Our Heros Are Dead

by tenshi on 28/08/07 at 6:59 pm

Content creators feel the pain — Electric Sheep Cory Edo’s SL lockouts & Enktan Gully’s 2+ months without DMCA satisfaction

by Tenshi Vielle, Fabulous Fashionista

As many of you know, I tend to ride the fence on issues regarding Linden Labs. Recent events between residents and Lindens have begun to change my mind; I am definitely pro-content creator and less pro-Linden.

The most recent content creator vs. Linden Labs cases involve the Electric Sheep Company (whose footwork makes Second Life what it is today in the corporate world) and, in smaller but no less important cases, Enktan Gully of Enkythings.

Cory Edo of the ESC was banned once again last week for distributing several payouts of Lindens among different avatars. This occurred once two weeks ago, while she was stress-testing a project. Cory found herself facing lock-out over the weekend, killing any progress she had hoped to achieve on the project. Both instances included over-the-weekend lockup. What exactly is going on here?

In Enktan Gully’s case, her interaction with Linden Labs was to be greatly ignored regarding stolen content and a DCMA she filed because of the lack of action. Enktan has kept me updated through the entire process, and rather than interject my own thoughts into her case, I will simply re-paste what she has told me. Formulate your own opinions. (Those of you may also take note that Enktan runs one of the best, well-organized freebie places in Second Life on her sim – she gets a lot of traffic and spends a lot of time assisting newbies.)

Enktan Gully’s chronology

Stivie Jewell copied 2 of my shoe designs, not copybotted but rebuilt, prim by prim. Stivie also copied the notecards I give with my shoes, simply replaced my name with his. He even forgot to take the name of my update group out of it.

1) 06/05/2007 – I file an Abuse Report: The very next day I got the ‘Resolved’ reply but the copied works were still for sale. So i figured they didn’t consider it a copyright infringement. Then OliveEue Sholokhov from the SLBB asked their lawyer to take a  look at it and said I should file a DMCA notification cause the lawyer thought it was case of copyright infringement.

2) 06/20/07 – I file a DMCA Notification: After 3 weeks without reply I contacted Concierge Live chat. They couldn’t tell me why I got the Abuse Report Resolved message without anything done nor why I got no reply on the DMCA.  They said I should email my concerns regarding this to abuse manager.

3) 07/10/07 – I send an email to abusemanager@secondlife.com:  Again no reply. Two other incidents and I begin to suspect maybe something else is wrong. After explaining the situation to some friends I was suggested to write a letter to Torley Linden and ask if he/she would be willing to take a look at what’s (not) happening.

4) 07/16/07 – I send a notecard to Torley Linden: Although I got the message he/she accepted my notecard I got no reply.

"Hi Torley,

Although it is uncertain what is really happening, I find myself in a very worrying situation.  I’m not sure if and how I can do something about it, but I was told adressing me to you would be the first and best thing to do.

An avatar called Stivie Jewell copied 2 of my shoe designs some time ago.  I filed Abuse Report and the next day I got the ‘Resolved’ reply but the shoes were still for sale at his place. (RT #877357 on 06/05/2007)
So i figured they didn’t consider it a copyright infringment altho it clearly are copies of my designs, not copybotted but rebuild prim by prim. Stivie also copied the notecards I give with my shoes, simply replaced my name by his, he even forgot to take the name of my update-group out of it.
Then OliveEue Sholokhov from the SLBB asked their lawyer to take a  look at it and said I should file a DMCA notification cause the lawyer thought it was case of copyright infringment.  So I did that, the DMCA was send on 06/20/07.

On 06/18/2007 my account got disabled. I was logged off by an administrator without warning or explanation. My account wouldn’t be available for 1h30m. I waited and when I tried to log in it said my account was disabled.
I contacted concierge Livechat and they closed the session when i said my name.  I tried to ask again but they closed the session even before I could finish my sentence!
So no other choise left then calling them.  The person that answered the phone said my account was being investigated in a fraud case and that my account would be back enabled after a few hours.  But it stayed disabled.
When 7 hours later it still wasn’t back I tried Livechat again and this time the Linden there was willing to talk to me.  He connected me with Billing
and the person there asked me if I recently had purchased Linden dollars on e-bay.  I told him I didn’t, that I make enough Lindens in-world to cover all my expenses.  He said that probably somebody had paid me with illegally achieved lindens and finally he enabled my account again.
All IM, notecards and items send to me while my account was disabled were never recieved.
It was a frightning day and it seriously damaged my trust in LL.  I run a high traffic sim and that it is so easy to get my account disabled without even caring to enable it again is very scary.  It doesn’t show any concern towards me or my business.

