someone told me and he probably did this to get back at you. I have nothing to do with it. As I have expressed in my last post I am extremely sorry this whole thing happened to you.
        You want to continue to pursue guilt from me but in exchange I have extended my hand in helping and also taking this towards a positive outcome.

        • Dragon Heart

          extended a helping hand? im sorry but i think your trying to worm of a very stiff hook here alex, this is the 1st time you have even appologized to myself or our users, nor even offered to help in investigations what so ever even tho your “company” is riht in the heart of things, weve had no email and we know you have that, no contact off you what so ever,

          Hell we even got a message from a grid yesterday appologizing for haveing one of the oars online that we hadnt even found yet, even they appologized and offered us to come over and chq it out befor they removed it. Even Chris has offered to help even tho weve had issues in the past, hes been over a few times and asked if he can be any assistance … yet Avi-Labs weve heard nothing from apart from a 17 word appology here in HGB, really something our residents can look forward to, really thought out there alex, really heartfelt.

          • Alex Ferraris

            Listen Dragon If u read bellow u can see another post where I again say it is sad that this happened to you. I do apologize for the troubles this guy or guys caused u and your residents but I do not take the blame. I did not do this terrible thing.
            I hired two guys back them Josh Boam and Quill Littlefeather because I do not know how to administer servers, oars etc. They were my tech guys. I know nothing about what they did and you should go after them. Enough of blaming me for something I did not do.
            You have your men and I think what happened was disgusting and terrible.
            I wish I could help u more but I cant. I only found out about it last week all this was going on and no one told me.
            And yes there is an article here where Josh Boam and Quill Littlefeather both say they were also owners.
            Anyway I wish u the best Dragon/Candi.
            God Speed.

          • 1derworld

            I also had OAR’s stolen from one or both of the guys Alex mentions. When I informed Alex of this there was a immediate take down ordered by Alex. Now where my OAR’s went is anyone’s guess. Sure Alex is the owner but damn the tech guys are the bad eggs in this story. All i can say is any Tech from any grid holds some type of risk factor in Opensims. All I can in closing is Opensims is a gamble we all know this its a risk we all take, If we can’t live with that fact we all in the wrong venture.

          • Da Hayward

            Sorry Cliff. No doubt there has been some shady goings on and it is good that people are warning people about it.
            In Alexs case I do think you are accusing the wrong person re: the OAR’s, After AviWorlds collapsed we were in email contact with Alex in regards to getting our backups and OAR’s, he was always consistent in his replies which was “sorry he didn’t have them”. I do know others did,not Alex, but if there is indeed ongoing legal proceedings the last thing I would be doing is posting about it on a public forum.I detest content theft and copybotting. As I said it is great that grid owners and estate owners are taking positive action on this, but the accusations in a thread such as this can only damage peoples concept of Open Sim in a whole. Let the Investigators and Legal people finish their task.

          • i nevered offered to help, i asked questions and chatted with you, thats it. Trying to be nice but that just went out the window. I hate it when people lie about me.

          • Alex Ferraris

            Me? I had no problems chatting with you Chris. Hope all as well by you! Take care!

          • not u alex, i really wish you would reconsider and come join in on the digiworldz family, even if its just afew sims inside the main digiworldz grid.

          • Alex Ferraris

            I am in talks with Terry Chris. AvIWorlds is going to be online soon! FEED IT!

          • GOOD! now hurry up and open so i can feed it!

          • Susannah Avonside

            /me buys popcorn, and sits back to enjoy the entertainment 😉

      • wow dont bring my name into this, i was just trying to get down to the truth. And in my opinion Dragon, and i dont care if you hate me for this, i think your going after the wrong guy. Alex wouldnt have any reason to give out oars willy nilly but josh and quill had access to your grid. What i think happened was that Josh did is usual oar backup in case of data loss and quill secretly stoled the oars because you pissed him off which is not a shocker cuz you tend to piss off alot of people cliff. You AND Candi need to learn how to be more mature, polite and professional when talking to other people.

    • Linda Kellie

      I believe you and think this is unfortunate.

      You hire a tech guy and put your trust in him. So your mistake was being too trusting. And maybe ultimately you are responsible and will have to take the fall. But it really bothers me that people are pointing at grid owners and at you when they have proof of the person who actually took the OARS and put them on a website to distribute them…. “allegedly”. Also didn’t you have a partner in AviLabs? If people are going to pin this on you then it would seem that they would be holding him responsible as well?

      I hope that every grid owner knows how to do their own Tech work (all of it) because if you let even one person behind those walls and they turn out to not be the trustworthy person you thought then you could end up in the spot that Alex is in right now.

      But I agree with Dragon that it isn’t Chris you have to answer to. Not sure why you would even be interviewed by him. I’m assuming he must be representing Digiworldz in this matter? If I were you I wouldn’t talk to anyone about this except a lawyer.

      • Alex Ferraris

        I am not taking the blame for this terrible action done by Quill. He was not my tech anymore when he did this.
        He stole the oars and it is very unfortunate and sad.
        But I am not taking the fall for this.
        I already have expressed my sentiments to Dragon and Candi and I hope they have a heart and understand my position on all this.

    • Karen Lee

      Alex as much as you and I have bumped heads over the last year. Knowing you as I do. I in no shape, form or fashion feel you had anything to do with this.

      • Alex Ferraris

        Thank u Karen

    • Dragon Heart

      hi Alex 🙂

      Ok update on things, here, as you know i have a PI team on this and our laywers after some careful research and advise from our lawyers im pretty certain now that you knew nothing about this and didnt turn a blind eye, so for that i do appologize whole heartetly to blaming you (alex) on this, it does look like one person acted alone on a lone ranger mission. I have also emailed you a personal applogy.

      We are still dealin with things on our end and doing everything in our power to safeguard our creators and grid users content in the future, there is a lot happening in GMV over the next few days and weeks and a lot of applications subitted with diffrent agencies which i wont go into detail here.

      • Da Hayward

        hope you heed your own advice

      • Alex Ferraris

        Thank you Cliff ! This means a lot to me! This is very important to me! And also very important for the whole community here in Opensimulator. Thank you sir! Thank you and thank Candi.
        I also apologize for anything I may have said in a negative way.
        Now lets rock this world!!.
        🙂

        • Da Hayward

          you apologising alex?, that person tried discrediting you and your character.
          who’s next?

      • Da Hayward

        i think you talking BS again cliff….there its out.

