Its a known fact as a designer on SL, that you run in a herd; virtual wildebeest, chewing the cud on the planes of the metaverse, launching your products out for all to see; yet on the outside of this herd... well... no, I tell a lie... on the inside of the herd exist a number of hyenas, wildebeest pelts draped across their shoulders so they blend in - the copybotters.
Many often like to portray themselves as upmarket, classy even, supplying the best products at reduced rates because... well... they're nice people.
These people lure in unsuspecting residents who know no different undermine the work of those dedicated to creating new and original content, until in the end, covered in bitemarks, some or more of the designers fall by the wayside, raising a their arms in capitulation that they can no longer face making more stuff to be ripped off. Lost Thereian, RIP...
Well, I talk in metaphors as last week I was bitten for the first time. One of my braided styles that I'm getting more and more known for was ripped off by a 'botter from Brazil... so I spent hours poring over the legal requirements of submitting an official complaint, citing the DMCA in the USA, and then faxing Linden Labs with the claim.
It was upheld. The offending product has been removed.
OK... This is a good thing, in a small way, but I lost two days of my works time trying to rectify this issue, and I don't know how much in revenue... chances are not a lot... but still - not good when I make between sod and bugger all on a daily basis at the best of times.
One has to wonder though, how long until it happens again... and will the frequency of such copies increase? Who knows. All I want to say is thanks to the removals team at Linden Labs for their prompt response.
So... where am I going with this? Not sure... I guess I wanted to just say the folowing to all you out there in SL land. New users, established residents and anyone else that I choose not to categorise.
There is no such thing as legitimate, good, free hair. There is no such thing as a legitimate, good free skin. The ONLY exception to these rules are group gifts from established designers... and these are NEVER offered full perm.
If you find full perm skins or hair, they're ripped off. If you resell them, you're selling illegal goods, whether you choose to admit it or not. You are NOT doing new residents a favour, you're simply perpetuating the abuse of the designers working like slaves to keep ahead of the copybots; and you're flooding the market with cheap black-market merch that we have to fight against. Full permission, copied work is, in SL, like a big fat bag of crack is in RL. Expensive, Illegal, and dangerous. Some people think it's OK, and choose to take it... well more fool them. Some think "how much harm can it do" and sell it on... well...
Sooner or later a crack dealer's going to hear about a client who's died as a result of their efforts to make a few dollars. Sooner or later, the designer who's been ripped off is going to walk; and SL will be poorer as a result. Please... no matter how much of a bargain or a get rich quick scheme you think it is, don't deal in 'botted merchandise.
Thanks for reading.