by Alphaville Herald on 08/02/10 at 8:23 am
Motorcycle and parts theft copybot outrage!
by Coke Supply, Investigative Reporter
[In this multipart tale of dark dealings in the Second Life motorcycle and parts trade Coke Supply delves into the shady activities of Black Lisle, AKA BiackLisle, of the Saints of Hell Motorbike Club to reveal anastonishing level of complicity amongst the group's leadership withregards to the apparent theft of the most famous and skilfully crafted motorbikes ever created in Second Life. - the editrix]
Content creators Redtail Magic, Karyn Vaher, Trinity Hunghi, and HiiighJinx collaborated over a period of four months to create the LakhotaRocket, arguably the most highly detailed and realistic sculpted bobbermotorcycle on the grid. It has won first place in almost every singlecompetition that it has been entered into during 2009, making it one ofthe most well-known motorbikes ever created in Second Life. Thetrophies won from these competitions are shown in the image to theleft, alongside the real-life version of the bike that it was modeledfrom.
As you can see from the image below, this motorbike is a true work of art, painstakingly sculpted and textured by its creators over a period of several months to create one of the finest rideable motorbikes that Second Life has to offer.
The following image details the names of the creators and the build dates for all of the prims on the Lakhota Rocket motorbike.
Here is an exact copy of the same bike, sold at the Saints of Hell Motorbike Club's sim by one of their members, Black Lisle, AKA Biack Lisle.
As you can see from the images, the creation dates on the version of the bike provided by Redtail Magic span a period of around four months, while Black/Biack's version was created much more recently, and in less than ten seconds. Currently, Black/Biack's version of the bike is being sold for 2900 Lindens (100 Lindens less than Redtail's version), on the Saints of Hell Motorbike Club's group land, the Saints of Hell sim, owned by the avatar Sims Rang. Redtail Magic's Lakhota Rocket can be found in the Tamayo sim.
What makes this particular case of theft interesting, however, is that it appears that every one of the officers within the Sants of Hell group that I came in contact with, as well as many of its members, were denying any allegation of theft and were vehemently defending Black/Biack Lisle's innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
I first began my investigation into this story when I was contacted by a good friend of mine, Muziekfreak1980 Miles, who asked me to come and inspect the bikes in question and write this story on behalf of the original creators. So, I was teleported by Muziek to meet everyone involved in creating the original bike.
The first person I spoke to was Redtail Magic. Standing in front of the two bikes rezzed side by side, Redtail explained exactly how to tell the two bikes apart.
Redtail Magic: Hi Coke. Thank you so much for doing this.
Coke Supply: You're welcome. This bike looks EXACTLY the same as the ones I was just looking at in the Saints of Hell store.
Redtail Magic: Yup yup.
Coke Supply: OK, start at the beginning please.
Redtail Magic: OK. I do sell most of the parts full perm for builders, but I DON'T sell the actual sculptmaps, so all parts on the bike should show as different creators. I can give you 4 examples of how to prove this is an illegal copy. One, all bikes and parts have a registration script to email me with the buyer and who was present at the time. Black Lisle – aka Biack Lisle – has never bought a full perm part from my store, nor bought a full bike sold at my store. Two, there are 3 prims on Biack's bike he should never be able to sell in his builds at all.
One is the headlight – it's incorporated into the handlebars. I kept that unique to the Rocket for sale. I don't sell those handlebars.
Redtail Magic: The next part is the arrow oil gallery. That, too, he should not be able to sell on legally in his builds. This keeps the Lakhota Rocket unique to other bikes being built here for sale.
Redtail Magic: The next prim is the most vital – the cables – as they will only ever fit my Rocket, so I could never sell them separately if I wanted to.
muziekfreak1980 Miles: Yes – on the copy, Biack made an error – the cable goes into the tank.
muziekfreak1980 Miles: In fact, the entire sculpt is off *points at sparkplugs on the copy*
Coke Supply: Yes, I saw that.
Redtail Magic: Third, this Rocket has also been entered into many bike shows in SL and it's won almost every one of those shows. So every bike builder out there knows this bike extremely well, and I have always been fully open about exactly who made the sculpts. So for Biack and the sim owner to say these are Biack's creations is just plain nuts. Fourth, you only have to examine the build dates to see that Biack's version was created in less than ten seconds.