      • ok now im sorry for what i said but sometimes ya just need to be slapped with reality.
        Now lets forget all this and come together as 1 massive happy community and help each other make opensim less drama and more fun 😀
        Someone post that come together song 😛

      • Da Hayward

        who is your investigator and legal representative?

        • Arielle

          I’m curious as to why you are upset with the Dragons when they seem to be acting in your behalf finding illegal copies of your planes.

          • Da Hayward

            Hi Arielle I’m not upset with Dragon. I just wanted to know who his investigator or legal representation is.
            As I commented before I think its great that grid owners are acting on their creators behalf & kudo’s to Dragon for that

          • i like to know that too. Maybe i could get a job with them 😛

          • Arielle

            Ok, i just felt a bit of antagonism in your last couple of posts in relation to Dragon. My mistake.
            I’m curious though that since everyone is assuring me that only the copyright holder can actually file a DMCA thingy, does that mean when they find your content where it shouldn’t be, they inform you and you file the take down request? Have you filed some in relation to this whole incident?

          • Da Hayward

            no i haven’t. I think its great content theft should be addressed and bought to our attention. I’m not certain given the nature of virtual worlds how effective legal action would be, professional hackers for example get taken down yet tend to be back up the next day or earlier, one would assume that someone serious about content theft could do the same Although misuse of someones creations we should all be on alert for, I think it will be an ongoing battle for a long time. Only way to combat it anyway really relies on the Grid itself. But that is just my opinion

        • Dragon Heart

          sorry Don but until our legal investigations are complete thats a internal information for GMV management, you are not law enforment agent nor are you a apointed judge, thefor have no legal obligation to diverse that information due to a ongoing legal investigation.

  • Alex Ferraris

    In view of what has happened here I am announcing that I will not bring AviWorlds back at this time. I will hold Butch’s offer in a special place and maybe one day I will find the will to once again fight for what I believe.
    I am very saddened for what has happened here and I do not see how a grid owner can protect him or herself against bad doers like these perpetrators.
    My dream was to have a place FULL of people where harmony and fun happened all the time without the COST. I tried many business modules and failed.
    I guess the important thing here is what is in my heart right? Well I wish I could show you all but I cant.
    I am leaving opensimulator and hypergrid business forums for a while maybe for good. We never know right?
    I do thank all the ones who are supporting me here and I also thank the ones that are not because this is a learning lesson to me.I walk out of here not with less but with a lot more.
    God Speed everybody!
    Alex Ferraris is OUT!

    • Da Hayward

      hey alex dont give up, Bring AviWorlds back.
      remember the song? when the going gets tough… the tough get going

      • Da Hayward

        yup

      • Linda Kellie

        Maybe just get yourself a region on Metropolis grid and come hang out with me and Jessica and whoever else might drop by. It’s much easier than having your own grid anyway. I have quit OS a couple of times and I can tell you that it’s hard and you’ll miss it and you will want to come back. But I agree that grid owners get blamed for a lot of stuff. People’s anger is often misdirected.

        • Da Hayward

          Oh so so true Linda, people can be very fickle. Alex is a trier and does have a vision.I’ll probably get shot down for this but i do like Alex and admire his never say die attitude

        • Linda Kellie

          Ooops. the above comment was meant as a reply to Alex and I replied to Minethere instead. Sorry ’bout that.

      • Alex Ferraris

        Thanks Minetheree I do see myself as rocky sometimes lol Hey Iam italian! Lol
        Eye of the tiger! Feed it!

    • Da Hayward

      take time to clear your thoughts Alex, when you are ready I am sure there are lot of good people in this community which will offer you some advice and guidance. Hope to see AviWorlds back soon

    • Cinder Biscuits

      FEED YOUR HEART, ALEX! FEED IT!

  • Karen Lee

    was this Liberty Mall?

  • Da Hayward

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I do agree that people should be warned about content theft. However considering this subject is pending “Alleged” legal proceedings i think the way Alex has been accused and treated by a couple of people in this thread is totally despicable, if I remember correctly it wasn’t that long ago the same people were being accused of similar incidents.

    • Linda Kellie

      There is already proof of at least one person that isn’t Alex. So I’m not sure why they aren’t calling that person out and instead have made Alex their target when there is no proof that he has anything to do with this. If anything it looks to me as if he is a victim of hacking by someone he hired ….”allegedly”. We don’t know if he had any knowledge of this or not. And until we know for sure and due process has taken place then I think the accusations need to stop.

      When someone shouts to the public that they are filing a lawsuit against someone and they publicly call them out by name then they are setting themselves up for a lawsuit as well. It’s stupid think that deformation of character is any better than theft or any less likely to see a legal suit filed.

      I understand the frustration. And just because people here can hide behind virtual names doesn’t mean that they should be able to post claims that haven’t been proven. There is a process for that in the legal system. There are real people who are being accused without proof. Real lives can be destroyed.

      So much for “Working Together” on this issue. The divide has been implemented when unfounded accusations were made.

      • Da Hayward

        Yes Linda, and what annoys me is sure Alex does have his faults so do I.
        But the accusations have hurt the real life Alex and almost to a point of shattering his dreams, personally I think that stinks.
        Most comments have been on the positive however, so it has been a good thread. and i think it shows that most of us don’t agree with someone being thrown to the wolves just on a few’s say so.
        Big thumbs up to the OS community

  • lmpierce

    Moderator note to our readers: While it is permitted to offer opinions on legal matters, any legal advice or admonishments presented in the comments section are not vetted for validity by, and do not represent the views of, Hypergrid Business. You should ALWAYS do your own research on legal matters.

  • > any type of service that allows user uploads is REQUIRED to have a DMCA page

    Since DMCA is US only legislation, this requirement only pertains to sites or grids hosted in the US.
    Other countries all have their own legislation the grid or site owner must follow.

    • Again, the DMCA is not a REQUIREMENT. It is a protection against lawsuits from people in the U.S. Any grid anywhere in the world can register by paying a fee to the US Copyright Office. Kitely is one of the non-US grids that’s done so. Most other countries have similar “safe harbor” rules, without the registration requirement.

      In order to have this “safe harbor” from copyright infringement lawsuits, you must comply promptly to take-down requests. If you don’t comply, the US government won’t come after you — but creators will be allowed to start suing you for violating copyright infringement laws (which are separate from the DMCA and the “safe harbor” rules).

