Primjackers Trash LL’s Digital Rights Management

by Alphaville Herald on 26/02/08 at 10:32 pm

Copy “protected” prim hair, motorcycles now easy to copy -
In-world economy threatened?

by d3adlyc0d3c, ex griefer

video demonstrating use of a prim replicator for potential customers on onrez

Recently it came to our attention that certain devices have begun to circulate inside Second Life that allow object owners to circumvent Linden Lab’s digital rights management/permissions system. These new products are simply LSL scripts that are able to copy themselves into every prim in a linkset, and then they use the llGetPrimitiveParams function to detect prim shapes and position within a linkset.

Once the target prims have been “enhanced” by the addition of the prim copy script, they can communicate the prim’s size and position information to another object which then rezzes a number of cubes that automatically change shape, adopting the shapes and colors of the original prims and position and link themselves — making exact copies of linked objects. The only missing elements are the textures and the original scripts, which current prim replicators do not currently steal duplicate.

The accuracy with which these objects copy linksets is astounding. Unlike the original copybot, prim replicators only work on objects that you own and said objects must be set with modify permissions – this includes most sorts of prim hair – an essential avatar accessory and a mainstay of the virtual fashion business.

Why would there be concern over such a device for content creators? The answer is simple – using a prim replicator one could purchase a no transfer/no copy object with modify permissions (many products are set with these exact permissions), then use the replicator to produce an exact copy that would then have full permissions.

This presents a serious threat to builders as their products can be easily copied and resold by crooks throughout SL. What recourse do we have as residents? Curently prim replicators are not in violation of the TOS as they only may copy prims owned by whoever is using them, even though using such a device provides an extremely easy way to circumvent permissions.

Observers speculate that the Linden game gods will suggest that concerned content creators either set their works to no-modify permissions or pursue the DMCA copyright infringement takedown route. Meanwhile, we have been tracking four such products that are currently in wide circulation and wondering – do prim replicators have any legitimate use?

21 Responses to “Primjackers Trash LL’s Digital Rights Management”

  1. Anon

    Feb 26th, 2008

    Note the silence by LL on any attempt to render these devices inoperable.
    Note Zara Linden has been quoted as stating these devices are perfectly acceptable for use in secondlife.
    Note that anyone speaking out against these type devices is endlessly attacked by the “information wants to be free and everything in secondlife is information”.

    don’t hold your breath for any action by LL unless it is court ordered.

  2. The Grid Live

    Feb 26th, 2008

    Second Life News for February 27, 2008

    From: TechCrunch EA Turns The Sims Online Into Free EA-Land, Second Life Competitor Quote from the site – EA-Land is the new, free Sims Online (TSO). The 12 different cities from TSO are being moved to EA-Land and the game area is being expanded to be …

  3. Tateru Nino

    Feb 27th, 2008

    Hmm. I’ve used similar scripts for a couple of years. I export most of what I make in SL, store it offline (in case of disaster) and also use external tools to rescale builds to fit different parcel sizes (sometimes just on a single axis), fix up minor placement errors and do close-fitting of prims, mass retexturing. Then I can pull my adjusted builds back into SL anywhere and anytime. I don’t do any significant primwork without a series offline backups, my inventory being as nasty and cluttered as it is.

  4. Extrems Brock

    Feb 27th, 2008

    Look like people havn’t realized yet the risks of making something modifiable…

  5. anonymous

    Feb 27th, 2008

    What song is playing in the video? :)

    Also, maybe in game content creators should focus more on pushing Real Goods over SL rather than in-world goods.

    Like link stuff through from ebay.

  6. MachineCode

    Feb 27th, 2008

    People let buyers modify their shit?


    Once again, I have had this tech sitting in a folder on my desktop for months.

  7. Pavig Lok

    Feb 27th, 2008

    Of course prim replicators have legitimate uses. The prim mirror that many designers use to make matching sets of shoes is itself a prim replicator. Code for that is on the forums if anyone’s interested. There is constant complaints that “we MUST create barriers to content theft” but if technically implemented how most folk have suggested we instantly make it twice as difficult for designers to make a matching set of shoes or fancy robot av.

    Content designers have two options:

    Sell their content cheaply with no perms but no worries of copying using simple replication.

    Sell well crafted botique items with perms and rely on their designs, the ability to customise their merchandise, and reputation/trust that they represent better value than cheap ripoffs. (They should be able to offset issues of copied items via higher pricing and customer service.)

