Ripped content….makes me angry.

This time no fancy picture, just this:

Thieves_guild_armor

So, recently I have seen more and more and more people promoting and wearing armors and follower pets created by Manticore/Erebos. I admit, a bit ago I fell for the ruse myself and bought a cute little dog there, being rather unaware of the fact that the pets displayed are all ripped from games such as Final Fantasy as well…since I never played those.

And this is just ONE example out of all their stuff. I fear not a single item in that store is NOT stolen.

I myself became suspicious the moment the store began to release a ton of excellent mesharmors…that all seemed oddly familiar to me. 😦 I could bite my ass for wasting 450 Lindens on the small dog.

I made the experience that ever since mesh was introduced to SL, any random store that pops up with a TON of excellent stuff at once should be regarded with suspicion.

I for once am a huge supporters of original creators and I personally-hate- blowing money of peoples’ ass when they sell stolen stuff. I am really sad to see just how few people seem to care about this and don’t even feel a bit bad about buying stolen stuff. I guess a lot of people who aren’t regular gamers aren’t even aware of it, just like me when I bought the dog. FF is one of the few games I never touched.

I do not really think one can expect people to recognize every little piece of stolen stuff from other games, but I do think that a bit of common sense sometimes helps: Large amounts of excellent seeming stuff for low prices from a largely unknown store? = Likely ripped. Not always, but there’s a good chance for it.

I personally do not even -mind- if people get stuff for themselves, but as soon as you profit from it, imho you are not only ripping off the creator, but also those who buy from you, letting them believe you buy legal stuff until one day they look into their inventory to find out it’s been replaced with an ID from LindenLabs and an odd message in their IMs.

Food for thought.

Arica. 🙂

PS: I find some reactions, even from bigger bloggers, rather disappointing. Basically they go: It is LindenLabs responsibility to take them down.

Oh sure, it is. But do you really think that takes away -your- responsibility to not support thieves by throwing money at them or displaying their stuff knowling on blogs? I hardly will blame anyone who doesn’t know it, but I will blame anyone who is being made aware and still says “Oh, that is LL’s responsibility, not mine.” Especially since the TOS clearly state that you, as the user of content, have a share of responsibility as well.

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25 thoughts on “Ripped content….makes me angry.

  1. I agree 100% – especially in the Medi-Fantasy genre you see a lot of things stolen right out of Skyrim and other games of that genre. I really encourage all users to look at the products, look at the rate of expansion, how much the products match eachother, if they have types of products that cater specifically to their users or just ‘general’ items with only a few of each type or sell only in sets. Look also at the texturing, low resolution texturing can be a dead give away!!! If one item is blatantly stolen, you can bet more items were too.

    It’s really very sad and very disheartening to see all the stolen goods proliferate the sims that we know & love. There is some good stores though, I know the owners of one – Dysfunctional Designs – are legitimate… I have watched them grow for the past 7 years… I am not sure if Tia is, sometimes I bring it under the same suspect I did for Rochambeau because of how ‘influenced’ Rochambeau was from Skyrim because they seem to be working together, and also Tia showed up practically overnight. I think that Abel Dreamscape has some sketchy items that I have seen on websites you can buy full rights to meshes… Especially the architectural items… but I haven’t looked in detail to find out much more.

    Other than that… I don’t actually know of any other mesh builders in this genre that actually seem legitimate or use hand made meshes, not just full perms. It’s really a sad state of affairs when you can count them on a hand, and know that only one for positive is legitimate. I know that DD doesn’t provide their items mod, but I understand it and don’t mind… they’re a good store with the owners are great people.

    I imagine sometimes though not everyone cares… which is really a shame. Really. I hope that the community as a whole comes to respect original creators and support them more… but I am the same type of crazy person who avoids WalMart as much as possible in RL too.

    1. I love DDDs stuff. 🙂 GOt a lot of things from there. SO far I never once was suspicious about Rochambeau. He might have been inspired by games, but that is fine with me, even if you make a similar outfit on your own. Your own work went into it after all, not just a matter of what…30 minutes?

      Not sure about Tia, so far I have no suspicions about her despite being relatively new. I play a lot of games and havent recognized anything so far and bought a couple of things because I quite like them. If she works with Rochambeau, then that might be why her stuff is so good. 🙂

      1. The only reason I personally mentioned Skyrim vs Rochambeau is things like this:
        http://stayrefreshed.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/skyrim-riverwood-blacksmith.jpg – a Blacksmith building in Skyrim
        https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Rochambeau-Northern-Village-Set/3365823 – Rochambeau’s building set, note how VERY similar in terms of the mesh the two builds are.

