by Alphaville Herald on 10/01/10 at 8:23 pm
Roleplay police recruit copies, distributes 1700-page wiki – JLU superhero threatens DMCA, legal action
by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk
The Justice League Unlimited's secret Brainiac wiki used to track suspected griefers, record JLU meeting chatlogs, and plot strategies to entice the Linden game gods into banning players was published to at least 5 public file sharing sites Friday. Based on what the Herald has seen of the 1700-page wiki's contents, this leak is a potentially crippling blow the the JLU, as the inner workings of the controversial anti-griefer group are on public display, along with significant amounts of misinformation and hints of what might be improper Linden Governance Team collusion with the JLU.
Word of the JLU papers' release has been circulating all weekend, but Justice League leader Kalel Venkman was unaware of this until Sunday when a new JLU recruit thanked the group for providing unfettered access to the gameplay superhero police manual. The recruit – Haruhi Thespian – tells the Herald that she was surprised to be allowed to join the JLU after a 4 day waiting period and then be given access to the Brainiac wiki – without a non-disclosure agreement.
Thespian says that this was part of what was apparently a planned operation by a group called "The Wrong Hands". Group infiltration followed by betrayal will be familiar to Herald readers as a standard part of virtual world gameplay.
But is everyone treating this as a game? Apparently Kalel Venkman is not. Mr. Venkman – who prefers to dress his avatar in virtual superman tights – is now threatening legal action against the player who leaked the wiki, blogger Prokofy Neva, and the Alphaville Herald, should anyone publish what Kalel believes is copyrighted material. We can only hope Kalel has been studying the fair use provisions of copyright law.
Virtual man and copypasta writer Prokofy Neva remained true to form and chose to copy and paste the tl;dr griefing suspect name list and technical specifications for an estate ban tool that the JLU hopes to develop to replace BanLink. However, Venkman claims his specification of an estate ban tool for Second Life regions is copyrighted technical material accessed in violation of US federal law – but said in an interview with the Herald the griefing suspect name list is not a problem. In any case, a sketchy design for an avatar ban tool is far from the most interesting part of the JLU wiki.
Contacted for comment, Venkman and Thespian differ sharply on exactly how the wiki was obtained – Venkman claiming fraud, and Thespian pointing out that Second Life is a game with a strong role play component – something that the JLU may have forgotten despite dressing their avatars as various Marvel comic book characters – a potential copyright problem which is discussed at length in the JLU wiki.
Those willing to download four large .RAR archives from the sharbee.com public file sharing site can judge for themselves after enduring a number of intrusive ads and clicking on the ZShare, RapidShare, DepostFiles, Badongo, or Megaupload links on these pages:
If the JLU is serious about DMCA takedown notices, expect them to be busy as the wiki archives continue to spread. When I spoke with Haruhi Thesbian, she was not concerned:
Pixeleen Mistral: I understand you had access to the JLU's secret wiki
Haruhi Thespian: Yes I did
Pixeleen Mistral: how did that happen?
Haruhi Thespian: Well the day I was added into the JLU group as a recruit I was given the option to make a password for my account on it, and so I told Kalel my choice and logged for the night. the next day I logged in and there was an IM waiting for me from Kalel, giving me the First & Second Layer Username and Password, along with the Url.
Pixeleen Mistral: that is pretty standard stuff for new JLU recruits so you can look at training materials I imagine
Haruhi Thespian: It is, I was also given the access to add and edit entries.
Haruhi Thespian: Along with a Hud that allows me to retrieve information from the wiki inworld
Pixeleen Mistral: did you have to make any sort of non-disclosure agreements?
Haruhi Thespian: I was told not to share the information, but that was after the fact I was given access and it was not a requirement or agreement, just a stated command.
Pixeleen Mistral: interesting
Pixeleen Mistral: Kalel claims that the information was "procured from a secure web site through means of deception"
Haruhi Thespian: Kalel is taking the assumption that my SL AV reflects my intentions IRL. Sl is just a way to make a False persona is it not?
Pixeleen Mistral: I have always assumed avatars could be different from real people and SL has a lot of role play so I would tend to agree
Pixeleen Mistral: how long did it take to become a trusted recruit for the JLU?
Haruhi Thespian: 4 days
Pixeleen Mistral: that doesn't seem like very long
Haruhi Thespian: Both me and the group who organized this whole operation (The Wrong Hands) were shocked to see it happen so soon
Pixeleen Mistral: so you have been kicked out of the JLU I sassume – when did you get thrown out?
Haruhi Thespian: After I thanked them, on behalf of woodbury, for the access to the wiki.
Pixeleen Mistral: when was that exactly?
Haruhi Thespian: 9:49 SL time today
Pixeleen Mistral: what did the JLU people say?
Haruhi Thespian: They were confused at first, a couple of what did she says and sorts, but then I was kicked from the jlu group and then ejected from their land.
Pixeleen Mistral: it is probably not the best news they have had today
Pixeleen Mistral: I was just interviewing Kalel and he was claiming that "the violator is afoul of U.S. Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 47, section 1030" and he said the pertainant postion of that law says whomever "knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period"
Haruhi Thespian: I had authorization
Pixeleen Mistral: it does sound like you did if he gave you an account
Pixeleen Mistral: maybe he will start having legally binding non-disclosure agreements in the future
Haruhi Thespian: If I were Kalel, I would be more worried about the level of detail his article of Tizzers Foxchase has.
Haruhi Thespian: That was most alarming to me.
Pixeleen Mistral: yes – I understand that he seems obsessive in those wiki pages
Pixeleen Mistral: I heard there are also some troubling section where JLU people suggest that Lindens are revealing alt accounts to them
Haruhi Thespian: I cant say that for sure, I'm not certain of the claims they made reguarding that, but feel free to browse the copy and check.