At this point, word had spread that a Herald reporter was investigating the theft, and a large group had gathered to give their evidence. I was being flooded with IM's, conversation transcripts, lists of names to investigate, and snapshots, many of which are displayed in this very article. Trying to piece everything together, I started to ask questions…
Coke Supply: Who is this "Loon" guy??
Redtail Magic: Motor Loon? The biggest name in bike building and sculpts.
Coke Supply : And he got copied too? By the same group?
Redtail Magic: Yup yup.
Coke Supply : I will need to speak to him I guess.
Redtail Magic: I'm not sure if it was the same group, but I think so. Lincoln Braveheart got copied too. Black has Lincoln's chainguard on his bikes. Speak to Tater Skytower, too.
Coke Supply : Tater got ripped too?
Redtail Magic: Yup yup… his fenders. Zara Yip would be wonderful to talk to as well. She hates this lot.
Coke Supply : What's Zara's story?
Redtail Magic: She has a big sim and has a store of the big name builders here. She has some shout too. She's been copybotted but not sure who by.
Coke Supply : What does she build? Does she build bikes?
Redtail Magic : Yes, and sculpts, her own parts. Awesome and very unique designs.
Coke Supply : And she suspects this same group of stealing her work??
Redtail Magic : I'm not sure if the same group has copybotted Zara yet.
Coke Supply : Well, we can ask. Did Hiiigh Jinx get his stuff copied too?
Redtail Magic : Yes, he's filed reports too.
Redtail Magic : Group Notice From: LongHard Rhode – Spend your day with us for the New Product Lauch of the 2010 SLC Choppers by SoH MC Sargent at Arms and SLC
Designer Black Lisle.
Coke Supply : The Saints of Hell just sent that to their group? Are they talking about the stolen bike?
Redtail Magic : Yup. That's from their group.
Coke Supply : OK, I need the names of ALL the people associated with Black. I need to know who the main players are so that I can investigate them.
Redtail Magic : Black Lisle is also Biack Lisle. the L being an upper case I.
Coke Supply: Black Lisle's name is on the stolen items, right?
Redtail Magic : Yup yup. Both the Lisle names have been.
Coke Supply : So how does Sims Rang fit into all this?
Redtail Magic : She's president of the Saints of Hell Motorbike Club. As the sim owner, I contacted her to report if she knew one of her tenants was a copybotter. That's the first step in this sort of thing. Next step is contacting Black/Biack to confront them on copybotting. Next is an AR and DMCA.
Coke Supply : Well, just make sure you save all the chat.
Redtail Magic : I do, no probs. It's done automatically on my PC.
Coke Supply : Who is LadyLynn Zabaleta?
Redtail Magic : That's a new name to me. But judging by the way she interacted with Ezra, she's probably staff.
Coke Supply : LadyLynn ejected Ezra when he started talking about theft. She never indicated that it would be looked into.
Redtail Magic : No, they won't, they will say to the last that Black made the bike.
Coke Supply : So Sims Rang is the Saints of Hell's group owner and sim owner too, right?
Redtail Magic : Yup yup. Or so she said when I asked her.
Coke Supply : Ah, so this is all happening under her watch? Noted.
Redtail Magic : Very much so. Sims said she saw him make every sculpt, and that she even has the copyrights. She also said that she is a coyright lawyer.
Coke Supply : OK, so I've got 4 names here – LongHard Rhode, Black/BIack Lisle, Sims Rang, LadyLynn Zabaleta -Am I missing anyone?
Redtail Magic : I've got the full list of the top dogs of the Saints of Hell group if you like. Saints of Hell Officers have more powers than members. There's 19 of them. 6 owners. 4 founders.
Coke Supply : Give me all the owners.
Redtail Magic : OK, the owners are Sims Rang, Ambrosia Goode, SoHbank String, Shrug Dangle, LongHard Rhode and Needhed Soon. Sims Rang is partnered to Markkus MacMoragh.
Coke Supply : OK I got them. We need to talk to them.