        I don’t know definitively either way, but it is a little disconcerting how similar the items are… and there is many such comparisons. It could almost just be that he took it and applied his own textures. It’s purely speculation, and while I like his items (and also Tia’s, although some of her items I -swear- I’ve seen on another site but maybe she also sells them elsewhere. I am not sure… it was just some little baubles, some lamps and books etc that were very striking) I am a lot more hesitant to buy from them than say like DDD… I am hoping with time they can ‘prove’ themselves to me by sustainably releasing items and that my worries are wrong. I hate all the stolen content so so much, and even moreso how much the community as a whole tolerates what is essentially destroying the honest hard work of people who actually make their own items.

        Sorry, I really do rant too much on this topic. I just get really frustrated.

      2. As a designer, I can assure you I probably hate to see ripped items even more than you. Yes, my design was inspired by Skyrim’s. I was just learning how to do mesh architecture and was using that as a reference both for how to model something as well as the style as I was making it for a northern sim. As you can clearly see though, my build has MANY differences, especially when you look closely. Also, with a build like Skyrim, they map the textures much more efficiently than I did, which make them easier to render, where I set mine up for unique shading effects, something that differs in the modeling process that you cannot change by adding your own textures later and something that would make it clear it’s not a replica.

        I also have worked along with Tia for a long time and know how hard she works on her items, how meticulous she is with her details, and you will not find that kind of detail in a game like Skyrim. She did not appear overnight. She worked her ass off for months doing things over and over until she felt her things wer good enough to sell and didn’t open until she had at least five or six items.

        I can understand if you have a problem with how similar my design was, but to bring up my work as a potential rip just shows how little you know about mesh. Go and look at the rest of my work, and at my material from my mainstream store, Lenox, including the architecture I did on that sim, and see if you can find anything like it in other games or anywhere else. I even just spent the past few months creating an online video course to teach people how to make original mesh for Second Life at http://createmesh.com

        Next time you want to trash someone’s name, you should speak to them directly.

    2. Hey guys,

      Just want you to know I do all my mesh from scratch. I have been learning Maya for about 3 years on here and I did more main stream clothing before I started doing mesh with the help of Rochambeau. I have been around a long time just never hit the market really. You can ask Gospel Voom how long I have been around and when I started learning to build. You are also welcome to speak with Loz Hyde, Fuey Denfu or Maxwell Graf, all have known me and helped me since I started learning. Wynd Ling best known for her very helpful group called The Art Door who were a creative group that spun from Builders Brewery is another designer who knows me for years now. I originally had a store on their sim. The Art Door up until they closed down. She has been nothing but encouragement and support through it all. Another reference I give you is Eliseo Diavolo who is one of the longest Zoha Island mangers, he too can vouch for my first creations and stores.

      I started with sculpts about a 2 years ago first learning on clothing which I removed off marketplace because I began to focus on medieval furniture.

      Please also know that I am a professional designer by trade, and have been working as a graphic artist for over 8 years. From corporate and texturing for 3d. So I know how to to do this stuff with my background. I am proud to give you guys new mesh that I spend hours on creating. Linden Labs or any reputable person is welcome to skype with me and I’ll show you my mesy 3d files hahah as well as my 50+ layer photoshop texture files.

      As for Leviathan Flux… trust me he’s legit. I’ve skyped with him and seen his files too. He has helped me fill in so many gaps on my road to mesh. For which I am ever grateful. Also consider his new mesh creation videos, would someone who rips off items really have all that knowledge? I think not.

      A good tip for you before you suspect creators of being frauds because they come out of nowhere suddenly, research the SL forums. See if they have asked questions and when those were posted, if you search the forums even before the switched over. You’ll find some of my most noob questions from well over a year ago I’m sure.

      Best wishes and regards
      Tia.Biscuit

      1. Thank you for your replies, Lev and Tia! And my apologies for not approving your comments ealier. I am simply not logged into my blog all day and Choco just now told me about them. 🙂

    3. Tia did not just pop up. You just didn’t know about her. Just because you don’t know about her doesn’t mean she rips stuff. Leviathan makes all his work from scratch, and I know because sometimes I am forced to watch him work against my will.

      I don’t like people who bash people just to bash. It doesn’t make you any bigger of a person.

  2. Thank you for this great post… it’s depressing to see how much stolen content there is around and how easy it is to fall for it, even with the best of intentions. And also how willing people can be to turn a blind eye – witness the return of Hush Skins to blogs and feeds. Yeuch.

