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Old 08-03-2018, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How to recognise copybotted content on the hypergrid

A few people asked for something like this in the InWoldz is closing thread. This is part of a general info notecard about copybotting I'm working on. Comments and additions are welcome.


I'm not going to mention any names of any of the baddies, neither bad grids or bad avatars. All names here are of the good people, either victims of copybotting or people trying to fight it.


---

Let's start with:
The Dead Giveaways

Admissions
Most copybotters are so ashamed about what they do they hide behind temporary "throw-away" account names or they trick other naive users to upload for them. But some actually openly admit that they are copybotters, either because they really believe they are doing the grids a favor or because they don't care.
Then there are some accidental slips. Like the shop owner who has a "Finish me off" section in her store. Those are items where she has both the mesh and the textures but she couldn't figure out how to make them fit. So she asks the customers to help her out. Well... yeah... Right!


Some well known copybotter names
No, I can't give you any names. That is except for three. These are inactive accounts and the actual owners of them are not copybotters, but a lot of stolen content have been attributed to them by mistake. The names are ... no, read this: https://www.hypergridbusiness.com/20...es-copyrights/ for the whole story.

Some rather obvious avatar names
Created by "Who Cares". Ummm, some do actually. :-P
Then of course, there's good old Simona Stick.


Brand names and such
Quite often copybotted items include brand names, logos or copyright marks from the original creator. Sometimes the copybotter forgets to remove them, sometimes they are overlooked (especially if they are hidden deep inside a linkset),

If you take one of the two common big skin appliers for Athena - the one with 16 or the one with 24 skins - and look at the textures inside them, you will notice that every single texture has a logo or copyright note from some well known Second Life skin maker. These can't be easily removed and they don't show up on the actual skin but, yes all the skins in those appliers are copybotted. There is not a single legal one there.

Here's a different example. This is the listing of the legal version of the Ex Machina Soho Wall Clock:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p...-Clock/7536019
It has the Ex Machina logo clearly visible on the clock face and so does all the copybotted copies of it all over the hypergrid.

UUIDs in the name or description field
A UUID looks something like this:
73dc4d52-fa51-489f-8f04-0d6342511f7c
32 characters (numbers 0-9 and letters a-f) and a few hyphens
Textures and animations with something like that in their name or description fields are stolen using a very specific technique - I'm not going into details of course.

Clues in the description fields
Some copybotters are careful to change any compromising item names but sometimes they forget to check the description field.

Names of child prims
Copybotters often forget to change the name of child prims in a linkset and there are often compromising evidence to be found there.
Here's an example:



HUDs with the wrong pictures
A texture changer HUD with nice pictures of the different options but when you click on it, you get a different texture than the picture shows. That's a no-brainer.

"Trusted" Second Life brands
Now, trusted is a bit of a misnomer here because although none of the big brands in Second Life would risk selling illegal copies, some of them may well add some open source items to their product range - perfectly legal but they don't have exclusive rights to these items.
There are however some brands that simply can't do that either because their style is so distinctive or because their products are so elaborate and SL/HG specific they can't be found as open source elsewhere. A few of these brands:
  • La Galleria (Pamela Galli)
  • InVerse
  • Abiss
  • Catwa
  • Ex Machina (Hatris Panacek)
  • Apple Fall
  • Damselfly
  • Trompe Loeil
  • Gulabi (Tallux Resident)
  • Maven Homes (Cain Maven)
  • Roost
  • {what next}
  • Dust Bunny
  • 3Dreamworld Studios
  • Any Second Life account with "Linden" or "Mole" as the last name
If you see an item on the hypergrid identical to something one of those brands are selling in Second Life, you'll know for sure it's copybotted.
And if you see any of these brand names or account names on the hypergrid, you can also be sure it's copybotted. These creators are only active in Second Life. At least they are as I wrote this and there's not much chance it will ever change.

