Minnu Model Skins PhotoSourced from Renderosity???

by Alphaville Herald on 09/05/08 at 8:16 am

Metaverse shocker — pirated skins being sold in SL!!!

by Tenshi Vielle, fabulous fashionista – courtesy of shoppingcartdisco

Do you remember a while back, when we were talking about “what ifs” regarding stolen content across virtual worlds?

I think the best case has to be Renderosity.com artists’ work being bought then redistributed without their permission (and against their own TOS) within Second Life. And of course, the general community in Second Life is mostly ignorant about what goes on at art sites like Renderosity – or, at least, doesn’t think to check there first to see if the content they just purchased in SL is stolen.

One sharp-eyed Second Life community member did notice that a skin she purchased recently appeared to be stolen from Renderosity.com – and emailed the creator, which in turn caused the creator to email me to ask for help and find out how stolen things were handled in Second Life. I guided her towards a DCMA, but I would like to share her email and accompanying screenshots with all of you.

Do you recognize this skin? It’s actually from Renderosity.com, Danae’s Manhattan collection. It’s been warped to fit the templates in Second Life… by none other than Minnu Pallen, the “great” skin creator.

More info below the cut, including Danae’s original email to me:


My name is Danae Kotsi and I am a professional digital creator vendoring at Renderosity.com for many years. I create photorealistic skin textures for applications such as Poser and DAZStudio and I have been a Top Selling artist in the 3D community for many years.

It has recently been pointed out to me from a member of the SL community that a certain member – seller of your community is using my original, licensed products as their own. The product I am referring to is the “minnu model skins, generation 4″. The said SL seller has manipulated these textures against the TOS and License provided in my products and without any permission thus violating all copyright laws.

I have included an image of my product’s renders against the ones sold by the SL seller. My work is on the far corners while the copied is in the 2 middle images. As anyone can see the similarities are beyond the scope of mere chance but clearly illustrate that my work has been plagiarized. You can view my full product description here : http://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/index.php?ViewProduct=41330

It is clear that my work has been used in the production of the Avatars and most of the differences come from the change in format an the lower resolution – polygons.

As a professional my main income comes from producing and selling works such as the one stolen from me. It takes lots of research, money and many months of hard work to produce just one item and having this stolen by someone and claiming it as their own is very infuriating and insulting.

I have been informed that the said seller – and I refrain using the word artist for apparent reasons – has been selling my altered and stolen work and passing it as her own for a long time. So, I have informed my lawyers and we are currently thinking about the next step which is sure to be requiring immediate withdrawal of the said product and full compensation.

I was referred to you by someone because they said you know and care about the community and also know the seller. I wanted people to know that what is being sold is NOT original work and that ultimately it’s your community and the honest buyers that have been cheated and stolen from and not just me.

Thank you for taking the time and reading this long mail. Please see the attached images.

Kind Regards,

Danae Kotsi aka danae






74 Responses to “Minnu Model Skins PhotoSourced from Renderosity???”

  1. Tenshi Vielle

    May 11th, 2008

    SCD was going through routine maintenance last night and was down for about an hour. All content is back up.

  2. catface

    May 11th, 2008

    What I would worry most about is… If Danae seeks financial damages due to Minnu selling for profit… If she cashed out or not in to USD or her currency and if she reported her profits at tax time. Depending on her sales. Beware SL merchants.. if you are cashing out … KEEP BOOKS. it is a bussiness and the IRS will know about it! Things are getting tight..

  3. Avon Delight

    May 11th, 2008

    To those that keep saying minnu isn’t making rl money off these skins, get real. How do you know she isn’t selling the lindens from her sales on the exchange? There’s quite a few people who use the lindens they make from SL to pay their rl bills. That fact alone could make the original artist’s case hold in court, even if minnu comes out and says she never sold the profit she made for rl money.

    As for people thanking Tenshi so much for reporting this, be honest, will you remember who that person is after this matter is settled? She doesn’t deserve an award or thanks for possible slander and creation of drama. That’s like giving the paparazzi a nobel peace prize in humanities because they caught Amy Winehouse doing drugs.

  4. ps

    May 11th, 2008

    Interesting discussion.

