Second Life – Copybot Viewer Debate

Video Index

00:00 – This video starts with a restatement of Brooke’s question as asked in chat.

01:05 – Vir gives what I consider a real answer when he says he’s out of the loop on theft issues. Brooke responds thinking it is a corporate canned answer. What is the reality? The answer is opinion. It becomes a matter of he, they, we said and think… So, it can’t be objectively decided.

On a social level Brooke was disappointed by not getting an answer he hoped for and I suspect allowed emotion to prompt a rude response. Vir, handled it well, IMO.

Next is a question about whether theft is growing? There is no hard data. No one has been tracking theft, AFAIK. So, we each have our subjective experiences. Some of us are never in places where the issue would come up. Others of us are immersed in it and, of course, all in between. The empirical, subjective opinion is theft is increasing, but no one knows.

03:00 – There is apparently a bug that allows Gotcha and Marketplace single items to be repeatedly resold.

Also, when a DMCA is filed the person often drops the targeted account, opens a new one and relists the stolen goods the next day.

Brooke says the money from sales prior to the DMCA is not taken by the Lab. He thinks that is the issue. Taking the money would remove the incentive for theft. Well… yeah. But, DMCA is just the first step in YOUR working toward taking the money. Even if the DMCA process is completely successful the Lab is never in a place to legally take the money. Only the one filing the DMCA will ever be in that position. Brooke apparently doesn’t understand the legal process.

Rather than learn the process and take on the responsibility, people try to get others to do what they want done. A bit on the entitlement side of the aisle.

05:00 – Vir brings up the problem of preventing theft of digital goods. I find those new to the idea have no clue how impossible it is. Some at the meeting still think there has to be a way. For 40 years it has been an impossible goal.

If you Google for how to prevent theft of digital goods, you’ll find numerous companies taking advantage of the uniformed and selling them protection schemes. Researching the history of digital copy protection buries one is the sales hype. When you find the history, you find the movie and record industry literally spent billions of dollars trying to develop copy protection. Every scheme was defeated in days if not within hours of implementation. The defeats were engineered, usually, by a single individual. So, billions to design and build and less than $100 to defeat.

Politicians that have no concern for free speech made it illegal (DMCA) to talk about or publish how to defeat a copy protection scheme. That doesn’t work either. The web sites move to counties with more free speech or that just want the money from hosting services. Or realize pushing the issue in the US against those violating DMCA speech restrictions would likely cause the law to be over turned on 1st Amendment grounds and won’t risk it.

The informed have learned the copy protection war has lost the technical battle. They have moved on to other solutions.

06:03 – The idea of better management of ownership on the marketplace is proposed. It is a nice idea. But, how does one do that?  What does it require of owners? How complicated will it be? How much ongoing maintenance will it require? How much will it cost and who pays the cost?

06:37 – Brooke can’t understand why an account has to have 6 or 7 DMCA’s filed before the account is banned. It is nearly impossible to know if this is correct, is this the Linden standard for all DMCA bannings or the rare case that get widely pointed to?

I will point out that DMCA abuse is also common in SL. We have had a number of cases where the well-known author of a product has been served a DMCA Take-Down notice by a copybotter. We’ve done fund raisers for their defense. When the legit author fought back the copybotter lost. But, it cost a lot of time and money to fight.

So, even when there is provable ownership and original authorship, there can be disputes, legitimate and dishonest.

07:30 – Banning accounts… You’ve probably noticed that doesn’t work. IP addresses can be faked so, IP banning doesn’t help either.

08:30 – Jessicaann wants the Lindens to have a meeting to find a solution to cut down on theft. Meetings are so productive on these issues… NOT! This presupposes that there is a solution. It also presupposes there is something the Lab has not tried.

08:47 – Cathy Foil wants Linden Lab to run a sting operation. Build viewers they can track and ban those that use them. She presupposes everyone that might use such a viewer knows what a copybot viewer is. Think about that.

09:20 – The in video copybotter I call Miss Masked (MM) explains what she thinks are legitimate uses for a copybot viewer.

Legitimate creation tool…

MM makes video showing how to copybot

A legitimate use would be to retrieve a mesh for which one lost the source files.

Creators that have left and do not support

Fixing things the creator doesn’t want to fix

If you want to change color

I should have the right to change what I want to change.

There are ways to use copybot that are creative.

12:55 – Brooke voices his opinion that people are now becoming disenchanted with SL and leaving because of content theft. I am surprised he’s just noticing and/or thinks something has changed. He also thinks if there is a meeting they can find a solution.

13:36 – There is a difference between modifying something you bought for your use and modifying it to sell or give away to others. Cathy believes the prior is still wrong. I address the legal aspect in the article above.

14:50 – Vir points out that Content Creation is not the place for a content theft discussion.

