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What is Content Theft?


Often you will hear me telling people not to pass items through FabFree chat.  Have you ever questioned why?

By passing items that you did not personally make, this aids in content theft throughout the grid.  Distributing items without permission from the original creator makes you just as guilty as a copybotter.

Content theft is the number one reason designers leave SL.  Without creators where would SL be?

How can you check to see whether an item is legitimate?  If you find a store that seems a bit shady you might have wondered if the creations are from legitimate designs.  The simple way to check without purchasing is to right click edit the prim.  Click the content tab and for each item within the box you can click properties and see who is named the creator.  The items should be made by the store owner, unless it is a resell establishment and in that case the resell is a business negotiated with the original designer.  Many designers have business partners.  Check the creator’s profile to see if the location is in the original creator’s profile.

If you find a place offering stolen goods file an Abuse Report, this helps to get the Linden’s attention.  To Report Abuse click the help tab in the top left side of the SL window.  Select the appropriate category and include as much information as possible.

Also, send the landmark and pictures (if available) to the original creator.  The designers may not respond, but they will be grateful for your concern.

Together we can stop content theft!
~Renee Lowenhart~

Author: Renee Lowenhart

Fabulously Free in SL ☆FabFree Blogger: www.fabfree.wordpress.com☆ ★Owner of the FabFree and FabLucky in world groups★

12 thoughts on “What is Content Theft?

  1. Hi there —

    I’m not questioning your info exactly but I was under the impression (and have been told by numerous folks) that material that had been copybotted as well as Second Inventory full perm exports and reimports take on the name of the person that “stole” — or exported in the case of SI — the good. So in that case looking at the inspect info would do know good. It would mark the product as belonging to the person with the “shop”.

    Full perm items that are just handed around would of course keep the original content creators name, and in many occurrences would be OK. They were often meant to be shared. If you don’t know that the creator is a “freebie maker” by design then sending them a note would be good, certainly.

    Perhaps someone who is up on all the specifics can clarify this as it would be good info to have out there for the masses.

    It is often difficult to tell what is original and what is stolen, so passing along anything that you didn’t make is always a good plan :D. On that I definitely agree!


  2. From experience I’ve noticed that shop owners will not usually rip things using their name. And avators used to steal content do not usually have much in their profiles. Therefore the profile would be blank or sans slurl to the store. However, creatable creators will have their stores located somewhere in their profiles.
    I check probably 50 stores a week from designers applying to the Fabulously Free in SL group. Sadly I see lots of stores that sell freebies created by other people. The Fabulously Free in SL group does not allow reseller or baib type stores, and certainly does not allow any form of content theft.
    Also, passing items created by someone else (with the exception of notecards and landmarks) is prohibited and anyone doing so is immediately ejected from the group. Many times full perm items get on to the grid because of SL glitches or human error, this does not mean that the mistakes need to be exploited.


  3. Hi,

    I just want to make the point that just because the object, or part of the object being sold wasn’t made by the store owner does NOT mean they’re doing anything untoward or shady. I use various full perm resources to help build props to go with my poses. Similarly I have things in my store made by friends who have given me permission to sell them on their behalf. We are in a completely over the top, hysterical period in SL’s history regarding content theft. There is a HUGE difference between reporting content theft when you find it and whipping people into such a furore about this issue that everything they encounter becomes suspicious. Are content theives in the wrong? Yes, morally we can all agree that they are, and the law says so too. Are content theives murky underword criminals eating babies for breakfast? No. We need perspective and yes we need to do our bit to report theft when we have reasonable PROOF that it has happened. I would suggest that if you have reason to believe something you see has been stolen, for example you see two exact same items for sale in two different stores you contact both the store owners, POLITELY explaining your concerns and listening with an OPEN mind to their responses, then, if you still have concerns, use the channels available to report it. Just because you see something in a store not made by the store owner does not equal content theft.


  4. As I wrote it is important to check the profiles. Reputable sculpti/prim makers will more than likely have the sculpti/prim store located in their profiles. And will most likely state in the profile that they are in fact a full perm sculpti/prim maker and seller.
    I do think that this is a HUGE issue and people do need to be cautious. Each and every day I encounter content theft, whether it be a store applying for designer status within the group that is selling boxes of ripped items or a group member questioning items that they find full perm, such as hair, skin, etc. It is scary and rampant across the grid!
    Lately within the Fabulously Free in SL group there has been many questions about content theft. This post (along with the notice sent to the group) will hopefully answer some of the questions. Many do not understand that it is against the law according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and if charges are pressed could face a $25,000 fine, thats USD not linden dollars.
    Unfortunately the issue of content theft is confusing to many people. As a blogger I can help educate people and insure that nothing I post is in violation. As a group owner I can educate the group members and answer questions they might have.