Incomplete or inconsistent info
A few examples:
  • A piece of mesh clothing lists several mesh body brands that don't even exist outside SL.
  • The "creator" doesn't even know the names of the various texture variants.
  • It's a "gacha" or a "rare" item
Such things are dead giveaways.

Gifts from strangers
This only applies to content you have to upload yourself. Legal open source content is distributed through open and moderated websites, not by shady characters you stumble across in the back alleys of the Internet.

A few well known builds too obvious to overlook
These in particular. They are all over the hypergrid and they are so well known in SL and so distinctive there's no room for doubt whatsoever - the URLs here are to the Marketplace listings of the perfectly legal Second Life versions sold by the respective creator:
Yes, a lot of Ex Machina here too. they really are popular among copybotters. This list should be much longer but I suppose everybody get the point.

Lilith Heart's oak trees are a special case:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p...ure-P4/2635656
These are legally available on the hypergrid since the creator has a store on the hypergrid market. That means, if the creator listed is Lilith.Heart@grid.kitely.com:8002, it is a legal copy. If any other name is listed as creator, it's copybotted.

----

Some Very Strong Clues

Missing scripts
Generally only content downloaded to the viewer can be copybotted. Scripts are run by the server and never downloaded so unless you own the sim, you can't rip it. Scripts can be reproduced of course but usually copybotters only do that for scripts that are essential and simple, such as door scripts and applier scripts for fitted mesh. The Ex Machina clock mentioned above is one example where the item is scripted and works in Second Life but not on the hypergrid - a clear indication that the Second Lfie one is the legal one. Here is another one from the same creator:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p...ilding/8308217
One of the main features of this building is a very special elevator with a very unusual and elaborate custom made script. Even an experienced scripter would have a hard time reproducing its functionality so the copybotted houses on the hypergrid all have the elevator permanently stuck at first floor.

Dubious creator names
Most copybotters use throw-away accounts to upload so their main username doesn't show up as the creator. This is not a sure sign though. It is theoretically possible that the two weeks old newcomer with a silly account name really is a genuine creator. More to the point, copybotters don't steal for the sake of stealing and they may well upload legal open source content with the same account they use for their loot.

Certain grids
There are two grids that have a well deserved reputation for being copybotter lairs and several others that should have. No names mentioned, this post is not about outing anybody, it's about giving you the information you need to judge by yourself.

Dodgy texturing
The "creator" has made the most wonderful mesh and then they can't get the texture to fit - how credible is that?

----

Some Clear Indications

Huge selection of products by the same creator
There is a limit to how much a single person can make. Some content creators are really very productive though and some have been building for years, so this is not a sure sign. Even more important, some have uploaded huge amounts of perfectly legal open source content.

Inconsistent style
This too is a bit tricky but can be helpful when combined with other clues. Most content creators have their own very distinctive style but some are very flexible and some creator names are actually "brand names" shared by several creators. Also again, even if the person who is listed as creator isn't, that doesn't mean there is something shady going on. There is plenty of legal open source content on the Internet and the person who uploads it will always be listed as creator whether they want to or not.
Sometimes it's fairly obvious though. Here is a picture of some of the hair styles offered at a well known copybot store:

There is a very large variety in styles there, texturing especially and they all have the same creator listed. The one to the left in the top row and to the right in the second row are particularly telling. They are both prim/sculpt hairs, no mesh so you won't find them at any open source site on the Internet. They are also very characteristic for Damselfly and Catwa respectively and even has the same names as the ones these two brands sell in SL. So all things considered, there is no doubt that the Second Life ones are originals and the opensim ones stolen copies.

Multiple creators
Different copies of the same item show up with different creator names. That's a very strong hint but not clear proof in itself. There is a chance one of them is the genuine creator. It is even possible several of them are since the creator may use several alts.
And as always, even if an item shows up with the wrong creator name, it doesn't mean it is an illegal copy.

----

Reasons for further investigation

It's for sale in Second Life
This is not clear evidence in any way but if there is something shady going on with the item, it's usually easy to find other stronger clues too.

