Monday, September 21, 2009

September Wind in Second Life

Mid-September and fall announced an early arrival with an audible hiss through late summer branches. The weather changed. I sit curled up into a letter C on my not so new couch, listening to the wind do its worst as it sends splatter after splatter of rain against the window panes. New Jersey in the fall. You can actually taste it in the air. When I was little, it tasted like a goodbye and a hello all rolled into one - like an end of summer song. It tasted of back to school clothing, lunches packed neatly into colorful metal boxes, and Halloween candy. Fall. My birthday is in the fall. It was always kind of a double whammy. I'd look forward to my birthday, but with it came school and a goodbye to lazy summer. Shifting on the couch, I reach down and drag an old worn afghan over my legs and close my eyes. Not to sleep. For some reason I can't sleep, though I know I'm tired. Thoughts swirl round in my head, some innocuous, some stinging. The ones that sting carry a "you should have ... (fill in appropriate chore)" with them. When I was little ...i t was just about homework. Now? It's about everything. Now, fall just tastes like goodbye.

Change is what fall is all about. Moving on, we leave pleasant summer memories behind and step into the uncertainty of a September wind. We never really feel secure or safe. There is no safety when you are an adult. If you fall, you have to hold out your own arms and catch yourself. If you also have children, like I do, you have to catch them, too. My house is a safe little nest. It is a shelter against that storm spitting rain against the windows. My house is also a stinging thought. A reminder of how tenuous my hold is and how far down I can fall. This is my family's shelter. Their only shelter. And September's wind is just beyond these walls. My thoughts drift back to my parents. How my mother must have felt hearing the September wind, while shopping for my new school shoes. How my father must have felt hearing the September wind while he balanced the check book. I would like to say that I wish I'd known, so that I could appreciate what they might have felt, but I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad my own children don't. Children should think about running through piles of crisp leaves or sneaking into the Halloween candy stash. They should never know the fear of fall ... of falling.

An excerpt from "September Wind" by Gwen Carillon

A September wind is blowing for many creators in *Second Life*. We work here on the grid while those around us play. We ignore invitations to in world parties, in order to meet deadlines and get product out. We rarely have social lives beyond the IMs our friends send us, asking if we are still alive. Many of us come from a full day of work in the physical world to log in and work the night away in *Second Life*. Others, like me, conduct business full time in *Second Life*. Many of us are single parents, juggling family time with client and customer demands. Fighting to stay alive in this economic climate is difficult enough without dealing with intellectual property theft. Most of us are scared to death of failing our families and losing our incomes. I think what gets to me is the apathy. The seeming lack of concern that others have for theft of our work. I have asked myself why, many times. *Why* don't people see intellectual property theft *as* theft? *Why* does a person that would never rob a bank or a convenience store in the physical world ... someone who wouldn't break into his neighbor's home and steal a painting ... commit theft and fraud here in *Second Life*? The answer is in our conversations every day here in the world of *Second Life*.
"Gotta go. RL calls."
"Yeah, it's a RL thing."
"I don't want this affecting my RL."
"We aren't RL yet. It's a Second Life thing."
"I keep my Second Life and my Real Life separate."
"Lighten up! It's just a game!"
Recognise those statements? I will bet you any amount of money that you have used at least one of those statements in an IM conversation with a friend or acquaintance. The answer is that many residents of *Second Life* do not see their time here as **real**. Many do not see even see other *Second Life* residents as real. It's not *real* if I can turn away from you with a click of an X on the corner of my computer screen. Um.... Hello? Is talking on the phone to someone a real conversation? Is the person on the other end of the phone line not *real* because you can hang up on them? People in the virtual world of *Second Life* are real. I am real and I'm pretty sure you are too. But ... if I say that you are not real, then I don't feel wrong in stealing from you, do I? If I tell myself, "It's just a game", then anything I do within this *game* doesn't count. Except *Second Life* isn't a game. Games have objectives, rules ... something to *win*. It is the mindset of leaving your ethics in a desk drawer because they don't apply in a virtual world. After all ... it's "just a game". The anonymity of a virtual environment creates a false sense that our actions will not really hurt anyone. The residents of *Second Life* need to look at a truth. All actions have consequences, whether those actions take place in a physical world or a virtual one. Theft is real, emotional abuse is real. The people behind the avatars on the computer screen are REAL! In fact, the employees of Linden Lab are real too! Avatars holding the last name of Linden in *Second Life* are real people going to real jobs and supporting real families. That said, maybe we can all take a second look at our "second lives" and rethink our actions and our interaction with others in this virtual space many call a *game*.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Let the Collaboration Begin!

