A fist full of Linden dollars

Summary:Lawlessness threatens Second Life, as the CopyBot saga continues.

A new software program doing the rounds within Second Life, threatened to render the game's virtual currency worthless. 'CopyBot' allows objects to be cloned at no cost -- objects that would otherwise be exchanged for Linden dollars. Naturally, Second Life retailers weren't happy, and protested to the game's makers, Linden Lab, to put a stop to the potential 'theft' of their wares. The company responded by saying there wasn't much they could do, and suggested that those residents whose copyright had been violated, could always invoke the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

From the official Second Life blog:

If you DO think someone has copied something you made and is violating your copyright by profiting from the copying then you do have the option of using the DMCA process to file a complaint. It’s a difficult process, but it is one that we’re willing to help enable because we agree that copying is a disincentive to creation.

This didn't go down too well with the community -- and after SL retailers threatened to close down their stores, unless the law of the land was restored, Linden Lab have stated that they'll ban any users who make use of CopyBot.

However, there's more to the story.

The CopyBot program came out of an open source project called libsecondlife, which is attempting to reverse engineer the virtual world. A project that Linden Lab actively supports!

From the Second Life Herald:

... at least some residents ask how the DCMA applies to a company helping create some of the technology to defeat its own copy protection, and CJ Carnot pointed out that using the copybot “may be against the TOS but creating it violated the DMCA. LibSL created it and the Lindens are involved with this project. Should we file a DMCA against LL ?”

Topics: Legal


Steve O'Hear is a London-based consultant, educator, and journalist, focussing on the Internet and all aspects of digital technology. He advises businesses and not-for-profit organisations on how to exploit the collaborative and publishing opportunities offered by the Web, and has written for numerous publications including The Guardian a... Full Bio

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