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Business In A Box - should be banned...

Saturday, March 22, 2008 , Posted by Suzanne Powell at 12:34 PM

I had found out yesterday that someone was selling my leather vest - yes I was angry, but a little mystified. The person in question has IM'd me telling me that they did not know it was stolen and that they had purchased the textures in a BIB for L$10,000. Looking at her profile - she has been here long enough to know that BIB's are rip offs, so why did she do it? I Don't Know - I cannot jump into the mind of someone who buys items that are stolen (BIB's are stolen most of the time) or sells freebies.

It baffles me that when buying these texture packs that people honestly think that the textures are legitimate. They aren't. I do not know one single designer that would sell off their textures like that. The reason being is that it makes no sense at all. Here's why, if I make a top (one top in several colors - very easy if you have the original file btw), over a weekend release I can make around L$10 - L$60k on that ONE item. Now let's say I sell the texture instead - I might make some money off of it initially but not nearly as much as I would selling it legitimately - because everyone who has that texture can resell it or they can sell that item. This floods the market and makes that item null, after a few weeks no one is buying because the market is saturated.

So, tell me why would anyone sell their clothing textures? That's my point - they don't. These texture packs are created by the copybot and by people hacking into their openGL on their machines. I really believe that SL should BAN the sale of BIB's - they propagate the need for the copybot. That is how people who use copybot make most of their money - by reselling the textures that they have stolen. If you ban their use or distribution this may solve a lot of the content theft (although I'm sure not all). I also think that the Lindens should suspend any account trying to sell them. Honestly - If I as a designer, wanted to sell these things I could make a ton more money doing it on reseller sites (where they verify who you are and you have to send a copy of your driver's license etc..) - not through SL.

I would like to say that ANYONE who buys a BIB is just kidding themselves. You know who you are and you know that they property you got is stolen, shame shame shame on you. You are the main reason that the copybot is propagated, you are the reason some people who made some beautiful things have left SL out of frustration. You also have made it very hard on the people who do make these items to even try anymore. It takes on average 5-10 hours to complete an outfit for me - I don't care how much you paid for that texture, it's stolen and it took you maybe 30 minutes to create the top and take pics, please tell me who is profiting more?

The whole thing is just sick. I would like to put it out there that I think Linden Labs should create a new level of membership for content creators who want to sell their stuff. In order to get this you have to PROVE who you are by not only sending credit card information, but sending a copy of your Driver's License (or ID) and paying an additional fee (this would be for the background check). This would be the only level of membership that would be able to set the different permissions or set items for sale. Everyone else would only be able to create full perm objects and none of those objects would be able to be for sale. This would allow the Lindens to track people who are sellers and reprimand those who are breaking the law (copying textures and reselling them is against SEVERAL laws) by taking their account status away. It would also prevent alts from coming back and setting up shop - why bother if everything you make is full-perm. But it would allow those here for fun to still be able to create things and pass them on to their friends, or just practice and gain confidence before applying and gaining the seller status.

Well - I hope that maybe some of you who are thinking of buying BIB's - now you won't. I also hope that my suggestion about creating a "Seller's" level of membership maybe adds to the whole conversation and that the Lindens hear about it. Especially if enough people tell them. I also believe that the only way to truly get the Lindens to do something would be to file a class-action lawsuit forcing them to create some sort of new permissions feature... But we'll see.

Currently have 7 comments:

  1. I know someone who shoved her entire old business into a box after completely changing direction designwise. It was just the quickest way of dumping things she'd lost interest in while still potentially making money from them. Yes, most BIBs are suspect, but I don't think you can make a blanket assertion that they are all stolen or that no designer would ever consider putting their stuff in one: that's pretty much equivalent to asserting that every single person with a BIB for sale is a thief, which may be a bit hard to substantiate.

  1. I agree that many BIB items may be suspect, and frankly, these shops just add a whole lot of Ugly to malls in SL.

    I was also thinking about a verification account for content sellers. If you are verified and trackable, then you are held to a higer standard and not only can your customers be rest assured that they are buying from a reputable person, but also that their content is likely original and the real deal.

    There are too many ways you can rip people off by shifting inventory on to the next alt, filtering money back to a verified account and running with it. If sellers were willing to put their Identities out there, then we could stop a lot of the re-selling of stolen goods for profit.

    I wish this wasn't a necessary step, but even in RL, you need a Business License, even hot dog vendors need them, so that they can operate. I don't think it needs to be expensive, just verified and trackable. If you are going to have to depend on LL when you file a DMCA, they are going to find out who you are in RL anyways, so having them get this info ahead of time in order to protect legitimate content creators is a smart pre-emptive strike.

  1. Anonymous says:

    jeeze hon, it's a good thing you're not in the real world fashion business!

  1. Miriam - I agree that there might be a few (very few) BIBs that are legit - the fact remains that most of them are not. Aside from that - the people that buy these things are just perpetrating the whole nasty cycle. My point is that even if a designer did decide to "dump" their business - buying a BIB just doesn't make any business sense at all. The only way that it would is if you were the only recipient of t he textures or PSDs and then you didn't in turn sell the textures full perm.

    Anonymous - who said I wasn't in the RL fashion business? Yes I know it is cutthroat as well - but even those in the RL fashion business are held accountable for doing shady business (ie., selling something with a YSL logo that isn't actually YSL will get you jailtime). But SL is a little different. I would equate SL content more to artistic digital content (istock, turbosquid) as it is not a tangible item and can be replicated without cost. In anycase my temper or mood doesn't matter what matters are those who continue to break the law by lifting textures illegally while people like you continue to think that that is just how it is.

  1. Yes, legitimate or not BIBs are a bit uninspiring and will mostly lead to horribly ugly shops full of horribly ugly adverts, at best. I may not think that every BIB is dubious, but I think I'd still live with it if they vanished altogether. Also, what could be more dismal than running a business based entirely on sticking someone else's things in boxes? The whole thing has the aesthetic and creative appeal of a giant sparkly ad farm.

  1. Anonymous says:

    @ Anon - Jeeze hon, it's a good thing your not in the art business!

  1. ForteanLady says:

    I heartily agree with you Sioxie. I was at Pooley Stage a couple of weeks ago and found a guy offering skins and other stuff for L$0 in boxes. I took some of the stuff to show to more experienced residents particularly those in FashCon Cafe, who recognise all the big name skins.

    The scene reminded me of one of those people you see in RL who stand on street corners selling dodgy stuff while a mate keeps watch for the police. We see them regularly in the Liverpool area.

    This kind of thing STINKS...creativity deserves respect. People who can't be bothered to try creating original stuff themselves and prefer to feed off other people's hard work are parasites. :(

    I'm Arbella Dragonash on SL. :)