On Thursday July 3rd, members of the CCA gathered together on Elements in Design to meet and discuss intellectual property rights issues with Blue Linden. It was an incredibly informative and helpful discussion. Blue introduced members to the creator registry project he's been working on. He asked for and received great feedback from attendees.

Essentially the Registry would work as a helpful guide for consumers to shop with confidence, and as a way for creators to assert their ownership of the intellectual property that they are selling. The registry would work on a point system. The creator earns more points with the amount of real life contact information he or she provides. In order to register, a creator would have to at least have payment information on file. Now granted it can be hard for some to do that, but this registry would not be mandatory. It is not meant to augment or replace the legal DMCA process. It is simply a way for creators to register their work as theirs and be on record to the general community as such. CCA members in attendance voted in unanimous support of the registry project.

We hit Blue with a barrage of questions about the registry and other IP related issues. To his credit , he fielded all of our questions patiently, succinctly and with good humor. (He actually was teleported away by another Linden and returned! lol) The atmosphere was one of sincere willingness to collaborate, from all parties in attendance. Thanks to all of you, for your hard work, dedication and positive outlooks despite all the obstacles we've had to overcome! Thank you Blue, for your willingness to work with us. I encourage all who read this, to take advantage of the Linden presence in Second Life and attend Office Hours Meetings. We need to stay proactive if we are going to keep our community sustainable.
If it's worth creating, it's worth protecting!
Photo credit: Maxwell Graf of Rustica (Ty Max!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Off the Deep End

As you know, I am a dedicated advocate for Intellectual Property rights. It has been a trying time for creators of digital art, both web wide and in Second Life. Piracy has been rampant and theft notices seem to be an every day occurrence. Having said this, I'd like to address the issue of proof. Has the current theft epidemic finally driven some of us over the edge into paranoia? It's one thing to have your work duplicated and resold without your permission. It is quite another to think you own a popular concept. In the past two days I have seen two talented creators, both strong proponents of IP rights, Delora Starbrook and Laynie Link, accused of content theft. One because she dared to make adorned hair styles with ponytails and the other because she used glow on an outfit! Oh-My-God! What is this driving us to? In plain English...that is just nuts. Folks, I cannot stress this strongly enough: Please be certain (with proof) that theft has occurred. Ponytails and glow prims are not enough to accuse another member of our community of theft. At what point will we realize that all chairs have a seat to place your rear in. That is the nature of chairs. I make chairs. My friend Arwen makes chairs, Maxwell makes chairs, Su makes chairs...and so on. Should we all accuse one another of content theft, because they all have a place to park our butts? I am so upset at the rashness of these unfounded accusations! I'm beginning to think that some creators are throwing around the label of "content theft" and accusing their colleagues of thievery, to nix the competition. Before you accuse someone of theft , you'd best be damn certain it is theft! It is not only unethical , it is reprehensible to attempt to destroy another creator's reputation, solely because you feel slighted or threatened in some way by their work. This is about as close to a rant as I've ever gotten.

We have not worked this long and this hard to let insecurity and paranoia lead us into a panicked feeding frenzy, with our colleagues labeled "lunch"! Enough already! Let caution, reason and respect be your guides.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Recent Events

The past few weeks have been eventful ones. We've had both victories and challenges. The subject of IP theft is an emotional one to those who create. We can, at times have a hard time seeing through that emotion, to the facts of a situation. That is where the CCA comes in. We are first and foremost a group that provides information to creators on how to deal with theft. We are also the ears and support for one another. It is easy to fall prey to paranoia, from all of the content theft we've been seeing. Let's not overreact and worry about each and every avatar that spends too much time in a shop. Above all, let 's not become suspicious of each other! We are not and have never been a group based on drama and witch hunts. CCA = Reasonable & Calm. OK?