Banned By Walter
That's the name of a group on the OS Grid. The members have all been banned from the Littlefield Grid and are quite proud of it. Now, Littlefield is a rather restrictive grid and there are numerous reasons why somebody may be banned from it. But it is one of the few grids who are genuinely trying to fight copybotting so if somebody has been banned there, it may be a good idea to take a closer look at items with their name as creator and see if there are some clearer clues.

Last edited by ChinRey; 08-04-2018 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Trying to add the missing image
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Old 08-03-2018, 07:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Didn't see this mentioned but, when inspecting an object with multiple prims, look at the dates of the various child prims. When copybotted, all the childprims will have nearly the same exact date - if off by only a second or two, start to finish. Real primed objects aren't like that, and that indicates that each child prim was created rapidly sequentially by a macro.

This does not apply to mesh content, since it's always uploaded all at once.
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is awesome, thank you!

I only have one question, which is about this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChinRey View Post
Most copybotters use throw-away accounts to upload so their main username doesn't show up as the creator. This is not a sure sign though. It is theoretically possible that the two weeks old newcomer with a silly account name really is a genuine creator. More to the point, copybotters don't steal for the sake of stealing and they may well upload legal open source content with the same account they use for their loot.
Freely admit I'm less than a week old at the whole opensim/hypergrid thing. And I have no reason to doubt the bolded is true as a general rule but....

I've seen some things that suggest to me there may be a person or persons somewhere out there who have targeted some paid content for copybotting for no other reason than they think everything on opensim should be free and they want to deliberately sabotage the targeted creators' chance at getting any money for their stuff. I mean I don't have proof, or names, and I don't see any reason to think it's a rampant or widespread thing, but I have a suspicion there's one or more ideologically-driven copybotters out there.

Could be completely unfounded though.
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When copybotted, all the childprims will have nearly the same exact date - if off by only a second or two, start to finish. Real primed objects aren't like that, and that indicates that each child prim was created rapidly sequentially by a macro.
Very good point although it's not clear evidence. The creator or "creator" may well use a macro to transfer items they have perfectly legal rights to between grids. Or they may use one of those good old autobuilding scripts

How are prims uploaded as part of OARs or IARs dated btw?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
I've seen some things that suggest to me there may be a person or persons somewhere out there who have targeted some paid content for copybotting for no other reason than they think everything on opensim should be free and they want to deliberately sabotage the targeted creators' chance at getting any money for their stuff.
I don't know about that but it wouldn't surprise me if that was the case. Copybotters are obviously not the clearest thinkers in the world, they tend to be quite self-righteous and some of them are really nasty and ruthless characters.
It doesn't work that way of course. Coybotting is an insult to every honest content creator and especially to the maker of the item in question. But it doesn't really hurt an SL merchant's income when done from SL to HG. The hypergrid is simply too small to matter in that context. It does seriously harm both SL and HG as a whole though and it is of course devastating for the genuine content creators on the hypergrid.


One clue I forgot to mention btw, is the "Stuff" boxes. There may be the odd open source mesh in those but not many. So, if you find it in a box named "Stuff" plus some date, it's copybotted

Last edited by ChinRey; 08-04-2018 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Removing extra line breaks
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
I've seen some things that suggest to me there may be a person or persons somewhere out there who have targeted some paid content for copybotting for no other reason than they think everything on opensim should be free and they want to deliberately sabotage the targeted creators' chance at getting any money for their stuff. I mean I don't have proof, or names, and I don't see any reason to think it's a rampant or widespread thing, but I have a suspicion there's one or more ideologically-driven copybotters out there.

Could be completely unfounded though.

1) I've been told by a grid owner that a large part of the copybot crap comes from banned asshole with a grudge. I've no idea about the truth of it or not, but it wouldn't be too hard for someone with some extra cash, a king goon account and a few VPS's to do some damage.