    I would like to note that for everyone here with a bug up your arse about theft of SL textures/art, I’m assuming all of you pay for all your downloaded music and films — you never “share” music or other content with other people across the net — you always buy new CD’s and DVD’s so the musicians, performers and songwriters and actors, directors, writers and other guild and union memembers can get royalties since this is how they earn a living. Right?

    The problem of intellecutal property theft and copyright infringment is huge. From major motion pictures to the guy cranking out his first CD in his parents basement to visual artists creating 3D objects and complex textures, digital technology makes it very hard to protect one’s original creations.

    We have to rely on ethics but as the download craze has proved, people all around the world have this overblown egotistical sense of entitlement that because they can simply pilfer music or images or other digital content from the net, they don’t have to pay for it.

    Sadly, the people who are most affected are the most interesting artists — the innovators, the indies, the ones pushing the boundaries to make new and exciting works and unfortunately, the same ones who don’t have big gun lawyers behind them to go after the content theives and recoup lost income.

    If you cointinue to steal music, films, images and other digital content, you will get what you deserve — a world in which Clear Channel cranks out Britney Spears 24/7 and the fine art of Hello Kitty.

  5. lolol

    May 12th, 2008

    exportoutfit Some-Dipshit’s-LLUUID hurrdurr.xml

    I win

  6. lololol

    May 12th, 2008


    Copybot’s been kinda sick lately, no?

  7. DN

    May 15th, 2008

    Oh noes! The dreaded ‘you do it too’ argument. Which, I might point out is simply an egregious logical fallacy. Yes, I download music, movies, and games off the Internet. Does this make me a possible hypocrite like Minnu Palen (notice I said possible). No, it doesn’t. I don’t run around Second Life bitching about my content getting stolen and then turn around and rip off some other schmoe in the process.

    And really, if you think music downloads and such really hurt the artists you are out of your mind. Maybe some washed up piece of shit like Metallica who are actually earning royalties of CD sales as opposed to the new indie artists who are getting surprise buttsecksed from their label. Quit fooling yourself with the typical bullshit Libertarian Spoutmouth Claptrap.

  8. Restless Writer

    May 18th, 2008

    Perhaps the issue is a little clouded here in this article for some? I hope you don’t mind, but I have some questions. Is the main problem that possibly Minnu didn’t purchase your product to make the skins she sells? That she possibly instead used images from the examples given so you can sell your product? Or was it, she did purchase your product and the license provided doesn’t permit her to do what she did with them? Or did she purchase them and then because she failed to give you credit she’s in possible trouble? Danae, you mentioned a “license provided in my products.” Maybe I’m just tired but, I couldn’t find it. And I was wondering if you’d be so kind as to post it. -Thank you

  9. N. Wunderlich

    May 19th, 2008

    …just a thought, which I have also expressed at Renderosity’s forums once (just to have the thread closed by an Admin because they, obviously, ran out of answers…):

    If you purchase a ’skin texture’ set at Renderosity for a V4, and actually RENDER IMAGES with it ON the V4 in Poser – like, from front, back, sides, bottom etc – and THEN use those RENDERED images with a software like, say, DeepPaint3D – just as you would with reference photos, btw – to create a skin for an SL avatar…

    …this would DEFINITELY not be against Rendo’s EULA, because you’re allowed to use the skin textures from Rendo for “personal and commercial renders”. Which the above workflow indicates – the RENDERED images of the skin texture on the V4 model would be used to create the skin for SL, NOT the skin texture of the V4 model itself.

    I’ve been working with Poser for over 8 years now. I’ve been creating textures for Poser for about the same time. I KNOW how that works.
    In fact, I’ve used in one case the exactly same technique to ‘translate’ one of my own Poser skin textures to an SL avie skin. And in my humble opinion, it’s a legit use of the rendered images of Poser models because that’s, basically, what the EULA states.

    So in case Minnu would be able to provide the rendered images of the V4 PLUS the Photoshop-, DeepPaint3D- or whatever files, then she would have used the textures from Danae in a rightful way, no matter if Renderosity / Danae would like this fact or not.

