Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.

  • Poser Ambassadors

    There's other down sides too - as in, there are a lot of people roaming around the known graphics forums and art sites using non-legit content in making renders and images for contests and such. I have personally run into a few when I was just getting back into 3D in 2008/2009 and one much more recently (actually sent me a site note on an art site asking me for links to content).
    I used to report any/all I could find or became aware of, but had a few vendors accuse me of pirating myself. Now, if I see something I know from one of the vendors I consider friends or am on good terms with, I will give them a heads up.

    Funny thing... recently saw a product of mine on one of Phongdzu's sites (someone made me aware of it) but it was a product that was a free item at RDNA anyway... I just don't understand the logic there.

  • @kageryu Apparently, those users don't know or just don't care. I do find it interesting though that while some users maybe interested in "sticking it to the man", they are still will to pay for it, just to a different "man".

  • @kageryu said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    Funny thing... recently saw a product of mine on one of Phongdzu's sites (someone made me aware of it) but it was a product that was a free item at RDNA anyway... I just don't understand the logic there.

    It is strange but there's a logic out there that supports it.

    Some people will share a no-cost product because they don't want to pay the 'no-cost' price of joining the distribution site. They think that free also means there is no license associated with the product either, or there is no 'value'.

    I get that sometimes with our free Toon People characters (Chunk | Slim | Norm | Meat ). Some people illegally redistribute or fill in all sorts of bogus information on the downloads. I don't give away these models for free because they have no value, but that they are useful, licensed and supported products that I am licensing under specific conditions. We know who our customers are, and our customers know us. They can contact us, put in feature requests, tell us what isn't working, etc. Plus they know that since we made them and specifically license them, that they aren't going to be surprised sometime later with a licensing issue (like anyone who buys "Batman" models from sites that are not authorized by DC).

  • @AmbientShade said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    @meshbox said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    @AmbientShade said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    Why would you buy from a source which obviously does not have permission to distribute very well known properties like Batman? Reputable?

    TS is the largest premium broker in the world for models. While disney and sony likely aren't buying from them (that I know of, but who knows), a lot of other studios do. And yet they most definitely have stolen models in their store - I've seen a number of models there that I'm familiar with myself, that I know full well the "artist" doesn't have a license to resell. It would be interesting to know how a scenario like that would play out though - if a high-dollar production wound up using an illegal model that they legitimately purchased from a brokerage, who would they ultimately sue once they found out? And how much legal leverage does the rightful IP owner have against the production? The brokerage can only be held accountable to a certain extent, since there is no way for them to be 100% sure that the model is really the property of the artist selling it. If it can be proven that the brokerage was made aware of it and chose to ignore it, then sure they would definitely be liable to some extent for damages, but wouldn't it be the obligation of those making the claim to prove that the brokerage knew about it? Mostly likely it would boil down to who had the best lawyers and the most money.

    My rule #1 is evaluating a brokerage is how many stolen designs they have. If you can find just one easily (search for Batman first, he seems to be a favorite), it means the brokerage does not have your back at all and you are putting your business at risk using them - this is the worst betrayal of service provider.

    I am not a lawyer, however my understanding is that if you do not have a registered copyright on your design, you can still, at a minimum, demand they cease and desist any use of the design. If they fail to do so, then you can sue them for damages (though statutory damages require the copyright, as I understand). There are two 'most significants' in this though:

    • Being sued over illegal use of someones IP can cause severe damage to business image
    • The owner can cause you to lose a huge amount if you actually have to destroy the work (consider if you used it in a film that is already being distributed)

    The safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Act, if abided by, shield a network operator, but this is being constantly tested because you have network operators who themselves repost IP that was taken down as a result of a DMCA complaint - meaning, they are not operating in good faith.

    Despite this, and the many times Ive had to deal with DMCA issues, I haven't had to sue anyone. We've found some people using our content illegally (and seemingly unknowingly) and worked out a license with them.

    What makes me wonder is, for all those people who buy from bad market players, if after they take down a product because of a DMCA notice if they are actually notifying the people who purchased from them or not. Because that is not a requirement.

  • The specifics of copyrights protection vary from country to country... Here in Canada for example, you don't have to formally register your copyright of an item to receive full protection of copyrights law... The act of creating something is sufficient to receive the benefit of protection. Our regulations up here are a fair bit different than US law on the matter...

