10 worst excuses for content infringement

Infringing content distributed earlier this year via stolen OAR files. (Image courtesy Noxluna.)

On Tuesday, David Kariuki’s article about a freebie store that distributed content that was “found and collected” on other grids — without any checks that the content was legal — drew some comments from people who defended the practice.

Let’s put aside the main issue, that infringing content opens the grid up to take-down requests that could shut it down and drives away legitimate creators and merchants.

Some of the excuses offered in the comments were just nuts.

1. But officer, it was just sitting there.

If you drive down the street, and you see some nice lawn furniture sitting in someone’s front yard, and it’s not tied down, and nobody is looking, would you just stop and grab it?

No. It’s not yours.

However, there are still folks out there who will walk around the place and if they see something that’s marked full perms, they’ll grab a copy.  Seriously, stop doing that.

Even if the content is legal — which you have no way of knowing — and even if the creator deliberately put it out there for other people to take and enjoy — again, you don’t know that — it doesn’t mean that they want to see the content end up in a freebie shop promoting some random grid.

If you are distributing the content in a shop, that’s not personal use anymore. You’re now a distributor.

2. But everyone else is doing it.

First, no, they’re not. Maybe a couple of people are doing it, and you don’t know that for sure — they might have permission to distribute that content.

Second, this is a really childish excuse. The old “but everyone else is doing it” didn’t work when you were a kid, and it doesn’t work now.

3. I’m not the one who originally ripped the content, so it’s okay.

No, it’s not okay. Distributing stolen content is not legal. If you operate a shop where you distribute infringing content, you are liable.

If you resell stolen goods you’re a fence, and can go to prison. The fact that you’re not the original thief doesn’t get you off the hook.

4. But I’m not charging for it!

That doesn’t make it any better.

5. But I didn’t know it was stolen! Maybe it’s not. How do you know?

It’s your job to know. If you are distributing content, you have an obligation to source it appropriately.

Think about it this way. If you were running a real world store, and someone came to you offering ridiculously low-priced brand name products with no explanation of where they came from, you better ask for receipts. Otherwise, you’ve got “arrested for distribution of stolen property” in your future.

If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. And your customers are relying on you to ensure that the products you offer are legal and properly sourced.

6. Well, the creators infringed when they made the stuff, so it’s okay to rip them off.

There’s so many things wrong with this excuse it’s hard to know where to start.

First, yes, creators do need to check the provenance and license terms of the components they use in building their products.

If they’re making commercial products, for example, and the components are distributed for non-commercial use only, then they need to contact the original sources of those components and get permission, or buy additional licenses from them.

If you are concerned that a creator whose work you’re distributed skipped some steps there, you need to check with the creator and ask for the documentation. Yes, the main liability will be with the creators, but if you are aware that there is a problem, and you distribute the content anyway, you will share some of that legal liability. Plus, of course, the bad PR will fall on you.

Think of all the clothing brands that use third-party suppliers that violate child labor laws. Yes, it’s the suppliers breaking the law, not Kathy Lee Gifford personally, but she’s the one who bore the brunt of the bad press. And if those brands were knowingly distributing stolen content, it wouldn’t just be bad press that they’d face, either.

The fact that someone in your supply chain may be doing something wrong is a reason to be more careful around them, not less.

However, on the other hand, I can see how ripping off someone who is themselves a crook might protect you a little bit.

They’re less likely to go to the cops to complain about you. If you’re going to break the law anyway, if your victims are non-violent criminals then you’re better off than if you targeted law-abiding citizens — or folks who settle disputes by fitting you for concrete shoes.

So there’s a grain of logic there. Evil logic, but logic, sure.

7. The content was originally free, so I have the right to give it away, too.

No, you don’t.

You do not have the right to distribute someone else’s content, even if it’s free content, without their express permission.

Take news sites. Those stories are free for everyone to read. That doesn’t mean that you can just come and take them and post them on your own site without payment or permission.

Now I’m not talking about personal use here. Of course you can print out an article or email it to a friend. But if you set up a competing site using that content, you’re in violation of copyright law.

If another grid is offering legitimate free content in their freebie stores, they’ve paid for that content, or created that content themselves, so that they could use the content to promote their grid. They will not want you to come and take it and use it to promote your own, competing grid.


