PostHeaderIcon You make widgets. Someone makes a better widget. ZOMFG! I.P. THEFT!!!

The whole Intellectual Property (I.P.) Theft issue in Second Life is getting whacked out of proportion. And, unfortunately, there are those that would use whatever means to blow things entirely out of proportion to advance their own agenda to advance themselves no matter who it hurts, such Tenshi Velle's irresponsible shouting over at shopping cart disco and the Second Life Herald over alleged skin theft... that wasn't.

Don't get me wrong - if it's unethical, it's unethical. But to slander and libel others without proof or far worse, without going to the source of alleged infringement is living dangerously at best.

So, you make widgets and your widgets are selling pretty well. The widgets are creative and people really like your widgets. Second Life is not really a place where you intend to make any real money, but it's a place to turn your 2D artist experience into 3D creations and widget-making is a perfect way to express your artisan prowess.
someone else made a widget, too... OMG, someone else made a widget, TOO.

And... and it looks like... well... it's obvious they are stealing my idea. How dare they even think they can steal my idea! ZMFG this is Intellectual Property Theft! They must take down their widgets because it's obvious they took their widget idea from my creations!

wait... someone... omg...
Oh, going to refuse my take down request, huh? Fine. Then I'll just spread the word on my own through all the IP Advocate groups and drag your name through the mud.


Okay. True story. Let me tell you about it.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am very good friends with the accused. In fact, we spend a lot of time together in Second Life. So, if you feel my report here is biased, okay, fine. But be sure to head to the source material I prove at the end of this post to see how literally 99.95% of everyone else speaking to this exact issue and subject feels the same way.

SOURCE: Obviously I knew about this scenario before this thread was initially posted. But I will base everything off the SL Exchange Forums Thread here:

So here is the gist, the way I see it

  • Hair and jewelry creator creates creative hair. really, it's nice stuff.

  • Clothing creator have been experimenting with hair creation for six-months. Releases a three-month effort that suddenly takes-off in sales and "flying off the shelves"

  • First creator sees the new hair styles just released... allegedly contacts new creator - demanding a take down because the styles are too similar and it is therefore "theft".

  • Second creator refuses.

  • First creator pulls a Danae Kotsi and and starts broadcasting the infringement though the I. P. Advocate groups - in effect accusing a rather high-profile I. P. Advocate and coordinator of I. P. theft. (Umm - twisted irony here I think.)

  • Turns out the effort completely backlashes against first creator and they are quickly discredited.

Okay, thread clips:

Delora (defenant) says:
This morning, I logged in to find out that I have been accused of content theft and intellectual property infringement over my brand new product line of hairstyles. An established fantasy-hair designer has declared that my work is too similar to his, and that I should remove them from my store.
I do not have the products up on SLX yet, as I only released my first four hairstyles (after 6 weeks of work, hand-painting textures, etc) just a few days ago.
However, I'm quite dismayed; the other creator chose to launch a smear campaign against me without bothering to speak with me beforehand, via posting a notice to a high-membership update group.
I am asking for opinions. Similarities are going to happen in any circumstance, as there are only so many ways you can build a ponytail, or fasten french braids to a base.
First set of images are the other content creator's hair, two of the ones he said I have infringed upon. The second set of pictures are two of my four hairstyles.
I am concerned and frustrated. The hate IMs have been coming at me non-stop since I logged in, and I am not going to take down product that I have worked long and hard on just because someone (who I see as a potential competitor) says I have stolen his art.

So, skipping all the participant posts in the thread... and several posts later... Delora (defendant) says:
"The thing is with this situation is that the creator has not filed a DMCA, and has stated that he does not plan to. He told me to remove the products from my shelves, and that he doesn't plan to DMCA me. I don't want to smear the other creator in any way, shape or form. That's not my style. He, however, seems to want to get the word out that I am a bad person."

Several posts later... Tekelili (plaintiff) says:
"As I've already stated to Delora and anyone else- yes, I feel infringed upon, but also, was not going to file a DMCA. All that matters to me is that it is known who the ideas are coming from- as, this forces me to defend myself from potential accusations of future theft. I have no desire for drama- merely to defend my artistic integrity from potential issues in the future.
Inspiration is one thing- using sectional stylistic elements is another. It is true that this sort of creativity theft isn't illegal in SL, but it sure is unethical, and, forces the original creator of a design style to make it clear who came first, lest they have to put up with trouble later.
-Tekelili Tantalus, disappointed artist."

[EDIT: Comment - I cannot stand people who would cause problems and accuse others because of something that has not happened but likely might happen in the future. Anyone remember the movie "Minority Report"?]

Several posts later... Ari Blackthorne says (included because plaintiff replies directly to my post, but still doesn't answer my question):
Hey, there are times we open a can of worms and it's unlabeled - then it's too late.
So - where did you get your inspiration from? I can think of a lot of different places in and out of world. Just seems a bit unfair that your would assume and then proclaim that anyone got their inspiration from your work.
A bit conceited isn't it? Not sarcasm, but a genuine question you may want to ask yourself.


Several posts later... Tekelili (plaintiff) says (in response to my post):
"Out of my own head- I'm a 2d artist, with lots of crazy ideas in my skull. And this is why I'm upset.
I'm not in SL design for the profit- merely to be able to share the crazy notions that appear in my head. There's few things more surreal than waking up to seeing precise -elements-, not the full hairstyle, being appropriated into a piece of work by someone else. It's like Frankenstein having a go at your children, leaving one feeling unsettled and creeped out.
No one unfamiliar with the work would be able to realize on a glance that there is sectors of her hairs that are the same as mine. The ornamentation is different, and, it is pieces of some combined with pieces of others. I have already stated I am not filing a DMCA.
I have but one concern- people coming to me later, and accusing me of stealing these design elements from this infringer. I have done my own part to combat the situation, and have made it very clear that this is a Frankenstein-like job, and, that I am not accusing anyone of prim-for-prim theft here, and not filing DMCA, as, it is -not- a case of direct theft.
I've said my part now, and really have no need to say more."

Okay, except for my one post, this is the only real conversation either the accused (Delora) or the Accuser (Tekelili) have divulged. At least Delora left it to those partaking in the thread to comment for themselves (unlike the alarmists mentioned above) - and simply sat to the sidelines letting it play out. It is good that Tekelili made a posting, too. But unfortunately didn't really make good use of it to simply apologize and let the whole thing die, because it is plainly obvious in my eyes (and everyone else who commented) that there is absolutely no infringement here.

I am not a fast-food eater, but does one burger taste any better than another burger from a different restaurant?

Maybe I was stuck under a rock, but I certainly don't remember McDonalds dragging Burger King's name through the mud because they made a hamburger that appears to look a helluvalot like the McDonalds version.

ZMFG! The color of the buns at Burger King are even similar to the ones at McDonalds! It's I. P. THEFT! They got their inspiration from McDonalds!!!
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