It is not our job as a group to confront thieves and take on the role of a vigilantes. This can really do a great deal of harm. It not only leaves us open to being abuse reported, it can help warn the thieves. A few weeks back, we had a member that had three of her hair designs copied via copybot. Those hair designs were being resold by a Second Life resident without the permission of the original creator. I sent a notice about the copy issue to the group, as per the wishes of the hair designer in question, as a courtesy to the other members. The creator felt that others may need to check for their work at the site where her creations were found. One of our members, offered to gather information on the alleged thief. I told them that this was fine, but to remain quiet and careful since the creator still needed time to file her DMCA paperwork. This member decided, against the express wishes of the creator in question, to take it upon herself to confront the sim owner that housed the site where the copied hair was being sold. When I learned of this, I again asked the member acting on this, to stop. I stated again that this was ill advised, since the creator needed time to file her paperwork and any confrontation or dialog would warn the alleged thief, causing him to go to ground and disappear into an alternate account.
The member disregarded my request and the request of the injured party. She instead went ahead to confront the alleged thief and his acquaintances. The alleged thief, thus warned, disappeared along with the copied hair, leaving the creator with a practically useless DMCA report. All of the work that the creator had gone through to file, was wasted because another member felt she knew what was best for all parties concerned. The creator is now left with a cold trail. It was my decision at that point to remove the member that acted without the permission of the injured party, from the group. I knew at the time that this member meant well. I know that her heart was in the right place and that she wanted to help. However, the group cannot afford a security risk to its members. What she did, carried a high cost to the victim of this alleged theft. We cannot and should not confront these copiers without the permission of the injured parties. We should NOT take it upon ourselves to petition to close the stores of alleged thieves without giving the creators who's work is being sold without permission in those stores, a chance to file their DMCA paperwork! This type of action looks great on a photo blog, but hurts the very people that the action was meant to help.

The situation that cropped up this past week was even uglier. It is not our job to get involved with disputes between creators. It is not our job to decide what IP theft is. The courts have covered what constitutes copyright infringement. This information is clearly stated in the many government links posted. Juris Amat, a member of CCA and a real life attorney, has kindly created a notecard outlining what constitutes copyright infringement. I have distributed this notecard to all CCA members and have included it in the CCA Info Pack. I have given this a great deal of thought over the past week, since one of our members decided to present a dispute between herself and another creator, to the group and make public accusations. The drama and hurt that ensued from these allegations could have easily been avoided by both parties meeting and discussing the matter. Sadly, only one of those parties was willing to do so. Although I'm happy that the group weathered the storm well and reaffirmed our initial goals, I cannot help but feel saddened at seeing the aftermath of these events. I remained neutral at the meeting, offering instead to moderate instead of taking part in the debate. I would not have even called the meeting if the accusing member hadn't involved the group via notices. I want to thank all the members who attended that meeting, for their unbiased and honest efforts to resolve a difficult situation. By the end of that meeting, I was proud to be a member of this organization!
I feel, however that I need to be clear on something. I am not an attorney, I am a creator like every other member of this group. I hold no special training in law. If questions arise, I will do my best with the help of others to point those inquiring , in the direction of where they can find answers. I am also a person with a mind of my own. I cannot and will not go against my conscience and principals to avoid conflict. Over the past three months I have put more time into the CCA than into my own business. I don't regret this. I willingly will do what I can to help this group achieve its goals. I believe, as does Arwen Eusebio (Co -Owner of the CCA), that this group can and will be of service to our community. I am, however, only one person. One member in a group of over 100. I'm not in the employ of CCA, I am a volunteer. lol We all contribute. We all help. Look to each other. Share and support one another. If you have a dispute with another member, talk to that person and try to resolve it calmly and privately. If you feel that another creator has infringed on your copyrighted work, contact VIPO (Virtual Intellectual Property Organization) for help, or file a DMCA. Do not involve the entire group. That will only serve to create strife. This group is a source of support for creators, not a weapon to be wielded in anger. We cannot afford to become a forum for gripes and witch hunts. The day this group ceases to be helpful and supportive and becomes a vehicle for drama and strife, is the day I close it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Theft: A View From Within...The Aftermath

