Monday, March 10, 2008

The Tree Guy, Walking the Plank and Twerps

Content Theft.


You guys may remember I got giddy er... I mean, expressed my concern over this when I mentioned ThereseTammas' naked protest in the middle of Linden Village (A Nekkid Protester and a Rip Off).

And you probably suffered through my rant with Crackers, Onion Rings and the Law.

Well, my sister got a notecard from a well known shoe designer transcripting a conversation with someone who ripped her off. The crackers attitude? "It's just a gaaaaaame." The designer's attitude? "It's my livelihood you little twerp."

While doing my what is everybody up to? search, poor Wrath Paine had it out with a tree designer who had suffered content loss and thought Wrath was the bad guy. It was clearly a mistake that was worked out later and Wrath expects his trees delivered soon to help him continue to contribute his part in the beautification of SL.

And while lost in a shop I had no idea how I got there, I overheard a DJ whine to a gal that someone stream-ripped his set and used it as their own. I can hear the RIAA having a heart attack, gasping for breath, and falling over from their chairs with a THUMP to the floor as they peek with one eye at the door to see if anyone is watching, then immediately acting dead when they hear a stirring.

You may have also heard that the Skin Fair faced a protest that could have, had it been pressed, prevented the open of fair doors. One of the designers discovered that her line had been pirated and the pirate had a booth. The proverbial Everyone put their foot down (which I doubt was necessary - I imagine had they simply asked, it would have been taken care of but you know SL Drama), the pirate was given the plank, and all designers gleefully opened their skiffs for business.

Meanwhile, skin designers have started an ad campaign depicting nude, well, designers. It is an effort to educate people and to ask that they check the creator when buying. Which reminds me. Someone recently told me that if I have skins in my inventory that look like someone else's, and they aren't marked as such, they are ripped off. I found some skins marked CS. Nice skins actually, although a little too bubble gum for me. And I need to track the creator because guess what? I may have stolen virtual property in my own inventory. How is THAT for news? (whoopie.)

Our friend Tarasia Ashbourne has been a busy little bee as she has worked to organize everyone into one big happy family of victims and potential victims. This was a smart move (and I really do mean that). Now there is a base working against content theft, one that is broader than just the handful that was carrying the torch before, protecting everyone from the big ugly when no one else was looking (unless of course, they themselves were hit). These folks by the way, advocate checking your object creator. Tricky when it comes to stealing textures, but at least you'll sleep at night knowing your brand new prim skirt actually came from the person who sold it to you.

I'm curious however, as to how fullproof this whole effort really is in deterring theft. I came up against a griefer a few weeks ago who scripted something clever. The attack tool she used took on the ownership of the target, but without the target's control. In other words, it masked, making the perp look like the vic. So how hard would it be for clever little scripters to do the same with clothing or shoes or in the case of Wrath's tree guy, a bunch of grass?

There was a copier floating around SL for a bit. The thing was for sale for several thousand bucks before Lindens pulled it. All you had to do was wear it, and basically click. The thing did the rest. Copy a skirt? NP. Copy shoes? NP. Copy a tree? NP. Copy a weapon? NP. Copy artwork? NP. You get the idea.

Somehow, the hackers creed no longer seems to apply. Content theft is real and it plays with real people's lives. Fun to steal a pair of boots and resell them as your own until you find out that that pair of boots was putting shoes on five real life kids. Funny thing to me is that the same people who often declare freedom in content the most passionately, are often the same ones that want poor kids to have shoes. Nice to know they can virtually rip them right off their cold little feet. It may be a fun little game for you, but it's life for others. So what does that say about your character?

By the way, where are the folks from CSI-NY when you need them?

What? Like I can't add to the drama?

*** Update! Kitty Box Fashion Show, 4pm, March 11th. To support the fight against content theft. The ad was kinda purrrdy. Black and white n all that jazz you hip cat. Renneville Square, Klapheck (168, 50, 29)

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