Saturday, November 24, 2012

Help, I Derendered the Wife!

The Relay for Life group chat has no shortage of funny moments. One prime example was one boast by Stingray Raymaker about wearing pantyhose next year if enough was raised that became known as "Stingray's Challenge." More recently was this bit of chat that began with a phrase that probably won't soon be forgotten.

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[06:59 PM]  zeeva Constantine: help!! how do I unrender an avatar ?
[07:00 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: I accidently derendered the wife!
[07:00 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: mute them, then they'll go to a cloud
[07:00 PM]  Windi [Windchaser Rhode]: o.O Too much scotch last night, Danger?
[07:00 PM]  Lori Claremont giggles
[07:00 PM]  Timmy Tennant: TMI
[07:00 PM]  Gem Sunkiller: ohhhhhhhhhhh man
[07:00 PM]  Lori Claremont: oopsie
[07:00 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: ohhh which viewer are you on?
[07:00 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash]: relog ?
[07:00 PM]  Dwen Dooley: rightclick menu?
[07:00 PM]  Sasha Fairywren: OOps
[07:00 PM]  Valerie Martynov: put the gun awas or you said unrender
[07:00 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: tried relogging  and i am on FS
[07:01 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash]: re render?
[07:01 PM]  Sasha Fairywren: firestorm.. Ok
[07:01 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash]: check mute list
[07:01 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: if you're on firestorm, it's World then down to asset blacklist. then, tp out and back in to where they are and you should be able to see them.
[07:01 PM]  Sasha Fairywren: That's a good first step
[07:01 PM]  Lori Claremont: Latest Firestorm, I believe you want World >> Asset Blacklist
[07:01 PM]  Lori Claremont: oh, what Alexandra said :-)
[07:02 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: <<  will never mess with buttons again
[07:02 PM]  Sasha Fairywren: That doesn't work, I'm sure several of us can walk you through the Develop menu
[07:02 PM]  Bain Finch [bainfinch]: Well, 1st relog, and shop for a dog house while your at it
[07:03 PM]  Zach Denimore: LMAO
[07:03 PM]  Panza Eilde punches Bain's arm, then snuggles back into them.
[07:03 PM]  Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash [Arizona Ballinger]: that is one of the funniest things I have heard..... I accidently  derendered the wife..... rofl
[07:03 PM]  Sasha Fairywren: LOL @ Bain
[07:03 PM]  Windi [Windchaser Rhode]: Messing around with buttons is a hatchie's job
[07:03 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: mhm and look for an sl florist cause I gotta feelin you're in deep crap.
[07:03 PM]  ƨραякℓℯ™ [sparkle Kling]: Do the usual... just tell her how beautiful she looks.... and pretend you can see her...
[07:03 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: umm, I would have if wasn't on voice
[07:03 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: thanks
[07:04 PM]  Windi [Windchaser Rhode] sharpens a claw or two
[07:04 PM]  Lori Claremont: take her shoe shopping immediately!!
[07:04 PM]  AHoffman Philly: I derendered my house once
[07:04 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: pfft !
[07:04 PM]  ι ℓøνємYPUSSSYCATღ   [Pusssycat Whitesong]: lol
[07:05 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash] learned the hard way never to rotate a house too close to a sim border
[07:05 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash]: specially one with like 1400 prims
[07:05 PM]  Windi [Windchaser Rhode]: rofl
[07:05 PM]  AHoffman Philly: ohno
[07:06 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash]: it was NOT pretty
[07:06 PM]  Alexandra Fallon makes sure Trader doesn't have her mod rights. *laughs*
[07:07 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: the wife just informed me I am grounded
[07:07 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: uh oh!
[07:07 PM]  Sasha Fairywren: I so bet!
[07:07 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: depending on what grounded means to her, that might ground her, too lol
[07:07 PM]  Lori Claremont: doubly so for referring to her as "the wife"........
[07:07 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: lol surely its better than the ball and chain
07:08 PM]  Lori Claremont: Depends on how the chains are being used :-D
[07:08 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: this Thursday we will have been together 2 years 6 month .. 2 years collared  ..
[07:08 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: trust me the wife is a compliment :P
[07:08 PM]  Bixyl Shuftan chuckles as he takes notes
[07:08 PM]  Lori Claremont: Congrats!!!
[07:09 PM]  Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash [Arizona Ballinger]: less the hour that you derendered her
[07:09 PM]  Lori Claremont giggles
[07:10 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: lol Arizona!!
[07:11 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash] is not going to say anything about when I derended arizona by mistake
[07:11 PM]  Gem Sunkiller: ::smirks::
[07:13 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash] is glad you cant hear our voice chat in here
[07:13 PM]  Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash [Arizona Ballinger] wonders what this mute button does ..hmmmm
[07:13 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine]: do it do it do it !!!
[07:14 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: oooh Trader's in troubleeeeeeeeee.
[07:15 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash] quotes Arizona " you derendered me"
[07:15 PM]  Alexandra Fallon: Trader's grounded. Trader's grounded.
[07:16 PM]  Trader Whiplash - Ballinger [Trader1 Whiplash]: But baby it was Fuzzballs Fault...  He and Madonna made me do it!
[07:16 PM]  Danger Mouse [zeeva Constantine] gets the popcorn