    1. The whole Hush / Curio skins appears to have been nothing more than a huge pre-agreed scam. You can see in the Curio blog that they are butt-buddies now and the question lingering is: “where are the 20.000+ USD that were donated to help in a law suit that never happened?”.

      1. I dare say there is a big difference between being ‘buttbuddies’ and coming to an agreement via court, as unsatisfying it might be, that allows neither party to ‘trashtalk’ the other. Fascade.

      2. I don’t think it was a pre-agreed scam… I think that it simply became too expensive for either side to argue further so they just dropped it and returned to working parallel to eachother… However I would imagine that Hush will be a lot more conscious of her theft in the future.

      1. Yauo,
        Ok, but as far as it’s understood, they did not even go to court other than to settle that deal that both were quitting any legal actions. So, what was done with the money that was donated to Curio so they could face the whole process in case it wouldn’t be cancelled? Certainly a settlement does not cost 20k USD nowhere in the universe. A whole entire divorce in USA costs 3500 USD if amicable as this whole thing appeared to have been. So, seriously, why is nobody talking about this “detail”? It worries me because since that I saw a lot of campaigns raising funds for this and that. The whole thing of “let’s help this creator” sort of went viral and just like copybotting and ripping things from games is bad form, this isn’t nice either. I think some accountancy display is in order there for the sakes of everybody that donated and went out of their way organizing events to help something that required no help after all.

      2. I think just because the court case wasn’t highly publicised like other cases… it does not nullify that it happened. I can easily forsee how a case like this would cost so much… not to mention the fact Curio had to LIVE off of that generously donated income for that period of time as well… That was at least 6 months, was it not? Even at 1000-2000 a month that is easily 6-12k – not an unreasonable amount in the US. I need approximately 2k to get by myself. However, I doubt we’ll ever hear much about it because usually with such agreements as were made to just drop it and make publicly amiable statements… usually come with a clause to not discuss the proceedings. I think it is still fair to say we all should make our own judgement calls when it comes to purchasing our skins from legal and ethical sources… I’ve been wearing Curio for a long time, and have no reason to stop.

        Most merchants also made half the proceeds from said event, which in and of itself was quite highly publicised… so I doubt any of them are complaining about helping another merchant with the potential for so many sales. It also… to me… would’ve been enough just to help out another person. I think when I give money in good faith to a person I generally trust in the community such as Curio skins, that I should accept what they do with it regardless. If I felt it worthwhile to give to them in the first place, it’s like donating money to any charity or person… up to them what they do with it after. In this case, I would still have been very happy if Curio lived off of the entire sum that was donated to her… and be very happy for the fact she is not now homeless and thankfully back as a part of our community.

        That is just my 2L$… I know yours is probably different, but I hope you’ll at least show a bit of respect to the creator.

      3. I hate to break it to you Layla, but fundraisers had items on sale. You got something in return for your contribution. Therefore there is really nothing further there. On the level of Curio and Hush, if Curio’s livelihood was her skins and she had no other way of paying her bills, then the 20,000 could have gone through for all of that. The fact that you are questioning is what pisses the shit out of me from people lately. Isn’t it enough to actually help? Why do you need to verify it so much, oh wait because you want an excuse not to help. This same argument I have had over donating clothes to thrift stores, and giving out to fundraisers, and rl foundations. Do you want her to produce a whole receipt with the whole cost of the lawsuit?

      4. Again, if you do not want to surport a designer, you do not have to go to the fundraiser etc. So I am guessing if your neighbor has a major issue you will want complete proof of the issue before you give help right?

  3. Really great blog you have. This copybotting stuff is such a headache… I just started making my own textures and wondering how safe they’ll ever be :\
    I read about the Curio vs. Hush saga, it all sounds really sad. It reminds me a lot of the points Peter Ludlow makes in his book about the metaverse and how games companies tend to ignore or enforce their terms of service on a whim. With more and more people spending parts of their lives enjoying and working in the metaverse there needs to be a better way to govern these kind of things… (maybe a virtual democratic court? I guess LL wouldn’t have any of that tho >.< ).

  4. Ive seen Tia building, both in world, and also screen sharing while she worked in 3D apps and helped her as she has learned to do mesh; She has the talent and skill to do what she sells.

    I’ve also known Abel from Morphe, Inc. for a long time, both as one of my main competitors and as a personal friend. I find the idea that you think any of his work is ripped content would be laughable if it wasn’t so ridiculous. The guy has been here for ages and hes got mad skills. I’ve worked directly with him, and he does not sell ripped game content.