Redtail then gave me a transcript of the conversation he held when first confronting Black over the theft of his bike back on the 31st of December, the day he filed his first DMCA against the Black account (note that while this conversation was with the Biack account, the bikes rezzed at the Saints of Hell store were in the Black account's name and therefore the DMCA was filed against that account);
Redtail Magic: Would you mind telling me where you got the parts for your bikes? I am about to file an AR against you unless you can prove to me you bought these parts. You have parts on your bikes I do not sell to anyone. They are exclusive to me.
Redtail Magic: I've filed an abuse report against you dude.
BIack Lisle: I have what?
Redtail Magic: You have parts on your bikes I do NOT sell. They show you as creator. They should show Trinity as such. I do not have you in any of my sale records.
BIack Lisle: What parts are you referring to?
Redtail Magic: An engine arrow oil gallery, a set of handlebars with wires and cables – shall I go on?
BIack Lisle: Please, as I'll look and get you the info you ask for.
Redtail Magic: You better dude, because I have 3 parts that I am showing a few people here that I HAVE NEVER SOLD APART FROM ON MY COMPLETE BIKES!
BIack Lisle: Look Red, please list me the parts, when I can get back there I'll take care of it. I can't get there right now but I'll get it taken care of ASAP. I know the stuff I made from the stuff I have purchased, and if it's not kosher I have no issue removing it.
Redtail Magic: NO WAY! No excuses! Prove to me you made these parts!
BIack Lisle: I could ask the same at this point bro, I am trying to be cordial right now.
Redtail Magic: Not kosher? You gotta be kidding me. I'm going to bust your ass!
BIack Lisle: OK do what you feel you have to do, if you wanna make a scene that's your choice.
Redtail Magic: HA! Want me to show a Linden the ORIGINAL sculpt studio notes?
BIack Lisle: Like I said, I will take care of the issue when I can. Right now, I can't.
Redtail Magic: Like I said, you have parts on your bikes I will never sell! So, they are copybotted. Simple as!
BIack Lisle: And like I said, if you list them to me I will take care of your problem.
Redtail Magic: How can I listen when you have parts on your bikes that I do not sell to anyone, only if they buy the full bike? Which is NO MOD, and you make it blue! I am in an important meeting right now. I will deal with this after.
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Redtail Magic: See the arrow on that engine? It's only being sold on the Lakhota Rocket, a bike sold without mod rights. See the handlebars? That is also only sold on the bike. See the wires and cables? Also NOT sold as a part but as part of the Rocket bike.
BIack Lisle: OK, I will have them sent back to me for now so they are off display and fix that for you. I'll also look back to where they came from and notecard or landmark the places they were found.
Redtail Magic: Thank you. Also proof of your buying from me, if you say you did buy legit. You can clear your name no probs, if you can show us all you bought what you thought were legit parts, OK?
BIack Lisle: Dunno what would constitute proof of buying, as Linden Lab don't keep records of transactions far back but I'll give you what I can. Apparently, your friends are griefing the sim as we speak. But that's another convo. I'll be free to get back there in an hour or so. I'll start when I get back with the info for you.
Redtail Magic: I don't like griefing at all. They are in the bikers guild, where we place the call on botters. Not my friends. I do not go for grief.
(29 minutes pass)
Redtail Magic: I would like to know which bike store you bought the parts from, and which parts you say you bought legit. You have a heck of a lot of my bike parts in your builds. Engine, seat, tyres, wheels, fenders… the lot, dude. I see you removed the bikes. No matter, I have photo proof. I am writing a DMCA out right now. I will give you till I log out for the night. If I hear nothing back, on my return I will be hitting the send button on my FAX machine.
Second Life: User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.
Redtail Magic: I see you have removed the bikes. I need an explanation why each of my parts on your bike shows you as creator on the Inspect tab of Edit? If you bought them it would show the store owner's name as creator, not yours. Also, the actual creator is my partner Trinity. Please explain to me how you are showing as creator of each parts, and not him, if you bought them legit?
Second Life: User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.
After this conversation, Black/Biack apparently placed the bikes back out for sale and, to this date, has never provided Redtail with a list of locations or merchants from which he claims to have purchased the stolen parts.
