Saturday, October 31, 2009

Linden Lab rounds up and ejects a bunch of copyright infringers

This article was written by Tateru Nino

Now, we must admit that we find this one both amusing and appropriate. In short, Linden Lab has sent 50 or more Second Life users who were using the after-market NeilLife viewer on the spank-bus to ban-town. Not just for using the viewer, but for copying content that they shouldn't ought to have.

What's clever is how Linden Lab caught and detected them.

Now, obviously assets get transferred to viewers from the servers. That's the whole point of the server/viewer relationship. The servers tell the viewer what assets are around, and the viewer prioritizes and fetches the assets that it is interested in.
Not every asset is necessarily in the vicinity of the viewer (eg: profile pictures and some other things), but the ideal conformant viewer asks only for what it is supposed to get, and doesn't then immediately replicate in-world copies of it, or whatever, in ways that infringe on the rights of others.

In any case, it seems there was this particular asset that many users with... let's call them non-conformant viewers were grabbing and replicating. As we understand it, the Lab slipped the asset out from under the UUID, and replaced it with something (that we presume was quite similar) that called up the Lab and let them know who the naughty person who copied it was.

The NeilLife viewer creator (if 'creator' is the appropriate word as it was just another after-market viewer with some exploits added) and quite some tens of the users of that viewer had their accounts banned pretty much outright. Not because they were using a non-conformant viewer, but because they were using it to infringe (and apparently doing it pretty darn stupidly at that).

As a bonus, there would now be a documentation trail supporting US Federal criminal charges should the Lab find that any of the banned users are overly vexing or troublesome.

Well-played, Linden Lab. We – along with the vast majority of your users and customers – are rather looking forward to hearing about more actions like this.

PS. Comment from Anna Avalanche: I must agree with Tateru Nino. This was a very nice attitude from Linden Lab. Well done Linden’s!!!!

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