    Unfortunately folk balk at paying full ticket for completely locked items, and rightly so. So there’s the tradeoff.

    Even if LL patches all the (useful and legitimate) technical loopholes that allow prim copying, it is still trivial to rip off anyting that has been delivered to your computer, as DRM is easy to bypass – this is even if the client is locked up (as opengl is still available for grabbing geometry and textures). There is no technical solution to that.

    So worrying about prim replicators quite misses the point – after all many products have been legitimately designed USING prim replicators. Quite probably something you’re wearing right now.

  8. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Feb 27th, 2008

    I’ve had a crude but working prim copier script since January 07. Lulz.

  9. The Real Kalel

    Feb 27th, 2008

    What are they going to do? Remove llGetPrimitiveParam? That would break a shitload of content not just the photocopiers.

    American law has the necessary procedure to deal with this, DMCA takedowns.

    Short of that add in a resize script and make the objects nomod. Many stores are now doing this.

  10. fort sewell

    Feb 27th, 2008

    tho im just a bot (with NOT a Ruth shape fyi, and with a figure thats quite slim considering im also an ugly dwarf), i decided to post here to make some things clear.

    first of all, you cant make an item MOD only. so if you have a no copy / no trans but mod object, that means you have an item in its inventory that is either no copy or no trans and the object itself is either no trans or no copy likewise.
    with mod rights you just erase the item from the inventory and there you go with your copy or trans rights.

    BUT if you are scared of simple lsl copying prims, you shouldnt. the ways that brought me to life can enable anyone to copy any contents except scripts. how easy it is? as easy as logging in to sl. once im in, nothing could stop me if wanted to copy anything. (i dont want, i aim for higher goals.)

    what can you do against it? nothing. you have to create unique items (the horrible, unimaginitive skins of today are NOT unique. they are 12 == a dozen). you have to create value set to a reaasonable price that inspires people to pay you.
    you cant force people to spend money on you.
    and those no-pay info guys who buy stolen things as freebies wouldnt spend money on you anyway.

    (although if i were a linden in charge, not just a poor bot, i would introduce a nice captcha for the login screen too, for every account except those who work with them on projects like libsl. oh.. i would require rl credentials for those guys.)

    oh and i dont sell my items as mod. scripts can do all the modifying that you can do with those nice white resize cubes.

  11. Pavig Lok

    Feb 27th, 2008

    … oh and a couple of caveats. Many prim replicators can do textures as well provided the perms on the original textures are permissive. Which brings me to one of the issues prim replicators solve in full item duplication.

    If you are making an item with other folk in SL and one of you forgets to mark an element fully permissive, when it gets handed off or copied next owner permissions can get applied. When working in teams this is often a problem, leaving the finished product stuck without the ability to copy or transfer (and thus sell) it. When a slip of permissions at some point has broken an item in this way (as occasionally happens even to highly disciplined teams of builders) prim replication can be a lifesaver.

    This is particularly a problem on larger group builds such as environments, where a slip of permissions can break an entire building or even environment – something that people tend not to have complete copies of in inventory. Correct permissions behavior was drilled into me by oldbies when I first started building – SL’s default permissions (selfish perms) for scripts and textures can break a build quicker than lightning if you don’t develop the habit of setting stuff open and grouped as soon as you create it. Even so I don’t know anyone who hasn’t wasted significant time and energy in a group building scenario chasing slipups which have locked legitimate folk out of their own builds.

    In a year of professional building in SL I’ve only had to use a prim replicator to save a build once, but then again I’ve been extremely paranoid about permissions protocol and kept obsessive incremental copies of most group works in progress. I can see how for some folk though might face extremely frustrating rebuilding efforts due to group perms breakage, and if you’re earning money or tier through your builds or products then that’s time and money wasted. Even so for me chasing incorrectly set perms still wastes my time on an almost daily basis. If it ever should come about that I find broken permissions due to a mistake by a group member on a build for which I am responsible, I would have no hesitation in replicating the build to repair the issue.

    In a sense this is a fair use issue. DRM may well protect creators, but when it breaks content you paid for it is a bad thing. When it breaks content you made yourself it is even worse. We all understand how frustrating it must be for people who bought HD DVD players and content which are now to be discontinued in preference to blu-ray. Expect a leap now in “piracy” as folk break drm on the discs they bought to transfer them to a more convenient format. While DRM gone wrong continues to lock folk out of legitimate legal access to content they create or buy there will be a market for tools to bypass these locks and liberate the content for it’s legitimate and intended use.