8. Maybe the creator won’t notice.

Sure, the original creator may have better things to do than chase down infringing freebie stores. You might never get caught.
That doesn’t make what you do legal, and it doesn’t make it right.

And the more you do it — and the more you advertise it — the higher the odds that it will catch up to you.

9. The stuff is overpriced, anyway. It deserves to be ripped off.

Really? This is virtual content. None of it is overpriced.

And if you still think it costs too much — don’t buy it. It’s not like you’re stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving children.

10. Why are you picking on me and not the other guy? You’re biased!

We’re picking on you because you sent us a press release bragging about how you’ve collected content around OpenSim and are now giving it away for free.

If you’re going to be a successful criminal, you’ve got to learn to stop bragging about your crimes.

Bottom line: If you set up a shop, make sure that everything you’re offering in it is legally licensed. If you’re not sure about something, take it down.

Related Posts


Maria Korolov

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

42 Responses

  1. 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

    Probably the most silliest Thread ever done by hypergrid business to date. Lets review but first let me say I condone all types of content theft. First of all who is going to do all that detective work for a freebie? While many grids with a money module (Not Many) sell what was created to be free.Lets not forget all the items ripped from the 3d sites that clearly state Non-Commercial and sell them anyways. Yes we all know that there is a group of unknowns looking to make Opensims another SL and would like to see free content disappear to boost up there sales. Anyways hard to believe but there is many many talented creators create nothing but freebies its time to get over it. Maybe these nah Sayers need to examine there inventors and do a bit of detective work on there own stuff before calling foul. Just because a item was purchased in the marketplace or a well known grid does NOT make it legal. I suppose Hypergrid business would like videos of you actually creating something in blender before there satisfied without suspicion. I could go on and on about this silly subject matter but im laughing to hard, FREE is FREE stop all the detective work for christ sakes.

    • fred.beckhusen@gmail.com' Fred Beckhusen says:

      “Probably the most silliest Thread ever done by hypergrid business to date” should be in bold and upper case, IMHO

  2. lmpierce@alcancemas.com' lmpierce says:

    So, as a matter of principle, I agree with the core of this article. I am entirely biased towards the creators. Creators are the underdogs in OpenSim. Unlike Disney, OpenSim creators do not have the resources to track down, enforce and if necessary, prosecute copyright infringement. Let’s respect creators and not take or buy unless we know the creator has given us that permission.

    However, having said all that, determining provenance in OpenSim is complicated by an inadequate set of mechanisms for preserving creator rights, namely that copies of items are easy to make. Then, to make matters worse, the creator name can automatically change, if, for example, an oar is transferred, or a mesh or texture is uploaded.

    The bottom line is, we cannot enforce ideal standards of provenance in OpenSim as a whole – we’ll make ourselves crazy.

    Consider a real-world situation. Garage sales are common in the U.S. Most of us have been to one, and maybe many of us have bought something. How do we know it was the seller’s property to sell, and not stolen merchandise? In part, we simply guess. We see that the items look old and dirty, so probably not stolen new from a warehouse. Maybe the item just seems too odd or kitschy to be more than a relict from an attic. Nobody asks for original purchase receipts. Maybe, for the utmost in due diligence, we should. Technically, we should also pay sales tax on garage sale purchases, but that doesn’t happen either.

    On the other hand, I had two guys in a van pull up to me in a parking lot one day, asking if I wanted to buy some speakers. Maybe they were just entrepreneurs that couldn’t afford the rent for a retail store, but my guess was that they had a van of stolen goods that they were selling by driving around (and not sticking around too long either). I don’t want to buy stolen merchandise, no matter how inexpensive, and no matter how much I might consider rationalizing my actions… after all, I did not actually ‘know’ the goods were stolen, did I?

    Or to use another example… if I’m going to buy a used car the owner must present the title, or the transaction is not legal and the car cannot be registered. The right to sell (or even give away) a car absolutely depends on proving ownership and the right to sell it. But of course this protects the buyer and involves, usually, thousands of dollars. We expect this practice and that’s that.

    The problem with OpenSim is that we often have to guess about rights and provenance. This is a complication for creators and consumers both. And I don’t mean we have to guess because there are no mechanisms at all, but rather, we have to guess because the system is flawed, and as a practical consideration we cannot necessarily perform all of the principled steps to verify legitimacy. I mean, would you spend an hour of your life to make sure a $1 mesh coffee pot is being sold with the owner’s permission? I know I wouldn’t. And even at that, I may not be able to get at the truth.

