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Second Life designers burned at Burning Life

Tateru Nino

Remember Kevin Alderman (known in Second Life as Stroker Serpentine), CEO of Eros LLC who is one of the plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit against Linden Lab for negligence with respect to security and failing to act in accordance with their obligations under the DMCA? Well, it can't be a good week for either him or for the Lab.

During Linden Lab's Burning Life event in Second Life this year (a sort of living pop-art showcase and party that draws many spectators) persons only presently known to the server logs left a cache of copied content, including at least one of Alderman's latest products, and a whole swag of other content belonging to other designers – free for the taking.

It isn't really Burning Life's fault, but if you had to place the stuff somewhere where many people would take it, none-the-wiser that it was unlawful content, that would be the best place at this time of the year.

These aren't just simple rips, either. They're clones. For all intents and purposes they are copies that are identical in virtually every respect to the originals. Right down to the object ids, apparently. They remain somehow full-permissions until taken out of inventory and placed in-world, we are told.

We're aware of one recent exploit (that Linden Lab have presumably patched in a recent update) which allowed the wholesale duplication of items that were flagged no-copy. However, something has been done here which also exploits the permissions system and temporarily makes the objects open-slather. Some users have been giving the content away, unaware that it was provided through an exploit.

Linden Lab has a content blacklisting system, but given that these objects are identical (to the system) to ones legitimately purchased, to blacklist one would be to blacklist all copies of the item, legitimate or not. Linden Lab should, however, be able to work through the system logs and identify the rogue copies and individually destroy them, but this would be a time-consuming and unenviable task.

For the designers whose expensive creations have just been handed out willy-nilly this represents quite a blow. For Linden Lab, who are due to file a response to Alderman's lawsuit asserting negligence in security and intellectual property obligations, well, we don't think they're feeling much like smiling either.

Are you a part of the most widely-known collaborative virtual environment or keeping a close eye on it? Massively's Second Life coverage keeps you in the loop.

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