Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but it’s important to protect your creations in the Second Life world. We respect Residents’ copyrights in works they create, and we’d like to tell you about tools you can use to protect your copyrighted content and how we’re working to improve them. As a reminder, you don’t have to register with the U.S. Copyright Office for copyright protection, but registration is useful in supporting your copyright claim. For more on this, visit the Copyright Office website.
Object Inspector Feature
If you’re concerned about infringing copies of your inworld objects, check out the data we’ve made available about when objects were first created or rezzed inworld. This feature is available for objects only (not textures), and should help Residents determine which object came first in Second Life and empower them to better resolve copying claims among themselves. If you right-click on an inworld object and then click More > More > Inspect, you can see the creation date and creator of each prim in a linkset. For more information on this feature, check out Torley’s new video tutorial called “How old is an object?”:
If you find this feature useful or have suggestions, please let us know!
The DMCA Process
Our DMCA policy is also a valuable tool for combating illegal copying. The DMCA provides a specific process for removing content that’s much faster and less expensive than a copyright lawsuit. Otherwise, courts resolve copyright claims – usually only after reviewing evidence about a work’s creation, ownership, permissions given, and defenses like fair use.
It’s important to note that the DMCA process is a legal process. The U.S. Congress created it for online service providers like Linden Lab because it’s hard for them to know whether a work is infringing without a court’s determination. So it’s critical to follow the steps in the DMCA policy.
To make sure DMCA claims are processed quickly, we’ve committed more resources to the process. As part of a more robust process, we’ll be sending an additional status notification. After receiving from you a clear notice that meets the DMCA’s requirements, we’ll send you an email so that you know your claim is in progress. We also notify Residents whose items are the subject of the claim so they have an opportunity to remove the items from both inworld and inventory locations and, if appropriate, submit a DMCA counter-notice. When Residents don’t immediately remove the identified items from these locations, we act to remove them. We then notify you of your claim’s resolution.
To help with information required under the DMCA, we’re also developing a new form for submitting DMCA claims. The goal of the form is to help Residents provide all the necessary DMCA information upfront and reduce the number of claims that require supplementation (which slows down the process because we need to ask the Resident who filed the claim for more information).
It’s extremely important to submit a DMCA claim if you’re unable to resolve your issue by contacting the other Resident. Your DMCA claim not only lets us know about your dispute, it gives us more complete information about “repeat infringers,” or Residents who’ve been notified of infringing activity or had content removed more than twice. Repeat infringers are issued warnings and may be suspended or ultimately banned from Second Life.
CopyBot Infringement – A Terms of Service Violation
Finally, to reiterate our policy on CopyBot: Any use of it to make infringing copies violates the Terms of Service and may result in suspension or banning of Second Life accounts. If you believe that a Resident has used CopyBot (or a similar application) to make infringing copies of your content, please file an abuse report and provide as much information as you can to support your claim. Although technology can’t prevent the copying of data drawn on your screen, we don’t tolerate Residents who seek to profit from infringing use of CopyBot.
We’re sometimes asked why Residents are allowed to have or sell copying devices. The answer is that there are legitimate uses of a copying mechanism. It’s the infringement that we don’t allow and won’t tolerate.
We’ll keep you posted as we continue to work on improving our tools and policies that help copyright owners manage their content in Second Life.