    So there are the legitimate uses of prim replicators; as a builders tool (such as prim mirrors) as I outlined in the previous post, and as a fix for drm broken group builds (a common problem). The only real solutions to ensuring folk don’t abuse these tools is for builders to exercise discipline in setting (ie restricting) their permissions, or for them to retire to worlds where building is restricted to licensed content creators (as some of the newer vr’s are doing.) But that’s just my view, your mileage may vary. :P

  12. Nexii Malthus

    Feb 27th, 2008

    So called “Prim Replicators” have been in use for a long time to copy modifiable objects, i’m quite shocked to see the herald being so slow to notice this basic set of scripts that have been in circulation for a long while. Copybot evolved in response to the slowness of copying through LSL to hasten the process and also increase the flexibility such as copying directly from attachments people were currently wearing.

  13. FlipperPA Peregrine

    Feb 27th, 2008

    In other news, have you heard? You can now record music from a CD onto your hard drive using some fangled new technology called an MP3!

  14. Thank you c0d3c obvious

    Feb 27th, 2008

    what, and this is a problem?

    I’m not even a techie, and I realise very well that anything you can see in SL, you can effectively copy.

    The principle is simple… looking at this bike for instance, all data of prims, thier size, shape, position and even any scripts inside and their texture are coming in trough your internet line and is processed by your computer to make it appear on your screen.

    At virtually any stage in that, the data can be read out by an external script or program to be able to exactly replicate the objects, and then even WITH all scripts and textures, as opposed to this device. and yes WITH all permissions.

    And that has been possible since the first player signed up for Second Life and rezzed his first prim on the first sim.

  15. PrimUStor

    Feb 27th, 2008

    Just for info -

    I’ve been selling my PrimUstor product for almost a year now. which although it was designed to be an independant inventory storage mechanism (outside of LL servers for prim parameters), does also double up as one of these prim replicators (inevitably). I have sold approximately 75 of these in a year.
    Please consider that these are the closest thing that we will ever get to an inventory backup system. LL / LibSL may one day give us the ability to make a backup of the asset inormation to our hard drives but since LL will never allow us to restore any asset without paying the due upload fees for the textures etc, something like this is the only way we will ever be able to reliably backup and restore content, and also in due course will provide and easy mechanism to transfer our own content between LL / OpenSim grids

  16. d3adlyc0d3c

    Feb 27th, 2008

    @Thank you c0d3c obvious

    You’re preaching to the choir there.

  17. Profky Norvy

    Feb 27th, 2008

    Copybot is a part of TestClient and works perfect, its been on website forever, who needs scripts that dont copy textures, idiots dont know how to download copybot just cuz they renamed it ‘testclient’


  18. d3adlyc0d3c

    Feb 28th, 2008

    Thats actually incorrect, the export/import commands in testclient have been broken for awhile and aside from that it checks permissions before allowing you to export stuff. It’s only basic protection that affects people who can’t code but it does keep it from being abused.

  19. c0d3c Obvious apologizes to Mr. D3adly

    Feb 28th, 2008

    @ c0d3c

    Wasnt really preaching to the choir but more to all readers who’d panic reading this article hehe :)

    My choice of the name opf c0d3c obvious was not a stab at you, but more of a hint to everyone else, that this is nothing new. Granted tho, this little device does take out a LOT of manual work so in a way it is new… Maybe I should have chosen a better name to use here. Sorry ^.^;

  20. Callie Osenthal

    Feb 28th, 2008

    OMG I love that song! It’s called “The Zoo”. Makes me wanna take all my clothes and wiggle.

  21. SqueezeOne Pow

    Feb 28th, 2008

    Reason #3245.3 why SL is a game and advertising platform and not a versatile business platform.

    Also, this isn’t that crazy. Ignoring the fact that this stuff has been around for a while (as stated multiple times in the comments already) you could basically do all that manually anyway since you can edit linked parts and see their dimensions. Sure it takes a long ass time but it’s not any different. Anyone THAT dedicated to stealing someone’s idea is going to find a way that cannot be stopped. As mentioned in another comment, see “mp3″ for more information.

    And yes, selling stuff in SL is just like selling pictures and textures on the internet. You’ll always be able to find the exact same thing for free somewhere else or just use photoshop to take out any markings that would show the original creator.

    I agree with one of the anonymous posts. Anyone that wants to turn into a real business in SL needs to tie it in with RL if they hope to ever be taken seriously or have any longevity. At LEAST try to make your product have some functionality to it beyond just looking like something!

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