2)I suspect that one (specific) commercial grid put out a KG dump for the sake of muddying the water and driving folks away from open source content -creating/fostering a mindset where folks view anything free as being stolen. I can't prove it so that's as much as I'm willing to say about that.

3)A lot of dogdy "freebie" regions are listed on opensimworld. Wanna rumble? Head over there and point out some of the copybotted crap in their comments. The botters have a viper pit second only to SLU.

Rant:

Looking for what's supposedly bad is bullshit, at the end of the day. For instance, the guy who made the "don't sell shit in opensim" signs? I doubt he feels esp bad about botting, but he's a former merchant who brought his stuff over from SL -and apart from creating the sign isn't part of the botting scene. He simply doesn't want to see the hypergrid turn into the libertarian everythings'-about-commerce cesspit that SL used to be.

The whole copybotting thing isn't about SL merchants -they could give a fuck.

The whole copybotting thing is about discrediting the free metaverse and possibly the entire hypergrid itself.

Who'd benefit from that?
Who'd make money from that?
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you're genuinely, honestly and truly interested in helping noobs?

Don't give them a shopping list of SL content

Point them in the direction of legitimately free (zadaroo, outworldz) content and tell them that anything else they pick up may or may not be copybotted.


If this is about something else instead...well, just rock on then.
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Also, Chinrey -when did the mission of your group change?
----
Is HCC an anti-copybot campaign?


No. We are not the Hypergrid Police. Our members may (and probably do) have strong opinions about copybotting but as a group we take pride in what we do ourselves. How other people choose to lead their virtual lives is up to their conscience.

It is also important that although we do expect our members to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that all parts of builds they make public are legal, the group is not concerned about and does not take responsibility for any content our members have for their own private use.

(For those unfamiliar with the term: "Copytbotting" refers to the unauthorized ripping of content from one virtual or computer game and using it somewhere else. There is a lot of that going on in all virtual realities, including the Hypergrid. In addition to the obvious copyright issues, extensive copybotting may also cause serious performance problems. Good content is always optimized for one specific environment and isn't likely to perform well in another.)


https://hgccg.weebly.com/


[disclaimer, I'm a part of the group, and the one who published the page on their behalf]
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
Looking for what's supposedly bad is bullshit, at the end of the day. For instance, the guy who made the "don't sell shit in opensim" signs? I doubt he feels esp bad about botting, but he's a former merchant who brought his stuff over from SL -and apart from creating the sign isn't part of the botting scene. He simply doesn't want to see the hypergrid turn into the libertarian everythings'-about-commerce cesspit that SL used to be.
I do wanna add that I don't feel it's wrong or bad for someone to believe that everything in opensim should be free. Free stuff is awesome, it's the easiest stuff for me to afford. ^^

And yeah, I don't suspect SL creators are vastly concerned with copybotted stuff ending up on opensim, since they're not trying to sell stuff out there anyways.

But if somebody does decide to sell something for a price on opensim, I would be opposed to someone who copybots their stuff to make a statement.
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
I do wanna add that I don't feel it's wrong or bad for someone to believe that everything in opensim should be free. Free stuff is awesome, it's the easiest stuff for me to afford. ^^

And yeah, I don't suspect SL creators are vastly concerned with copybotted stuff ending up on opensim, since they're not trying to sell stuff out there anyways.

But if somebody does decide to sell something for a price on opensim, I would be opposed to someone who copybots their stuff to make a statement.
I'm not in favor of copybot, and I think running to KG to make everything free is about like trying to put out a grease fire with cooking oil -it'll just make everything worse and actually encourage the very thing that they claim to be fighting against.



I had a long argument with a botter (who I suspect was the banned asshole I mentioned earlier) in the HGB comment section; I pointed out to them that by stealing from commercial folks they're simply playing into the commercial game; that there can only be thieves and merchants.

I said that if they really wanted to "keep opensim free" it was better to create a free and legitimate alternative ...similar to the way that Linux was a free alternative to commercial Unix.