    It’s also not “theft” or stealing, in this case, given that Minnu has actually purchased the skin texture at Renderosity.

    If it were, buying a set of reference photos of a human being would also be theft – just, of course, that with the V4, the V4 skin texture and Poser you would actually have to render your OWN reference photos, which is MORE work than JUST to create a skin texture with reference photos.
    Ever tried to set up the light in Poser for such a rendered scene for which the character has to be rendered from ALL SIDES (…front, back, sides, bottom, front etc.) without having shadows everywhere or the skin being too bright?
    Well, then don’t talk about it being NOT difficult or ‘simple’.
    And that’s *just* the rendering of the reference images, the work to actually create the skin for the SL avatar hasn’t even started (and isn’t simpler than using reference photos, btw.).
    And yes, thank you, I DO know what I’m talking about.
    As I already said, I already did it myself – even if I did it with my OWN Poser character skin texture.

    It is possible and legit (!) to use RENDERED IMAGES of Danae’s skin texture for the V4 (or any other skin texture for any other Poser model!) to create REFERENCE PICTURES (or, in this case: reference *render* pictures…) to then create, with the help of DeepPaint 3D or any other 3D-texturing software, a “skin” for an SL avatar.

    Renderosity’s EULA says it’s legit to use the rendered images for personal AND commercial use. And if Rendo likes it or not, rendered images of a V2, 3 or 4 (or whatever other Poser character) *can* be used as “Reference photos”. As long as you actually *buy* the original skin texture from Renderosity, this is legit.

    It seems you all think it’s basically some sort of “one click work” to translate the skin of a V4 to an SL avatar.
    I, having this done myself with a skin texture I once created for a V3, can assure you: It’s not. Not even with the above described method.

    And it’s even MORE difficult to just use the original V4 skin texture (…meaning, the texture image files…) to create a skin for the SL avatar.
    The mapping is TOTALLY different – if you don’t believe me, download the avatar templates – which show the mapping for the SL avatar from SecondLife – http://secondlife.com/community/templates.php – the “Entire template collection in one download!” – and the V4 templates, which again show the mapping for THAT one, at DAZ3D – can be found here: http://www.daz3d.com/i.x/shop/itemdetails/-/?item=4783&spmeta=rq&_m=d
    (down on the page click on the “+” in front of “Resources & Information”, then choose the download “Win file ps_pe069_Victoria4T.exe (2.63 Mb)”.
    Compare them, THEN tell me how it should be possible to simply “click, steal and swap” textures betweem the two.
    I promise you won’t manage.

    The main problem, I guess, is that Poser users have a different perception of how textures are used or stolen.
    They have them on their harddisks with no permissions attached, so it’s easy to “steal” and resell someone else’s work.
    This is NOT the case in SL.
    Basically you have to trick out the cache of your graphics card to get textures – if you don’t have full perms on the textures you use in SL, which you usually don’t if you buy skins.
    Also, the Poser users are probably NOT aware that if you buy a “skin” in SL, you don’t buy a *texture*, but something you can just “wear” and of which you’ll probably never see the texture.

    That having said, I conclude that *much* has to be done to build a bridge between the knowledge of Poser users and SL users, I think.
    A good start would be, for example, someone like Danae to step forward and create, for examples, skins in SL. Besides the fact that those skins would be a great success, at least ONE of the bigger names in the Poser community would understand the difference between the “textures” that are used in Poser and the “skins” that are used in SL.
    And maybe, hopefully, she could communicate said difference to the Poser community then.

    Contact me if you want to know more about the workflow I described (buying texture set for Victoria – rendering images of Victoria – using the rendered images as ‘reference photos’ for the creation of a skin for an avatar in SL).
    I could make a video for you just to SHOW the actual workflow (in a simplified way) – because it would take days and weeks to do it in detail, but I’m willing to spend about five to six hours just for a “rough layout” of transferring a skin from a Poser character to an SL avatar by just using rendered images of said Poser avatar.