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A day later, Danger Mouse told me there was no problem with putting the chat up, adding "The wife still won't talk to me."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CBS Cracks Down on Sales of "Star Trek" Goods in Second Life

 Second Life has a large science-fiction community, consisting of roleplaying groups, sci-fi themed combat areas, and general fans. While some areas and items are completely original, other places and groups are inspired by stories and shows. Probably the science fiction show with the biggest following is "Star Trek," with a number of roleplaying groups and locations. Ships, uniforms, building styles, alien race avatars, and other items are faithfully depicted as much as the builders' time and skills can allow. Even people not in role-play groups have sought Trek items, for Halloween, costume parties, or just for fun. And numerous Star Trek items have been made for sale in both inworld stores and the Marketplace.

There's just one not so small problem. The "Star Trek" franchise falls under copyright protection, which is owned by CBS. And begining last month, they began making an effort to enforce it in Second Life.

Following a tip from a reader, Second Life Newser got in touch with Cheshyr Pontchartrain, the owner of Novatech which made a number of Star Trek items. Cheshyr told me someone had "turned-in a number of Star Trek groups and merchants to CBS. … My problem is the way Linden Lab handled the issue. CBS objected to all content, yet Linden Lab singled me out with a one-week suspension. The shops that exclusively sell Star Trek merchandise weren't enough touched. Their items are still online." He stated he had heard the one who notified CBS was involved in a personal feud "with various Trekkies here."

Cheshyr also provided copies of the emails to Linden Lab and himself, in addition to his response to CBS. His letter stated he had removed the bulk of his items from sale and would soon have the last of them gone, and asked "exactly what CBS Studios is objecting to, and what we are permitted to do, so that we can avoid this in the future."

I was also told that set designs, such as the classic Enterprise bridge, are only protected for 25 years from publication. And since classic Star Trek has been off the air for 43 years, something seems off.  I may have been misinformed, but 40+ years of people selling Star Trek art, mock-up real-world bridges, etc., implies that little was done to discourage them.

Losing a few products means little to me, as Star Trek is an insignificant part of my product line, and $80 income in 7 years is hardly life-changing.  But there are thousands of Star Trek fans in the Second Life community who are afraid they’ll have to move on to a new TV series because of this.  Any light you can shed will be appreciated, especially by your fan base.

Second Life Newser also contacted Ntanel Swordthain of the IFT Sci-Fi Alliance. His response was the following:

I am working on it with CBS.  I have to hold off on saying much more than that we know that they are going down the SL Marketplace list and starting from the largest offenders to the smallest.  The largest, as we now know, was Cheshyr Pontchartrain.  We do not know with any certainty that CBS is coming into Second Life or if the statement from CBS' legal representative about allowing no replication of Trek properties is the actual intent of CBS.  If it is, it will effectively end Trek fandom on Second Life.  As of now, we are still operating under the rules of fair use.  Until I get clarification on the statement made by CBS' legal representative, we will proceed as normal.  This by no means gives anyone permission to continue breaching CBS' rights by selling replicated items. I will update everyone via a notice on the IFTSFA group once I know more. 

A look at Second Life Marketplace searching for items tagged "Star Trek," most items had little to do with Trek, though a few obviously were, and others bared some resemblance to ships and things from the show. When a small science fiction convention took place inworld, people were cautioned about selling Trek items, otherwise the groups were to proceed as normal.

