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Second Life Businesses Close Due To Cloning 409

Warren Ellis is reporting that many Second Life vendors are closing up shop due to the recent explosion of a program called "Copybot," designed to clone other people's possessions. From the article: "The night before last, I was looking around a no-fire combat sandbox, where people design and test weapons and vehicles, when an argument broke out; a thing going by the name Nimrod Yaffle was cloning things out of other people's inventories, and claiming he could freely do it because he'd been playing with Copybot with employees of SL creator/operators Linden Lab. All hell broke loose, in the sort of drama you can only find on the internet. Linden Lab's first official response? If you feel your IP has been compromised by Copybot, we'll sort of help you lodge a DCMA complaint in the US. Businesses started shutting down moments later." Update 20:43 GMT by SM Several users have mentioned that the Second Life blog has a few thoughts on this issue and quite a few comments from users already.
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Second Life Businesses Close Due To Cloning

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  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:21PM (#16856762) Homepage Journal
    He was sentenced to the Cornfield back in january []

    Is he going back to the cornfield or is perma-banned?

  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:21PM (#16856772) Journal
    Don't these people know how much work it takes to come up with a crude polygonal rendition of Lindsay Lohan making out with Christina Aguilera? They should maybe spend some time creating their own disturbing and mind-warping objects rather than stealing other peoples! And if you think I'm kidding about the mind warping bit, check out Something Awful's 'Second Life Safari', a look at well, the less savoury objects to be found around Second Life.. []
  • No need to RTFA... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ReverendLoki ( 663861 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:23PM (#16856800)
    ... when the quote in the summary is 3/4s of the article. Wouldn't it be nice if there was some more meat there to actually expand upon the summary? Maybe give us an idea how many shops closed? Perhaps even get the letters in the acronym "DMCA" in the right order? I usually support the idea that bloggers should be extended the same protections as print journalists, but then I see posts like this...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:26PM (#16856850)
    Second Life has been getting positive press in the EDU sector []. Hope this doesn't have a chilling effect.
  • Details (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:31PM (#16856950) Journal
    TFA is seriously lacking in details, so I went to the google, which kicked up a few links to blogs []

    One [] & Two [],

    Basically, this CopyBot program was created with the aid/knowledge/acceptance of the Linden Labs folks.

    Here's some discussion straight from Linden Labs [] or you can read what the CopyBot creators have to say []

    Summary: "if it's this easy, we should tell people that relying on the Second Life systems to protect content is not feasible any longer."
  • by tigre ( 178245 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:51PM (#16857422)

    The one on the books is:

    1. essentially intentionally broken to prevent any reversion to the public domain.
    2. (even in its original form) geared towards a period too long to make it useful for SL to make much of an effort to help you enforce.

    Copyrights benefit the game if the public domain (or an in-game version thereof) is enhanced at a reasonable point in time in the future. Otherwise, copyrights are a bad bargain.

    SL can surely construct a licensing scheme whereby you are permitted to use their service to distribute your creations on a monopoly basis for a set period of time (I'm thinking months), after which you grant rights to anyone on said service to freely use it within the scope of that service. No violation of copyrights, just licensing within the scope of the game.

  • Linden Blog, update: (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:05PM (#16857720)
    Use of CopyBot and Similar Tools a ToS Violation
    Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 at 3:47 pm by corylinden
    Tags : none

    Second Life needs features to provide more information about assets and the results of copying them. Unfortunately, these are not yet in place. Until they are, the use of CopyBot or any other external application to make unauthorized duplicates within Second Life will be treated as a violation of Section 4.2 of the Second Life Terms of Service and may result in your account(s) being banned from Second Life. If you feel that someone has used CopyBot to make an infringing copy of your content, please file an abuse report. Note that this is completely separate from any copyright infringement claim you may wish to pursue via the DMCA.

    Like the World Wide Web, it will never be possible to prevent data that is drawn on your screen from being copied. While Linden Lab could get into an arms race with residents in an attempt to stop this copying, those attempts would surely fail and could harm legitimate projects within Second Life.

    There are features to allow Second Life residents more choices about how they respond to potential infringement beyond the DMCA. Specifically, we will add data to allow residents to compare asset creators and creation time; incorporate Creative Commons licenses so creators have the option to create content that allows free copying, modification, and exchange without having to utilize outside applications; expand ban lists and reputation so residents can share information about those who abuse copyright; and, publish additional statistics on the website so creators can make rational decisions about the health and strength of Second Life's economy.

