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Friday, January 18, 2008

CCA Statement

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!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Content Creators Association

Well, I just got back from an amazing vacation (first in a long time) to find that my store was hit by texture and design thieves. What a welcome home. *sigh* I couldn't believe my eyes. There, in a stranger's store on Deneb, I saw my stolen textures on badly copied furnishings. I was in shock. I was fuming! How could someone do this? Geez Louise-Why would they? Can't they use their own imaginations? Don't they know that it's theft? As these thoughts stormed through my mind, I realized that I didn't know the first thing about protecting myself from thieves beyond the "where's my lawyer?!" reaction. The first thing I did was to contact friends who were also content creators to let them know. I didn't want this happening to them as well. Then I got busy doing research. My friend Craig Altman, owner of Bits and Bobs, is not only a positive influence in my life but also a very well organized wellspring of information! He took me through the step by step process of filing a DMCA. Thank you, Craig! I also contacted my friend Robin Sojourner, who in real life, is the professional artist Robin Wood. She gave me lots of good advice and information on what to do and what not to do. Through it all, I was in constant IM with my friend Arwen Eusebio, owner of AE Industries. Arwen was also a victim of IP (Intellectual Property) theft in Second Life. Her original Tree House design was stolen -textures and all! Arwen's ordeal is still ongoing without resolution. As I shared the information I had gleaned from Craig and Robin with Arwen, we both realized that many creators do not know that their original content is protected by copyright though the 1971 addition of copyright law of "intent to copyright". Your creation is yours from the moment it is made. Many are unsure of the legal route to take and are intimidated by the process. Many creators also do not realize that they may be entitled to civil damages. It also became more clear to Arwen and me, that content creators needed to do more to protect our work from theft. That's when we decided to form the CCA (Content Creators Association). Only through the united support of others and the sharing of information could we make a dent in IP crime. We need to join together and support one another. We need to share anti theft techniques. We need to help guide others through the legal process and encourage them not to give up and give in. All competition aside, we need to help ourselves by helping each other.

The CCA has been picking up steam as more content creators pick up the banner. We are not limiting membership to those who sell content. Any who create original content are in need of support and protection from IP theft. I will be posting helpful info links in the next few days as I weed through the information I have gathered.

To learn more about CCA, please contact Arwen Eusebio or me. We do not have to be victims. We have rights to our work. Stay positive by helping one another. If you have experienced IP theft, don't give up creating or let frustration get the better of you. File a DMCA and follow up on it. Stay proactive. If it's worth creating , it's worth protecting!