16:00 – Question. Have you [Vir] made progress on a Animesh viewer? Yes. Doesn’t know when he’ll have a test version. Getting link sets to work. Coming along well. But, there is a good ways to go before getting a test viewer out.

19:25 – End CC UG meeting. Post-meeting continues.

There are those that think users should be licensed to upload.

Some think there is no legitimate use of a copybot viewer.

Some think educational use, to learn how something was done, is an OK use. That can be stealing trade secrets.

MM says everything on the Internet and in RL can be stolen. The sooner one accepts that the less headaches one will have.

23: 29 – MM thinks if she buys something, she can modify it for her own use.

24:00 – Vincent thinks uploaded mesh should contain verified personal information. It does now. But, if you add information into the mesh matrix in the hope of catching a thief, you have to find a way to keep the thief from removing the information.

27:30 – Copybot viewers sold and free. Most are considered to have malicious code. But MM thinks not as the authors of copybot viewers have a reputation to maintain… I suppose that is an honor among thieves thing.

28:15 – W͠ h͡ i͝ r l͞ y͠  ͝ F͞ i͠ z͡ z l͝ e͠ : CB [copybot] viewer creators are not your friends!  They phone home your avatar name & password & your account is at risk of being stolen.  Also, they connect to the CDS database directly as soon as you launch the viewer.  It wasn’t that long ago that Sims got caught adding back doors!

28:40 – Cathy tried to challenge MM’s logic.

36:00 – Cathy states her policy for giving away free copies.

MM gives her justification for stealing it, making money, then buying it.

Cathy sees theft of MayaStar in that style as crappy advertising.

39:47 Medhue voices his opinion that if they plan to make money with it they should buy it.

41:00 – Good people but, can’t afford it.

42:25 – Cathy talks about her development costs

44:00 – Cathy is wondering why the Lab cannot come up with a marker to ID things in the market places so they’ll know when something is stolen. She edits DAE files, or at knows those of us that do, so I can’t imagine why she thinks those ID’s won’t be removed.

46:15 – Cathy is ‘assuming’ how copyboting is done.

47:30 – MM points out some don’t care if they are caught. They open a new account and restart.

47:50 – Cathy’s two-part approach.

48:45 – Brooke agrees with MM that people won’t mind getting caught. They’ll get a new IP Address and open a new account. Brooke thinks one has to cut off the money.

49:30 – Jalynne pulls in RL experience referring to the movie and record industries efforts to protect digital media, which all failed.

50:15 – Jalynne believes digital media copying can’t be stopped. Cathy thinks it can be slowed down. But, Cathy has to presuppose it hasn’t already been slowed or can be slowed more.

50:42 – TieGuaiLi thinks fines would increase the risk and slow theft.

51:15 – Medhue doubts a whole avatar or Animesh can be copyboted. So, extra value would be a good deterrent.

53:30 – MM says you have to accept it that’s just the way the world is.

53:50 – Medhue rebuts that’s the way it is. His understanding fits reality.

54:27 – MM says if producers stop producing to be stolen they will suffer just as much. She is so simple minded… Read Fountainhead.

54:48 – TieGuaiLi points out that in RL its less of a problem because you can whack ‘em with a stick. I like the thinking.

55:24 – Medhue, there are enough honest people in SL that it works.

58:07 – Brooke is talking about meeting enough people in SL that are frustrated, they’ll figure out something to fix the problem. O.O like tens of thousands haven’t already reached that point over the last 14 years…

59:35 – Back to requiring ID…

1:02:10 – Question about whether LoD’s for bodies are worth the time? Top and next down, yes. Two lowest, no and most makers skip them and no one notices.

From here to the end of the video they are talking about making mesh bodies.

1:18:18 – End

11 thoughts on “Second Life – Copybot Viewer Debate

  1. Thanks for putting this up. Copybotting is here because people allow excuses for it. Crime hapens, but we don’t allow it when society is healthy.

    I had a biz that I payed bills with in real life, so much hard work, lost it to copybotters. This isn’t ok or just how it is. I live remotely, very little work here, it was very important income to me. I had a nervous breakdown over it. Things are not good in our home now.

    I have warned off quite a few business and creators from SL and will continue to do so until they show some respect for small business, which thye won’t, as they too profit off all the unreported thieved stuff at 5%.

    What is needed is a mass law suit on LL and a change in culture, not everyone is fast enough to keep up products ahead of the thieves , not everyone wants to be exploited by thieves. some people feel so devastated by the loss of their income they become slower or stop. And really, there is no point.

    I am sorry I am so upset here, but I am gutted, this is what it does to people, many people.

    Sickening how people had a laugh and friendly chat with the copybotter at the end.