      Since the US DMCA laws are a bit stricter than those of other countries (due to that registration requirement), a company that says that it’s complying with DMCA is almost guaranteed to be in compliance with the other laws elsewhere. Plus, people in the US like to sue.

      Any company can feel free to ignore the US DMCA or the similar “safe harbor” laws anywhere else. But it’s like holding up a giant sign that says, “We infringe, sue us!”

      Getting protected under US DMCA is easy — it’s just one form and a $105 fee — http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2012/11/file-this-form-now/

      • You can use “required” in the sense of: If you want to be protected from copyright lawsuits by people in the US, you are required to put a DMCA notice on your website.

        It’s not a requirement in the sense of, say, the requirement to obey speeding limits.

      • Where exactly are they going to sue? – In a US court? Well, good luck with that, because they will never get anywhere it. It is not enforceable outside of the US.

        If you want to go after someone who violate your copyright, you have to do it in a court in the country where the owner is / grid is incorporated under the legislation of that country.

        This is why it in reality have been impossible to go after Asian companies that rip off copyrighted goods from elsewhere.

        For a NON US grids to register for DMCA is money thrown out of the window. The only reason why it makes sense for Kitely is they have their servers in the US, so they can be subject to DMCA takedown at the server site.

        • Chinese video-sharing sites began complying with this back while I was still there, about eight or nine years ago. All the big ones — Youku, Toudu, have almost completely cleaned up their acts.

          About five years ago, Megaupload, which was based in New Zealand, was taken down as a result of US action because — although they were complying on paper — in practice they were avoiding the take-down provisions by paying people to re-post infringing content as quickly as it was taken down.

          That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get away with it for a while. If you’re a small grid, content creators won’t bother to sue you because it’s just not worth the money. However, they WILL file a take-down request with your hosting company and registration provider. I do this all time, to sites located all around the world, and THE SITES GO DOWN. Usually, the very next day.

          The folks who make a living from copyright infringement and other illegal activities look for “bullet-proof” hosting providers — these are companies that use a variety of small data centers in multiple countries, and move sites around quickly when one is taken down. Those that are particularly successful become targeted by taskforces of international law enforcement authorities working across jurisdictions to take them down. The primary targets there are usually money launderers, cybercriminals and ransomware extortionists, but the folks doing minor copyright infringement also get swept up in the net.

          In any case, is that any basis under which a company wants to operate? “We don’t respect copyright laws, but we’re clever, so we’re not going to get caught right away?”

          Paying the $105 registration fee might not be cost-effective for the smallest grids, but complying with take-down requests is ALWAYS the best thing to do. Even if you aren’t officially registered, showing that you have a proper take-down procedure in place and are following it will keep content creators happy and keep them from going to hosting providers, registrars, the media — and, when all else fails – to the courts.

          However, $105 is a relatively small amount to pay to show that a grid takes copyright protection seriously, and is investing in the long-term survival of the business.

          • The last time I checked (and there might have been adjustments from 2017) you first had to register as a company in the US to be able to register with the DMCA office. The implication of that is that you most likely will be subject to IRS tax withholding on income generated in the US (via US customers).
            There is absolutely NO reason why a non US company would do that if it can be avoided.

          • You are right — the laws HAVE changed. In December, the registration fee went from $105 to $6 for three years.

            This is pretty huge news! With the fee just $6, and the registration process now as simple as filling out a form (instead of doing a PDF thing as before), there is really no reason why a grid would not register.

            Here’s where to start getting registered: https://dmca.copyright.gov/osp/p1.html

            And yes, you CAN have a foreign agent (the form allows you to put foreign countries for both your company address and your designated agent’s address, I just double-checked) though some experts recommend that big companies in particular have someone in the U.S. acting as a registered agent on their behalf, so that they can respond to take-down requests faster. Of course, it’s the law firms giving this advice that are recommending it, who provide the registered agent service for their clients, so they have a bit of vested interest there. 🙂

            Read more here: http://www.socalinternetlawyer.com/can-you-have-a-foreign-dmca-agent/

            Key paragraph: “Can you have a foreign DMCA agent? Yes, but it is not advised given the low cost of using an independent agent. There are services such as this one offering agents for $5 a month.”

          • I just posted a full article about this: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2017/02/dmca-registration-costs-drop-from-105-to-6/

            Thanks for the heads up!

          • There has never been a requirement for being a US-based company. You might be thinking of other laws. Kitely has been registered for a long time.

          • On the previous registration form you had to register with a US business registration ID (and there is one you can create for foreign companies not physically in the country). This is so they have something they can nail you on, otherwise they can’t. This, however, makes you a candidate for IRS tax withholding unless you live in a country with a tax agreement with the US. Most countries don’t have those.

            The new price (which is good for those who can benefit from it) does not give me a shred of protection and neither to the copyright holder. So for a non US entity it is pointless.

          • I just checked with Kitely about what they had to go through when they registered.

            “It was a very straightforward procedure both before and after the change but the newer online system was a lot less time consuming than the previous one,” said Kitely CEO Ilan Tocher. “There is absolutely no excuse for an international company that hosts user generated content not to do this.”

            He added that there were no requirements for Kitely to have an office or an other kind of official or legal presence in the United States.

            “Many US-based copyright holders assume DMCA is universally applied and file DMCA take-down notices when they find their IP on unauthorized sites,” he said. “International companies that don’t respond as US companies would open the door to easily avoidable complications.”

            On a personal note, I would recommend against doing business with any company that tells you that they’re evading taxes. Although, if they are evading taxes, I guess copyright infringement is the least of their problems.

          • > On a personal note, I would recommend against doing business with any company that tells you that they’re evading taxes.

            What kind of fucked up comment is that Maria? Non US companies DO PAY they taxes in the country they operate, and taking measures to avoid paying taxes in an additional country is NOT tax evasion. It is called doing business!

            Sometimes you really should stop posting!

        • Susannah Avonside

          It’s also worth pointing out that within the EU the enforcement of
          copyright is different, and varies quite considerably from country to
          country, and then there are the various privacy issues that would have
          to be overcome before any kind of takedown could be issued to a real
          person, which would be essential, as I don’t think an avatar qualifies as a real
          person for legal purposes.

          Even in the UK, where there are no privacy laws, other than
          those adopted as part of being in the EU, there would be a need to
          contact the ISP of someone suspected of piracy, and even then the ISP could turn around and refuse, as you’d need to supply both compelling evidence tantamount to proof, and you’d need a court order, as the name of any real world person is protected under the UK’s Data Protection Act. For places like Switzerland or Austria it is even more difficult, as it would be illegal under their privacy laws for an ISP to even take a look at someone’s internet activity.