    What we can do, however, is use some good judgement. You see a simple table for free. Looks like it took two minutes to build, but it’s kind of cool. Is it likely it was an item for sale and is now being distributed for free without the owner’s permission? Maybe. But it just doesn’t seem like something someone would expect to have been able to sell… it’s just too simple. Is it a high crime to accept the free offer? I don’t think so. And later, if it shows up on my journeys to other grids as an item for sale in the actual creator’s store, I can simply offer to pay the creator – a kind of honor system that’s entirely up to us, without any enforcement actions coming into play.

    On the other hand, I discover a highly detailed yacht for free. Now I think I have an obligation to consider more than just my desire to have it. I can use the Inspect option to see who is listed as the creator. I can click around the yacht and see if a notecard with information appears.

    I did this with a yacht today and found that the creator revealed with the Inspect option was not the actual creator, because the yacht gives a notecard with the creator’s actual name. This was suspicious (note: the yacht was not being offered for free, but the discrepancy over the creator name is my point here). As it turns out, the yacht was there with the permission of the creator. I learned this by contacting the parties involved. It took a few minutes, but here’s my point: we can all help creators by checking the provenance of things that are offered, that seem too good for the price or out of place.

    Why should we bother? I say for the reason above: creators are the underdogs in OpenSim.

    Now I know some people consider investigating or questioning provenance to be a witch hunt. Well, that’s ridiculous. Witches never existed, so the hunts were a pathological excuse to abuse women. On the other hand, content taking and copyright violation is widespread in all of the creative fields. Therefore, reasonable attempts at verification are utterly and completely fair. The important thing is to make inquiries with an attitude of giving the seller the initial benefit of the doubt. This shows respect to honorable resellers (or freebie stores). And if the offering seems suspect, it is up to each of us to decide what to do, and perhaps just walk away.

    • 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

      Sounds reasonable

    • da.tonyhayward@gmail.com' Da Hayward says:

      Hi Impierce. I think most of us who call it a witch hunt are not referring to the subject of stolen material but more the case of it being implied that some innocent or unknowing people get labeled as content thieves.
      as you say its not to hard to check before you buy

      • lmpierce@alcancemas.com' lmpierce says:

        I appreciate the distinction you make. I think a complexity is glossed over by extremism (calling something a witch hunt is what I consider extremism). On the one hand, those who conduct legitimate businesses, selling or giving away content, should feel good about what they do, and be essentially free from contention. On the other hand, creative people have their work taken and distributed without their permission (which might include the expectation of credit, if not actual remuneration) quite frequently (a problem in the real world as well).

        The ideology of copyright is not just the business of creators and distributors, it is also the business of the entire community, society, civilization. Imagine if history books were filled with images of paintings and ruins and artifacts with no attribution… that would be a cultural loss of epic proportions. People matter. Who creates what matters.

        So, in this whole issue of provenance, I see two sides that need full empathy and cooperation from each other. Distribution of anything should be done legally and legitimately. And whenever people offer something to the public, versus giving things away to friends and family, they surely do bring upon themselves the possibility of scrutiny by their community, society, civilization. In the article that brought all this up, the issue was raised that provenance could not be established for a lot of items. “Infringement” was purposely, and correctly, NOT used to define the situation. “Iffy” was, perhaps, a too casual choice that carried connotations of inappropriate behavior by the distributor, so…

        The creators also need to approach the situation with respect, and I believe they need to assume the best, unless evidence shows otherwise. So, even if providence is missing, that is not proof of misappropriation. It may suggest a need for further investigation, and in those cases, I think the language and actions must start off with consideration that the party in question is honorable. But I do think questions about provenance are unconditionally appropriate.

        Now in the current discussion threads, I do not agree that these matters are only between creators and distributors, as I have already indicated I think it’s a social problem. I also do not agree that it’s a witch hunt to question the origin and provenance of goods for sale. Heck, I look for the country of origin on goods every time I go shopping. And if I’m at a street fair and I see $4000 designer purses for $25 you bet I suspect knock-offs are illegally being sold.

