On the right is a loveseat I made. On the left is one that has been given out for free across the grid. Go ahead and click (twice) to see details.
Notice anything? Now I am not saying they are identical because the mesh is not identical. But under copyright law, that really doesn’t matter. If someone downloads my mesh, takes it into some 3D program, and changes it a bit — or even changes it a lot — or just makes a copy from scratch — it is still IP infringement.
A friend was visiting and noticed the two sofas side by side; she suggested I slide one sofa over so they occupied the same space. I tinted mine yellow so you can see which is which. Here is what they look like:
Amazing, isn’t it? A near perfect match, down to the piping on the cushions and the front of the arms.
In cases like this I often hear people say “Oh that came off the internet, there are tons like that on the internet.” Well in this case, no there are not. Here is a search of “leather sofa” : https://www.google.com/search?q=leather+sofa&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&gbv=2&prmd=imvnsr&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=_n6wT8bwMsXY2QX6ytDpCA&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CJABEPwFKAE&biw=1908&bih=1233
If anyone sees a loveseat/sofa that looks like mine, let me know. Because I have never seen one. The loveseats were not “both modeled after the same RL source” because I did not use one.
Am I wrong for saying “I know my work. This is my work.”? Some think so. What I think: It is wrong to take credit for the work of someone else, and worse to sell or give it away.
A natural question is, how would you prove something like this in court? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substantial_similarity
“Substantial similarity is the standard developed and used by United States courts to determine whether a defendant has infringed the reproduction right of a copyright. The standard arises out of the recognition that the exclusive right to make copies of a work would be meaningless if infringement was limited to making only exact and complete reproductions of a work”
UPDATE: After due consideration of the fact that picture of my sofa appeared several times in the mesh forum where the maker of the copied sofa and I post, I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt that the copy may have been subconscious. Certainly it is a copy, but there is no way to prove intent. I did contact the maker in IM first, and when I never heard back from him, I drew a conclusion about his motives. I don’t think it is an unwarranted conclusion but there remains the possibility of unintentional copying, and so that is the premise under which I will operate. I will not file a DMCA; the maker of the copy can decide the right thing to do.
ETA: There is someting in Intellectual Property Law called Subconsious Copying; there is also the psychological phenomenon called Cryptomnesia