          There was a pretty heated exchange over similar issues a few years ago when Vanish Sands managed to incur the wrath of some pretty irate Americans when he asserted that he would take no notice of any DMCA takedown notice sent to his OpenSim Creations site, as they are not enforceable in Germany, and that he’d only deal with notices properly sanctioned through a German court.

          One of the weaknesses of the DMCA Takedown is the ease with which they can be abused, effectively potentially allowing the presenting of hearsay as fact, which it isn’t. This might well work in the USA, with Americans’ propensity for taking legal action, as well as clauses in the DMCA that effectively mean that anyone who challenges them has to reveal a lot of personal information about themselves, as well as effectively having to prove themselves innocent.

          • The privacy issue is huge in Europe, more so than in the U.S. but most infringement cases don’t get that far.

            So, for example, I upload infringing content to a German site. A creator sees that content, and sends a take-down notice to the German website. If the German website refuses, the creator would then have to go and sue the company (or, more likely, file a take-down notice with the hosting company). They do need to affirm that they are the actual copyright owner, and may need to provide some evidence of it. (Normally, in my case, when I file take-down notices, I just include a link to my original article.)

            The hosting company then takes down the infringing content. They don’t tell me the identity of who put it up. They know who did it — it was, after all one of their users — and that user then has the opportunity to contest that takedown. That’s when the privacy issues kick in.

            For a small site, it’s generally not worth anyone’s time to go to court over this, especially with cross-border disputes, and the infringing site might coast a while as a result. However, its hosting provider may be less tolerant, especially if they host a lot of other sites, and don’t want to risk a threat of lawsuits from all those other content creators.

            In this respect, the small content creators are actually coasting on the efforts of large media companies, who keep lawyers on retainer in all the different jurisdictions, and are quick to go get injunctions.

            So, basically, if you’re infringing, you’re gambling with the future of your company, hoping that the effort to shut you down isn’t worth it for the people whose content you’re ripping off — and that you don’t get cut off by your hosting company meanwhile.

          • Jessica Random

            +Susannah Avonside makes a very interesting point though Maria. If someone with a grudge against you files a takedown, in order to counter-claim you have to give away a lot of personal information you might not be ready to share – just because someone had a grudge against you. That personal information may well be protected by law (as in the case of transgender individuals) but unless you are going to give that information up you basically have to bite your tongue and not say anything while someone makes you take your own stuff down. This is why I have always – and likely always will think the DMCA is fundamentally flawed (as I recall a large proportion of the internet community did when it was first introduced – but people have forgotten that), and I breath a sigh of relief that it isn’t relevant (despite what you believe) in the UK.

          • Any law or regulation is going to have to balance opposing interests, and it’s impossible to make everyone happy. Plenty of creators are upset with the DMCA and similar laws as well. But the main question in this discussion isn’t whether the laws are any good or not, but whether grids need to comply with take-down requests. You’re right, complying with the DMCA doesn’t protect you against lawsuits filed in the UK — but the UK does have similar laws on the books. The details of the way the laws are worded are different, and you may prefer the laws in one country to laws in another, but overall, grids still have to comply with takedown requests. They can’t just go around letting people distribute infringing content all they want. If your grid’s business model is based on infringing content, you’re going to have problems surviving as a legitimate business.

            Most illegal file-sharing sites (like the Pirate Bay in Sweden) operate because they claim that they don’t host the illegal content themselves — they just show people where to find that content. Grids can’t use that excuse — they keep copies of all the content right in their asset databases.

            Meanwhile, the UK has gotten even stricter on file-sharing recently, and Sweden might be about to do the same:

            http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/sweden-considering-tougher-sentences-for-rampant-pirates/

            Small grids are unlikely to come to the attention of authorities, of course. And content creators probably won’t want to file lawsuits because of the cost. But they will file take-down requests with hosting providers. And those hosting providers who ignore take-down requests are probably also being used by larger illegal operations — and they ARE getting targeted by law enforcement, and actual jail sentences are being imposed on the worst offenders. No hosting company wants to be in that group.

            So if you’re a grid arguing that the law is unfair, or that nobody will come after you because it’s too expensive or too difficult, or that you’re too small to bother with — stop fooling yourself. Shutting you down is actually pretty quick and easy if you’re using any kind of legitimate provider for your hosting.

            If your grid is getting a lot of fake take-down requests from people pretending to be creators, just to cause trouble, you may be able to argue that you don’t have to take those requests seriously because the people filing the requests didn’t offer any proof that they are the actual copyright holders, or that the supposedly infringing content is actually theirs and not a look-alike. That’s your determination to make as a grid, but you should make sure you have all the paperwork in order in case your hosting company decides to shut you down anyway.

            But for legitimate takedown requests, there really shouldn’t be any question. If you have pirated content on your grid, and you know it’s pirated, take it down.

          • > grids still have to comply with takedown requests

            Only with a court order in hand.

          • You would have to file the takedown with the police first, and only then would a takedown request go to the hosting company if the police were willing to pursue it.

          • I’m not a lawyer, but I have a strong feeling that you’re mistaken here, and that creators can go to the hosting company directly.

            Certainly when I file my own take down requests, and get no response from the site involved, I immediately go to the hosting company and the site is gone. (Though I do have to say, it’s a lot easier to prove infringement with a regular website, since you can just include the link for the infringing article, and the link to the original one in the take-down request.)

            In any case, there’s really no reason for any grid not to honor legitimate take down requests. If nothing else, it should be in the terms of service for the grid.

          • There is NO basis in EU legislation that you can go to the hosting company to request a takedown. You have to get a court order.

            The hosting company may at their own discretion observe such a takedown request, but then at the risk of getting sued themselves.

            You also have to have real names, and such constructs as they try on SecondLife where they operate with “licenses” where only one avatar or the same legal entity; the person who paid for it and operates the avatar, can use the item would get it thrown out immediately.

          • Here’s the OVH take down policy: https://www.ovh.co.uk/abuse/

            “As part of our fight against Abuse, OVH has set up an international team of experts who respond daily to reports of abuse on behalf of the whole group. This team, which is based in France and Canada, deals everyday with all reports of illegal conduct on the OVH network, and they aim to do so in the shortest possible time.”

            Copyright infringement is the fourth option on their list, after phishing, illegal content, and spam.