  5. It can’t hurt to contact the person listed as creator when you run into a design in which the creator and shop owner are different. That way, if the creator is being ripped off, you are letting them know about it, but if the creator is a vendor of full perm sculpties, for example, and many people use their creations legally in the design of a finished product for sale, the original creator can clear up the misunderstanding quickly. I don’t think sculpty-makers usually have the names of every shop who sells designs using their creations in their picks.

    Another scenario that may create the appearance of copyright violation is the use of alts to create designs. Many people use alts for building, because their main avatar is constantly interrupted with IMs, notices, etc. Thus, the alt’s name would be displayed as creator, and appear in conflict with the shopowner’s name.

    I am merely pointing out a couple of exceptions that I think are important to be aware of. I agree that copyright violation is rampant and something to be fought tooth and nail. I appreciate that you use your forum with considerable membership to advance the common awareness of this outrageous design thievery that is all too frequent and underexposed.


  6. Wish you lot in your little Group would stop scare mongering normal SL people, last night i had to diffuse a problem where 4 of your people wearing YOUR Group tag harrassed a person because she was wearing an article which your people claimed was made by a top SL designer. They didnt even bother asking that person,

    all they did was call them out in open chat calling then a copybotter and other nasty names.When myself and a few others asked them why they said that it was because Renne Lowenhart owner of the Group and the Mods of the group told us too.

    Well turns out this person was an alt of a designer who was trialling her new item in public and she has now launched AR’s against those certain people .Please could you stop your group people from doing this or at least get them to ask questions first before launching into a tirade of abuse and false accusations.

    I dont like copybotting at all and yes i lose items all the time but they is a way to stop them and have done in the past, most turn out to be teens doing it for a laugh.all the legal action in the world wont help stop them.


  7. First off the group is nowhere near little, there are 9,500 members and it is growing rapidly. Second, neither I nor the mods are in favor of instigating problems with anyone. We do not tell members to form malicious bans upon others and we do not approve of this behavior.
    Most SL users know how to inspect items and see who is the creator of an object. We do not support content theft and when the topic does arise within the group, the members are greatly educated by the wonderful legitimate creators within the group.
    As to the request “Please could you stop your group people from doing this,” I can not control what ANYONE does, I wish I could. The group members are well informed about content theft and I hope the word spreads!
    If the person wearing the said item was the designer’s alt, then she should be proud to know that there are good people in SL that want to preserve her name and creations.


  8. Well you and your cronies have done it again sending someone in to “report them and inform the owner ”
    Who gives you the right to tell someone what to do?
    You are not the SL police I could go on but you people make me sick after that little charade time to leave your group.


  9. Copybotter sympathy goes no where. Great job to the ones who caught and reported the stolen goods!


  10. You shouldn’t harass people just because you think they copy botted something! It’s just plain bitchy! If you have to report them do so or maybe you could try educating them on what content theft is. Better yet before you give someone who claims to be the alt of the original creator a chance to prove themselves before you report or accuse them! Ask them *nicely* to sign on to their main avatar and IM you from that avatar. If they cannot do this, *then* report them! But don’t jump to conclusions and yell copybotter before giving them a chance!


  11. I never said to harass anyone. Im not sure where that is coming from because no where in the article does it say anything like that. I did state to “send the landmark and pictures (if available) to the original creator. The designers may not respond, but they will be grateful for your concern.” Voicing concerns to the creator should give them the opportunity to clear up any confusion. I also said if the person is absolutely sure they can file an AR report, which also isn’t harassing at all.


  12. To actually post a positive comment on your article, I appreciate that you had taken the time to sit down and write about what content theft entails. There are a lot of people in SL who wouldn’t know how to inspect the items and some are not even aware that there is a problem. I’ve actually read your article and understand that you are not telling readers to attack a suspected thief, but to inform the original designer and to report it if they truly believe that it was a theft.

    A good friend of mine left SL because her content had been stolen. She found out that some other SL members knew, but they never bothered to inform her because they believed she had allowed the store to sell her items. She would have appreciated what you are trying to accomplish with this article.