Two days ago (07/13/2007) Stivie Jewell contacted me.  He invited me to the Yuka shoe store saying they too were selling copies of my designs, wich of course wasn’t true.
He said that now he has a program called Dopestyle to make 99% perfect copies, wich wasn’t the case with the ones he made prim by prim. 
Then he offered friendship and said he wouldn’t copy no more of my shoes.  But then he said that it was no use to ban him from my store cause he uses an alt to make the copies.
I asked if he knew I filed a DMCA against him.  He replied that it would never work as he is from Los Angeles.  He said a Linden told him not to worry about it.
He may be lying about what a Linden may have said but it suits the situation.
So far I haven’t got any response on the DMCA, it’s been more than 3 weeks.. Stivie already changed the name and location of his business..
I contacted Concierge Livechat 5 days ago and they said I should email my concerns regarding this to abusemanager.  Wich i did on 07/10/2007 but again, no reply.

All this gives me the feeling that there may be a Linden that for some reason doesn’t like me, and is working against me.
I have invested more than a year of my life in this virtual adventure, almost every day at work online for many hours.  And this not only to benefit myself, I think I may say that I have spend a lot of time and effort in helping others and contributing to the community. 
Secondlife and enkythings have become very important to me.  And now I’m afraid it may all be in vain.  I am very scared that other of my designs will be copied by Stivie and his Dopstyle program, and that if I ever am able to get them taken down by a DMCA they will be released by an alt full permissions to damage me.

Secondlife used to be fun and magic, and the wonderfull promise of being able to run a small business here as a designer.  At this moment I don’t feel that excited anymore.. why am I treated like this?  I feel it in my stomach.. even difficult to sleep..
I still have the courage to go on and to contribute in this great new world but I so hope it doesn’t turn into a nightmare for me.
Would you please be so kind to look into this situation? There’s still no real harm done and it would be very nice if I could leave all these worries behind me.

Thank you,

I start to search the forums regarding ignored DMCA, to find someone who was in the same situation and after contacting her she gave me the email address of the copyright agent.

5) 08/02/07 – I send an email to copyrightagent@lindenlab.com: After one hour I got a reply. No questions answered but saying they would investigate my DMCA. And indeed on 08/07/07 I got the message that in compliance with the DMCA they have ‘expeditiously’ removed the copied works. The next day Stivie Jewell placed the removed works again in his store. I contact Concierge Livechat and they say I have to file a new DMCA.

6) 08/10/07 – I file a new DMCA Notification: On 08/18/07 I got the reply that in compliance with the DMCA they have expeditiously removed the copied works. The same day Stivie Jewell places the removed works again in his store.

7) 08/18/07 – I file a third DMCA Notification: No reply so far. The copied works are still for sale.

Lindens, where have you gone?

25 Responses to “Our Heros Are Dead”

  1. Vint

    Aug 28th, 2007

    As it’s obvious the avatar in question by now know that he’s doing something wrong, but still continious to do so, why don’t they lock him out of his account for once? Would save them the hassle of repeated DMCA notifications too? ;)

  2. Sn4x15

    Aug 28th, 2007

    Its obvious that LL only cares about your money. In order to get into the SL forums, you are required to have payment info. In order to get into certain places, you are required to have payment info. LL was considering restricting the grid to only those who showed drives licenses, credit cards, etc. LL has only been working on features to attract new premium members, not retain old ones. Lawsuits based on tiny 2-SpaceBuck shoes worth little less than fly crap don’t concern them.

  3. Tenshi Vielle

    Aug 28th, 2007

    I thought of something this afternoon. If movies (DVD format, released to the general public) can have disclaimers and threats of legal action if stolen (re: pirated) – why on earth can’t SL at least have a consequence for stolen content? Um, duh?

  4. Tenshi Vielle

    Aug 28th, 2007

    Requiring payment info is, according to Linden Labs, a way to tell you’re really over 18.

    Yeah, that works.

  5. Somatika

    Aug 29th, 2007

    Heh, Seams like what we are getting over at the Wishfarmers :) We have had some project crippling bugs which just get pushed aside.
    So in this case one of our clients project cannot go mainstream.

    Oh and we have talked face to face with Glen Linden about the issues. Still no help!
    Although I Cannot discuss the project, I can say this bug has cost some major time / money.

    Hey but support with LL is 24/7!

  6. dope style

    Aug 29th, 2007

    dopestyle doesn’t copy things. it’s a combat/tools system.
    either you misunderstood something, or the user who told you lies.

  7. Mortin

    Aug 29th, 2007

    Matrix Quote:
    Morpheus: Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

  8. enktan

    Aug 29th, 2007

    Yes I know now it’s a combat system, i didn’t knew that at the time I wrote the letter. Obviously he was telling lies just to nag me.

