Phantasies and Alternate Dimensions (feline_phantasy) wrote,
Phantasies and Alternate Dimensions

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Digging through the Maze of Copyright Law

I have just spent the afternoon poring over Copyright Law and the DMCA, and I'd like to share with you what I have found.

1. By "garden walling" itself, Second Life is in violation of Copyright Law. They are specifically interfering with the wishes of people using their service, who actually OWN the copyrights to the materials Second Life is blocking the transfer of. Many building materials creators have no problem whatsoever with a builder transferring their materials to another grid. Moreso, they are interfering with the derivative copyright of the BUILDERS who have every right to back up their work to their own hard drives and/or transfer it to another grid or medium. Likewise, they have made it impossible for the owners of legitimate collaborative works to transfer their jointly-owned projects to their hard drives, another medium, or to another grid.

I wonder who is going to step up and challenge them.

2. In all the law text I read today, not ONCE did I see ANYTHING which gave a copyright owner the right to throw severely restrictive use on their commercially offered building materials, most of which are textures. In fact, in some cases, the copyright holder is overstepping their bounds by first giving permission for their work to be included in derivative works, then trying to slam the garden gate on where that derivative work goes. There is also some language under the concept of First Sale which would apply, and thereby negate these severe restrictions.

3. Yet today again I found another "texture artist" using textures which came from a certain website which expressly forbids the resale of their textures as-is OR modified. How did I know? I will often use textures from this same website within their copyright, which allows me to include them on my 3D builds. I have seen many of the textures on this site, and have used more than a few on my 3D builds. The "texture artist" who is representing this work as their own is in violation of the original copyright holder's wishes and is guilt of infringing. There is one problem: The owner of this site could spend the rest of his life tracking down and DMCA'ing people on 3D virtual worlds. So MANY of his textures have made their way into the grids that it's just downright mind-boggling.

4. Another so-called "texture artist" is using elements from the web, calling the art her own, as in original, charging a hefty price for it AND slapping so many restrictions on its use that it's really not worth buying from her. Some of those sites are scrapbooking sites, some are for-pay texture sites, yet other examples are free on the web - BUT - in each case, the ORIGINATOR of the elements in her textures are the FIRST ones holding copyright. I highly doubt that she, or others like her, have bothered to clear the licenses of all these bits and portions they've culled or bought before incorporating them into their own derivative work and offering it for sale.

5. While you can restrict what country or hemisphere your work is sold in, as part of a derivative or as a whole - there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that says you have the right to restrict the movement of these materials TO ANOTHER SET OF SERVERS, OR TO A HOME COMPUTER, WITHIN THE SAME COUNTRY/HEMISPHERE.

The more I see, the more I am forced to conclude that there are very few true "texture artists" on the 3d virtual world grids. Most cobble together images and pieces that were first made by other people, and often without permission to do so. Some have enough talent to manipulate the bits and bobs but that doesn't mean they have the right to use them. Yet others don't even bother to manipulate the bits, photos, or clipart, because they don't know the basics of a graphics program and aren't about to start learning - not as long as they keep getting away with what they're doing.
Tags: 3d virtual worlds, copyright law, inworldz, second life

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