        What I think has happened is that some on the two sides of this complex issue (well, maybe more than two sides), have mostly stuck to their respective positions, which are not incorrect, but then failed to have full empathy for the other side.

        I do not think words like this will solve the problem. I did mention looking with the Inspect tool as a starting point, to understand the status of an item, because certainly we can take part in being accurate in our assessments. And reaching out to owners and creators is within everyone’s means… it seems to me that some proactive communication could reduce the apprehension about provenance.

        • da.tonyhayward@gmail.com' Da Hayward says:

          Yup I agree

        • hanheld@yahoo.com' Han Held says:

          “I appreciate the distinction you make. I think a complexity is glossed
          over by extremism (calling something a witch hunt is what I consider
          extremism). ”

          Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…it’s a duck. ’nuff said!

  3. geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

    The gist of the article is use your moral compass, also when dealing with free items, and follow the law.

    If you don’t have a moral compass, read points 1 through 10 till you know them by heart, and use them for navigation, also on OpenSim grids.

    • 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

      Not a answer to the opensim problem there is way more to it.

      • geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

        There is way more to it, but a very significant portion is rooted in the “I can do anything I want with free items” entitlement that exist a good swatch of internet users. – Even if it is at the expense of the creator, competition, neighbour or friend.

        The entitlement exist in everything from the random person through to systematic use and abuse through companies such as Facebook and Google.

        I hate to say it, but the entitlement is particularly strong amongst Linux users.

        • susannah.avonside@gmail.com' Susannah Avonside says:

          Not sure about your comment about Linux users, but the fact that most software that runs on Linux is free of cost, (though most projects do accept donations) means that we aren’t used to being ripped off by big corporations. It’s hardly a case of ‘entitlement’ when the vast majority of the software we use has no monetary cost attached to it, and it’s not as if we can use the major paid for software packages, as they are not made available apart from in a few cases. There is also the consideration that much of the ‘free’ software also blows much of the commercial stuff into the weeds 🙂

          Nor are we that prepared to pay rip-off prices for content in OpenSim, especially for content that has an inflated price, (i.e. more than five times the SL price for on particular female mesh avatar that’s available on the Kitely Market). That’s not to say that I agree with so called ‘stolen’ (actually pirated) content, I don’t, but I’ll state again what I’ve said previously, that it’s no surprise it exists when content creators either shy away from releasing content on OpenSim, or otherwise charge extortionate prices for their content, such as the example above ( I know the variable in price, as I have bought that particular mesh avatar in SL, where it is reasonably priced – I don’t consider it such at it’s Kitely Market price).

          I also wonder how you square your argument when the background to both Jobs’ and Gates’ operating systems are somewhat clouded. The film ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley’ wasn’t named such for no reason. It also has to be said that the whole Apple thing tends to be rather scarily cult-like, which induces people to buy overpriced hardware/software combinations for which the public sector paid the development costs.

          I could go on a long time on this, and also about moral compasses; they are usually, in my experience, the moral values of others that are imposed on others. And as we are broadly speaking, talking about theft, I don’t think anyone who lives under a capitalist system can actually point a finger, least of all those with the power. Corporations, all of them, make their money through legalised theft of one form or another. In this we are all complicit, for to be otherwise would make life really difficult. Think about it, everything our societies are built on is founded on theft of some sort, whether that be ideas, land or labour.

          • geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

            Gates is one of the biggest thieves of the last century who have caused people and the industry more grief than anyone else with the mess of a system called Windows.

            As to Jobs, he has pretty much invented every aspect of the systems Apple has sold since the introduction of the Apple I in 1976. Some inspiration from Xerox Alto at the early stages of the Macintosh and Apple Lisa was there, but having for the first time seen a longer video of the original Alto environment taped from a completely restored system, I can say it was sufficiently different from the original Lisa / Mac OS not to be plagiarism. As we all know Gates outrightly stole from Apple at multiple stages of the Windows development. Some of us knows a LOT more about it than others.

            Xerox also did not invent the mouse as the first such devices were used on the PDP-1 and IBM mainframes in the early 60-ties.

            People (particularly the Linux crowd) keeps claiming the cult aspect of Apple’s user base, but in case, the cult is pretty big with over a billion iOS devices sold and macOS now with well over 100 million active users. The overpriced aspect is also relative in that the same crowd of users have paid for these devices finding the prices acceptable. It is a 35+ year old discussion that hardly has any merit any more.