            They’re the biggest hosting providers in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world, and I’m sure they’re much more up-to-date on all the legal issues than all of us put together. And they take it seriously.

            And again, if a grid is able to evade enforcement for a while, WHY WOULD THEY WANT TO? Who would do business with a grid that blatantly disregards copyright laws? If I build on that grid, I risk the embarrassment of having stolen content be part of that build. If I create on that grid, why would they honor the rights to my creations? If I want to hire creators or buy content for my regions on that grid, who would sell to me, knowing that I live on a pro-piracy grid?

            There may be some political or philosophical benefit in doing this, but no business benefit.

          • OVH is not even represented here, so it is not relevant to me as I have to operate under Norwegian law.

            European consumers (as would be most grid users/customers) are mostly focused on 1. Privacy legislation, 2. Consumer legislation, 3. Fair use policies, 4. Price. in that order. – That is also what consumer protection authorities prioritize for their focus. There are differences between countries that makes the area complex to navigate.

            Content providers will of course have other priorities, so it will have to be up to each to evaluate the overall legislative environment and the protection it gives them when choosing a where they want to make their content available.

            A business must operate within the legislative environment they are located in. Adding “laws” that is not supported in the legal system only expose them to higher risk, while giving customers a false sense of protection.

          • Susannah Avonside

            That may be the case in much of Europe, but unless it involved criminal activity, it would be regarded as a civil law matter in the UK, and so outside the jurisdiction of the police in the UK.

          • Copyright infringement would usually be covered by criminal law, but what complicates it is who are actually involved because fair use legislation (for consumers) and derivative works could shift the picture.

            To illustrate how difficult this is, just look at how long time it took to get stuff removed from PirateBay that operated out of Sweden.

          • Again, Pirate Bay’s excuse was that they didn’t host the content themselves but just made it easy to find the content. Plus, the founders STILL did prison time. So…. not a good business role model.

          • Business role model? – It was an illustration how hard it is to get such cases through the legal system. + The case is relevant because a grid will also mostly be hosting 3rd party content that the grid owner is not involved in. Meaning the dispute will be between the creator and the user / publisher.

  • Linda Kellie

    This was very interesting and informative. I knew the part about not being able to file a DMCA for a 3rd party. I didn’t know most of the rest. Thanks for this information.

  • Linda Kellie

    OK I read this post again. As well as the other posts you have here.
    First off I think it’s really rather egotistical of you to assume that people know you. I had never heard of you before.

    Secondly if these OAR’s were allegedly stolen from your grid then why are you not taking any responsibility for it and instead running Alex’s name through the mud? A grid owner is the one that has to answer to his consumers.
    Thirdly… was any of your creations stolen? Because if you didn’t create any of those things then you can’t file a DMCA and you can’t file a law suit.
    I truly understand your frustration and wanting to go up to bat for the creators that had their stuff on the OARs that were on your grid. But you’d do them a much better service if you didn’t make accusations and point fingers at people without proof. You just become a distraction when you do that and make it harder for them to find the real source. And you know who the real source is if you have already traced it back like you state.

    You should be standing with those creators and letting the world know (as Alex has) that you don’t condone this type of thing. And you should be apologizing to your customers (as Alex has done) because their stuff was on your grid and they relied on you to keep it safe. And you should just hope that they aren’t as petty as you and don’t file suit against you but instead that they go to the actual source.

  • day 1? more like it took me afew days to tell you all about the issues with oars before you made the decision to stop loading oars.

    • Arielle

      Oh you are to blame for that decision. Good to know.

    • Linda Kellie

      I believe that he says that since day 1 he hasn’t allowed anyone the abliity to save their own OARs to their computers. He didn’t say he stopped loading OARs on day 1.

  • Linda Kellie

    Keep on keeping on. You’ll get there. So now that you have decided to not leave OpenSim are you going to do your grid with Digiworldz hosting? I was so excited to hear that you were doing that.

  • David

    Thanks for the update and the complement, Mr. Hearts. It’s the HB team, as I said. Meanwhile, 27 grids had such content, mmmmh. Any more take downs so far?? Am doing a follow up

    • Dragon Heart

      hi david 🙂

      Out of the 27 grids that had the “alleged” stolen contect all but 2 have complied to a take down request, these 2 that have not complied have not responded to us at all they are also self hosted grids (allow others to connect to thier grids via a self hosted region) We are currently considering our legal stance on this, is the grid these are hosted on responcable, or is the actual person who hosts thier own region responcable, our lawyers are currently looking into this as we of cause want to do things right.

      The post above was adjusted as you can see and somewhere in all the comments down here is a appology to alex whom we did also accuse of this, but have since found out we were led down the garden path and have appologized to him for that.

      • Yeah, that’s a tricky case. Stuff that’s located on the regions is kind of hosted by the main grid — those items are in the grid’s asset database. But it’s also hosted on the individual region owner’s computer.

        My recommendation for those grids is to contact the users, and if they don’t respond in a reasonable amount of time, cut off their regions’ access to the grid. In addition, this would also be a good time to remove individual infringing items from all the centralized grid databases.

        Yes, that means that the items will disappear from individual user inventories of people who picked them up or bought them not knowing that they weren’t being distributed with the owner’s permission.

        But since those items shouldn’t have been there anyway.

        This is a lesson for everyone, by the way — even if you’re just a random resident, and don’t think anyone is going to track you down and sue you for wearing a stolen skirt, you still need to be careful about where you get your stuff. It might disappear from your inventory just when you need it most, and all of a sudden you’re standing in front of your virtual classroom naked. (This actually happened to me once, for an unrelated reason — I wound up giving a speech naked! Oh my God! I’m scarred for life!) Or a key building block of your amazing build goes away. Or you get hired by someone to build something for them, and you accidentally use an infringing component, and you get in all sorts of trouble.

        For builders in particular, I recommend keeping a separate professional avatar with super-clean sourcing of all content in it — double and triple check that everything is properly licensed, and include the sources and license terms in all item descriptions or in attached notecards.

        • As he is referring to 2 grids who allow self-hosted regions, regardless of who is actually responsible, it would seem only fair and proper to tell the region(s) owner from the get go.

          There are very few of such grids and all are in the free meta. (no currencies usually non-profit)

          I find it curious that dragon says he finds such content in 27 grids. It would be unusual. Presumably 25 being commercial types.

          I would like to know what specific content he is referring to as this would leave me to believe it is not just OARs but supposedly parts of OARs.

          • In any case I thought the only person who has the right to ask for a takedown is the actual creator.

