The Second Life Marketplace is both a convenience and a pain. Convenience because it provides an ease of selling / buying to users. Pain because its sheer size can make it difficult to effectively police, leaving it open to various forms of abuse.
However, Strawberry Singh has highlighted one area of concern content creators are facing, and has asked for people to pass the word on.
In Full Perm Marketplace Scams,Strawberry points to the abuse of full permission items content creators make available on the Marketplace. Typically, these items are offered individually or in kits as templates for people to re-use in their own creations, and they generally come with an end-user licence agreement (EULA) specifying their intended use. More often than not, these EULAs forbid the re-sale of such items on an “as is” basis and / or re-sale as full permission items. And if a dedicated EULA isn’t offered, the fact that the items are not intended for full perm resale can generally be found in the listing description.
However, there are unscrupulous individuals doing just that: purchasing the items and reselling them unchanged, as full permission items, thus violating the original creator’s intent and licensing. To add insult to injury, the items undercut the original creator’s own market price.
To help raise awareness of the problem, Strawberry offers some advice on how to identify or avoid such items:
- Before purchasing look at the seller’s other listings. If there is a hodgepodge of brand names and the vendors all look different, they are most likely an illegal seller.
- Purchase the items from the in-world store of the full perm creator instead of the marketplace, to ensure that you are not purchasing from an illegal seller.
- Most of the illegal sellers have blank profiles. Real full perm sellers usually have a full profile filled with links to their websites, main stores and marketplace stores.
- Most Full Perm sellers have started using water marks on the vendor ads which say the name of the avatar that is supposed to be selling it. The illegal sellers are still using those ads, even with the watermark. So it is important to look at the name of the creator on the watermark, and if it isn’t that person selling it, don’t buy it.
- Try to find a way to report these items, either to Linden Lab by flagging the listing or to the original creator of the items.
It’s sound advice for anyone looking at full permission items. I’d perhaps only expand a little on point (5.) for clarity. While we may grumble about the DMCA process, it is the means by which such items can be most effectively removed from the Marketplace, as the nature of DMCA filings requires that Linden Lab respond to them accordingly.
So, if you believe an item on the Marketplace is being illegally sold and can identify, or are aware of the original creator, do be sure to contact them directly and make them aware of your concern. Provide information on the item: where it can be found (listing, etc.), so that they might investigate for themselves, and if necessary, file a DMCA. This approach not only helps the creator take the required action to have violating listings removed, it also potentially helps to establish a history of violations which they can also put to the Lab, if necessary, which might in turn encourage the Lab to take more stringent action against repeat offenders.
Strawberry also has an article concerning in-world Giftbot scams as well. Given these are still very much a problem in-world,I’ll point you to that piece as well.