"Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
There are some limitations to the rule, it says that if there is a piece inspired or derived or a parody of the original work, if it is sufficiently different according to an impartial jury then it's off the hook. However, anything short of that, or anything to be distinct enough to be obviously a direct copy, is against the law.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it so that whatever online service might be hosting someone who is violating copyright law isn't held responsible for it, so long as they remove it as soon as it's been reported.
Yes there is sadly a reason why this came up. I suppose I should take it as a compliment, and as a sign of growing up as a little fledgling business into a business that can hop around and eat bugs, that I've had my first thief. My fiance is an addicted marketplace browser, and at first when he saw the thumbnail he thought that the person had used my items as part of their marketing shots. Instead, he found that the person had completely remade my designs with normal prims, including using designs from pieces from Madlax Stygian's popular Jester Silks. If the girls in the Fashion Consolidated Cafe could be considered a 3rd party jury, the "ruling" was passionately unanimous about who they sided with. These works were by no means "sufficiently different" to satisfy them. When confronted about the whole ordeal, the creator said that she had done absolutely nothing wrong, the designs were completely different, and that hers weren't made from sculpted prims. She repeated again and again that she had made the prims herself, and that she had worked very hard to make it herself. She seemed to completely miss the point that the design as an artistic work is my intellectual property. I have to say I don't get angry often, but I was actually shaking in real life. I am by no means a hot headed or emotional individual, in fact I can count the number of times I've been upset about anything this month on one hand, but this woman pushed me.
I believe it is in both of our best interests if she learns that she is indeed violating the law, and so tomorrow I will be faxing a DMCA report to LL and having her items removed. If she posts them again, she will be banned.
And that's all I have to say about that.