I decided to corroborate the claims made by Redtail by interviewing some of the builders involved in creating the original bike. I spoke first with Trinity Hunghi, a builder that Redtail claims works exclusively for him.
Coke Supply: Hello Trinity. I'm doing a story regarding the theft of Redtail's motorbike for the Herald, and was wondering if you would like to make a statement?
Trinity Hunghi: I make sculpts for Redtail. In that bike alone, I have spent about 3 to 4 months sculpting all the parts. I estimate that there is probably about 500 hours of sculpting in that particular bike.
Coke Supply: Yes, the creation dates show that spread of time. You work exclusively for Redtail, right??
Trinity Hunghi: Correct. I don't make parts for anyone but Redtail.
Coke Supply: So there's no way the distinctive arrowhead, unique handlebars etc would have found their way onto another build?
Trinity Hunghi: Redtail is the only one that received those parts from me. They are exclusive to that particular bike. I am too busy to sculpt for others. I did most of the sculpties on that bike except for the gas tank, sissy bar, gas line, kick stand, key set and tyres. Redtail did the texturing, as well as the scripting and final assembly of the bike.
Redtail was also kind enough to provide me with the transcript of a conversation held between himself and Sims Rang, in which he had approached her regarding the theft of the Lakhosa Rocket motorbike. It reads as follows:
Redtail Magic: Hi there. Do you own the Saints of Hell sim?
Sims Rang: Yeah I do.
Redtail Magic: Biack Lisle is in possession of copybotted bike parts belonging and made by myself and my partner. I have no record of him buying one part from my store let alone the huge amount he has in his builds – including 3 parts I have never put out for sale separately, and are only included with a no mod/no transfer bike I have for sale. These parts are illegal copies and I will be taking further action against BIack Lisle. An AR and DMCA have been filed and submitted.
Sims Rang: We hold real life copyrights for virtual property created in this game. So, do your DMCA's, do whatever you like. File a real life lawsuit but be prepared to lose. Good day.
Redtail Magic: He has made bikes using my unique bike parts, I have and never will sell them separately.
Inventory item offered
Inventory item offered
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Sims Rang: Take us to court. I watched him make every piece on those bikes. There is no discussion. Take us to court. File your shit. That's all I've got to say.
Redtail Magic: I do sell some of these parts full perm, but there are 3 parts on his bikes I will never sell full perm or any other way but in the no-mod bike I have for sale.
Sims Rang: Honey… we don't use other people's parts. Biack's name isn't Motor Loon.
Redtail Magic: See the arrow on that oil gallery? It's mine. Loon never botted my stuff.
Sims Rang: No… only high end builders like HD and Black.
Redtail Magic: I do not sell that arrow except for on a bike for sale no mod no trans.
Sims Rang: Look… don't come accusing. File your reports. If it is false, we will counter sue with slander.
Redtail Magic: Those are my parts exclusively!
Sims Rang: Again… File the reports. Take us to court. That's all I will say.
Redtail Magic: OK, no probs… that bike has won many many shows and every bike builder in Second Life knows who made the parts and will back me up in court. It's not a problem.
Sims Rang: Again… shall I restate my position?
Redtail Magic: Be my guest. Want me to restate mine?
Sims Rang: Say anything you don't mind me bringing up in court.
Redtail Magic?: Sure thing. This IM is being recorded on my PC
Sims Rang: As is mine… and I'm a copyright lawyer *winks* I will not discuss this with you. Again, take it to court. I've got better things to do.
Redtail Magic?: Oh I do apologise. Copybotting is very important, hey?
Sims Rang?: If we did copybot, sure. But we don't. So have a good one. Next word is a harassment report.
It is interesting to note that Sims did not welcome the idea of an investigation of Redtail's claims, preferring to ban investigators and threaten them with the filing of a harassment claim, as opposed to allowing them to investigate the allegation of theft. I found this incriminating. Indeed, after quizzing Sims Rang, I quickly discovered that her story had somewhat changed from her previous conversation with Redtail.
Sims also claimed to have witnessed Black/Biack's bikes being created, yet the build dates on the prims of his copied Lakhota Rocket were spread out over a period of less than ten seconds. I was keen to ask Sims about this. If she was claiming that she saw the creation of the bike, might I get her to admit that she saw it being uploaded all at once?
