Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When is it truly stealing?

I was listening to music and poking around the SLExchange forums when this thread caught my eye:

I've Been Accused Of Content Theft!

Always interested in that, I opened it up. It seems a hair designer has been accused by another hair designer of ripping off style of hair. We've seen it before, right? Who hasn't noticed ETD hair in freebie shops? I still remember a newbie proudly showing me her new hair she'd picked up in a store and she couldn't believe it was so cheap at only $50L for a few colors. She was wearing the ETD Airy hair which you can pick up for $1L for a huge pack at ETD. The hair she was wearing was so badly textured, where it should have been transparent at the bottom, it very much was not.

But the thing that got me about this story is that the hair in question was not copied prim for prim. The textures were not copied. In fact, the only thing you could say is that Designer B may have been inspired by Designer A.

So if you read the forum, you see Designer A come out and say, "Inspiration is one thing- using sectional stylistic elements is another."

Oh? So no one in SL can make a ponytail because the first hair designer in SL made a ponytail? And no one in SL can put a barrette in some hair because someone else did it first? I don't THINK so.

I went to Designer B's store to check out the demos. She does very good work. Nice textures, and the hair is fairly well made. If she had hair that was a little more faerie and a little less warrior princess, I probably would have bought some. But while I was standing there, someone just happened to wander in.

Random Stranger: LOl so much content theft
Me: From this store?
RS: oh yeah
RS: all the hair
Me: Prim for prim, or merely inspired?
RS: they are all ripped pieces of Dark Artistry hair
RS: oh hair ripped pirm for pirm and the put together different
RS: recombining hairstyles basically
Another Stranger: That's generally what art is.
Me: Hmm... Guess I should go to the other store then and check out their demos.
RS: well yeah but like obviously so
AS shrugs
RS: I mean like I own the hair she used here
RS: it is litterally taking a peice from that and adding to piece from this
Alicia Chenaux smiles. Well....since no one owns the rights of a ponytail or a crown, I guess I'll hop over to the other store and check it out just to see for myself.

Most people don't strike up conversations with me unless they read my blog. Especially when I'm only trying on some demos. Don't tell me that was just a woman who happened to come by and start talking about content theft.

In fact, I think she needs a course in what content theft really is. Had the hair been ripped prim for prim, I would have agreed with her. Had the textures been ripped, I would have agreed. But when you run around accusing people of stealing when they have not, then that is very very wrong.

I have your name, Random Stranger. I don't think you were in there telling me about "theft" out of the goodness of your heart.

Being a good blogger, I did go out to the other store and picked up some demos.

Designer ADesigner B

1designerB2Designer B

Are they similar? Sure, why not. But you find many similar hairstyles in SL. How many long straight styles are there? How many styles with the two little buns on top of your head? How many pigtails and ponytails and curly hair and hair with flowers and ribbons and crowns are there? Are these direct rips? No. Are they similar enough to have Designer A shout and scream, ban Designer B from their store, and basically show their ass because there could be competition? Absolutely not. In fact, I spent $3-4L in Designer A's store getting demos and feel that was too much.

Just to double check, I went to a sandbox and threw both wigs down on the ground to inspect them. Designer B not only managed to create a lovely hairstyle, but she did it in less prims AND she labeled every single prim in the hair.

Did Designer B get inspiration from Designer A? Possibly. But how many fantasy book covers and fantasy movies and fantasy games are there where these styles are common? Those loops I have seen on HCT hair. And I have seen many styles where the bangs are swooped to the sides like that.

Content theft is one thing. Someone possibly being inspired by someone else is another. And who is to say that Designer B was inspired by Designer A at all? I had been working on something silly [a wearable grill, which Sehra saw me in a few weeks ago] and the other day Levi and I went to his friend's friend's store and right there on the wall was a wearable grill. Should I scream that he ripped me off? I'd be ashamed of myself if I did!! Also, I was working on a belt and Catnip came out with a similar idea a couple of weeks later. Should I throw a fit? Hell no, because they did it a lot better. LOL

All I know is, you better REALLY watch your mouth before you say something was stolen. There could be consequences for your actions.

As always, feel free to discuss. :)


WillowC said...

I happen to be friends with Designer B and she is one of the most active people on the grid when it comes to content theft, she's always there to support people who have it happen to them and she runs a group for the purpose. She's tireless and selfless and very in touch with what's going on - if ever I need content theft info, for SLNN stories for example, it's her I know will be best to ask. Of all the people to get accused!

Daman Tenk said...

I never heard of either designer before, so I'm pretty much unbiased here. But from what I've read here and on SLEx, designer A and the people supporting him/her/it are fuckwits that need a good kick in the arse.

I hope they're in the States so they can be sued for slander and libel. I recommend designer B to send a court order to Linden Labs to demand the RL identity of designer A.

Fucking fashionistas.

CeN said...

I'm no expert on fashion, or creating hair, or on theft and therefore usually don't comment.

I'll just say that in general I think there is a difference between true theft and copying. Further, there is a difference between copying and inspired by.

I wonder if the random stranger who spoke to you gathered samples from both designers and ripped them apart to compare prims and textures? I wonder if half the people who sling accusations do?

And when will I be invited to a demonstration and get a cute sign and skin to protest slander, libel and defamation? Surely it's as serious a crime as theft? In some ways I think it can cause more damage and loss of future income than theft ever could.

Akasha Wachmann said...

Eh, Designer A just doesn't want competition.
Shameful throwing out accusations like that, all it did was make him look like an ass and give her publicity **hi5 on that one cause I love her hair and I wouldn't have seen it otherwise...think I might just go out and buy some of her awesome wigs.
Karma is a bitch and it just bit back.
Oh and damn, show me that belt girl! ;-)

Alicia Chenaux said...

I just also wanted to state that I am in no way associated with either Designer A or Designer B. I've never met them before and until now, had never even heard of their stores. But Cen, you're right. When are we going to be invited to a protest march on a store for slander? Hell, I'll make the skin myself - but then someone may say I'm a copybitch since one day someone modded an Another Shop skin and therefore NO ONE ELSE can do so. LOL

And Akasha, my belt was similar to your street brawler belt, but mine was going to have grenades on it. But I was never really into the belt and when I saw yours, I said "Woot, now I don't have to finish this sucker. I can point people over there!" :)

Designer B said...

Designer A has been causing Designer B no end of trouble for the last 20 or so hours.

Designer B is going to go sleep it off now and hope that tomorrow is a little bit better.

Thank you very much for the unbiased opinion.

Terri Zhangsun said...

I remember when Tenshi (I can't remember her last name) accused Truth of ripping off ETD. Boy, was Truth pissed! Anway, ETD even came out and said Truth did not rip her off. I agree, that there are only so many hairstyles out there so eventually alot of the designers are going to have the same basic idea. If they are getting their inspiration from RL, then there are bound to be a lot of similiarties (sp?).

Elle Maxim said...

Terri, that was not Tenshi Vielle who made that statement against Truth Hawks but Sofia Gray. This is scary because it seems Ms. Gray is on the Hair Fair committee.

Anonymous said...

Publicity stunt lol.