    Best wishes,
    N. Wunderlich

  10. CheerGirl Allen

    May 20th, 2008

    WOW. all I can say.
    Amazing that this So called “designer” is behind the “STOP IP THEFT” CAmpain on Second Life…

  11. Restless Writer

    May 30th, 2008

    What I don’t understand is why doesn’t Danae Kotsi aka danae open up a skin shop in secondlife? Jezze come on…honestly she’d make so much more I would think in sl compared to Renderosity right? Stop paying a lawyer and open up shop lady! Sell a set of six makeup options like RAC for around 5K. Sell at lease one set a day and make an easy $400 or so a month! LOL

  12. WiREZ

    Jun 3rd, 2008

    I think any one with 1 eye can see this was stolen. If you can see they are the same I have to beleive your blind.
    PS I could give a rats azz about renderosity or SL??? I stumbled in while searching google.
    as far a d from renderosity goes I have to wonder why it would take months to do this type of graphic work???LOL This looks like a couple of hours tops to me.

  13. Butterfly Thibedeau

    Jun 5th, 2008

    If you are not sure you can always email the artisits on rendersosity.com about how you plan to use their work and ask if they mind. They will probably say go right ahead. They get offended by people who take things without asking and claim it as their own.

  14. Darkfoxx

    Jun 5th, 2008

    “If you are not sure you can always email the artisits on rendersosity.com about how you plan to use their work and ask if they mind. They will probably say go right ahead. They get offended by people who take things without asking and claim it as their own.”

    So very true. Goes for me as well, if you want to use my work for whatever, ask, and you will probably get a yes.., Dont ask and just go ahead and use it, I’ll tear you a new one. (figuratively speaking of course.)

    It’s common sense, respect and curtesy.

  15. newbie1canobe

    Jul 7th, 2008

    Have any of you ever sought legal council for copyright infringement,unless she is making big big coin at rend,shes suing no one and has a hard lesson too learn,,

    My family owns and operates TVtyre high end custom furniture for the fly tying enthusiasts

    our catalog was copied along with our whole line of furniture mind you some patented and all trademarked

    the individual even setup a booth at a large trade show in San Francisco blatant out in the open, open and shut case!!!So you think oh any lawyer in the world will take this!!!

    lol The lowest retainer fee we could find offered by any lawyer was 45,000 US $

    you see if it was a major corp it would have been taken on contingency

    you cant sue blood out of a turnip,no one is gonna sue this sl skin designer for free

    sue away lol

  16. Sheary Sass

    Jul 17th, 2008

    What a joke. My understanding of copyright is that if you change at least three things it is not copyright. Take all the home builders that look at others and “modify” the house IE – move a room – they don’t get sued. Like said earlier Lawers aren’t going to touch it.

  17. Bemused

    Aug 15th, 2008

    Wow, don’t Danae’s faces look *exactly* like Julia Roberts–!

  18. Jan e McColl

    Aug 21st, 2008

    I have just been is a SL store where the owner has stolen some of my friends T shirt designs and is selling them in her store. She has directly lifted them from a website and hasn’t changed a single thing. I confronted her and she claimed that she had been given the TGA files by that company and the designers, this was untrue… my friend has never even heard of SL and I had to explain to him what it was! Also the company who sells his designs were not aware either. I have sent them screen shots of the items and it turned out that every t shirt she had in her store was stolen from that site. They will now be pursuing this further.
    I know it’s on Linden Dollars and SL but it’s just unfair and these scheming talentless little morons should not be allowed to get away with it and SL need to start taking some responsibility.

  19. Vryl Valkyrie

    Sep 8th, 2008

    “Posted by: Penance Sautereau | May 10, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    if the “scandal” over Textures R Us’ “content theft” is any indication, what this story is really about is that Danae is opening her own store in SL and needs the publicity to trash the person who has been selling derivatives works of her original work to ensure public attention, traffic, and sales off the bat. Thats all the TRU story was about: someone who got a license from the original texture creator created the theft story to smear the competition.”

    First of all Penance, you have NO idea what you are talking about. Your comment is libelous. Lillybeth Filth, owner of TRU textures was upon infringing upon the Intellectual Property of Marlin Studios just as recent as 2 weeks ago. She also infringed upon the IP other artists such as GameBeep, the creator of the Josef Tear textures, DavidG, Half Life 2 textures and other artists.. even people on Flickr whose images were protected by copyright. In the end, the lawyers settled it.