The answer was yes.
A CHAT WITH SIMS RANG
Using an alt account, I obtained the following information…
Bomb Tremor: Hello Sims. Would you be so kind as to answer a few questions regarding the controversy surrounding Biack's bikes being sold in your sim?
Sims Rang: No I would not. sorry. We are done with it.
Bomb Tremor: Do you know who has accused him of theft?
Sims Rang: Redtail Magic and Hiiigh Jinx. If you are associated with them, I will end now. We have been instructed by Lindens to file all as harassment.
Bomb Tremor: So he bought the stolen parts from them?
Sims Rang: What is your interest in this?
Bomb Tremor: I am writing up a story for the Alphaville Herald regarding the bikes in question.
Sims Rang: I will tell you this… Black is not a thief.
Bomb Tremor: I was hoping you could let me know who is accusing him of being a thief. Did they set him up?
Sims Rang: No. I wouldn't say that either. I think they are making false accusations. The items can be purchased all over Second Life.
I was intrigued. Sims first stated to Redtail that the Saints of Hell bikes do not use other people's parts, but she was now claiming that the bikes contained parts found all over Second Life.
I pressed further…
Bomb Tremor: So, has Black filed a complaint against Redtail and Hiiigh?
Sims Rang: Why? It's a waste of our time, and thieves in this game are inevitable. We are filing harassment AR's. Our parts are registered. We have nothing to hide. And to be honest, don't have the time to worry about it. Black has been copybotted so many times it's retarded.
Bomb Tremor: Registered? Like in real life in some official capacity?
Sims Rang: Yes.
Bomb Tremor: Ah I see. So I guess you will file a DMCA if Hiiigh or Redtail have copied the bikes in question?
Sims Rang: No. Filing a DMCA requires wanting to take to a real life court, and to be honest, we aren't that vested in it. We will go if sued, but we will not file. We have far more important things to do.
I found this quite stunning. Sims was claiming that the bikes were created from parts found all over Second Life, yet she owned the copyright to the bikes. And was unwilling to use that copyright to file a DMCA if it was stolen.
Why go through the trouble of filing copyright in real life if there was no intention of using it to protect the bikes in the first place? Why file at all if it was already known that the parts for the bike were purchased “all over Second Life”? Why keep all of the bikes on sale when the original copyright owners then step forward to object to the use of their parts?
I am no lawyer, yet it was very clear to me that Sim's claim of being a copyright lawyer did not hold water. I was desperate to interrogate her further, but decided to act innocent instead and let Sims continue to speak in the hope that other discrepancies in her story would become apparent. She did not disappoint me.
Bomb Tremor: Well I think you should know, they are claiming that the entire bike is copied.
Sims Rang: No-one talks about the good stuff that Black does. Just their jealousy and BS about copybotting, which has not happened. They can claim what they want. Like I told them, take us to court. All 106 members of this organization will stand behind him completely.
Bomb Tremor: And there's definitely no chance of Black being guilty?
Sims Rang: Is there no chance? No-one can answer anything 100%… it's all relative, and virtual content makes it even hazier, but I know Black, I have known him for over 2 years, and not just Second Life… I believe in him, and I have seen him spend countless hours working on these bikes, on MY private sim.
Wait a second. Sims claimed to have witnessed Black create the bikes with her own eyes, yet could not say with 100 percent certainty that he built them?
Bomb Tremor: Oh I see. Well, there's just one thing – the build dates on all the prims on the bikes are spread out over a period of about 5 seconds – you must agree that this adds some weight to their accusations? I'm not saying for a moment it's true, but it looks bad.
Sims Rang: Do you know how to upload maps?
Bomb Tremor: Well I've uploaded textures before.
Sims Rang: He showed me today. I did it in less than a minute, and I am by no means a builder. I am a planner. But I can see, in the old days, how it would look as such. But the new viewers make things a little different.
Again, I was stunned by what I was hearing. Sims was claiming to have uploaded the bike herself, as instructed by Black/Biack, stating that it took less than one minute. I wondered how she could achieve such a feat without the aid of XML files created by a copybot or other illicit client – which kind of lifts some of the ambiguity away from her comments about “the new viewers”.