Twice in the history of Second Life, the lawyers of the copyright owners of two science-fiction stories have gone after roleplay groups. In 2009, The Frank Herbert Estate went after a 130 member group and their "Dune" sim, which responded by removing copyrighted terms and renaming themselves. In 2010, Universal Studios went after "Battlestar Galactica" items and sims, and Linden Lab closed down some places. A few months later, Universal reached an agreement with the BSG groups, saying they could use the name, but no items made with copyrighted terms could be sold: uniforms, ships, weapons, etc. would have to be "freebies."

Both times, some inworld Trekkers wondered if they might be next and what would happen. Now, the copyright owners are focusing attention on the content that makes their areas what they are. What happens next remains to be seen. Will Star Trek in Second Life will vanish, or continue to "live long and prosper?"

Bixyl Shuftan

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51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

On behalf of Lisa Cattan

October 23, 2012

Via Email
Laura Pirri
Linden Research, Inc.
945 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

Dear Ms. Pirri:
I write on behalf of CBS Studios Inc. (the “Rights Owner"), owner of certain intellectual property rights to the television series “Star Trek.” We have a good faith belief that the information in this notice is accurate. Under penalty of perjury, I am authorized to act on behalf of the Rights Owner.

We are notifying you of infringement of the Rights Owner’s rights under the Copyright Act and counterpart laws around the world at the following location(s):

We have a good faith belief that this material is not authorized by the Rights Owner, its agents or the law.

To the extent that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512(c) (the "DMCA") applies to your service, if at all, we hereby request that you act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the identified material. 

Should you need additional information, please contact me at the telephone number or email listed below.

Nothing in this letter shall be construed as a waiver or relinquishment of any right or remedy possessed by the Rights Owner, or any affiliated party, all of which are expressly reserved.

Sincerely Yours,

Lisa M. Cattan
CBS | Counsel, Intellectual Property
51 West 52nd Street | New York, NY 10019
(212) 975-4264 |

Chris Ellis Jr.
CBS | Intellectual Property Enforcement Clerk
51 West 52nd Street | New York, NY 10019
(212) 975-8920 |

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51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

On behalf of Lisa Cattan

October 25, 2012

Dear Mr. Pontchartrain:

Thank you for your response and inquiry. Enclosed for your information is the DMCA notice CBS submitted to Linden Research, Inc. 

CBS Studios Inc. (“CBS”) is successor in interest to various rights of Paramount Pictures Corporation and owner of all rights to the television series STAR TREK and related series (collectively, the “Series”). CBS’ rights in the Series include trademarks, logos, designs and numerous copyrights in videos, images, sounds, sets, props, ships’ names and designs, costumes, the characters, ranks and other original elements appearing therein (collectively, the “Properties”).  In addition, CBS owns all merchandising rights associated with the Series, and as rights owner, CBS is obligated to police and protect its properties against unauthorized users.

Based on our review of your numerous listings on the Second Life Marketplace at, it appears that you are making a business of creating content for the Second Life virtual game, which incorporates CBS’ valuable intellectual property rights in the content itself and promotion thereof (the “Infringing Products”). A sample list of the Infringing Products is provided below:

Your unauthorized use of these Properties constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, and counterpart laws around the world, and trademark infringement, false designation of original, misappropriation and unfair competition under the Lanham Act and applicable international laws.
CBS appreciates your interest in and enthusiasm for the Series.  However, we must object to the Infringing Products.  While CBS is entitled to seek damages from you for your prior infringing conduct, should you agree to the following terms, CBS will agree to refrain from seeking damages for Infringing Products sold prior to your notice of our claims:
1.    Immediately cease all creation, distribution, promotion and sales of the Infringing Products and destroy all materials used to create unauthorized copies thereof,
2.    Refrain from advertising, selling and/or posting the Infringing Products in any format on the Second Life Marketplace, and at any other websites or locations where you may be offering and/or selling the Infringing Products; and
3.    Provide a written undertaking that you will refrain from these actions in the future.

We trust that you understand CBS’ concerns regarding the infringement of its rights and that you will cooperate fully with us without the need for further action.

Nothing in this letter shall be construed as a waiver or relinquishment of any right or remedy possessed by CBS Studios Inc., or any affiliated party, all of which are expressly reserved.

Sincerely Yours,

Lisa M. Cattan
CBS | Counsel, Intellectual Property
51 West 52nd Street | New York, NY 10019
(212) 975-4264 | 

Chris Ellis Jr.
CBS | Intellectual Property Enforcement Clerk
51 West 52nd Street | New York, NY 10019
(212) 975-8920 |