            The discussion of inflated prices in SL and OS is a moot one, as the market decides how they want to value the work of creators. The price of creations have never been, and will never be an excuse for blatantly taking items. The only place where it can be excused is to support and save lives, but pixel creations hardly fill that criteria.

          • lmpierce@alcancemas.com' lmpierce says:

            Interesting… you call Gates one of the biggest thieves in the last century, but you say that blatantly taking items is excusable (only) in the support and saving of lives. Gates the thief has also become one of the most significant philanthropists in the world. I could not help but notice how the example of Gates tends to show just how gray the region is between taking and giving… (and please note, I’m not proposing to criticize your example… rather, I think it is an excellent example of how complex issues can become when we start making value judgements.)

          • geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

            Gates’ philanthropy is by many regarded with great scepticism for multiple reasons. One reason is giving back what he originally thieved (also called bad conscience.)

          • bntholdings@yahoo.com' mikelorrey says:

            Have to disagree with you a bit about the history, but as you said, it is a bit moot. IMHO if Apple had sufficient IP it would have gone after IBM, not Microsoft, years prior (and against Xerox, as I had used quite a bit of xerox tech back in the day and was actually shocked when I first used it how similar it was to Apple product, so either Xerox created that “look and feel” or Apple did, and we all know Apple lost the “look and feel” argument in court when it went after MSFT. The court clearly found xerox work was sufficiently prior art.
            Having met Gates and Woz, but not Jobs, I can say I like Woz better but I always wondered why Apples vertical integration of its Mac architecture and software was not treated as an anti-trust case like they treated Microsoft Windows or MS-DOS.
            As for Gates’ philanthropy, I think that comes more from the influence not just of his mother, whose own old money wealth and families held a long tradition of philanthropic service, but of his wife. That said I think he’s gone beyond the “just giving money away” thing to actually enterprising technologies to do good. The productivity gains across world industry enabled by Windows on IBM architecture in the 90’s has done far more good for humanity than anything that Gates has done with disposing of his money. Free markets have reduced global poverty rates from over 50% thirty years ago to less than 10% today, and a lot of that reduction is due to the productivity gains of information technology upon free markets.
            Conversely, the socialist economies that some seem to admire (I won’t name names as I’ve been told by HGB mods that is a no-no, even though it seems that attacking in the other direction is tolerated) have been dragging their populations into depravity, poverty, sickness, starvation and death. This isn’t just North Korea, but Venezuela, which until this past year was claimed to be a socialist paradise by western leftists, but they cannot hide the tyranny any more, or the empty markets, the starving people who are being told by their dear leader to “raise rabbits” to feed themselves. This is what you get from leftism and coerced “giving”. Poverty and death.
            So I even disagree with XMIR claiming that theft is justified in supporting and saving lives. It is clear that theft only leads to more poverty and suffering, in ANY event. Prices are the only valid means by which two strangers can measure the respect each has for the others work, and if work is to have any nobility, it must be accounted for by prices, freely arrived at by the voluntary democratic means of the marketplace.

          • lmpierce@alcancemas.com' lmpierce says:

            Hi Mikelorrey,

            Just a reminder and a correction: Comments about moderation are a violation of the Discussion Guidelines and may be removed (“Questions or comments about moderation should also not be posted as comments.”). This instance will be an exception to post a correction. The quotations enclosed in parenthesis are excerpts from the Discussion Guidelines.

            You state that attacks “in the other direction” are allowed and naming names in relation to socialist economies and the views held by others about them is a “no-no”. This is a misrepresentation of a past instance of moderation and a misunderstanding of the Discussion Guidelines. The Guideline that was applicable in a prior instance related to a potential case of putting this publication in peril of libel, and in such a circumstance, offending comments will be deleted (“We will remove content that could put us in legal jeopardy. This includes postings that appear libelous or defamatory, or material that appears to violate copyright laws and protections.”). However, expressing a political point of view, or a disagreement with a political point of view is permitted. Having pointed that out, however, let me also emphasize that comments are expected to stay on-topic and the comment I am replying to here has elements that are clearly a political diatribe outside of issues related to content infringement, the topic of the original article (“…if you post something that is abruptly and arbitrarily unrelated to the original topic then it may be removed, in order to keep the discussion on track. “). For example, the recent event in Venezuela of Maduro stating his people can eat rabbits for sustenance has absolutely nothing to do with copyright infringement. Further comment divergence from the topic will make those comments eligible for removal, again based on the Discussion Guidelines.

