After being a few years of being mostly absent and taking a creation break from Second LIfe™, I've finally started revamping my store and digital merchandise starting with Bento animated wings. Content creation in SL is something I've really enjoyed, but couldn't manage while I was stuck with a slow computer incapable of handling new viewer updates as it made for a miserable experience. I finally got a new (used) iMac that could run SL with most of the bells and whistles, but I had been gone so long that the idea of learning all the new techniques and 3D applications seemed so overwhelming that I found myself a bit lost.
Until I found out that the new materials enabled viewer could show real-time iridescence!
True iridescence inworld, that was the shiny that got me to fall down the SL rabbit hole once more.
However, while browsing their marketplace listings for things I needed and checking out what else is out there I found quite a few pirated designs of mine being sold. In fact there's another one I found just this week that I haven't even had the time to file a DMCA notice for.
One DMCA I filed that infringed on one of my older designs, the Teasel fairy wings, back in June was taken down. And then this last month I noticed a very similar design had taken its place in the infringing party's store, similar but changed just enough to probably avoid a report.
That didn't surprise me so much so as the note at the end of the revised wing's description.
The seller stated "This is 100% my own creation. My previous pixie wings were removed due to a malicious DMCA report. I have all the original blender and PSD files that show the creation of these wings step by step. If this gets reported again, I will take legal action."
Really now. I created that design from scratch, the first set to Gypsy Tripsa, the originator of the Faery Crossing lands in SL. I registered it with the US copyright office to protect my IP and had been selling that design since 2007.
Except for pop culture designs like Tink's wings, I don't use existing designs in my work. I browse, I get inspired - and then I put it all away and start sketching. I don't WANT to use an existing design because why offer something that already exists? The creation, making something that had not been in existence previously is most of the thrill of art.
I bought a set of the new wings, and left a mediocre review with a comment about the previous design and how it was not at all a malicious DMCA but absolutely justified. After a few denials I then got the most bizarre explanation - that she admittedly was lazy and used the design from my physical wings, didn't realize I was in SL, and that it was "just the veins" anyway.
Sometimes, the ignorance is baffling. As if the vein work wasn't the core of the whole design, the thing that I registered with the copyright office. Along with this laughable admission, she also argued that I don't own pixie wings and that design has been around since before 2007. She provided some links that were downright ridiculous, probably the most different you could get from my design in every way - wrong shape, wrong veins, no similarity at all besides the fact that they are also wings.
My review has since been removed, but the statement claiming that my DMCA was malicious is still there. So this blog post will stay up as long as that petty little note is.
If I felt like wasting that time, I could have taken legal action myself as I know that willful infringement of registered intellectual property could not only incur actual damages, but up to $150,000 in addition for statutory damages. An admission of copying the work was captured in a screen shot.
Now, here is the Teasel wings photo that's been stolen more times than I can count, from before I knew to watermark the hell out of EVERYTHING. It's no longer on my website but photos of this design in various colors are still in my galleries and social media pages, and unfortunately probably in places online they shouldn't be.
Now, the reported wings below that she called Pixie Bento Wings. *Ahem* It's a pretty exact copy except for the smoother edges and different colors.
I don't need to say much more, except that this is just to make sure that anyone who sees the pirated design on the SL grid knows that this person profited off of my work and my property without permission or compensation, and the infringer is still amazingly adamant that somehow they were doing nothing wrong. Unfortunately SL no longer removes infringed items from the grid because they don't want to have to deal with potentially thousands of people pissed off that they no longer have a product they paid for.
So I'm re-releasing this design now in a new Bento animated, materials enabled format that's better than ever, and I didn't have to lazily steal someone else's work to do so.