Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some events transpired today that have made me want to talk about copyright law. There is a blessed, wonderful thing that exists for artists called copyright, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that I'd just like to take a moment and be grateful for. I'm about to copy and paste some things, I know they're wordy but I'll be adding my own comments.

From copyright.gov:

"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 This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.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

...It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the owner of copyright."

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.


Anonymous said...

As I was saying in-world... just lovely, isn't it? This copyright violator falls into the classic pitfall of imagining that a change of media means it's "different".

For example, artists have used photographs illegally as the basis for sculptures, and as long as it was recognizably derivative, they got burned... for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Koons#Copyright_litigation

In this case, I would argue that "prims" vs. "sculpties" is not even a media shift, so it's even more similar than she'd like to imagine.

Too bad most of her buyers won't be FashCon-savvy. I hope LL, onRez, and SLB all act fast in your favor to remove these items. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Power to the people!

The people here being, of course, Siyu Suen and her supporters!

(Just because I'm one of them doesn't mean I'm biased. Well, it does, yes, but you're getting sidetracked!)

Miriel Enfield said...

Ugh, I'm sorry you're dealing with this. And turning it into a slut costume was just adding insult to injury.