          • da.tonyhayward@gmail.com' Da Hayward says:

            i didn’t see anything wrong in what Mike Commented, i guess some opinions hit a raw nerve

          • lmpierce@alcancemas.com' lmpierce says:

            It’s not about opinions. Hypergrid Business has Discussion Guidelines: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/about/discussion-guidelines/

            This fact doesn’t carry much weight with some readers. However, understanding the Guidelines can inform commenters on why their comments are, under certain circumstances deleted. The opinions of the writer are not taken into account.

          • cinder.roxley@phoenixviewer.com' Cinder Biscuits says:

            Only Impierce is allowed to post about moderation, Da Hayward.

        • bntholdings@yahoo.com' mikelorrey says:

          This is standard marxism. The grid owner, being game god, is the sovereign with allode over the world they created. So long as they mouth the right words about it being a “community” and a “nonprofit” group, any level of tyranny is accepted on behalf of the collective. The Party is never wrong. Big Brother is always right, and always has the greater good in mind against the selfishness of the few who dissent against the “community”.
          I find it amusing that people think it is selfish that creators should want to be paid for their work, but it somehow isn’t selfish for people to steal their work from them by force…

  4. fred.beckhusen@gmail.com' Fred Beckhusen says:

    You probably should just delete this article. Do you even know how the permissions system in Second Life and Open sim work? Just read your words: “And even if the creator deliberately put it out there for other people to take and enjoy — again, you don’t know that —”

    Yes you do know exactly that. Their name is on it, and you can only take it if they marked it Anyone Can Copy or “For Sale”. You can take it from the next person after that, if the creator, and only the creator marked it “Next Owner, Transfer”.

    We are not talking about thieves here. Its about honest people that make and give creations away, to be given or sold, again and again. And yet you seem to think there is something wrong with that.

  5. tonylestr@gmail.com' Tony Lester says:

    Most garage sales are illegal if you don’t have a permit. Who gets a permit? If I take a bunch of prims, and make them look like the Starship Enterprise, or Disneyland, or Mickey Mouse, I am probably breaking some law. Now if I take someone texture from a spaceship A and put it in Spaceship B am I breaking the law? Oh yeah the textures I wonder how many are truly free, many are copyies from someone in SL. Anyway, sometimes this can get complicated. Here is my thoughts on it… if it not tide down, and the perms are copyable then it is copyable. If I have to modify it to make it copyable then I kind of have a feeling I am doing something wrong, but not if I don’t leave it copyable. A crime really requires two steps, changing copy perms and then selling them. A crime is much harder to prosecute if no money has changed hands. It is much hard to claim damages if there was no money transfer. I seriously doubt anyone will be taken to court for a few stolen prims or even an oar. The large monetary damage is just not there.

    • da.tonyhayward@gmail.com' Da Hayward says:

      That is a very good point. How effectively is alleged content theft followed up through the legal system?
      It seems mechanisms are in place to protect content but how effective are they?

  6. vince.medlock@gmail.com' Vinstor says:

    Has anyone bothered to research David Kariuki’s qualifications? So far as I can tell, he’s a Kenyan high school principal who excels in setting people (students) at each others’ throats. A shit-stirrer, in other words.

    He apparently has no expertise at all in American copyright law (since we’re really talking about the DMCA here). His article is filled with hypotheticals and could-be scenarios designed to evoke fear among users and grid operators. It should be ignored.

    However, we probably really can’t just ignore it. The self-appointed “Hypergrid Chamber of Commerce,” of which Kariuki appears to be a fan, is likely to behave exactly like RL chambers of commerce (at least in North America). Judging from the membership list, they’re likely to use every intimidation tactic and threat at their disposal to shut down those who compete with their capitalistic enterprises. Unless we come together as a community and fight them tooth and nail, making it clear that it will be far more expensive than they can imagine to use these tactics, we can expect OpenSim as we know it to cease to exist in the very near future.