All the discussion about IP (Intellectual Property) Rights may be seem a bit abstract to some. Many would conclude that this is merely a money issue. It's not. This issue of IP theft goes well beyond the subject of profit and loss. Those of us that creat,e have an emotional investment in our work that goes well beyond monetary loss. Over the next couple of months, I will be posting interviews with creators who have been victims of IP theft. Their stories show the real damage theft can cause to the heart and soul of a creator. In this segment, I will be telling the stories of three amazing content creators and what they went through as victims of IP theft;

Arwen Eusebio, Tami McCoy and Tigerlily Koi. Thank you all for your bravery!

Arwen Eusebio owns AE Industries. She builds homes for purchase in Second Life. Her work is creative, different and inspired. Her imaginative builds have led thieves to her as well. Last year Arwen discovered that someone had copied her designs and textures and was reselling her work

Gwen Carillon: How did you find out your work was stolen?

Arwen Eusebio: A customer notified me that she saw my Elven Treehouse at someone elses store. My partner Gry Horus and I looked into it and the customer was right. Gry recognized the name of the store owner and remembered speaking to him a few weeks before at our location. So I messaged this person. He stated that he "couldn't" afford to buy mine (even though he owns 3 sims).

Gwen Carillon: So, what went through your mind when you saw your design and textures taken and used without your permission?

Arwen Eusebio: I felt sick, absolutely horrified this could happen. For many days I was too sick to work in SL or even take care of my family and home in RL. I asked him to delete all the copies he had, as well as what he sold. He admitted to the theft, agreed to my terms, then banned me and raised the price of them! Since then, he has also made copies of my smaller treehouse, "Dawg Treehouse" and is selling this as well.

Gwen Carillon: How has this theft affected your work and your outlook?
Arwen Eusebio: For a few weeks I was unable to create at all, I had no desire, no motivation. Why bother, if it could be copied complete and sold by someone else? I work too hard creating my work, for others to just copy it. ,It just shocked me so much that someone would do this, I know people can, but to know they really would, devastated me.

Gwen Carillon: What motivates you to create?

Arwen Eusebio: I love to create, I love to push myself harder to create new, unique and better quality builds each time.

Gwen Carillon: What would you say to the second life community about content theft?

Arwen Eusebio: My thoughts are to appreciate the hard work and creative minds in SL. If you want to be a creator, that's great, but do it because you want to create from your own creative mind. Creating to make money will never inspire a creator. A true creator would never steal an idea or design.

Gwen Carillon: Thank you so much, Arwen!
Tami McCoy, of Hairstyles by Tami McCoy, has been designing distinctive hair for avatars in Second life since July of 2004. Her work is both sassy and sophisticated. Thieves in Second Life seem to think so too. Unfortunately, Tami has been a victim of IP theft multiple times. This latest incident, involving a thief using a copybot type device to duplicate the prim work and textures of three of Tami's hairstyles, is unfortunately the latest of many thefts she has had to endure. I was with Tami in the thief's store that night. My heart went out to Tami, as I stood there, knowing she was probably crying. This is her story:

Gwen Carillon: Tami, how did you find out about this latest theft of your work?

Tami McCoy: I was alerted by some other hair designers. I think a notice went out in a group too but i cant remember. I just knew when I saw my emailed offlines and who they were from, it was going to be about theft.

Gwen Carillon: What went through your mind when you saw your hairstyles and textures taken, photographed and up in someone else's vendor?

Tami McCoy: My eyes teared up and I felt sick to my stomach. I said "Oh Noooo!" and October (Tami's partner) said "What is it?" I turned my laptop, so he could see the screen and he logged in right away.

Gwen Carillon: nods

Tami McCoy: We just stood there for a few minutes, then I said, "Well, here we go again". October asked. "DMCA ?" I said, "yep".