They replied with a bunch of vague and weird statements along the lines of "I can't use you so I don't have to explain shit" (which I took to mean "I've got no real answer, so I'm gonna pout" )
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I said that if they really wanted to "keep opensim free" it was better to create a free and legitimate alternative ...similar to the way that Linux was a free alternative to commercial Unix.
...or the way that the Ruth 2.0 project is put out as an alternative to the maitreya rips
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I said that if they really wanted to "keep opensim free" it was better to create a free and legitimate alternative ...similar to the way that Linux was a free alternative to commercial Unix.
YES

In fact right now I'm learning Blender for non-SL/OS art purposes, but this discussion all by itself is making me think hard about trying to make some good free stuff for the metaverse, on the side maybe.
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
YES

In fact right now I'm learning Blender for non-SL/OS art purposes, but this discussion all by itself is making me think hard about trying to make some good free stuff for the metaverse, on the side maybe.
That's awesome! Linda Kellie said repeatedly that she funded her open source things by selling things she made ...so it's definitely possible to do both (if you're so inclined!)
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Old 08-03-2018, 10:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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That's awesome! Linda Kellie said repeatedly that she funded her open source things by selling things she made ...so it's definitely possible to do both (if you're so inclined!)
Well don't get excited yet; I have a habit of procrastinating and it might not happen...
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Old 08-03-2018, 11:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well don't get excited yet; I have a habit of procrastinating and it might not happen...
..even without the procrastination um...I've been trying to blender since 2013, and I live with someone who's a blenderhead!
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Old 08-04-2018, 02:05 AM   #15 (permalink)
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..even without the procrastination um...I've been trying to blender since 2013, and I live with someone who's a blenderhead!
That's OK. I got all "I can learn this stuff for animations" minded. Bought Avastar and the other two products they sell. Was going to flood the metaverse with some new free perm animations. Until I tried. I watched videos, listened to tips, put a ton of research in it, and pushed it aside and yelled at it.
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Old 08-04-2018, 02:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Macphisto Angelus View Post
That's OK. I got all "I can learn this stuff for animations" minded. Bought Avastar and the other two products they sell. Was going to flood the metaverse with some new free perm animations. Until I tried. I watched videos, listened to tips, put a ton of research in it, and pushed it aside and yelled at it.
I bought Avastar too; I'm still trying to figure out how Ada Radius, Shin and Fred got from that to Ruth 2 ...my hat's off to them, that's for sure!
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Old 08-04-2018, 07:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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3)A lot of dogdy "freebie" regions are listed on opensimworld.
I was tempted to add "The store is listed at opensimworld.com" as a Dead Giveaway but that would be unfair. There are legitimate stores listed there too.

---

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Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
the guy who made the "don't sell shit in opensim" signs?
Speaking of signs, here is a really cute one:





Two big anti-copybotting signs in front of a copybotted building.

---

Quote:
Originally Posted by Han Held View Post
...or the way that the Ruth 2.0 project is put out as an alternative to the maitreya rips
Oh, that's another Clear Indication

It's fitted mesh and not one of the few known legal fitmesh items

The few known legal fitmesh items:
  • Ruth 2.0
  • Works by Cataplexia Numbers
  • At least some of the things for sale at Kitely Market
I think that's it.

---

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Also, Chinrey -when did the mission of your group change?
It hasn't. But since you mention the group, Hypergird Content Creators is a group for genuine content creators. It's basically a label stating that if the creator of an item is a member of this group, it's legal.

That being said, there is one potentially huge problem I wasn't aware of when I founded the group: it is possible for any of the 270-or-so grid owners to attribut any item that turns up at their grid to any avatar. That means, if a grid owner doesn't like you, they can try to discredit your name by adding you as the creator of illegal content.

At least three grid owners are actively involved in copybotting and one of them is of the really nasty kind.
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I do wanna add that I don't feel it's wrong or bad for someone to believe that everything in opensim should be free
Yes but it's always the creator's decision.