    Let me end by saying that I do not condone theft. But it’s also a fairly small problem on OpenSim. This sort of fear-mongering makes a mountain out of a molehill. It sows distrust and sets users against each other. But then, that’s really the point, isn’t it? If we don’t trust each other, we’ll only buy content that we know is unlikely to get us a threatening email from the “Chamber of Commerce.”

    • 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

      “Chamber of Commerce.” is nothing more than a format for bored people to keep busy, They can send emails (Spam) but do not have any type of take down powers. Just another form to hassle people and to run more quality creators out of opensims. Once freebies are starting to be questioned is sad times. As I said earlier even items that look similar or been imported from the same place is questioned. This is a very tricky subject best have your ducks all in row before pointing fingers.

  7. bntholdings@yahoo.com' mikelorrey says:

    What is so hypocritical about Joe Builders enabling rippers is, when I was seeking content for my star wars sim, a freind brought me to meet Joe. This freind had made a good amount of content for Joes Star Wars sims, and wanted an OAR of his contributions. Joe insisted on a sizable payment for an OAR. Then a few days later, I run into him at a club, where I was the only kitely avatar, and he starts ranting about how Kitely is poisoning opensim with greed for money…. You have to wonder how people can rationalize such paradoxical behavior. I am glad I didnt pay for the OAR now, who knows what might have wound up in it.

    • 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

      We all know your agenda in opensims, Try not to spew it to loud before it backfires on you. Being you wanted a OAR from me (Quality and hard work) costs not demand like you did and you pay like the 50+ others have. BTW your so-called friend did absolutely nothing for me we traded some star wars props that’s it. Please get your facts straight. People who visit me in Lost World get everything they ask for it I got it. I do not approve of arrogant people who think there above others. As far as Kitley goes I have no ill will against its residents. But you are sure showing your true colors with false accusations.

      • bntholdings@yahoo.com' mikelorrey says:

        I have made no false accusations. Aine, and a number of others were present when you made your anti-money and anti-kitely rants at her club, attacking me (since I was the only kitely person there).
        I don’t mind paying for content, if it is original content. The facts are that my friend, who made significant contributions to your regions that you are now profiting off of, without compensating him, has supplied me with the content he has contributed to you as well, which I’ve now improved on. Which is all we were interested in in the first place, he had to spend some time digging into one of his accounts own inventory to obtain it. So obviously what I was looking for was not YOUR content, and I am calling you out on your hypocrisy in being against other people making money on content sales in OpenSim, but while at the same time demanding high prices for OARS largely of content you yourself did not create. These are the facts.

        • 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

          The items your so-called friend gave has been deleted being it was copybotted from sl. I can not have you guys stuff in my grid. But i see in a few blogs your making a lot of friends (Not) so keep up the good work. You are extremely clueless.

        • 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

          Everything in my OAR’s I sell are free and this is known, What I sell is my creativity and design nothing more and yes that has a price. Try to get your facts together before making statements that make you look bad. And BTW lol your friend who gave a few statues, well lets say I had to do them over they where bad rips.

      • bntholdings@yahoo.com' mikelorrey says:

        Oh and I am curious to know what you think my “agenda” is in opensim. I’ve been rather open about my positions on issues, here and in G+ communities, as well as inworld, but I always find it amusing to see the sort of paranoid ranting that borderline personalities come up with, like those from Prokofy Neva years ago, among others.

  8. dougsemailis@gmail.com' oopsee says:

    I think it is laughable that all this noise comes not from any creators who have may have been damaged but from those few who have no vested interest other than this free content works against this very new push for economy and commercial interests.
    Hypergird Business is so slanted and biased to make the free opensim metaverse a shopping paradise for Maria … quote “I love to spend money and shop”. Globits goes from 1 user to 2 and headlines read
    “Globits has 100% growth rate”.
    For those who want opensim devoid of stolen content consider the opensim code itself that provides for oar’s, iar’s, god powers that change creators names and permissions etc. This is the real reason creators avoid opensim like the plague and has been since the inception of Opensim code. Has nothing to do with suspect content at all.
    Opensim and other grids mirror real life. Real Life is a dangerous place full of troubles. You lock your doors and windows at night? You walk your children to school? You lock your car when parked? If you have theft you call the police?
    Why would anyone assume that the same people who live in the same real world would honor some kind of moral code described in this article in Opensim be any different? The answer is “they would not” and the proof is all over all grids.
    It is the sole reason you see suspected stolen content so pervasive and
    those regions and grids who provide it exploding with traffic. The
    majority of opensim residents are voting with their traffic !!! They
    want it, don’t care where it comes from. On the flip side commercial
    grids are dead, no traffic at all. What does that tell you?
    So there you go, the majority speaks and good luck with that. Expecting the massive majority of opensim users who covet this content to abide by your 10 rules hahahahahaha who are you kidding?