    While it is aggravating to find so much game content showing up in world now that mesh has been introduced, it is also important that we don’t toss around accusations and speculative comments which cast doubt onto those who spend a lot of time and effort to do good work. It is not only an attack on their reputation, it puts your logic into question as well.

  5. have closely watched both Tia and Leviathan, work on their items since I was in the same roleplay group as theirs, I’ve seen the hardwork they put on their objects they create in Mesh, and I would vouch for them, that they’re stuff are no close to being ripped from a game. However I agree with this post, that many shops who rip items from games, and sell them off get accredited by many bloggers and shoppers the like. Is there means to stop this? Possibly from Linden Labs but it is rare to see them do something in that regard unless it was something copybotted from another person. I know how it feels like to spend hours and days on an item to make it look perfect. And there are many talented people in secondlife. Sad to see this actually happening.
    Rain.

  6. To say that Tia came out of nowhere is to know little of her, I’ve seen her work on mesh over a year ago when it wasn’t even fully deployed on the agni servers. I have seen her struggle, study and learn maya from day one. I actually still have some screenshots of her early (noob embarrassing :P) models.

    She deserves every bit of success she gets because she has worked her ass off for it. Her origins and beginnings were quite different from what she is known for now, I know well because I offered her some space for her oriniginal [Tia] store. Also because she lived in one of homesteads side by side with me and I saw her building and creating.

    Please, as bloggers you have the power to influnce on people and damage and affect others, make sure you double or triple check your sources before dropping a shadow on the work of people.

    Eliseo Diavolo

  7. I’m actually going to chime in on this article and call bullshit on the white knighting and crying wolf that you’re doing, Author.

    A lot of people have been complaining that the majority of mesh products are being ripped, so let’s start there. It’s complete bullshit.

    The majority of the models you see imported and sold on secondlife are *free* models that are produced under a creative commons, or something of the like, that outline both personal and commercial use policies. Many of them are free to use for both.

    The tell tale sign of a model that has been ripped directly from a game is an incomplete or “glitchy” model, that often has large transparent blotches or “glitches” in parts that don’t stretch with rigging. This is the product of models not being created with engines outside of the game engine in mind.

    Regarding Erebos specifically. *All* of Erebos’s armors are legally obtained. Many of them come from the Witcher packs, which were released to the Skyrim (and other) modding community. The remainder do come from skyrim, but are not “ripped” from the game, but rather, are game modifications. Erebos is not doing anything he is not allowed to.

    Accusations of IP theft are quite serious state-side and can land relatively innocent individuals in a lot of financial and legal trouble. I am getting really, really tired of pundits pointing the finger without having done their research, and Author? You did not do your research.

    Onto the topic of the implications of stock / template model imports and resells. This is a discussion that I have had with many people and it always comes down to this: Original content creators are not performing as demand dictates. They are not providing the community with what they want. For the most part, they create based on their own inspiration with zero input from the community, the remainder is guess work. This had lead to an unfortunately disproportionate failing in regard to men’s fantasy and scifi accessories, armors and clothing/outfits, and equally less non-“skank” outfits for women.

    If content creators want their industry protected from the “lazy,” they need to start catering to the community they provide products to. At this point in time the majority of them simply do not, and because of that they deserve no customer loyalty, or pandering.

    Additionally, original content creators in certain niches, like Fantasy and Sci-Fi, often overprice their products, or select prices arbitrarily. This makes their products inaccessible to a large number of people, and often the quality of the product does not justify its market price.

    But you know what? All those people, including Erebos, that you just pointed the finger of shame at are actually boosting the SecondLife economy as well as being pioneers in providing products that people actually want. If other creators don’t get that, they don’t deserve my money – or yours – or anyone else’s.

    This is what the world wide web has always been for. Open, free, sharing of content. SecondLife is a great user-driven client with a huge community of like minded people. Sharing what is freely available will happen. Providing it below market cost will happen, and catering to demand rather than to artistic vision *will* happen.

    And you know what? I havn’t even begun to talk about how damn stupid it is for those creators to then make their products unmodifiable, or uncopiable.

    The status quo is bullshit, and shame on anyone who covets it and tries to smack-talk other content providers who do not abide it. Linden Lab has no reason to take most of this content down because it is freely available, and intended for multi-purpose use. Most of these creators do not use their shops to generate profit in the real world. Most of their “profits” are siphoned back into the SecondLife economy. Additionally, most of them are very friendly, good people, who are more than happy to take customer requests for minor changes at little or no cost to the consumer.

    Creators being self-righteous and greedy is no reason to accuse and defame members of the community who’ve done nothing but share with fairness to the consumer in mind.

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