This page has been put together in the hopes of clarifying our no tolerance policy for infringement of Copyrights, Trademarks, and all IP Rights.
Why we care:
- The goal of Twisted is to help promote those content creators who are making original creations in Second Life.
- As artists and/or content creators ourselves we take seriously the need to protect the rights of people who hold the rights to content and that infringement is NOT a victimless crime and by doing all we can to protect others we are also working to protect our own rights under these laws.
- Because as much as many may think no one is going to notice it’s in Second Life, this is faulty logic. Many big companies actually have lawyers they employ full time, who actually will go after infringement even by the little guy. Take down orders have in fact happened for these things in Second Life and when that happens, not only do you no longer have that item as it’s removed from the servers, anyone who paid you then has it also removed from inventory. This means the person who bought the item, no longer has the use of something they paid you for and you have the money for it! That makes you look bad to those who suddenly no longer have that item, and makes those buying angry and confused as to why they got an email saying they had infringing content that was removed by Linden Labs. But this is not all that happens, this process can include lawsuits that include monetary damages for having violated these copyrights.
We want to point out that we are very aware that the laws governing infringement can be extremely confusing. We are not experts or lawyers in these and so must use the knowledge we do have from our own reading and research to evaluate what we are willing to allow or not. We are also human when checking locations and it’s possible to miss items that are an issue and have in fact had them pointed out to us later. When this happens, we move quickly behind the scenes to verify these claims, locate the original content source, and if in fact they are infringement we contact the merchant to have them remove them or if they choose not to we will removed them from the hunt.
Any of the following we hope will help clarify what we are looking at when we deny applications for reasons of infringement:
- Use of any kind of artwork or imagery that is not your own original work, public domain, or an item you have the rights to use under a commercial license that provides for resell of the image on items. Taking an image from somewhere that does not include copyright notifications for it does not mean it’s inherently public domain or free to be used for anything you wish. NOTE: Just because you purchased that pack of fancy patches for clothing, artwork images or nature photos for wall art in world from someone else in Secondlife, unfortunately does NOT then negate the original copyright holder’s right to come after you for infringement if they ripped the images they are selling you. If it looks to good to be true, due diligence and a bit of time online searching to see if they are original or just a batch of ripped images can save you trouble in the long run. Sadly, we have had more than one merchant who have been caught unknowingly by exactly this kind of trouble.
- Use of band logos, product logos, or other trademark or copyright images. Just don’t do it. If you have not secured the rights to use these images from the copyright or trademark holder it is in fact infringement.
- Use of mesh or graphic images “ripped” from games or other copyrighted sources. These are all to easily ripped out of games, and all to often resold in world to the unsuspecting merchant who does not play these games. That however does not negate the fact that they are copyrighted.
- Use of music clips covered by copyright. This means items that play songs can only use music clips that are no longer covered by copyrights. Please know, the use of current or recent hits is in fact an infringement of copyrights.
- Fan art, this is a topic that we’ve seen and heard many are confused by. Fan art is in fact infringement if you are selling it. Fair use lets you create the images, however, it does not allow for you to then make a profit of any kind off of those images. The argument that you are selling it in SL and so not really making a profit is not valid, if you sell it and get lindens, a currency that can in fact be cashed out of SL for RL money and even if not allows you to then buy other products or services or use it as you please are still a profit. Selling them infringes on the copyright or trademark rights of the original IP holder and moves them out of the realm of fair use. We most commonly see this happening with Disney, Dr Who, or other popular shows, games, or movies.
- A special note on fair use and parody…Parody is a very specific exception to infringement that requires more than just stylized recreation of the copyrighted material. While this exception can be maddeningly muddy it does include some specific qualifications that rule out simply drawing the character in a stylized way, naming it differently, or applying a filter to an original image that just makes it sepia, black and white, monotone, etc. It requires substantial transformation with specific reasons applied to it. It allows for enough similarity to recall the original material however also requires enough substantial change and originality with specific reasons including criticism and insulting the original content to separate it from the intended purpose of the original work.
This list is not all inclusive and we will add to this page as other examples require or to clarify anything that is still confusing. This is not a simple black and white topic in many ways which has made making this page to help clarify the subject fairly difficult, but we are more than happy to continue to work on making this subject clearer in any way that we can.
We strongly urge all merchants to do their own research into these issues so that they better understand these issues to protect themselves from unknowingly infringing on the rights of others as well as to help understand how to protect your own rights. The DMCA process is complicated, and while many in SL ignore it, merchants should not, it’s an important protection for you not just for those big name companies paying lawyers on retainer to protect themselves.