  9. shockwave yareach

    Aug 29th, 2007

    While I don’t like copiers and tracers, I’m afraid I dislike the “I made a shoe so nobody else can” attitude worse. If the shoes aren’t copybotted but built by hand, then tough cookies. It’s dishonest, yes, but it’s still his own work. I rather doubt it’s accurate to the mm, so it’s not an exact copy but a close facsimile. So you aren’t going to win it in a court of law, with the lindens, or with the techies who are getting fed up with people pulling out the DCMA at the drop of the hat.

    If you want to hit him where it hurts, hire campers to stand outside the door of his store with a sign reading “BOYCOTT” that gives a notecard when touched, explaining the whole thing. Keeping the ripped off shoes on display just won’t be worth the cost in lost business. Be sure the notecard gives a landmark to your store so folks can compare the shoes and make up their own minds. (Have a sale on the other shoes as well). You’ll have no trouble finding a dozen people willing to camp on public areas around his stores with signs on.

  10. Nacon

    Aug 29th, 2007

    I’m gonna go with what Shockwave said.

    If built by hands, hahahhah… it’s really a tough luck.

    What about the texture, though?

  11. FlipperPA Peregrine

    Aug 29th, 2007

    Linden Lab really needs a mechanism in place to deal with DMCA. Everyone I know who has filed one has not received nearly a satisfactory response, and under the DMCA this puts them in an untenable legal position (shamless plug: listen to the upcoming release of the IP Rights in SL panel I hosted at SLCC if you want more details from an *actual* lawyer, heh). For years, Linden Lab has been able to point at DMCA as a solution, without really having to worry about anyone using it, because of legal fees far outstripping any in-world profit made. Stroker’s case changes everything, and now Linden Lab needs to get behind the 8-ball with a working mechanism to address IP issues in-world.

  12. howdydoody

    Aug 29th, 2007

    Tenshi Vielle the ‘heroes’ were born with kryptonite for brains and doomed from the start. i dunno where you been, toots.

    shockwave yareach, actually no, legally it doesn’t matter if it’s his own work (and not copybotted) to be copyright infringement. the work has to be found by a jury in that case to be “transformative” at the very least to not be actionable.

  13. Ethan Schuman

    Aug 29th, 2007

    I’m beginning to think that the better bet to resolve situations like this, is not only to go after the people that infringe on IP rights, but to go after LL themselves. This sort of situation is becoming far too common for Linden Lab to NOT be aware of it. To be aware of a problem that is you are liable for, and to do nothing about it, is negligence, and that can be taken to court. Second Life is a ticking time bomb for LL right now, because somewhere in the future, people are going to get fed up with it, and a class action suit like no other will drop.

  14. Triste Bertrand

    Aug 29th, 2007

    The process is once they’ve put the comment back, instead of filing yet another DMCA takedown notice, you file suit.

  15. enktan

    Aug 29th, 2007


    I do not have an ‘I made a shoe so nobody else can’ attitude. There are 1000′s of shoes in sl, none of them have the same design as mine, I don’t see any problem with those. And I’m well aware that I didn’t invent the shoe, nor the process how to build them in a virtual world as sl.
    But when I see exact copies of my designs, accompanied with my own instruction notecards I think it’s only normal to try to stop this kind of unfair competition.
    Also I don’t pull out DMCAs at the drop of my hat, I filed a DMCA notification because Livechat told me that is the way to handle this kind of problem. It was my first DMCA ever. The 2e and 3th DMCA notification I filed because again Livechat told me that was the way to proceed.
    Besides that copyrights do cover derived works. That something was build from scratch doesn’t matter. It’s not because all music is made out of the same 7 notes (our prims) someone is allowed to write the same string of music as an already existing one. What matters is how much the new work resembles a previous released one.
    Last but not least I do not want to hit the guy where it hurts. I want to know what my rights are and how to defend them. This is not done by starting a personal little war against him.
    The whole thing here is not about my shoes copied, it’s about copyrights in sl. LL says we have IP right over the content we create so imo there has to be an effective way to defend these rights. This is not published in pursue of my own little right but to point out there’s work to be done along this road.

  16. Tenshi Vielle

    Aug 29th, 2007

    I personally would like to know when Torley Linden is going to stop playing with his in-world camera and start bothering to, oh, I don’t know… DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS. (paying ones too!!!)

  17. shockwave yareach

    Aug 29th, 2007

    @ Enktan

    YOU may not have the attitude I describe. But lots of other people do, particularly large companies with lawyers on hand. I grow weary of companies and VRbullies abusing the DCMA at every turn. I expect someone to slap a lawsuit on someone else for humming a song on a bus soon, thus distributing music to others without compensation for the copyright holders.

    As I said before, I’ve no love for people who copy stuff, even by hand. But considering the Apple/Microsoft case where “Look and Feel” was considered to be insufficient to prove copying, you’ll need something more substantial than “his shoes look just like mine” to make a serious issue out of it.

