This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write, and it is by no means an easy thing to explain. We regret to inform our valued customers that for the time being, the ~*Fresh Baked Goods*~ Jelly Tots Necklace will not be for sale in any of our Shop locations in-world.
Yesterday, when I arrived home from work, I checked my e-mail as I always do, and was absolutely shocked to find a DMCA Notification from Linden Labs that someone has claimed that the ~*FBG*~ Jelly Tots Necklaces, in all metals and color palettes, are copies of their work. The letter informed me that I had just 2 days to respond by removing the items from sale, and that if I wished I could counter-file to the DMCA stating that under no circumstances did we knowingly infringe on anyone’s copyright. If we did not act within that time Linden Labs would remove our items if they still were for sale, and we might possibly face penalties such as having our accounts inactivated.
I immediately contacted my co-desinger on the Jewelry and co-owner Dessert Furst (Dez), and my other Co-Owner and Friend Sugar Babii (Shug) and spoke to them about this e-mail. At first we assumed it must be some sort of fishing e-mail, which maybe did not originate from Linden Labs, and it may be a mistake. We called Linden Labs concierge service by phone, and they confirmed that this e-mail was indeed sent by the “Removals” department at LL.
We fully intend to respond to this by Counter-Filing on the DMCA. We worked tirelessly creating our products, we created them without any reference to any other accessories or jewelry shop in Second Life, and any real world inspirations (which we retain in picture form) merely served as that, inspiration, the limits of the physics of prims in SL as well as our limited but developing skills in building meant that our finished products were almost nothing like the inspirations. We use no textures in this product other then legally purchased metal textures from Royalty Free sites and we were careful to read the restriction on the use of these items, and we are not restricted from using them in derivative works in any way.
So why am I blogging this? Because myself, and all of my Co-Owners in Fresh Baked Goods have small children at home with us, and the ONLY way to Counter-File to a DMCA Infringement Claim is to reveal your Real Name, Address, Phone Number, and email address to the Party that is filing the claim. We are terrified that this issue over a Necklace we sell for $100L, and have in fact sold to less then 100 individual avatars, will put our children and families at risk. We received no IM, no Notecard, No email contact via our Flickr, blogger, or SLX/OnRez accounts about this issue. No individual attempted to contact us FIRST or EVER before filing this claim. We have no idea who this person is, and we have no idea what product they claim we have illegally copied.
This is the Letter we received from Linden Labs:
Linden Lab has received notification from a copyright owner, or its
authorized agent, that you have infringed one or more copyrighted works
in the Second Life environment. The notification identified the
following allegedly infringing work(s):
Description of Work(s):
~*FBG*~ Bright Jelly Tots Necklace Sets
~*FBG*~ Muted Jelly Tots Necklace Sets
~*FBG*~ Greyscale Jelly Tots Necklace Sets
Location of Work(s):
Velvet ( 127,83,23 )
Retrology (150,182,40 )
Floyd ( 94,147,39 )
Ivalde ( 170,167,24 )
Linden Lab respects the rights of both Second Life residents and
copyright owners. In compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act (“DMCA”), 17 U.S.C. § 512, we ask that you remove or disable access
to the above-identified work(s) from all locations including your
inventory. If you do not do so within two business days, please be aware
that Linden Lab intends to expeditiously remove, or disable access to,
the allegedly infringing work(s).
If you believe that you did not infringe another’s copyright, or that
removal of the above-identified work(s) was by mistake or
misidentification, you may have the work(s) reinstated by submitting a
sworn counter-notification. To be effective, a counter-notification must
be in writing and contain the information identified in our DMCA Policy
under the heading “To File A Counter-Notification,” located at
Please be aware that if you submit a counter-notification containing the
required information, Linden Lab will forward your counter-notification,
including your name, address, telephone number, and any other contact
information that you provide, to the copyright claimant. We will also
advise the claimant that we will reinstate the removed work(s) in ten
(10) business days unless we receive notice that the claimant has filed
a court action seeking an order to restrain you from engaging in
infringing activity related to the work(s).
Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter.
Linden Lab Removal Team
These Are The Necklaces In Question:
As you can see, there is no question that this information would be passed on to individual that filed the DMCA. What is sad, is that we have been building this business slowly over the last few months, since April 15th/08, and it was something I did with my friends purely as a hobby, we would sit on Skype and giggle while we worked on moving little prims around, and took pretty pictures, and listed them on SLX and OnRez, and set up our cute little bakery shops. We do not do this for profit, we profit minimally if at all, we do this as a way of fully participating in the Second Life community, by trying our hand at something beyond our normal skill set, by being part of something together. We never wanted to be famous, we don’t really socialize outside of our small group, and we simply wanted to have some fun.
This experience is no longer fun, this accusation of theft (which is what the DMCA is saying in my mind) is hurtful and ungrounded, and now I am being asked to put my children at risk in order to clear my name. I have nothing to hide, I know that I have done nothing wrong, nor have Dez or Shug. We have spend the day scouring the grid trying to discover if anyone even sells similar items. After looking in over 50 shops, we discovered only 3 stores that sold anything even remotely similar to the necklace in question. I have spoken personally with 3 Individuals [Names Removed to Protect These Parties]all talented designers, because they are the only ones I have discovered who sell a similar style of necklace. All three assure me they have not filed this DMCA, and all three are similarly perplexed over the nature of the DMCA process where I must reveal my information to another party, without any idea who the Avatar is, the Shop, or the specific item in question. We all feel that this may be personally motivated, but as I have never had a relationship in SL, have never so much as said a negative word to anyone about anything, and only socialize within my small group of friends, it seems incredibly unlikely.
It feels like we are being bullied. Someone is saying, “we are going to accuse you of this awful thing, and give you 2 days to take down your hard work”. We feel that if we don’t counter-file, we look guilty for not responding, and we can no longer sell our items. We feel if we do counter-file, we are putting our privacy and families at risk, and nothing in this world is worth that, certainly no $100L necklace.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! Can anyone tell us whether or not the person filing the DMCA against us gets our personal information without any question or safeguards by Linden Labs? Can anyone tell us if they have seen another necklace like the ones we are being accused of copying in Second Life? What would you do if you were in our shoes? Does it make sense to respond? If this is a way of being bullied, do we call the bluff and have them take us to court to prove their claim? Is it even possible to claim copyright to a necklace like this, I mean, how many ways can you make a ring linked chain and round bead necklace with the limitations of SL?
Please comment, we will respect your anonymity, or if you wish to contact me in-world you can at any time. Please don’t think we have any issue with the DMCA itself, we believe there needs to be a process by which IP rights are protected in-wolrd. We absolutely abhor the idea of content theft, and absolutely affirm the rights of those who have been wronged to seek justice. We do however believe that the way Linden Labs enforces the DMCA process is incredibly one sided, and though many who are faced with this situation would simply cut and run where guilty, why does someone who has committed no wrong have to have their identity handed over simply to be able to continue to sell the items they have created, and maintain their honor and respect from the SL Community.
~ Sweetie Pye
Co-Owner, ~*Fresh Baked Goods*~