I suspected at this point that the thief was sharing his XML files with other accounts within the Saints of Hell group. This would make a lot of sense if a group of thieves were involved, or if there was only one thief sharing the content with multiple accounts. I suspected that these accounts would be the ones sharing the ownership of the group, with Sims Rang at their helm.
I decided to press for more information regarding the uploading of the bikes.
Bomb Tremor: So the whole bike was uploaded all at once?
Sims Rang: In parts, but yeah. Look, I am not going to pretend to understand how it works. I'm no builder, scripter or any of that… but I trust Black with my life, real life and Second Life, so… I believe what he showed me, and what he told me. And to be honest, if he was guilty, Linden Lab would have taken his account and the content. They released his account and the parts. So, what does that look like to you?
This was a lie. A DMCA filing was found in favour of Redtail by Linden Lab around the 16th January, and the Black Lisle account disappeared from Second Life search three or four days after this investigation began. The Biack account, however, remained active. If Linden Lab acted in favour of Red's DMCA filing, then how could it have been made apparent to Sims, beforehand, that they resolved the DMCA in Black/Biack's favour?
The answer, of course, is that she was lying to me – the DMCA was yet to be resolved at this point in time.
Bomb Tremor: Well this isn't the first time I've investigated for the Herald. There's several cases I know of where a copybotter has kept their account – but yes, you make a strong point. If he was selling something that wasn't his to sell then Linden Lab would most probably delete the account.
Sims Rang: And they would have blacklisted the parts. I have dealt with a copybotter before. We kicked him out.
Bomb Tremor: I've never had to file a DMCA on someone so I'm not sure what will happen, but – if a false DMCA claim is filed, what would Linden Lab do to the people that file it?
Sims Rang: We are trying to find that out right now. I have my admins combing through the Terms of Service to look into that. If you find out before me, please let me know.
Bomb Tremor: I'm sure you know much more than I do about DMCAs and ARs at this point – I've never had to deal with them like this, I'm only an observer thankfully.
Sims Rang: It's alot of stress, but we deal with it.
This obviously contradicts the earlier statement by Sims that the Saints of Hell “were done with it” and had “better things to do” with their time. I also found it interesting that they were spending that time attempting to discover the fate of people that filed false DMCA claims.
Bomb Tremor: So what do you think can be done in future to deter people from filing false claims?
Sims Rang: They should make the punishment to be the same as a copybotter. Take the account. An AR honestly ain't shit. Lindens don't do a thing about them mostly. DMCA's are a little more serious, and should be handled as such.
Bomb Tremor: OK, I will leave you to it but I want to follow this story up a bit more – is there anything you can tell me about the people that are accusing you guys of stealing? Have they done it before? Are they known for griefing?
Sims Rang: Absolutely they have. We have a history with Hiiigh Jinx. This Redtail person is new to me. But we have been dealing with Hiiigh for over a year. He sends people to grief. He accuses people, and he won't do his own work. He sends people. I have mountains of chat log, which I can't send you as it's a Terms of Service violation. But I track every word said on my account, and he is famous for it, since before we even bought any of these sims. We rented a homestead called SOH Turf. It started then. Look… I ain't gonna defame the guy. I don't know him, and until recently, he hasn't spoken words to me. But I have 100+ members and they report to me and they tell me what is going on. He is starting this shit. We have the proof. But it's not really worth the time or the loss of people on it.
Bomb Tremor: You're one of the very few people that's actually chosen to speak to me about any of this.
Sims Rang: Well, no-one wants to get involved, and they are too dumb to speak correctly.
Sims' story was markedly different from the story she gave to Redtail, and new contradictions and inconsistencies were appearing almost constantly. I found the comments regarding Hiiigh Jinx to be the most desperate. “He is starting this shit”? I believe that Sims had no idea how much I knew about the story at this point, and thought that blaming everything on Hiiigh Jinx would provide a false lead and throw me off the case. It was a deceitful and desperate measure, and I was stunned by her audacity.
