SIGH

You see this happen time and again and at some point it’s gonna to happen to someone you actually know. Maybe even you! A few days ago a friend of mine, Lani Recreant received notice she was being banned from SL for 7 days for a DMCA violation. This came as a complete shock to her as she has no in world store and has pulled all her products from X-Street back in February. Here’s a portion of the letter she received from Linden Labs:

> To: lanierecreant@hotmail.com
> Subject: Warning or suspension of Your Second Life Account
> From: no-reply@secondlife.com
> Date: Wed, 19 May 2010 13:55:16 -0700
>
>
> Dear Lanie Recreant,
>
>
>
> This email is notification of action regarding your Second Life account,
> Lanie Recreant, for violation of the Second Life Terms of Service or
> Community Standards.
>
> Violation: Failure to Comply with DMCA Notifications
>
> This email is notification that Linden Lab has suspended
> your access to the Second Life virtual world for failure to
> comply with DMCA Notifications.
>
> Violation: Failure to Comply with DMCA Notifications:
> Linden Lab has received notification(s) of copyright
> infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
> (“DMCA”) regarding your Second Life account(s). To comply
> with DMCA notifications, you must disable all infringing
> works in world and in your inventory. In addition, changing
> the name of said works is not in compliance with this
> requirement.
>
> If you believe that you did not infringe another’s
> copyright, or that removal of the 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
> http://secondlife.com/corporate/dmca.php.
>
> Action:
>
> As a result of this violation, your Second Life account is
> being temporarily suspended for a period of 7 days. It will
> return to active status on Wednesday, May 26, 2010.
>
>
>
> Appeal Process:
>
> The decision to suspend your Second Life access was reached after
> investigation of your use of the Second Life software and service. If you
> would like to appeal your suspension, you may contact Second Life Support,
> in writing, at the address below:
>
>
>
> Second Life Support
>
> Linden Lab
>
> 945 Battery Street
>
> San Francisco, CA 94111
>
>
>
> You may also appeal electronically by filing a support ticket at
> http://www.secondlife.com/support For more information on this process,
> please see this KnowledgeBase article http://bit.ly/hBIjz
>
>
>
> Please provide relevant information that you believe would explain the
> above violation. Linden Lab reserves sole discretion in considering
> whether to take any action on an appeal.
>
>
>
> Please note that for electronically submitted appeals, due to the nature
> of the ticket, it may take upto 72 hours to receive an initial decision on
> your abuse appeal.
>
>
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Linden Lab

As you can see she uses a webmail address that uses some strong junk mail filters and it may be that she never got the original notices. Oddly enough this message got through though. There has got to be a better system to notify people about these things. Email isn’t a flaw proof delivery system. A DMCA violation notice should also be dropped on the avatar via note card or a blue drop down, or something. She of course filed a ticket and even called Linden Labs but they either will not or cannot tell her why or what she was suspended for. Below is a letter she sent to me to be posted in my blog.

I’ve been in SL for 3 years now.   Wednesday afternoon when I tried to log on, I got a message that my account was unavailable until May 26.   I opened a ticket immediately.   It’s now Friday, and the only response I’ve gotten is to ask for my verification information.   I have a basic account, not premium.

I checked Lanie’s email and found this email (which I’ll forward to you separately) saying that I didn’t respond to a DMCA.   I also had two emails that LL had logged into my account to review my logs.  Now it is possible that LL sent me an email that went to my junk folder, or sent me and IM that I didn’t get because my messages were capped.    So it may in fact be true that they advised me of a DMCA.   My problem is that I can’t get them to tell me what if was for!

I do not sell anything in SL, so I cannot imagine why anyone would even accuse me of a DMCA violation.   But obviously they did, so I want to know what it’s about.   My main concern is that my account may have been hacked and used for something illegal.

I called the support line this morning, and told them I was concerned that I’d been hacked and that my financial information was exposed.   They didn’t seem concerned, saying that if the account is suspended it is in no danger.   But if someone hacked in, then they already have my information!    I want to know if this happened!   The support person’s response was to wait for the ticket to be updated.

Someone on the forums suggested that I send email to removal@lindenlabs and I did this too.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I did try to make my own art in the past and listed some stuff on Xstreet.    It is possible that I inadvertently listed something copyrighted,  but I stopped making stuff ages ago when I realized that I wasn’t talented enough to make anything cool, so I have become an excellent consumer.  I currently have no Xstreet listings, and don’t make anything, or sell anything.  I just buy stuff 🙂  Lots of stuff 🙂

I’m very frustrated that LL could suspend me for a week, making me unable to pay my rent or feed my bunny, without even talking to me.

But I will definitely file a DMCA counter-action.  It’s my understanding that opening a ticket is the first step in this process, and I’ve done that.   I just want to know what is going on, and if someone hacked into my account, and if I actually did something wrong will someone please TELL ME what it was?   I have no problem with you sharing my real first name on the blog.

And hey, thanks for doing this, and for letting me bitch and whine to you 🙂

What I want to know is what next for Valerie (her RL first name). See, Valerie is a real life name of a real life CUSTOMER. She deserves a bit more than a summary execution without some sort of due process. As far as I am concerned she was not properly “served her papers”. Assuming the worst case scenario where she did upload copyright material and then sold it, that was 4 months ago and nowhere is it currently for sale anywhere. How long does it take to log into her account and delete the infringing content? A whole week? How many of us in SL have copyrighted material we don’t sell or even share. Are we all going to face this kind of harsh treatment if some ass wants to report us? Gee I better delete that Scooby-Doo picture right now!

If her account was hacked she should be told also, who’s to say a criminal may have also gotten access to some of Valerie’s important information?

OK, worst case set aside. What if she’s innocent? What if it was an error on Linden lab’s side? I’d say they owe her big time. If her “pets die” and she gets evicted from her land due to not paying rent she will have lost money. Also what of the case of a malicious filing of a DMCA? Not only would I demand money but I’d want the false accuser perma banned from SL (including ALTS). There has to be some teeth to prevent abuse to the system. If LL can easily ban someone just on the say so of another it can easily punish a false accuser with even harsher terms.

All I can say is this royally sucks. I’d be really angry if it happened to me. I do have ALTS but it ain’t the same you know?

Lanie / Valerie, I hoped this gets resolved quickly and you get the answers you deserve as a CUSTOMER deserves.


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