Tami McCoy: I know I just stood there like 5 minutes staring at the screen. You feel a sort of shock. Even though it's happened before and is happening every day, you're still shocked over the fact that someone would have the nerve to just steal your work, your art! -and present it as their own! Then you're angry. Bone deep angry! I'm pretty sure this is when I called you to come see.

Gwen Carillon: Ok... and I know you were there long after I had left , too.

Tami McCoy: Yes, I took pictures of all the vendor walls and close ups with my designs and with the edit window showing owner and creator. All the things you do when you file a DMCA.

Tami McCoy: There were a lot of people coming and going as well. Discussing what should be done. I spent a good while there, asking those whose designs weren't stolen to please let those designers who's work was stolen have the time to act on it and file DMCA's, before the thief became aware we knew.
Gwen Carillon: Nods. That's always a good idea.
Tami McCoy: And I gave some people the three hairstyles of mine that were stolen, so they could make their own comparisons. Someone actually said they thought the hair "appeared similar". Which is when I offered to give hair to anyone wanting to compare mine with the ones in the thief's vendors.It was as plain as day to me they were mine and my textures.

Gwen Carillon: Yes, to me as well. They seemed unmistakable.

Tami McCoy: But maybe not to everyone

Gwen Carillon: Your texture and style is a unique signature

Tami McCoy: As were the others there. We all have our style and it stands out. Not to mention, this *seller* had 15 or so designs with quite a few different textures. Very tell-tale, when someone has stolen work
Gwen Carillon: Yes. That's something a shopper can watch for, isn't it?

Tami McCoy: Absolutely!

Gwen Carillon: How has this theft affected your work and your outlook?

Tami McCoy:I didn't sleep the night it happened. I was so wound up, I ended up being up all night working into the middle of the next day starting on getting the scripts into the hair so I could feel safer. I've decided to use a scripting system now for the customer to edit their hair. It's slightly limiting to them unfortunately, but they can shrink or stretch the hair as well as move and re-size individual prims. For me, it allows the design to be no mod. Which will prevent these replication scripts from being dropped into the hair to copy it. My hope is that consumers will understand this is my only protection and embrace the new system.

Gwen Carillon: Tami, what drives you to create?

Tami McCoy: I really love it. It's just really amazing to take plywood shapes and make them look like hair. Seeing someone so happy with their new hair drives me.

Gwen Carillon: I know with me builds are a part of me. Do you feel that too?

Tami McCoy: I do. They're my babies so to speak.

Gwen Carillon: Yes!

Tami McCoy: Which goes back to someone taking hairstyles and calling them their own, HOW DARE YOU! This is mine, part of me. My heart and soul went into this! It felt like he came right into my home and took a part of me. It really hurts. I don't just throw some prims together and call it hair. I spend hours and hours making these designs. they're something very important to me.- my babies :)

Gwen Carillon: *big smile* What would you say to the second life community about content theft?

Tami McCoy: To the consumer I would say, be alert. Be aware of where you're shopping. Support content creators by knowing that you're buying from the original designer. There are so many obvious signs of a rip-off shop. They're usually very small, with crappy displays that look very half hearted. A designer is going to take pride in their work and they will display it well. Pretty pictures, pretty surrounding etc. I don't think you'll ever see a hair design being sold with a picture of it rezzed to the floor, as they were in this last shop. If you're not sure ask around. Join Fashion emergency for instance. There are people there who love to shop and will give you advice.

Tami McCoy: To the designers I say keep your chin up. Yes, it's like a punch to the gut when you see your work stolen. File the DMCA and let other designers know about it. Especially in the same line of designing as your specialty. We can stick together and support one another through this.And, it's my personal opinion to make NO contact with the thief. Just go stealth and file the DMCA. There's no telling what they will do if you alert them you're on to them. As much as you might want to scream and rant and rave, I feel like you are best off just getting your information for the DMCA and then get it sent out ASAP. Silent but deadly ;)

Gwen Carillon: That is what CCA advocates as well. I certainly agree. Thank you, Tami! *Smiles*
Tigerlily Koi designs hair. She is co-owner and one of the two creative minds behind Calla. (The other owner being Haedon Quine) Calla opened it's doors to the Second Life public in June 2006. Since then, they have continously raised the bar on elegance. The thieves thought so too. Tigerlily has been hit by theft multiple times.