          • Anyone has the right to ask for a takedown, but a grid can ignore it if it comes from anyone but the creator.

            However, if the grid owners are aware through some other way — news reports, emails from residents, other creators — that there’s a significant problem, and are able to confirm somehow that it is, in fact, an issue, then it can do anything that it wants.

            For example, some file sharing sites do preliminary scans for content that they know is frequently uploaded illegally and block it proactively, without waiting for the takedown notices, in order to save everyone a lot of time. Sometimes, legitimate content gets caught in the net, people raise a fuss, and the site restores the content and improves its filters. (Hopefully!)

            For example, here’s a common scenario. A popular show airs, and everyone immediately posts videotaped copies of it on YouTube under a million different names. The studio files take-down notices, but by the time YouTube gets those notices and takes down the content, a million more copies of the video have been posted. Like the game of Whack-A-Mole, except there are a lot more moles.

            So YouTube proactively sets up a filter, without waiting for the studio to file the reports, to proactively keep those videos from showing up. People still find clever ways to get around it — they post the videos dubbed into foreign languages, or mirrored, or whatever. But that takes work to do, and there are few of them, and YouTube can keep up.

          • This is a key matter, “Anyone has the right to ask for a takedown, but a grid can ignore it if it comes from anyone but the creator.”

            So I suggest this is why the 2 grids who dragon says have not answered him. I don’t know for a fact tho.

            Personally if some person IMs me out of the blue telling me they have seen stolen content on my space and tells me to take it down (or whatever they are saying), I would ignore them. If someone created something I have and they can show they are the creator I would most certainly pay attention.

            afaik no creators have done this…but I can’t keep up here so maybe one or so has.

            I can’t recall any similar situation happening in the free meta and any that does seems to be only from the direction of commercial grids.

            Typically people in the free meta are well savvy about such things and it is often the reason they left SL.

          • Another reason could be that the other two grids are run by volunteers, nobody knows who’s responsible for the take-down requests, everyone’s too busy with their real work, everyone thinks that someone else will handle it, and because it’s all run by volunteers, nobody is taking ownership of the issue or feeling a real sense of urgency about it. Plus, if they’re hosting on their own servers, there’s even less urgency.

            And, like you said, they might be waiting for the original creators to speak up before they do anything.

            I have seen examples of open grids taking down all content that was notoriously being distributed on the grid, stolen from Second Life, and removing it from all their databases, and while they’re at it, clearing our all similarly-stolen content.

            It does take time for a large, volunteer-run grid to do anything, though. Having run volunteer organizations, I can confirm that sometimes the simplest tasks can take months unless someone is really on top of it, pushing them through.

          • It would also seem to me he/they should check out the closed commercial grids and see how that goes…instructive it will be. But places who have incentives to make money should be at the top of the list.

            Especially the larger ones.

            Of course it is much easier when there are few regions to check out in a grid and one can hypergate over.

          • Susannah Avonside

            Well, I think we all know that a huge amount of stuff gets ripped and then somewhat brazenly gets put on the sales website of a very well known walled garden grid where it, allegedly, often it remains on sale for a long time after the professional staff have been informed of it being there.

            I don’t know which volunteer run grids are the subject of this discussion, (winks) but I do know that on one of them there were active investigations underway on a series of regions that contained allegedly pirated content are no longer accessible there. So maybe they’ve been taken down, or have suffered some of those inexplicable technical issues that can affect OpenSim regions.

          • Those two grids make up the largest amount of users of all others connected in the hyperverse, by far.

            Many of the people involved are pretty sharp, at least with Metropolis anyway, where I have more knowledge of. (I don’t mind saying the grids names). They have left behind all the commercial issues and won’t have their feathers ruffled very easily.

            Dragon still has not commented about the actual content he is referring to, such vague mentions remind me of how the old Salem witch hunts have been portrayed. People making their voices heard by pointing out, yet another, witch to burn at the stake, others being suspicious of anyone and making a witch out of someone who wasn’t (well, of course, there wasn’t lol) just to make a name for themselves…not that I am saying this of Dragon or anyone involved of course.

            But I for one would like to know of specific content so I could log in and search my inventory and lands. I would imagine others would like to do that also. This way we could police our own spaces rather than someone dropping in making accusations, for whatever reasons.

          • Susannah Avonside

            Or put it on the mummy of all file sharing sites, usenet, where it’s still fairly easy to distribute pirated content with relative safety.

            Until the creative community realise that until people can get decent content at a reasonable price then there will be a demand for pirated content. I appreciate that creators are caught between a rock and a hard place and I do feel for them when they rely on the income for their daily bread, but it totally escapes me when people wedded to the capitalist system then start bleating about content theft – talk about the pot calling the kettle black! The whole basis of the capitalist system is theft.

            However, I should say that in this particular context, we are hardly talking about capitalist monsters, but more likely ordinary people just trying to make a living in a capitalist system, so I suggest that instead of going all legal, perhaps a better way would be to quietly approach grid owners and point out what is going on – many of them will be running grids in much the same manner, to perhaps earn a partial income, and so will sympathise. For me it’s a moral issue more than it is legal – I don’t really care a stuff about laws that are there primarily to protect the powerful, and don’t get too upset when some big high street name gets ripped off, but I do feel for the workers who are viscously exploited by the capitalist class.

            As far as commerce in OpenSim goes, I think that the advent of the Kitely Market is probably one of the highlights of recent years, as it allows those creators who have taken a bit of a chance and made their products available to OpenSim users at a reasonable price – and those creators who are trying to make a killing will either eventually find that they have to become more realistic, or risk having their creations pirated. I don’t know what the case is, but I would guess that all those Second Life creators who now sell their stuff on the Kitely Market are quite pleasantly surprised at the result. Of course it’s going to take aeons for the hoary old myth that OpenSim is a den of iniquitous copybotters, and some will never be convinced, and prefer to remain within the false security of places like SL, where they’re not only hugely more likely to attract the attentions of content pirates, but have Linden Labs make prior claim to everything they upload there!

          • Da Hayward

            very good point

          • Well said.

            “but I would guess that all those Second Life creators who now sell their stuff on the Kitely Market are quite pleasantly surprised at the result. Of course it’s going to take aeons for the hoary old myth that OpenSim is a den of iniquitous copybotters, and some will never be convinced, and prefer to remain within the false security of places like SL”

            Some are making good money (comparatively speaking) afaik and a few are mentioned from time to time. And since there is a small bit of reticence of more getting involved, I would say these kinda first comers are making their mark and in on the ground floor, so to speak.

