by prokofy on 14/11/06 at 7:22 pm


By Prokofy Neva, Community Affairs Dept.

Hundreds of stores were shuttering their doors tonight all over the grid of Second Life in protest against CopyBot, a cloning agent devised by a reverse-engineering team called libsecondlife. which evidently did not go back in the box when its designers summoned it last night. Angry residents quickly pulled out huge blue textures saying “Sorry We’re Closed Thanks to CopyBot” and mounted them on plazas, malls, storefronts, clubs, and homes on numerous sims.

Residents rapidly reacted to the threat of rampant copyright threat and organized their activist groups with hundreds of participants, using the social software of the 3-D online streaming world.

They fear that their hard-won position as unique content creators in the popular new virtual space will be lost with what they view as a callous attitude from software experimenters who have been telling them to just “make more new stuff” and not worry about whatever is stolen. “Information likes to be free,” is the programmers’ rallying cry, which has been met with angry rebuff by scores of people who make their living, part-time or full, from Second Life.

Even as Lindens belatedly began to take action in the face of mass protest, stores kept closing because while evidently recognized as a TOS violation, the CopyBot script was not being deprecated from the server. Stores, clubs, and services closing included: Pottery Loft, Dragonfly Designs, Celestial City, The Edge, Ravenglass Rentals Office, Ramos Designs, Simone!, Twistted Dreams, Southern Paradise Prefabs,
kandeland, 2 Sisters, Dream of the Vixen, Royalty, FF~Shoe Creations, and many more.


  1. Gordon Wendt

    Nov 14th, 2006

    I honestly don’t believe that places like The Edge are going to stay closed since the public outrage would be too much to bear and also because they’re such a huge place and the only true 24 hour club in SL, same with Dragonfly Designs since it’s a big shot and gaming complex… that would be like IDP (Icedragons Playpen) shutting down over this and if that happens I’m pulling my money and leaving though I’m contemplating doing that anyway before the entire market crashes over this.

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 14th, 2006

    Join the group STOP THE COPYBOT!!! to see the list of stores in the “proposals” section. I imagine their protest will not last, but it’s hard to say. I think some are mollified by the Linden announcement about declaring the bot a TOS violation, but many people feel they should take more action and stop the script’s actions.

  3. Rokku Carlton

    Nov 14th, 2006

    I am new to SL and its a pain in the rear. So much politics and messed up management. I am not protected in the slightest.

    I have closed my club (GAY LONDON & FRIENDS) in PADUK and my shop in OEDO NO (MY FIRST DANCEFLOOR).

    Finished before they even began.

  4. Artemis Fate

    Nov 14th, 2006

    Wow, I didn’t really give any attention to Copybot before, but if Copybot is singlehandedly bringing down all kinds of annoying hoochie clubs and stores then Horray for Copybot!

    The sound of self-righteous huffs is deafening.

  5. Eric Maelstom

    Nov 14th, 2006

    I just copied the image and the text from this article using a nefarious bit of code called a “web browser”.

  6. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 14th, 2006

    I counted at least 80 stores that announced closures just in the one group Stop CopyBot!!! and I was deluged with notices also from tenants. Many hundreds have been closing their stores.

    While you can copy text from a webpage, if you were to attempt to copy a creative work of art like a painting or picture or logo, you might find yourself either unable to right-click because it was blocked from copying, or if you did copy and resell it for profit, you could face a take-down notice from the provider if the creator filed a complaint.

    Web is web; SL is a world; people treat it differently. Part of growing the metaverse is accepting that people do not treat it as the web, but more like the world than you imagine.

  7. Eric Maelstrom

    Nov 14th, 2006

    I understand the concerns of SL content creators; nobody wants to be ripped off, and no reasonable person would advocate theft of their creations. However, the protests going on seem to be equivalent to people abandoning their homes because they have just learned it is possible for someone to pick the lock on the front door.

    To use a real world image, because it is possible for me to record a copyrighted televison show on my VCR or Tivo, should the inventor of these devices be hounded to death by an angry mob of television producers?

  8. Atom Lahtoh

    Nov 14th, 2006

    Eric, I agree. To put it in a SL perspective (though a little unfair, as there is more at stake) I could simply ‘print screen’ of any texture I want. That’s a large chunk of SL business ‘robbed’ just by using a button that is included on every computer since long before SL was around.

    If these same people were in RL would they bring signs to peoples houses and force them from their homes? SL and RL are different, but the people aren’t.

    I also don’t think that most people get what LIBSL is trying to do, or why LL supports their work. LL, from what I’ve read wants to go open source. From that it’s not insane to believe that the LIBSL project + IBM couldn’t actually bring true freedom to SL – free from monthly charges, tier prices, or even having to host servers from LL. The CopyBot problems will probably be a wrinkle just like inventory loss and other issues are — only if something is open source there are usually more eyes fixing the problem.

    The irony is that many of these shops didn’t pay for their copy of photoshop or bryce 6 (or whatever 3D app people are using) and yet charge and earn money from their subsequent works is sad and ironic.

    What made me more sad was that the Creative Commons was empty when I visited it earlier, in SL.

  9. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 15th, 2006

    Who pays, Atom? You imagine all this free stuff, without tier, without server costs – who will pay for those?