Pixeleen Mistral: so – you are not worried about the legal action Kalel is threatening? he said something about going after your ISP as well
Haruhi Thespian: Well I dont know why he would, I dont think bringing this SL problem he has to RL is resonable. I hope he doesnt add my information on my IRL identity to his wiki, as that is personal
Pixeleen Mistral: I guess we will just have to see how this all plays out
Haruhi Thespian: I just want people to be aware of how far he is taking this. He made the mistake of giving access to me and he is trying to point fingers.
Meanwhile, Kalel Venkman has his own take on the situation:
Kalel Venkman: (Saved Sun Jan 10 13:14:50 2010) I wanted to inform you in advance that if you post any information that you have received procured from a secure web site through means of deception that you will be held liable for criminal action under Federal privacy laws.
Kalel Venkman: (Saved Sun Jan 10 13:14:56 2010) Make no mistake on this.
Kalel Venkman: (Saved Sun Jan 10 15:10:35 2010) In particular, any technical information you publish will be subject to immediate DMCA takedown, so you may want to skip that step and simply not publish it.
Pixeleen Mistral: hi Kalel – its been a while since we talked – how are you doing today?
Pixeleen Mistral: Kalel – Prok has apparently got copies of your secret documents
Pixeleen Mistral: http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2010/01/woodbury-and-justice-league-goons-develop-new-larp-ar-vw-rp.html
Kalel Venkman: We know that. She is currently in process of receiving a DMCA takedown notice.
Kalel Venkman: This is legally enforceable, as the material is copyrighted.
Pixeleen Mistral: so you are claiming all that stuff is copyrighted?
Kalel Venkman: That's our assertion, yes.
Kalel Venkman: At least, the direct information from our documentation is.
Kalel Venkman: Her political commentary, of course, is not.
Pixeleen Mistral: I understand you have taken a number of Herald pictures and stories and included them in that secret thing of yours – should I DMCA you?
Kalel Venkman: The difference is that we have not published the information.
Kalel Venkman: She has.
Kalel Venkman: She's certainly within her rights to say anything about us she pleases, but this does not extended to publishing technical specifications for products under development.
Pixeleen Mistral: ok – so the theory of the DMCA is that Prok is disclosing technical specs about some anti-greifing device
Pixeleen Mistral: I'm scanning Prok's story now – it just looks like a list of names
Kalel Venkman: Look further down, to the bottom of the page.
Kalel Venkman: The names aren't copyrightable.
Kalel Venkman: As you can see, the technical specifications have been placed in a publically accessible blog, without access restrictions of any kind.
Kalel Venkman: This meets the legal requirement of having been "published".
Kalel Venkman: So for example, anybody copying this information without our consent in this way would also be subject to DMCA takedown notices.
Pixeleen Mistral: so are you also going to try to sue for damages?
Kalel Venkman: Aaah – hm.
Kalel Venkman: The fact that you ask this implies that you don't understand how the law works in these cases.
Pixeleen Mistral: like this was a trade secret that has been published?
Kalel Venkman: Ah, I see.
Kalel Venkman: Damages are awarded by the court in such cases where specific damages can be proven.
Kalel Venkman: In this case, we are simply requesting that this information be removed, as it was acquired under false pretenses, in direct violation of the Computer Fraud and Securities Act of 1984.
Kalel Venkman: And, further, that it is copyrighted material, and published without our permission.
Kalel Venkman: That's the foundation of any pending actions.
Pixeleen Mistral: how do you know it was acquired under false pretenses?
Kalel Venkman: Because we were directly told.
Kalel Venkman: By the person who accomplished it.
Kalel Venkman: So the admission of guilt is there.
Kalel Venkman: Therefore, publication of this technical information is at best a violation of our intellectual property rights, and at worst, a felony.
Kalel Venkman: The most applicable laws, however, have to do with the Digital Millenium copyright act.
Pixeleen Mistral: so a JLU member turned out to be a mole and turned things over to other people?
Pixeleen Mistral: I mean the only thing that makes sense to me is that either your sites is insecure -or- someone you trusted turned on you
Kalel Venkman: I will say that the security of our systems were temporarily breached, and that the violator is afoul of U.S. Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 47, section 1030:
Kalel Venkman: (a) Whoever—
Kalel Venkman: (4) knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and by means of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value, unless the object of the fraud and the thing obtained consists only of the use of the computer and the value of such use is not more than $5,000 in any 1-year period;
Kalel Venkman: That's the section that covers this.
Kalel Venkman: We know who did it – we have the IP addresses, and these are being tracked down.
Kalel Venkman: Use of internet services for this kind of work is usually a violation of the terms of service of most major providers.
Kalel Venkman: Most ISP's, we have discovered, are happy to cooperate.
Kalel Venkman: In other words, this isn't our first rodeo.
Pixeleen Mistral: so in a nutshell your position is that valuable secrets about how a second life estate security product have been leaked
Pixeleen Mistral: a product that you have in development
Kalel Venkman: I suggest that you go back and reread my exact statements.
Pixeleen Mistral: the list of names is not the problem – it is the design
Pixeleen Mistral: I'm trying to make sure I understand this all
Kalel Venkman: That's all I can tell you at this time.
Kalel Venkman: I appreciate your inquiries, and your cooperation.
Pixeleen Mistral: ok – but it seems like there could be another theory of what happened – someone that you trusted and provided access to your secrets broke confidence and spread them around
Kalel Venkman: Anyone may invent any theory they like. Those who are in the business of working on nothing but speculation and rumor are usually just disregarded.
Kalel Venkman: Once again, I caution you not to distribute copyrighted information. You are on notice.