Protecting Intellectual Property – MUV601

How the Permissions system helps to protect IP.

The current protection system is very straight forward but allows a lot of control around the sharing of their creation. A user may not want to share, not allow copying,selling,  transfer or modifying of their creation, so they can leave all these permissions locked to protect their IP. Unlocking the permissions in certain ways will achieve different levels of protection. As the permissions are inherited by the next user that gets the creation the creator is then guaranteed protection, even from current CopyBots and when selling the creation. Obviously there are limitations to the permission system. Therefore it needs to be used carefully, as one small change can allow almost full access.

What is CopyBot and how it can/should be used?

ORIGINAL USE: CopyBot was created by the libsecondlife development team, originally to be used as a debugging tool. It was developed with purposes for import/export function. As a “backup” tool, and/or to assist in development.
Potential uses for the import/export function include but are not limited to;

  • Using it to backup a creation so the user doesn’t have to rely on Linden Lab for the data backup services
  • Importing content which was created using other grids or methods
  • Exporting someone’s own intellectual property to other environments or exploiting another user’s creation. 

These intended official applications required creator and owner permission, and a response to a disclaimer before content could be copied.”

LATER REVISIONS: The source code for CopyBot was made accessible via the libsecondlife website. It was turned into an application used replicate objects and avatar appearances without the owner’s permission. This triggered discussion in the Second Life community and also lead to the multiple articles which were published in the media. As the software was hard to come by some users also starting selling download links. This lead to Linden Labs intervening. 
The CopyBot program doesn’t run inside the virtual world of Second Life. It is written in C# not  the programing language of Second Life, LSL. The CopyBot software was made available the SL Exchange and other websites supplied download links. In April 2008 Linden Labs banned any distribution of CopyBot. However there are currently programs which use a heavily modified version of the CopyBot code or have re-implemented it in another way. But these include some kind of copyright protection, like only the creator of the creation can use the CopyBot on the creation. These are focused around the old uses of the CopyBot. 

CURRENT VARIATIONS: From the open source code of CopyBot, businesses have established encouraging safe and responsible use. This includes; Inventory backup which promotes the responsible and legal use of the CopyBot program to protect the creations and offers tutorials to help people learn the software. Uses are now using it to build better creations by exporting in game creations to the likes of blender for more development. 

Protecting users creations in a virtual world.

First off the user needs to decided on the level of protection that they want on there creation. Taking in to account what they are going to do with the creation after they have finished it is very important. The permissions applied if they were going to sell the item would  probably differ from if they were going to give it away.
Next they need to investigate the permissions. Going over what permission does what and selecting the one or more permissions to secure their creation.
A list of the permissions, what they do and possible uses can be found here. 
The user then needs to apply the permissions the creation, making sure that it applies to the whole creation. Always keeping the original, either exporting it using CopyBot or in their inventory, and never using it only copying it is a good proof that the creation is yours, if you ever have to lodge a complaint about a stolen creation.

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