Calling Out Content Thieves

On episode 19 of the podcast Second Style Stylecast, Daphne Abernathy and Tamera Kirshner had a very interesting interview with Roslynn of Fluer, and Iris of Second Style Magazine. They were discussing the latest controversy regarding content theft of skins and designs that everyone has been talking about for the past couple of weeks.

One of the things they discussed in the interview is the question of what people should do when they suspect they have spotted stolen skin or clothing in another store. The problem is.. to people more directly involved in the fashion industry, spotting something like this may be easier to do than it would be for the average consumer. Now granted, I am getting to the point where I can recognize a skirt someone is wearing and know they got it at Wrong.. or an outfit I saw at Last Call. But when it comes to things like skin or shapes, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea. I wonder if there is a misconception that most people would know that the $50L skin they’re looking at in store X is actually a creation from Fleur or RaC. Maybe some people can recognize this, but I know I sure can’t. I have to wonder how many times I’ve encountered stolen content and never had a clue.. if I see a product on a display, how could I ever know who actually created it?

So here is my question to all the designers and bloggers out there. Why can’t we call out the content thieves and their stores by name? In the interview, Roslynn referred to one such thief as ‘this guy’ from ‘this store’. How would I know if I stumbled into ‘this store’ sometime in the next couple of days, when I don’t know the name of it. I would certainly avoid businesses if I knew they were responsible for selling stolen goods. But without that information, I’m just as ignorant as all the other people who are accidentally buying from the dishonest shops.

What I think would be great is if once a creator has positively identified what stores are selling their items.. if we could start calling out the names of the stores. Better yet would be to have a website listing with the name of the store and the store owner. There was a huge movement recently to get everyone to vote on a website to get Linden Labs to do something about content theft. Why can’t there be a bigger movement to publically list these thieves, so everyone would know exactly who they are. Since this whole thing has started, I’ve only seen 2 names listed.. and they were just mentioned in a blog post right now. I couldn’t even begin to remember who they were, or what stores they owned. Or even where to find that information again.

The people concerned about putting a stop to content theft are worried that Linden Labs or other legal methods just don’t move quickly enough. Something as simple as putting up a website and listing the people who run shady practices could throw a more immediate wrench into what they’re doing. Sure, they could always make another alt, or open another store. But there’s only so many alts one can make.. and how many stores can they really afford to open just to sell stolen skins? Why can’t we make this information public and make things SO difficult for them to continue doing this, that it shuts them down forever?

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~ by Nika Dreamscape on February 15, 2008.

One Response to “Calling Out Content Thieves”

  1. part of the problem is proving it. and people are people. there’ve been false accusations before. naming names before anything’s proven would be very wrong. and very bad.

    now for sure in the case where dedric muriac found someone selling a freebie item of his, still all packaged originally, etc, there was nothing to prove. the idiot selling it proved it for him. you can see stuart warf’s blog for an example of a place that resells free stuff to newbies or other unaware people.

    stealing other people’s work is bad. sometimes i think we need to be careful to careful analyze situations where a couple people are trading accusations back and forth. sometimes the victim is really not the victim at all.

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