            It is people like https://www.kitely.com/market?store=3351293 who has broken one of the still often cited examples of content theft that has not been true for some time now. And I never knew if it was before, just that others said so from time to time. I IM’ed her once and she said, loosely paraphrased, that she didn’t know what all the fuss was about…apparently it was more talk about it than reality. She was more enthused about a new market where she could make money where she had not before…and she is only one example there.

            “the hoary old myth that OpenSim is a den of iniquitous copybotters” but this will never stop, it is disinformation that some people have a vested interest in spreading about. While on the other side of their mouths they tout such tired slogans as “we are not on the hypergrid because we believe in protecting our creators” which actually hasn’t worked out so well for those closed types. But they persevere nonetheless. They are their own worst enemies and completely clueless…but to my eyes that is fine, the hyperverse benefits by the people who see through such words and join us.

            I need to wake up more….

          • Susannah Avonside

            Yes, the person you reference in your post is probably the best advertisment for creators putting their stuff on sale on the OpenSim Metaverse, especially given as that creator was widely copybotted previous to her creations being available legitmately on the OpenSim Metaverse. I think that also that the decision of that creator to sell at reasonable prices has also mitigated in favour of people going to legitimate content rather than pirated content.

            Personally as soon as I realised that I could buy legitimate copies of that creators trees on the Kitely Market I immediately went and purchased them to replace those I had initially obtained as ripoffs unknowingly.

          • from all accounts many have done as you did…

        • Jessica Random

          Indeed. I’ve had this happen to “freebies” in SL before. I once logged into an Avatar I never use – and had just got a few freebies and her skin had been totally replaced and there was an IM saying that some of the items had been found to be infringing and had been removed from the database so all users who had them will now find them missing. It sucks for the user – buy I totally got it. I think most people would. One of the things SL did right in that is sending out IMs to everyone that had that item in their inventory. Not sure how easy that would be to do in OS – but it really helped – and probably helped LL not have lots of complaints as people already knew what had happened.

      • David

        Yes, thanks. I actually did see that apology to Alex in one of the comments below. Nice…And nice more to hear there have been so many take downs.

        Pursuing copyright matters legally can be somewhat challenging, I see…self hosted regions, authority to represent original content creators and other hurdles.

      • Da Hayward

        Well Dragon i think its great that you apologised to Alex, and while I also think its great you are pursuing this, it must be a great big head ache. Will we be notified on who the offending person(s) are and how much is it really going to hold up legally. There seems to be a big gray area concerning intellectual property etc. Do the original creators need to prove it is indeed their creation, can it be argued that the content was seen to be open source. I know with certain similar incidents in SL that not of a lot was accomplished. But thanks for the effort. Thumbs up

  • Linda Kellie

    With all of this stuff that is going on and with Dragon so upset and threatening to sue people I was shocked to hear a story this morning about his grid (Genesis is it?) loading an Mall OAR for someone “allegedly” and that OAR showing up with other people’s stuff on it but everything in full perms and with the region owners name as creator on everything……”allegedly”. This is a major problem.
    Grid owners need to know how to save OARs ( I don’t know if he or someone else actually did the saving). And grid owners should never load an OAR without making sure that they know what they are loading up. THIS is why OpenSim is such a clusterf**k for creators.
    I’m not sure who loads the OARs for that grid. It could be the hosting (Digiworldz) or it could be Dragon himself. I am clueless as to how this works.

    So this is a call out to ALL grid owners……… Please, Please stop loading OAR’s willy nilly. I know that it’s a way to draw people into your grid because they will be more likely to set up a mall on your grid if you offer this service. But it’s just not right.

    From what I understand, in this case, the region owner saw the mistake and took the content down that shouldn’t have been loaded. But not all users will be that honest.

    And NOPE I won’t name my source. 😛

    • Da Hayward

      Hi Linda, I heard that story too, but I think it was before the move to DigiWorldz ( I could be wrong)
      Really I think it all comes down to the grid Owners being more aware.
      With Genesis I think DigiWorldz just hosts the servers for Genesis and they are a Stand Alone grid.
      Kea is a grid within a grid in Digiworldz, kind of like an estate on SL, Terry and TR are pretty tight on copy botting and content theft.

      • Rique Giano

        I do not think its about that Da, i think what linda means is that they loaded an oar , and they didnt filtered out , so only the objects that are from the region owner are in there name.and not all the objects , Like the products from the shop owners .. if i understood it well.

        • Da Hayward

          oh ok

      • Linda Kellie

        From what I gather it was a new episode. But I could have heard it wrong. Also I understand that DigiWorldz is just the hosting company that they use. But I wasn’t sure in this instance if the host or the grid did the uploads of OARs.
        I am the strongest advocate on Terry Ford and his standards. I have seen the man be honest above and beyond most normal standards for over 10 years now and would never suggest that he would do anything like this on purpose. As I say this I am going to add that I don’t know Dragon but I would assume as a grid owner that he wouldn’t do this on purpose either. But these types of mistakes just can’t be made anymore.
        That was the message I was trying to convey.

        • Da Hayward

          yup i totally agree on your opinion about Terry.
          You are right in saying these kind of “mistakes” shouldn’t be made anymore also.
          The one annoying thing in this thread is that there seems to be a lot of finger pointing (not by you) and the people being singled out seem to be unaware they were doing anything wrong before hand.
          Dragon and I are not one would call best of friends so really I think it would be totally unfair of me to comment on what I think is really going on.
          Great comments Linda and here’s a big “yes dear” to ya.
          Thumbs up

  • Da Hayward

    Very true David and this is the real issue when pursuing incidents legally isn’t it.
    Maris made a good point in another thread and that was the cost involved, how many of us can afford such legal fee’s when there is a good chance that that it will be “kicked”out?
    I think you are a 100% right the moral’s of the grid and individual are better suited for solving any issues such as this. If the grid has no moral’s well why go there?

  • Linda Kellie

    Josh Boam “allegedly” (his name and picture were on the post) just posted here with a post that shows he has no respect for anyone in OpenSim and no respect for content creators. But his post was deleted by the moderator within 3 minutes. Lucky for me I copied it and had it on my clipboard at 2 minutes. I pasted it into a post on the G+ community of “OpenSim Everything”. So now you all can see if this is someone you ever want to trust. From what he says he is still doing hosting for opensim. So good luck to those who have trusted him to host for them.
    I’m not sure why a post so important was removed.
    Guess we are only suppose to post sunshine and rainbows here? 😛

    • Arielle

      The moderators seem to be having trouble deciding whether or not to let Josh expose his withered junk here in the comment section. I say let the post stay for all to see. How are we to know who is trustworthy when Maria/Impierce remove the comments of those exposing their pee’pee’s?