    • 1derful61@gmail.com' 1derworld says:

      Seems Lost World is getting so many visitors enjoying the freebies this last few days I’ll open up another Var of free items. And a few offered to place there free items in lost world as well. Thanks Maria and David for getting the word out.

  9. arielle.popstar@gmail.com' Arielle says:

    Wonderful article Maria. I look forward to your follow up article on the 10 reasons for why apparent infringing content may be perfectly valid. You could discuss the various ways fair use exemptions apply, how in the real world content is sold to the legal entity behind the avatar, not an account on a specific grid, consumer protections in a digital world etc.

    • watchersphone@gmail.com' watcher64 says:

      Personally I am waiting for the follow up article titled , “HGB Sued for defamation and charged with impersonating law enforcement”

  10. watchersphone@gmail.com' watcher64 says:

    Paraphrasing number 7

    “7. The content was originally free, so I have the right to give it away, too.
    No, you don’t.

    You do not have the right to distribute someone else’s content, even if it’s free content, without their express permission.

    Take news sites. Those stories are free for everyone to read. That doesn’t mean that you can just come and take them and post them on your own site without payment or permission.”

    Isn’t this EXACTLY what this site does when it scrapes diva installs, and other grid info, for data, or uses images from grid websites, or copies text from websites for “NEWS”

    .. News is supposed to , IF they use an image or information from an external source post backlinks and citations. This seems to be forgotten quite a bit.

    While I don’t totally disagree, maybe, with some of the points, this is like the mob accusing cartels of being criminals …

  11. watchersphone@gmail.com' watcher64 says:

    Anybody here have any friends that have downloaded movies, or MP3’s or images or porn or anything not 100% legitimate from the internet? YES YOU DO AND YOU KNOW ABOUT IT!! Now unless you have turned those people into the police, and are willing to testify that you KNOW for a fact that they stole the content .. Quit trying to be the “content police”

  12. watchersphone@gmail.com' watcher64 says:

    Some people here seem to be standing on some moral high ground that most of us can’t reach, and evidently these people NEVER shirk any moral responsibility EVER, they have never passed a homeless man without giving, they donate their excess money to help others, never pursue anything for themselves … Give me a break ..

    If someone steals my car, it is not my neighbors responsibility to go find it, or to act as the police, he should tell me that it was stolen, and give me any info he has, but then it is up to the ACTUAL police to do something.

    This air of moral superiority makes me ill …

  13. vince.medlock@gmail.com' Vinstor says:

    Since my first comment on this post was censored, let me re-post just the pertinent part: David Kariuki does not appear qualified to address issues surrounding the US DMCA law (since that’s what we’re really talking about). He appears to be a Kenyan high school principal who excels in fomenting competition (rather than cooperation) among his students.

  14. fonsecaloffpt@yahoo.com' Carlos Loff says:

    Fred comment is the only one making sense here – If a creator does not want the item copied or used or given why in this God forsaken life are the next owner (copy/transfer) checked ? WHY, WHY WHYYYY DO YOU PERSIST MR ANDERSON ???

    • bntholdings@yahoo.com' mikelorrey says:

      Because if I create content for one person, and they need to have it permed that way to be able to back up that content on an OAR (perhaps on a grid they themselves do not own), that does not mean that I gave them a license to redistribute that content to others. This is a failure and insufficiency of the permissions system, largely because of the religous adherence to retaining “like SL”-ness in viewer and OS code, when the capabilities of OS clearly mandate that we evolve beyond the pathetically weak DRM of SL and take responsibility to build a responsible DRM, which actually protects creators work while enabling them to distribute their work with permissions to do one thing with it themselves but not redistribute it. I may want to give them permission to transfer my work to other avatars they control, for instance, on other grids or platforms, but not to just anyone.