  10. Long Live Hoochies

    Nov 15th, 2006

    Don’t worry, Artemis Fate. I’m sure once the “annoying hoochie clubs and stores” are gone, they’ll gladly target the dirty Mad Max/Cyberpunk/Industrial trash that’s uglying up the grid too. Talk about your self righteous huffs. Be careful, your hypocrisy is showing.

  11. Atom Lahtoh

    Nov 15th, 2006

    Essentially end user costs would be distributed to those willing to host their own servers, whether hosted by a third party or themselves. Whatever costs they choose to charge their own users (much like web hosting today) is up to them. A company could host their own SL sims for free, much like your Typepad account, or they could charge people, like Dreamhost does.

    Most larger open source initiatives focus on customer support and knowledge, see MySQL, or IBM’s help with Linux. Future initiatives from LL could include a further separation from client and server, where you could connect from their product or from another, free version – but that is hypothesis.

    @Rokku – Being a land owner in Oedo No, I’ve noticed your land for sale for at about twice the price that I’ve seen in other parts of the sim. Are you sure you weren’t changing things before this all went down? I considered buying your land, but at that price I went elsewhere within the sim, for even lower than they listed. Just saying.

  12. Artemis Fate

    Nov 15th, 2006

    “Don’t worry, Artemis Fate. I’m sure once the “annoying hoochie clubs and stores” are gone, they’ll gladly target the dirty Mad Max/Cyberpunk/Industrial trash that’s uglying up the grid too. Talk about your self righteous huffs. Be careful, your hypocrisy is showing.”

    Ahaha right, the big bad evil corporations want to kill originality, and will thus target one of the smallest minority groups in SL (unlike the staggering amount of idiot hoochies)

    I can’t believe some douchebag actually took on a name like “Long live the hoochies” and attempted (but horrifically failed) a half-assed retaliation.

  13. Long Live Narrowmindedness

    Nov 15th, 2006

    I don’t actually give a rat’s ass about hoochie wear (or artemis fate), I just went deaf from the sound of your self important huff and wondered if you caught the stench when it blew back in your face.

  14. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 15th, 2006

    Typepad is not free; it has a 30-day trial, and it costs $14.95.

    And people hosting their own sims don’t magically turn into John Perry Barlow and just do groovy hippie stuff and make everything free for you to goof around with your friends — if anything, as essentialy boutiques, they’ll have more costs without the bulk purchases and economies of scale of large companies, and have to charge a lot more or provide a lot less. The fantasies and utopian thinking around these basement brewers has really gotten silly.

    People fighting for their livlihoods aren’t doing something stupid; they are sending a very sharp message to those in power — and those who would like to *assume* power over them by undermining their property values — that they will not stand for it.

    And it’s too LL’s credit that unlike the extreme leftist “all property is theft” gang infesting the servers and causing havoc and harm to others, they were brought up short and had to take some measures even to restrain their favourites. This is all good. And boy, are these lessons that competitors are going to learn in spades.

  15. Chrischun Fassbinder

    Nov 15th, 2006

    Saying HUNDREDS OF SL STORES SHUTTER DOORS is the same as saying lots of content creators temporarily remove products from inworld locations. Makes sense, take precautions then wait while riding out the storm.

    Everyone in SL, besides a few bad apples, are doing everything possible towards keeping the world healthy and growing during this _interesting_ development. While it sucks, for what it makes TOS violating possible, it’s going to make interesting history and changes. Look the waves are already helping to goad LL into adopting answers beyond DMCA the next round of hacks.

  16. Artemis Fate

    Nov 15th, 2006

    “I don’t actually give a rat’s ass about hoochie wear (or artemis fate), I just went deaf from the sound of your self important huff and wondered if you caught the stench when it blew back in your face.”

    Well good luck with that, it would have been something had you actually said anything meaninful or at the very least, not staggeringly meaningless.

    I’m sure however, that when you were typing it you thought it sounded badass and meaningfull like something a hero would say in a movie before killing the badguy. Unfortunately for you, when one utters words however, they typically are expected to know what they mean.

  17. Gino McAllister

    Nov 17th, 2006

    People, we must not forget that the issue in all this still remains the copybot and its capabilities up to now ( not to mention its fearsome capabilities after a few updates )

    @ Rokku, M8 in your rage against the hoochies you are forgetting 1 BIG issue here. IT IS DESTROYING ALL OF US!!!! I am no longer willing to take hours of time to create my OWN MADE textures in paintshop then pay LL the fucking cash to upload them for MY buildings so a LOWLIFE SCUMBAG with a copybot can STEAL MY HARD WORK!!!! And aslong as LL ain’t putting their fat arrogant rich asses to work to stop this shit, and stop spitting BS statements. Then why shoud we still pay so much for our lands to them and try to evolve the game with OUR idea’s and UNIQUE creations? COPYBOT DESTROYS THE POSSIBILITY OF UNIQUE ITEMS AND TEXTURES!!!! IT MUST BE STOPPED!!!

  18. Gino McAllister

    Nov 17th, 2006

    People, anybody who is willing to vote an online petition. My wife made a online petition against the copybot. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD !!!!!!!! VOTE ON:


  19. Anand Kumar

    Dec 27th, 2006

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