Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your..

I was once criticised by irrelevant individuals for “sitting” on the story of VirtualGet which appeared to be a phishing scam, in that it asked for credit card details in return for a subscription to unlimited goods from SL merchants.

However, on first appearance, the website appeared to be an elaborate marketplace for copybotted content. Upon asking the merchants whom’s products I recognised, it became clear that they hadn’t consented to this, so emails were dispatched to the website owners as well as informing Linden Lab themselves.

The irrelevant critics felt I should have come out publicly with the story and let everyone know about the huge marketplace of copybotted content.

The reason I didn’t was pretty simple – if a website like that is getting no coverage whatsoever, then it can be dealt with quietly and cleanly by the relevant parties. In broadcasting to everyone who reads an SL blog, you are basically holding up a big sign saying “STOLEN STUFF HERE!”. And that big sign is visible to both the concerned and the unethical.

Certain Second Life blogs cover copybot on a regular basis, and will often mention the names of these copybots. I am unable to fathom how this is helping anyone’s cause, as a simple Google search for the said copybot client will allow any person to download it and use it to rip SL content.

There have been a few occasions where the name of a website distributing copybotted builds in XML files have been passed to me (presumably to blog) which instead I’ve passed onto the relevant parties (including the ripped creators) for it to be quietly removed. Observing the traffic, these sites disappear swiftly and quietly, and the content creator’s work doesn’t get mass-distributed, which in my opinion works out better for them.

So I can’t understand the logic in causing a mass-hysteria when stolen content is found in isolated incidences – surely it’d be better to deal with it quietly, rather than letting the would-be thieves know that it’s out there for them to find?


8 Responses to “Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your..”

  1. Have to agree that initially keeping a lid on a story, so things can be tidied up cleanly and quietly, is the best way forward. The last thing that is desired is a boost to the income of the thieving copybotter and further damage or loss to the original content creator.

    After the event it has to be beneficial to all if the story is published especially if the outcome shows that theft does not succeed and if possible the perpetrator shamed.

    May still be wise to not publish to many details of the offending tools as this may lead to copy cat offenders.

  2. I agree with your course of action, Prad.

    I do not understand what these critics thought you would have personally gained by sitting on the story.

    If anything, you would have lost a dubious perk of breaking a shocking and volatile story that would have gained you lots of hits.

    Too often I see blogs published in the name of ‘helping expose’ but ending up providing publicity, links and how-to info regarding the very stories/situations they are horrified at.

    I know Google is there for anyone who wants to find knowledge in these areas, but if it isn’t set in front of someone on a plate, with a fork and a napkin, most will wander on to the next free meal.

  3. Ivey Deschanel Says:

    My goodness, there is a person with deductive and reasoning abilities in second life media who’s not just out to make a name for himself or get “hits” or readership by spreading fear and encouraging witch hunting. Imagine that? People can handle things discretely and more effectively without a mountain of drama around it…who knew?

    All that was typed in a very sarcastic tone btw. LOL
    Thank you Prad. I hope you’re not attacked for promoting content theft like I was when I said this publicly.

  4. Love the term “irrelevant individuals” BTW, brilliant. I’ll make sure I get permission for its use from you going forward.

    We have helped several designers deal with having their items copied both on and off our malls. We are not known for it because we don’t make a drama fest out of it. While some designers may want to “scream it from the mountain tops” my experience has been that most want to keep it quiet.

    I think at the least you should ask the Copyright/IP owner if they want to “go public”. Asking for permission first is also a good way to make sure you have a real case of theft on your hand. After all thats only responsible reporting right? 😉

  5. I totally agree! Well done!

  6. Sounds like your decision was based on a logical reflection on the pros and cons of the situation. And on what you thought was right at the time. That’s all any of us can do. And really, who cares what anyone else thinks.
    Srsly. Great job, Prad.

  7. Being in the spotlight of SL, everything you do/say/think and whatever they make up you that do/say/think is going to be criticized. As long as you stay in the spotlight and listen to what people say, it will happen to everyone eventually.

    People have different opinions and you can’t possibly pander to all of them. If you had posted it, people who agree with you that copybot stuff should stay a private matter would be criticizing you.

    You took a stance for logical reasons based on the situation. Might not have been the popular OMG drama stance, but at least you can sleep at night knowing you did what you thought was best.

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