    Whoever said that protected works loses its copyright once it has been changed 3 times + is incorrect.

    Of course this Renderocity artist should be upset. We should all be upset. The real victim here besides the copyright owner is the consumer. Just because one cannot afford a lawyer does not mean we should say nothing. Fight back with the truth and public awareness.

    The real lesson here for all of us, including TRU textures, myself and this case too is to simply respect the copyright of others. I have no doubt that in the early days of Second Life that most people were simply not aware of what Intellectual Property even was. Most people assumed wrongly that is was ok to use images that did not belong to them just as most have assumed the same about videos, music and software.

  20. Venessa

    Apr 2nd, 2009

    being a designer, i can understand not wanting to have your stuff stolen a lot of work goes into it you you ought to get the credit. but for the record a lot of people are making resell packs and theres always the chance the person didnt know. still if your going to steal something steal somethng worth the trouble. those arnt even good.

  21. Dan

    Mar 22nd, 2010

    I can verify 99.99% certain that the skin in question is ripped from Danae’s work and it’s a simple case to convert DAz/Poser textures to the SL compatiable layout and then clean up in Photoshop.

    I am sure Minnu is far from being the only one passing on others hard work as her own, infact I think the majority of SL skin creators are using ripped textures and making slight changes to them at best.

    Then they whine like brats when some kid copybots their supposed creations, lol thats Karma for you.

    If you feel a creator is selling skins made from stolen textures then other than legal action they can also be reported to the IRS or Inland Revenue for tax evasion etc to se if they are above board on that score, thieves probably try to cheat that too.

    SL needs to crack down on the skin creators.

  22. Ma

    Jan 22nd, 2011

    Oh well, years after this fact its still something I have doubts. I didnt read all the posts ok, but ‘N. Wunderlich’ was quite logical. Also I agree that, if I was a content cretor for Renderosity, I would hate to see my work being used like that for others. What I REALLY believe is that Minnu’s fault was having CLONNED Danae’s model, exactly how she appears in her Rendo ad. More than just its face and some body skin details, the WHOLE minnu’s avatar was a perfect clone from Danae’s model… Thats actually the worst thing, the ‘crime’. I believe that, once you BOUGHT the skin textures you can use parts of it, mix and match to other models body elements like eyebrows and lips for example, so you would get a different product in the end, so even with what we call as ‘Reverse Engineering’ you wouldnt have ‘copied’ anyone’s work. Am I wrong?
    I DO use SL and I’m a content creator there, Im prowd to have handpainted my own skins, but I agree that things/ EULA, policies etc must be clearer between Poser/Daz/V4 material and SL platform as well as using them mixing/matching with other materials. =)

  23. Yep

    Jan 22nd, 2011

    Now there is no money, just linden game tokens. If you upload it into SL LL gains some ownership and changes the original EULA.
    That would be hard to explain to a lawyer not to mention suing someone from another country over linden token dollars that we all agreed have no value (according to the TOS update) even though we paid RL money for them.
    Now what I am curious to see is what will happen in the future when mesh comes to SL and people upload free content from sites like http://www.heroturko.org/3d/ . (This stuff is amazing and the avatars look realistic.) and begin to flood the malls or the Marketplace with all of this stuff. Suddenly LL has a headache when one person sees another store with the same uploads and screams copybot.
    Now LL will have to decide if it is stolen or who has rights to it. Or now if it is copybotted, how can you tell? when you upload mesh it is all at once so checking the prims to see if they all have the same upload time will not tell you anything now. It will all look copybotted.
    I cannot wait for mesh to arrive, I think it is going to be quite the show when the witch hunts start.

  24. Ma

    Jan 24th, 2011

    lol Indeed, that will be interesting. Well I think I know how that will end.. it is like those Eloh Eliot’s skins that many stores have their skins based on them, they can look like ‘Ive aready seen that’ but since the content is free for redistribution, commercial purposes or not and you must modify it before claiming its your work, its ok. Im not sure if these mesh freebies are editable, if they are free for redistribution then you will see the same happening all over the grid. It all depends on the freebie EULAs/Copyright.

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