I am content creator. I create things that others can use in Second Life to enhance their "in world" experience. In my case, I make furniture, jewelry and art. There are many content creators in Second Life, all filling a niche. Some of us work in Second Life full time. This is how we provide for our families. We love what we do and take pride in our hard work. We also enjoy the pleasure that other Second Life users get when using what we have created. This is the art of content creation.
Like any other art, a creation surfaces in the mind of the creator prior to manifestation in world. Once that creation is manifested it is the same as if it were made in real life. It is part of the creator and always will be. According to copyright law, a creator owns this creation from the moment it is made, regardless of whether a copyright was registered. This addition to copyright law was included in 1971, and is called "intent to copyright". therefore, taking a creator's texture or other creation without the permission of that creator is considered a criminal act.
Due to recent events, such as piracy of our creations, many creators have chosen to tighten security. We have also formed an organization called the CCA (Content Creators Association). No amount of security will prevent theft of our work. We know this. We are asking that residents recognize the hard work that goes into each creation and respect our ownership of our creations. We need your help. Please do not buy goods from vendors without checking to make sure that the vendor is the legitimate owner of what he or she is selling. Many places in Second Life have "deals" that seem to good to be true. This is because many of these "deals" result from stolen creations. It will be helpful to you, the consumer as well, since a vendor that sells stolen merchandise can't or won't service it. If the product breaks, you are out of luck. I do not want to encourage paranoia or accuse unjustly. My aim is to help with awareness on this subject. Creators and consumers are a team. It wouldn't be as much fun to create something if no one enjoyed it.
Even though Second Life is a virtual world, the laws that pertain to copyrights are very real. The growth of pirated content in Second Life has forced many creators to consider stronger measures to insure protection of our work, including filing a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and if necessary filing a law suit. Many thieves believe that they are immune...anonymous. This is not the case. If a resident steals and a creator files a DMCA, that resident will have to provide real life contact information in order to contest the charge. That contact information is then provided to the creator that filed, for use in any legal actions he or she may take.
This may sound harsh to you. You may be thinking, "it's only a game!" Real life laws apply in virtual worlds too. Help us stop piracy, by supporting and respecting creator rights. Avoid purchasing stolen goods. We, in turn will work hard for you, to insure you get the best of us!