A rumour is circulating that Universal Studios have issued a DMCA take-down order against Battlestar Galactica-related (BSG) merchandise within Second Life, and Linden Lab have compiled.
Cairan Laval carries more word on the matter – and its possible speculative nature – and of the potential meaning, if true.
Doubtless, if this is the case, then a lot of swearing is going on within the community; but the fact is, neither Linden Lab nor Universal Studios is the villain here. Whether we like it or not, BSG material is copyrighted. Full stop, end of conversation. Unless those producing BSG merchandise actually have a “little” thing called a “licence” to produce their goods, they are in breach of said copyrights. The same goes for those producing Star Trek, Star Wars, Simpsons, Disney, or any other merchandise directly based upon or utilising copyrighted or trademarked images and items.
I actually find it ironic that there are those in SL who scream blue bloody murder on subjects like copybotting, but who routinely pop out to the web and grab textures for use in their products or who routinely created merchandise for sale regardless of any copyrights on said textures or objects. It matters little to the size of the corporation behind the objects, be it Pepsi, LucasFilm, Viacom or – as in this case – Universal Studios. A copyright is a copyright, period; the “well they can afford it” attitude attitude doesn’t cut the mustard in exactly the same way it doesn’t when an in-world content creator finds they have been ripped.
Nevertheless, as Ciaran points out, DMCAs are perhaps not the best reaction from the corporations themselves. He has a valid point that SL could represent an (admittedly small) audience that is guaranteed to generate income – and more importantly – goodwill. So why not enter into modest licensing arrangements with content creators? Why not grant them the rights to produce goods on all OS-based grids? This would create massive feel-good for all concerned and once and for all lift worries and concerns over copyright breaches for those who’d like the assurance they are operating “within” the law, either as a merchant or a consumer, and be secure in the knowledge goods and products aren’t going to suddenly poof in the night.