    • Being the target of theft and having it disrupt your business, which is the somewhat hidden cost of theft, is certainly traumatic.

      Your remedy of a lawsuit against LL and a ‘change in culture’ are both out of touch with reality. There is no historical evidence, in 7,000+ years, there has ever been a culture without theft. What possible cultural change do you think is needed? And why would every single human in such a culture choose to abide by it?

      Your proposed lawsuit likely presupposes there is something the Lab could do about theft that it isn’t doing. What, exactly, might that be?

      Digital content, which people can use, is subject to theft. (period) Both the music and movie industries have spent huge sums to develop anti-theft schemes. It has been an ongoing, escalating battle for decades. Expensive schemes months and years in development have been defeated in days if not hours. Software and hardware gimmicks have all been defeated. In general, the industry has given up on a technological solution.

      If you think LL lacks respect for the creative types… explain why Sansar is being designed for creative types? No one invests millions in a group they have no respect for.

      Your bitterness sounds misplaced.

      The laughter with the copybotter and the copybotter’s belief her behavior was justified/acceptable reveals the lack of philosophical depth and insight in today’s culture.

  2. To be honest, i see copybotting as sort of punishment for bad quality or bad content habits. In all my 10 years SL i have never seen a copybotted item and especially not one of content creators that are open and honest with their content. You would think with the creator openly offering all PSD’s of their textures as well as all models and rigging/UV data someone would do bad stuff with it. Seems like being open and honest pays off in the end as these are the least copybotted items. So few that there hasn’t been a single report.

    But ohwell that’s just my unpopular opinion.

    Whoever copybots bad content, please continue. May you continue doing god’s work and may you never be tempted to copybot good content so that it will always stay good and open, without hassle for modders.

  3. Copybots *can’t* be used to steal everything. They can rip mesh, prims, textures, sounds, notecards, and (under some circumstances) animations. Rigged mesh can only be ripped in an unrigged form. This is why we don’t see copied mesh bodies; although the copybot can dump the model, it doesn’t have access to the rigging data, and content thieves are far too lazy to do that amount of work.

    They do this by taking the data directly out of the client; most inventory permissions are actually implemented on the server. This is why scripts cannot be ripped. (Thus, unless you’re trying to stop a customer from changing the colour of an item, selling no-mod products is pointless and harms the customer.)

    Most high-profile cases of content theft consist of someone simply re-selling full-perms mesh at a lower price, which violates the terms provided by the item’s maker, but does not involve using a copybot. Similar problems exist around selling models meant for use in Poser/DAZ3D, or ripped content from games, though for clothing these do generally require re-rigging.

    • Technically you are right on most points. As to how much work thieves will put in… There are few that seem to never know when to quit.

  4. I know I am bitter, of course I am. I am upset every time this comes up. If I wasn’t I’d be worried about myself. I was just relieved someone posted something about it and let it all hang out. Like I say I would one of many, SL has probably survived, in it’s own way thrived, for so long because it offers the little person a chance to make a genuine part or even full income and is available remotely world wide. And yes, I agreed with you first up, there is crime in our nature.

    When I say a change in culture, I mean, not the mass think of simply sitting back and accepting it. We can fight this and should. Ideas around trying to work with or around thieves aren’t helping anyone. In all our history as well, we’ve also fought crime. Places where people don’t or can’t fight it aren’t pretty.

    If we go with trying to work with it as part of life to the degree it happens now, then the only ones who will be able to work and survive it are the huge teams,Blue Berry and Meli Ameko (sp) etc, there won’t be any small original shops left.

    LL could ban the thieves and all accounts linked, by email, IP mac addy etc, they simply don’t. Yes it would be extra work, but work worth doing.
    They could pull the entire copy bot store off line & don’t. They get 5% of each sale.
    They could put warnings out on the start up screen about phishing scams with which the copy botters steal accounts to use on MP, they don’t.
    There is no way on earth I would encourage anyone into this environment. I do think some kind of action, if not a law suit, then something as forceful, is needed to make LL do the things they can do and aren’t is needed. By trying to work around it or compete with theft we/they actually give it a place.

    If you go to MP, select full perms & newest first, often you will see at least 50 percent, at times more, stolen content.
    Usually these too are small creators. Also if you go to these copybot sites and take a look, i did, they want people to steal (copybot) some items before they will let them share the stolen booty, not a nice culture.

    The IP laws online are hopeless, I think adapted from pre online days, laws change when pressured. Remember that fellow who sued LL over his sex anims being copybotted, he won, so I guess they tightened their laws ot avoid that again, but it can go the other way and they can also change their own laws to fight thieves, but only if we force, otherwise it will stay at talk. These days much of big biz is about “what it can get away with,’ not “what is the right thing to do here.’ I’m just saying It DOESN’T have to be this bad.

