Copyright, Rights, and Backdrop City

There has been an awful lot of drama in Second Life recently, and much of it has centered around Backdrop City. You see, someone had the bright idea of buying a whole bunch of backdrops and rezzing them for other people to use. The problem is, many creators felt that this violated their rights, because by allowing others to use the backdrops, they've bypassed the creator's store.

This post was originally made prior to the Linden Lab acquisition of CasperTech. Any views or opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of Linden Lab or any other entity.

This, of course, is utter baloney. It's not against copyright law, or against the SL terms of service, to rez something that you've purchased in order for others to use it. It's a core part of Second Life. Have you ever sat down at a Greedy table with friends? Have you ever rented a pre-furnished apartment? Have you ever been to a club? Or indeed visited any sim in Second Life? Chances are, you get to view content that someone else has bought.

Oh, and there's the small added fact that a large number of these backdrops consist of images stolen from copyrighted sources on the web.. but that's none of my business..

So what was the result of all this drama? Well, the result was drawing an insane amount of attention to Backdrop City and now, because of the fuss, it's now one of the most popular regions in SL. I kind of feel like I should take these creators by the scruff of their neck, rub their noses in it, and say "YOU SEE WHAT YOU DID?!"

40016 Traffic

Seriously, folks. Just chill out. Your intellectual property rights are important, and you have the right to protect them, but just be calm. Know your rights. Know your customer's rights. Know the Second Life terms of service. Strike when effective, don't bitch on Facebook and give them free exposure.

Too many people get ridiculously worked up by thieves, and then end up stabbing themselves in the face. So many creators have made chasing IP theives their core focus, or are thinking of leaving SL because of theives, or have otherwise got themselves worked up.

Please, stop. Just stop! Focus on your business. Build it up. Keep innovating. Keep making new stuff, new releases. For the most part, ignore the thieves. Don't draw attention to them, just silently file DMCA reports to have their content removed from SL. They will never have the exposure that you have. They are an inconvenience but not a threat.

You cannot prevent copyright theft. But you can prevent it from consuming you. That is all.