Gwen Carillon: Let's start with what happened and how you learned of the most recent theft.
Tigerlily Koi: A customer came to me and told me they'd seen what they thought was my hair, someplace else.

Gwen Carillon: Lily, how did you feel when you saw your hair designs and textures being sold by someone else?
Tigerlily Koi: The first time I was hit by thieves was a huge blow. It was a combination of shock and devastation with a little bit of anger all mixed together with disbelief at what I was actually seeing. It was one of the first styles I was really proud of, and it really hurt to see that. Especially with my own texture. I think that part was just as bad as seeing my prims.

Gwen Carillon: Lily, how has this affected your work and your attitude overall?
Tigerlily Koi: Work? It makes me nauseous to think about making something else that I spend hours, sometimes days or weeks on, and have someone rip it out from under me in a matter of minutes. My desire to create is...pretty non-existent.

Gwen Carillon: nods, I can empathize.
Tigerlily Koi: Having to change everything from here forward to no-mod is a lot of extra work, and not really something I want to do. But I feel like I've been forced into it in order to protect myself. It's depressing, it hurts. I've cried, not only for myself, but for every one of the creators who have this happen to them. Not long ago, I was standing in some underground shop with half a dozen or so other hair designers. My friend who was there said, "Lily, I'm glad none of these are yours." I couldn't take any joy at all in that. I said, "Yeah, but this doesn't feel any different than if it were mine." Maybe I'm too empathic, but every time I hear the frustration and the devastation and the hurt in these situations, I can't help but feel physically ill for them.

Tigerlily Koi: The people who do this have no idea what this means to so many of us who create things. This is my job. I came here *for* this to be my job. This pays my bills. This is income for so many families here, and we moms who struggle with kids all day and stay up all hours of the night to learn new techniques or make something new, we're so invested emotionally and mentally in it all. It's not just a 9-5 where we can walk out of the office and forget about it all. It's every moment, all hours of the day and night.

Gwen Carillon: What motivates you to create in Second Life?

Tigerlily Koi: My customers. Haedon and I have *the* best customers. They are always so sweet. (good lord now I'm crying) It seems like just when I hit rock bottom and feel like I can't do it anymore, one of them drops us a notecard with just a little thank you. It really makes it hit home again. I love to create. My motto since I walked into SL has been "Creativity, unleashed." I'm a creative, artistic person, and this can be such a fabulous place. Anything is possible.

Gwen Carillon: What would you say to the second life community about content theft?

Tigerlily Koi: Think. Think before you copy something that's not yours. Think before you rip someone else's texture. Think before you purchase something from a questionable source just because it's cheaper. Think about the men and women who put their time, effort and hearts into everything that's created in this world. We're not just pixels, we're real people and our spirits can be broken.

Gwen Carillon: hugs! Thank you, Lily!

I want to thank these three creators for allowing me to interview them and post there private feelings on a public blog. Their courage and determination is inspiring. I am proud to know them.

Thank you also, to all of the members of the CCA, for your bravery and sheer stubborn will to make a dent in this wave of crime. You have stood by your collegues and community and helped.
Support Second Life's content creators by not patronizing the stores of thieves who rip textures and steal intellectual property.
Stand with us!
Don't buy stolen content.
Many "Dollar" stores and free markets are filled to the brim with stolen items.
-Check to see if a shop is selling mixed styles that look to be made by more than one creator.
-If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you recognize an item that you suspect may be stolen property, please take a snap shot of the item, save a Landmark to the location and include these in a notecard to the creator you believe originated the item.
Please DO NOT confront the alleged thief. We so appreciate your suppoprt and your loyalty, but this will only put you at risk for being Abuse Reported and cause the thief to switch locations and accounts making him / her more difficult for the victim of the theft to track. Creators need that time to investigate and gather information to file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
Thank you again for your help and support!
Gwen Carillon
Content Creators Association

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Story Behind the Content Creators Association

January 1, 2008:
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. To learn more about CCA, please contact Arwen Eusebio, Tigerliy Koi, CCA Membership Officer 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!