    Anyway I mean no offence, as I said before, that you post this is appreciated. I ‘m being honest in how I feel and think on this, and what has happened in our lives re having our small biz stolen.

    • I think you miss understand the nature of bitterness. Also, to become upset every time this comes up is its own set of issues. There are healthier ways to move on.

      I agree if one is not trying to mitigate crime and reduce it, the culture will devolve into a cesspool. But, not learning from history leaves one repeating others failures.

      I do not understand why you think large groups can better survive the impact of theft. As one person, I have no payroll. My costs are minimal. A large group has a much higher operating cost. So, why do you think theft of their IP and subsequent lost sales will hurt them less?

      You seem to think LL doesn’t ban known thieves or close Marketplace stores. I addressed that in the article. You seem to be ignoring all the legal problems I pointed out and try to put it all back on the Lab. Thus, my doubting your knowledge of the reality of the situation.

      Blocking by IP Address, MAC Address, and other identifying tags is useless. Search on ‘how to fake IP Address location’ and you get 1.5 million hits. Faking MAC, 10 million. There are 4.6 million hits for software to fake online ID. Any determined thief can have a new online ID in hours and be back online.

      I can understand why you wouldn’t encourage people to enter the environment you imagine/perceive. I wouldn’t either. I just don’t see where you are perceiving reality. You also seem to be presupposing SL is the only place where this is going on. That certainly isn’t the case. Everything digital is being stolen from all the game makers and those marketing digital goods. So, are you telling people don’t do anything digital?

      When you go to the marketplace, how do you determine what is legal and what is stolen?

      You are right, the people running copybot sites have no principled ethics. Slimy. Steal for us, but not from us, is their motto. They go to great lengths to make it hard to steal from them. Yet, they too get ripped off. But, they are slow learners.

      Copyright laws and IP theft laws haven’t changed much since DMCA was passed. Stroker Serpentine (Kevin Alderman) is not the only one to sue and win. Since you are guessing about the laws I’ll take it you are pretty much uninformed on the subject of IP & Copyright law in virtual worlds.

      The laws aren’t hopeless. The legal process is too expensive for most of the issues in SL. Someone making $50 or $60k a year living from SL really can’t afford to hire an attorney and eat too. Those with the entitlement mindset tend to ignore the reality of life and the stress placed on our legal system and ramble about how it is SUPPOSED to take care of them. Those people are miserable.

      If you have an online theft, the FBI won’t even consider investigating until the amount is over US$250k. And that is an old number. I suspect it is higher now.

      “change their own laws to fight thieves” … you seem to forget or not know, SL doesn’t get to make laws. The ToS is not a law. If you aren’t clear on that and what it means, you are out way far from reality.

      That statement presupposes they haven’t done something they could do. What is it you think they haven’t done?

      “I’m just saying It DOESN’T have to be this bad.” Have you ever considered proving that? Answering the question either requires one to remain shallow and quote clichés (opinions) or dive deeply into the philosophical. Which will you do?

      Life is what it is. Then there is what we think it is. We can choose how we see life. You’ve chosen to be bitter and get worked up.

      We can change our local environment. But, we aren’t going to change 7+ billion people.

      I take no offense at your viewpoint. I just see it as out of touch with reality. That usually leads people to misery and they can’t understand why. They blame others, which makes them a helpless victim. Sad. There are better courses of action.

  5. Since LL “owns” anything and everything uploaded to SL, to me this is a form of theft and copybotting. In reality, InfoSocialism is here to stay. You wont be able to sit on your laurels and get income all your liife (like Gone With the Wind), you must constantly produce to make money. LL takes from the creators and makes it theirs. Period. Now thing about that!

    • You have a weird idea of what theft is. Have you considered joining the shared reality?

      Since you clicked the agreement for use of SL you and everyone else clicking gave LL permission to use the content uploaded. At no time were any of the people uploading forced to upload. LL has taken nothing. The creators of content they upload retain all rights to the content. They didn’t lose anything. Rational thinking people are clear that once they share something with someone, like LL, it is impossible to exclusively share it with another.

      InfoSocialism is a concept the ‘me-first’ generation seems to love. They have yet to figure out why it doesn’t work in the long run. Nor have they matured to the point they have bothered to learn how and why society works as it does.

  6. I’d like to correct Rhetorica’s information. Rig data CAN be downloaded with the model. The reason behind Firestorm not being able to download it with geometry is that the developer didn’t find it necessary. After all, you’re downloading your own creation.

    But the rig information is in the viewer cache inside the same data chunk where the geometry is.

    And copy-botters have the tools to download, decode and upload a rigged mesh back to SL, as their creation.

    Only no-mod scripts are safe from downloading, but not from being reused in a new object.

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