I've been actively involved in the open source movement for years, since long before I joined SL, and one of our fundamental principles is a deep respect for intellectual property. Giving your work away for free is an option, it is not an obligation and it is not up to anybody but the creator themselves to decide. Copybotting and other forms of illegal distribution of people's creative works is seriously disheartening to open source creators and I know far too many who have given up in disgust because of it.

Copybotting does not give us more free content in the long run, it gives us less.

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Old 08-04-2018, 09:42 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The few known legal fitmesh items:
  • Ruth 2.0
  • Works by Cataplexia Numbers
  • At least some of the things for sale at Kitely Market
I think that's it.
There's also a ton of stuff made by Linda Kellie under the "Clutterfly" brand, mostly clothes but also some furniture.
Garry Beaumont also creates open source mesh content, and he's not alone.
There is legitimate open source content in opensim -it is not only commercial content that is legitimate.

And again, if promoting open source is genuinely the goal -I would suggest doing that. Raise the profile of open source content, instead of playing into the traditional mindset of "there can only be thieves and merchants". Tell people they can make shit for themselves instead of sitting around collecting STUFF boxes.

In the long run, the best answer to "how do I know if something is copybotted" is "here's a list of places that have known good items, if you want to be safe stick with those."

Lastly, people are jumping on my ass on G+. That's fine, I'm used to it ...but if you're going to lead some crusade it would lend credence to it if you put your avatar name to it. And stuck with that name (instead of using it as a burner).
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:51 AM   #19 (permalink)
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There's also a ton of stuff made by Linda Kellie under the "Clutterfly" brand, mostly clothes but also some furniture.
Garry Beaumont also creates open source mesh content, and he's not alone.
I was talking about fitted mesh, not mesh in general. There are several people who make original mesh and give it away for free on the hypergrid.
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:58 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I believe that hgluv grid is also making fitted mesh items, based on the Ruth avatar. I haven't been to luv plaza in a while so I'm not sure ...but they're definitely out there, definitely legit and (unless I'm mistaken -which I honestly may be) open source to boot.
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:42 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I've been actively involved in the open source movement for years, since long before I joined SL, and one of our fundamental principles is a deep respect for intellectual property. Giving your work away for free is an option, it is not an obligation and it is not up to anybody but the creator themselves to decide. Copybotting and other forms of illegal distribution of people's creative works is seriously disheartening to open source creators and I know far too many who have given up in disgust because of it.
Not only that (which is important all by itself); but the act of ripping and uploading destroys a work's attribution - something that I feel strongly about as a hopeful nascent artist myself. Credit is often the only thing that artists who freely give away their work ask for.
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:51 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Not only that (which is important all by itself); but the act of ripping and uploading destroys a work's attribution - something that I feel strongly about as a hopeful nascent artist myself. Credit is often the only thing that artists who freely give away their work ask for.
Not just credit ...but provence; control.

A creator needs to be free to say what they want done with their work, and have it respected and assisted. Whether that means being able to share it freely (without lame-ass DRM hoops to jump through) or whether that means only making it available for a price.

If you do the work to create it, you deserve the right to say what happens to it.

You actually cannot have open source without that fundamental right -without the ability to control what's done with your work.
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:54 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Chin, this info is really helpful, can we (Discovery Grid) have your permission to reproduce it for our knowledgebase when you're done?

Can pay you in kudos, lolcats and pie?
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:02 PM   #24 (permalink)
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YES

In fact right now I'm learning Blender for non-SL/OS art purposes, but this discussion all by itself is making me think hard about trying to make some good free stuff for the metaverse, on the side maybe.
How are you at ferrets?
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Old 08-09-2018, 03:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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How are you at ferrets?
Not, yet. ^^

For the last several months I've been all about hard-surface modeling skills, and I'm kinda just now coming to the end of my intensive focus on that. Organic and character stuff is up next. I've done a little sculpting, but I'm not yet to a level that I'm willing to try to do something for someone, if you're thinking something along the lines of like a 3D version of your SLU avatar.

Coming Soon™...

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