Linden Lab Sides with the Content Rippers

I received an interesting response to my DMCA notification described in the previous post, which I will discuss in a moment. At the end, they restated what the TOS mentions:

Regarding your request that we terminate the Resident account(s).  Residents that continually re-post content that is subject to a valid DMCA may be terminated under our repeat infringer policy.

Continually. Copying once is not enough. Copying twice is not “continually”. Three times would be the bare minimum. And again I have to ask, why???  What is the purpose of this policy?  Why allow a proven copier to stay at all?

So there you have it, the definitive statement about whose side LL is on.

The other interesting part is the connection between “reposting” content and being subject to a valid DMCA. What is reposting anyway?  Does that mean “putting up for sale”?   I don’t see anything in the DMCA notice or law about selling, but about copyright infringement. You don’t have to sell something to infringe copyright.

Every article of my original content anywhere with someone else’s name on it as creator is IP theft. It does not matter if it is set for sale or not, or rezzed inworld or not. My DMCA was very explicitly about my property in inventory or anywhere else.

As I said in the previous post, my main concern is not about what is “posted” or set for sale inworld and on the marketplace, but with what is in inventories. Having no experience with IP infringement on this scale, I wanted to be very sure that LL did not intend to notify the infringer before doing a takedown — or, as I have heard of before, just telling the infringer to do his own takedown.  That is just not going to work. It’s like the police ringing up a burglar to let them know they will be over later in the day to check the place for stolen property. Or ringing them up to ask them to please get rid of any stolen merchandise they may have on hands, thanks.
And although I obviously was very skeptical about the possibility of LL deleting the account, it seemed to me the only viable way to expunging all the infringing content in inventory.  LL may have some special means of determining which of the house and furniture textures and sculpts in the thief’s inventory are my content, but I would not know — do copied things even keep their names? The names of at least some things have been changed.

Therefore it seemed to be that the only way to delete all the infringing content was to delete the accounts of 1) the avi that did the copying and 2) the avi doing the building and selling.

I explained all this in a preface to the notification — my concerns, my preferences, my requests. And I asked for feedback on how the takedown request would be carried out, and whether the accounts would be deleted or not (who knows, maybe they are repeat infringers?)  This was what I said:

If LL is unwilling, for whatever reason, to delete all accounts in possession of my ripped content – and give them time to transfer my content full perm to various others, then please let me know as I may need to reconsider.

Note that I said “may need to reconsider” and not “will withdraw”.

So the takedown team writes back and says:

Based on your request, Linden Lab now considers your DMCA complaint withdrawn.  You may resubmit the complaint if you change your mind.

Hmmm. Now, two things about this. First, I asked to be advised on their course of action — and what it looks like to me is that they did indeed fully intend to give the copier time to transfer my content.

Glad I thought to ask!

However, that is not what the SL DMCA webpage says they will do. They say this:

On taking down content under the DMCA, we will take reasonable steps to contact the owner of the removed content so that a counter-notification may be filed.

“On taking down” — that means “at the time of” or something close to it. It most certainly does NOT mean before taking down content.

Secondly, just to be clear: it is LL, not the copier, that does the takedown. I don’t know if, as I have heard, it is sometimes their policy to notify a thief to do his own takedown, but that is not prescribed by the DMCA.

So there it stands:  the takedown team has taken the liberty of withdrawing my complaint for me. And until the thief steals enough to be considered “continually” she is free to pursue that goal in peace.

In discussing this whole nightmare experience and my DMCA with people I have a couple of times mentioned that I thought it was possible LL would do nothing.  And each time I was assured, oh, if they get a proper DMCA notice they have to do a takedown, it’s the law.  Except that what they have chosen instead is to withdraw my notice for me and do — nothing.



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