    These are important features because the implications of copying should not be about Linden Lab's approach to copyright enforcement. We are not in the copyright enforcement business. The communities within Second Life should have the tools and the freedoms to decide how and when they deal with potentially infringing content. Many will decide on less restrictive regimes in order to maximize innovation and creativity. Others will choose more restrictive options and ban visitors who do not respect them. Consumers, creators, and all residents need to have the final say about which approaches work best for them.

    Please recognize that using the Terms of Service is not a permanent solution. Nor is it shift in Linden Lab's support of libsecondlife (who have removed CopyBot from their Subversion repository), machinima creators, or others who have explored Second Life beyond the features of the Second Life client. I continue to feel that libsecondlife is an incredibly important part of Second Life's development and community.

    I do not extend those feelings to residents attempting to profit off of infringing use of CopyBot.

    To the community, I am very sorry that we have not already completed the features needed for you to address these concerns yourself. We are working very hard to complete them and will release them as soon as they are ready. In terms of prioritization and scheduling, additional asset data will be deployed in Q1 2007. Adding in support for CC and expanding the ban lists will be deployed 3 to 6 months later. Until then, as described in the first paragraph, use of CopyBot or similar tools to create infringing copies within Second Life will be treated as a violation of the Terms of Service. []
  • by MBraynard ( 653724 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:38PM (#16858370) Journal
    It sounds to me like you are a moron with no clue what you are talking about.

    This isn't mass prodution versus custom creation. It is buying CDs versus DLing them for free on Napster.

    The original artist can create an unlimited number of his product in a very short time and sell them. Until now they came with DRM - so he could invest the time in making the first one and then profit by selling the clones that only he could make.

    Now, since anyone can clone anything, he has no reason to continue to invest the effort designing them.

    It works EXACTLY like DRM and breaking DRM. Not at all the way you try to describe it. Not at all.

  • Re:Property Rights (Score:3, Informative)

    by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:44PM (#16858462)
    Without reward, few will continue to produce in SL. This, ultimately, means there will be little to copy, and so those who use it will lose the advantage they have.

    You can't be serious?

    1. There is a demand for custom avatars and people will pay on commission.
    2. A great deal of these "works" are actually infringing on real life trade marks and various real world intellectual property as it is.

    If you hang out at various hot spots, you may see anything from famous people copycats, to Smurfs, to replicas of various Anime characters.

    Innovation will happen in SL much like it did during the Feudal days of Leonardo and Michelangelo where people wrote books on commission and did works of art and science for their patrons.

    We appeared to do well enough without copyrights for the majority of human history.
  • by amyhughes ( 569088 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @05:12PM (#16859000) Homepage
    what's the point of in-game money if not to buy in-game stuff from in-game shops?

    One hopes Linden Labs is thinking about this with great diligence today, because without the need for in-game money the game needs to be paid for in some way that doesn't yet exist.

    Just a couple weeks ago Linden Labs increased the price of new land in the game by 50%. If you want a place to build something beautiful you have to buy an island (because on the mainland you will find yourself next to Penis Palace and a casino), and those used to cost $1250 to acquire and $200 per month to run. Many of these exist because owners can recover some of the cost by selling things or renting space (to people who want to sell things). Then they raised prices 50% ($1675 to acquire, $300 per month). Then this copy thing happened. A lot of these places are probably wondering how they will pay for their island.

    Islands equal useful content. As in, places people have built that are interesting to visit. Places that make the game more than an IM client. They cost a lot of money, and now they are likely going to be harder to pay for.

  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @05:32PM (#16859416) Homepage
    You can buy gold and silver with your currency yes. But the Gold and Silver Standards are a thing of the past. You used to be able to bring US currency in, and get a fixed value of gold/silver for it. Now you just have to buy on the open market with fluxuating prices like any other commodity. [] []
  • by MenTaLguY ( 5483 ) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @06:03PM (#16859988) Homepage

    We have content creators that were thriving because of DRM-- the content creators wouldn't have put the same kind of time and effort into their creations if they couldn't be protected. And we have all that business coming to an abrupt close because of open source development.

    Uh, whoa whoa whoa ... since when has "open source development" meant "making unauthorized copies"?

    You can't lump together the people working on independently creating something like Inkscape [] with the people distributing cracked copies of Illustrator []. They are two completely separate things.

    The latter, conventionally called "piracy" (rightly or wrongly), is why those businesses are coming to an abrupt close, facilitated by the fact that their business models were not particularly sound in the face of that reality.

  • Coming soon to a jeweler near you: tml

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.