According to Motor Loon, he too was accused by the Saints of Hell group members of sending people to grief their sim. This is something that Motor and Hiiigh both deny. According to Motor, the Saints of Hell members admitted they were wrong and apologised to him for the accusation. From what I understand, Hiiigh Jinx was banned from the sim when he went there to investigate the theft himself, as were all of the people that worked on the original bike. From what I have seen of the chat logs sent to me, no griefing was involved at all.
I continued to press the matter of copyright in relation to the stolen version of the bike…
Bomb Tremor: Does it cost a lot to copyright something? I always thought that items were copyright as soon as you make something in Second Life and that you never needed to do it in real life because Linden Lab would always treat you like you had copyright on what you made. Does real life copyrighting make any difference here in Second Life?
Sims Rang: It costs a little. Not too much. It can make a difference, to a point, depending on how far they want to take it.
Bomb Tremor: So I guess you have the bikes copyrighted at this point?
Sims Rang: The patents are registered. We are working on the copyrights.
Interesting. Up to this point, Sims had always claimed that she owned copyright on the bikes. It suddenly made sense why Sims wanted to avoid going to court in real life to defend her copyright – either she didn't have copyright, or she knew that she had no claim on the bikes to start with.
Bomb Tremor: Be right back, just rolling a cigarette.
Sims Rang: OK. Actually Bomb, I need to go to sleep. We can talk again later. Don't make me look like a bitch in print.
Bomb Tremor: Oh, don't worry, I might not be the best reporter in the Herald, but I want to be the most impartial. I will carry on with my investigations and see what I can find out about Redtail and the other guy.
Sims Rang: Spend some time sitting at our landing point. You will see all the crap come down. You will see all of them come all day and harass members and to file reports, so they say.
Bomb Tremor: OK, I will have a sit down there and be an observer for a while.
Sims Rang: Just let anyone know you are a guest of mine, otherwise they will interrogate the shit out of you.
Bomb Tremor: OK, I will paste the last few lines of chat to them as evidence if that's ok with you?
Sims Rang: Sure. I will let my enforcer team know.
Bomb Tremor: Maybe they can tell me more info if they have it.
Sims Rang: They won't talk to you about this stuff. They are under orders. But they will make sure nobody messes with you.
Bomb Tremor: Well, I try to be as low key as possible at the best of times so I'm sure I won't be a nuisance.
Sims Rang: OK. Take care, and we will talk again soon. Black and Brutus will have no problem talking to you as well.
The conversation regarding copyright was very revealing. I wondered what the legal implications were of filing a copyright claim on items purchased from "all over Second Life", especially on the not-for-sale items. Sims had also claimed that the bikes were already copyrighted, whereas she was now saying that this had not been done yet.
[...TO BE CONTINUED...]
This article took around two weeks to write and is the accumulation of interviews and investigations by myself and many other people, resulting in one of the longest Herald articles ever written. There was an awful lot of information in this article, so I took the liberty of formatting the text transcripts to make it easier for everyone to read. These edits were made solely for reasons of clarity. Changes include spelling and grammar corrections, as well as re-organising the sentences to compensate for chat lag and sequential chat postings, as well as the removal of irrelevant or private information. The accounts used to commit the thefts in this story had similar names (Black and Biack) and therefore it is quite possible that any one of the people whose testimony is provided had used one name in place of the other by mistake. I know I did. At times I have used “Black/Biack” to refer to the operator of these accounts, while at other times I used the same convention when I was uncertain of which account name should be used. Also, the chronology of some of the interviews is wrong, due to my attempt to fit everything into the article's narrative flow. Also, due to the thief having two accounts of similar names, and due to his swapping of the names on the bikes that he stole, a great deal of confusion arose between myself and the original creators of the bikes as to which account stole which bike and when, requiring intense effort on everyone's part to clarify the details and to investigate what happened in order to keep this article factual. Many revisions were made, and within all the confusion I am certain that some minor errors may have still slipped through. I offer my apologies if this is indeed the case, but I did the very best I could under the circumstances to provide you all with the most accurate account possible of my investigations into one of the most disturbing cases of content theft I have ever encountered in my 3 years of being a Second Life resident. I hope you all find it an engrossing read.
- Coke Supply]