      • lmpierce

        The post by Josh Boam was not legitimate and that is why it was removed. There has been an ongoing issue with a ‘fake Josh’. I can tell which is which as moderator by the email address associated with the posts.

        I’m responding here to two issues: the fake posts and the overall question of trust if comments are deleted.

        Moderation is not designed to protect bad behavior. It is designed to provide an environment for discussions that is not toxic. If someone posts an offensive comment that violates the Discussion Guidelines, the comment will be removed, and whether the readers trust that process is an individual evaluation each reader must make. What won’t work is allowing people to post offensive material so that others can see the ‘true’ person. We are not here to vet or ‘expose’ our contributors… we only want to ensure decency in the interactions so that readers are not unreasonably offended to the point of rejecting the discussions altogether.

        In this particular case, however, the ‘fake Josh’ issue is a red herring as the posts are made using a variety of email accounts that are not associated with the actual person shown. Now, is there a mess of intrigue behind all this? Maybe, who knows… The bottom line is, there is only one email we recognize as the legitimate Josh email and all others are moderated after they are posted (some are caught automatically for language).

        It is a bit complicated, but not for the reasons proposed. We are not in the business of protecting people from the consequences of their posts. However, if the posts are fake, or violate the Discussion Guidelines, they are removed. It is my impression that over time people have (mostly) figured out who is who and their trust follows accordingly.

        • Linda Kellie

          Ok I removed it from my G+ as well. After all of the posts on these from his skygrid account and how weird and rude he was this one didn’t seem that out of character to me.
          Maybe it would have been good if you had posted a little note in the first place as to why you deleted a post like that.

          • Da Hayward

            yeah totally weird and rude.
            There were a lot of comments like that when AviWorlds collapsed last year

          • lmpierce

            There was an initial ‘outbreak’ of this situation no very long ago that laid the groundwork for spotting any resurgence. It’s perfectly understandable that not all readers knew about this, or would recognize repeat occurrences.

            However, posting comments about deleted comments won’t become a policy, even in cases like this. In the first place, it won’t work to discuss something that is no longer there to be discussed. That will lead to even more confusion, speculation and rumor spreading than the impact of a temporarily posted comment that is then removed. The reason for removing a comment is to end its impact, and commenting on a deleted comment simply promulgates its original existence.

            Furthermore, we do not have a system that guarantees anyone is who they say they are. Like avatars, our posted names and pictures are our choice, and privacy is part of the system. The posts by ‘fake Josh’ were originally removed because they violated the Discussion Guidelines. Furthermore, Maria and I were contacted by the ‘real’ Josh and asked for assistance in this matter. After all, the person most likely to suffer harm was Josh. (I wrote ‘real’ Josh because, again, display names are our choice. Nonetheless we were able to confirm that the identity was authentic to the account in question.)

            The best thing to do in these matters if you think someone’s name has been hijacked is try the following:

            1. If you know that person, contact them directly (but not via the forum) and ask them about it. Maybe they don’t know what’s going on.
            2. Email me ([email protected]) to let me know, or ask what’s up.
            3. Wait a bit… moderation is not usually instantaneous, and can sometimes take hours. In most cases where the comment is in violation of the Discussion Guidelines, I will catch it, or someone will flag it, and it will be removed.
            4. Flag a suspicious comment. Just remember that it may take some time for a response, as noted above.
            5. And of course if it’s your name and likeness that’s being used without your consent, definitely get in touch with Maria or myself so that we can take appropriate measures.

            Sometimes people surprise us (for better or for worse), so a comment that seems out of character is not necessarily a red flag. And if the comment violates the Discussion Guidelines (and most of the comments by posers do since the point is usually to be offensive), it will be removed in due course anyways.

            I hope this answers your concerns. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like to continue this discussion. Normally moderation isn’t discussed in the comments themselves, but on occasions like this it makes sense to start a dialogue at the source.

          • Linda Kellie

            Well all I am saying is it would have saved a lot of people a lot of problems if you could have posted ” The comment that was here was deleted by the moderator because it was believed to be a hacked account”.
            But I don’t care anymore. This whole place is just crazy. And I am going back to not posting here. Too hard to tell what is real and what is just someone messing with our heads. Good luck to you and your babysitting. I don’t envy you for sure.

          • Da Hayward

            awww linda i like your posts
            most make me smile

          • Allan Carr

            C’mon Linda don’t be like that:)

        • Arielle

          I did wonder as the account showed no previous posts which struck me as odd whether because there truly had been no previous history from that account or because they were intentionally hidden.
          The post itself did not strike me as being toxic to anyone but the author of it. I suppose a liberal interpretation of the discussion guidelines could be extended to cover moderators protecting commentators from themselves but that generally does not seem to be a pattern at HB. If by offensive you were referring to his degenerating to being somewhat vulgar then I would posit that the admission of guilt far outweighed his lackluster attempt at insulting Alex The admission is after all exactly what is being discussed in the article and by extension the comments. Had the poster been legitimate it strikes me as ludicrous to have deleted a post which would have enlightened the community as to how 62 oars made it out into the wild.because they didn’t express their vulgarity in a more articulate manner.

      • oo

    • lmpierce

      The post by Josh Boam was not legitimate and that is why it was removed. There has been an ongoing issue with a fake ‘Josh’. I can tell as moderator by the email address associated with the post.

      • Da Hayward

        yup! thought it was the fake Josh

  • Da Hayward

    Turning into a bit of a mess isn’t it?
    When’s the follow up story coming David, I for one am very keen to see it.
    Oh btw great article and brilliant reporting

    • David

      Thanks Da. Am on it. I just hope it runs this week.

  • David

    Thanks. I also do not think copyright thing should be as complicated as we see it today. I think it is OK for grid owners to check and be concerned and pursue matters if a creator has items on their grid–you know, as far as they are out to defend use of that content, I think it is great.

  • Da Hayward

    still waiting to see follow up, or has this just all been a white elephant?

    • My fault. David filed the story a couple of days ago and I still haven’t edited it. Working on it!

      • Da Hayward

        thanks maria! big thumbs up