    Personally I would like to see a SL Copyright Court created to handle inworld IP issues like this one. Settle the matter inworld and keep the RL courts out of SL. It’ll take a Linden with Linden powers to examine the textures and the created on dates. Whoever created item X first wins and if the item IS copied, banning is possible. Simple, cheap, easy and fast.

  18. Cocoanut Koala

    Aug 29th, 2007

    The Lindens don’t believe in human solutions like that, Shockwave.


  19. Astryd Moore

    Aug 30th, 2007

    Copying stuff by hand is one thing — hard to prove it’s a copy, and not just inspired by the original. But if they are including Enktan’s original instruction notecards in the box too, not even bothering to change the update group details on the card — surely that makes it pretty clear they’re trying to pass their work off as Enktan’s own?

  20. Fear teh Torley!

    Aug 30th, 2007

    Was there a mistake in her timeline? Did she get suspended two days after dropping a notecard on Torley, then blackballed from LiveChat? It seems Torley took some precious time away from spamming all the SL photo sites with hideous filtered photos to treat paying customers like crap! This reminds me of the Trannie Linden that harassed and threatened that girl for a blog post when she wondered what voice-chat would do to males with female AVs.

    Between constant down time and retaliative Lindons, is there any wonder why so many won’t become paying members?

  21. Ugh

    Aug 31st, 2007

    Why does everyone here think that if your last name is ‘Linden’, you are required to drop everything when some idiot SLer screwed up somewhere? Most of the problems that happen in world are solved by a cache clear and a restart.

    Try to use that thing mounted on your shoulders once in a while, Tenshi.

  22. nins

    Sep 1st, 2007

    what does clearing of the cache have to do with dmca resolution?

  23. pinacolada

    Sep 1st, 2007

    shockwave yareach, oh come now. humming a tune on a bus? if someone sued someone else for humming their tune i..i…i..i couldn’t care less. i mean come on really. all i see is whining whining whining oh no people are so mean they wont let me use their copyright work any way i want to. boo hoo. if someone’s too protective of their work then stop being an idiot and paying them for it. you brought up apple.. if you want freedom to use others’ work and dont like the riaa, stop buying the ipods, stop buying the iphones, stop buying music licenses on itunes. same with microsoft. maybe then they’ll get a clue that you want to use their work more freely and restrict you less. if they still don’t, then don’t support them. don’t support those creators. pretty simple. you’re the ones funding those companies by paying for the privilege to be restricted. stop doing that and support alternatives. otherwise you just look like idiots. the only thing worse than the over protective people are the people who think they have a right to other people’s creative work and then whine about it endlessly (that is until they violate federal law and circumvent copy protection) instead of sacrificing: doing without ipods, iphones, pop music, blockbuster films, windows, and all that other crap you “can’t” live without.

    do you think most in second life are comparable to “large companies with lawyers on hand”? are you kidding me? have you noticed that the vast majority don’t make enough to pay for a sandwich at the end of the month?

    Enktan, my feedback for you and all people in your position is as follows: ignore shockwave and people like him/her completely, realize that if you’re going to go into business, real world or virtual, it’s a good idea be aware of business practices, laws, etc. dmca is a formal legal process, so if you want that to be viable, you’re going to need to know enough about law (don’t risk it) or have an attorney do it for you (linden lab claims a lot aren’t done correctly, which sounds right, and if they don’t receive correct dmca requests i don’t see that that have any obligation to do anything). then remember that things like deciding whether something is copyright infringement was deliberately enacted to be up to courts that have no vested interested either way (and in the case of juries, jury selection process attempts to weed out people with cultural biases like shockwave). if you’re not prepared to go so far as actually sue somebody for things created in second life, then don’t have an expectation that things like this will be resolved fairly, or at all (whether you’re really right or people like the guy who supposedly copied your work is right). then figure out how to work that reality in your business plan if you decide to continue to have one. but if you are in the right according to US law, then you do deserve just compensation.

    also remember linden lab is a private corporation whose goal it is – by definition – to maximize profit for shareholders…not to fairly adjudicate legal disputes between others. and if those two purposes were ever to conflict, do you really think the latter would win? linden lab has its own contract fairness issues at the moment with a federal judge in the Bragg v Linden Lab case. and you know san francisco probably isn’t really the best place to generally find fans of the dmca anyway. yet even if everybody working there is 100% pro dmca straight as an arrow conscientious disciple of the pope..i doubt it but they may all well be, who knows..you’re not dealing with individuals, but the profiting company on whose behalf they are acting. they’re not charity workers after all…they get pay checks for accomplishing their duties. it serves best to view and interact with them realistically that way…and makes the most business sense

  24. Cat Cotton

    Sep 5th, 2007

    After the 2nd time they removed the objects; they should of just banned his ass. Show em who’s boss LL.

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