  • The biggest issue with the piracy is that the countries from which most of the pirate sites are hosted (Russia and the Baltic States being particularly bad, South-East Asia also) have very little in the way of copyrights laws, or in some cases no copyright law at all, and also have not signed into recognition of international copyrights law either. As such, they are only obligated to recognize copyrights as their own laws (or lack there-of) require, and in many cases will only allow copyright claims to be made in accordance with their own countries policies, while refusing to acknowledge external claims...

    In those cases, unless you are a big enough concern or have enough money to prosecute the claim, it becomes very hard to enforce the thefts as it may not even be recognized as theft in the country that the pirated items are being hosted in... The issue with Phougdzu being a case in point...

  • Coming back to the original post, The recent actions by the unknown party is having an effect at KAT. There are few torrents being posted and the kiddies are all up in arms over it. One (obviously) young punk even went so far as to suggest that the person sending the take down notices and reporting uploaders to their respective ISPs, be attacked with a baseball bat. Two of the content artists I know are a soccer Mom and nice retired grandfather. What kind of greedy, selfish punk would want to beat these folks with a baseball bat? I've taken it upon myself to ask pointed questions like this in KAT. I want to show these kids that content artists are NOT big faceless organizations (SM, Rendo, Daz3D, R'otica, etc), rather they are decent, nice folks next door with a creative vision who just want a little recognition and compensation for their hundreds of hours of work. I know that if all of us engage these kids on their home turf it will have a serious effect.

    I challenge everyone here to join KAT and make one post a day in the Poser/Daz sharing forum (PM me for the link). Don't be confrontational, try to show them that content artists and the folks who support them are just regular folks and by sharing content for free, uploaders are hurting the community.

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    @Bobb Even that won't stop them from trading privately. It helps to get the torrents taken down for the general random public, but when they form their own network and are trading things via e-mail or dropbox, or their own private servers, there's nothing you can do about that. And it still adds to the overall problem. When the pirates can't trade with strangers they start forming networks and trading with each other, and those networks grow pretty huge, and if you don't have access to their network then no one is there to issue take down notices. That is why, as much as I know people didn't like the idea, I agree with DAZ's attempt at drm, (though it seems to have fizzled out now). At least they were trying to come up with a way to protect their content artists - on the surface at least. I know it's a dirty word, but the alternative is content artists leaving the market to work for clients and studios that pay them outright for their talents and leave the pirate chasing to someone else.

  • @theschell Well you know the best way to handle Phougdzu, don't you? You hire Chuck Norris and the Delta Force team. Then wait until night...

  • Hi AmbientShade,
    I'll admit right up front that I was at one time, the king of downloaders. I was grabbing stuff from dial-up BBSs long before the internet existed. I dug myself deeply into the culture of 'usenet' years before Napster appeared. I got into private forums and more private sharing protocols that I can remember now. Somewhere in there my outlook changed as I got into the Poserverse and got to know the content artists. I started buying the items I'd been using and it felt good to be supporting the Grandfathers, soccer Moms, and regular folks-next-door who made the items I loved to play with. Once I'd replaced the last stolen item with a real, honest-to-goodness paid for version I came out of the closet and joined legit forums for camaraderie and education.

    (Getting back to the original intent). From my long time involvement in the sharing culture (the 'community' or 'scene' as they like to bill themselves) I know that the percentage of downloaders who go to these extraordinary lengths to grab stuff is small. The vast majority of freeloaders are casual downloaders who use the easy-peasy torrent sites. If you open a torrent file and watch it for a few days you'll see thousands of downloaders. I use Tixati which allows me to count the number total number of downloads. It also estimates the number of downloads that have occurred in the whole spiderweb of any particular torrent. It's pretty damn huge. All the private forums I was a part of where pretty small by comparison. The biggest was only a few hundred people and only a few dozen actually did much downloading. The old IRC was just a ripple in the 'scene'. Usenet is now dead for content sharing (unless it's Japanese tentacle porn).

    No, you're right, it can't all be eliminated. But the vast bulk of it, the easy to use sharing methods favoured by the kiddies can. I'm making a bit of a disturbance (in the force :-) over in the Poser/Daz3D forum in KAT and they don't like it. They don't like being reminded who they're kicking in the groin.

    I wish/urge all content artists to join KAT and let the file-sharing kids know who they are and how stealing stuff is such a personal insult to them (the content artists). Don't get ugly, mean or nasty. Don't insult them. Simply point out politely, that they (the content artists) are their Moms, grandfathers, brothers-sisters or the real nice person next door. And really, isn't it pretty low to steal stuff from the lady who nursed you, or the father who taught you how to play baseball?

  • Despite being polite and non-confrontational, I've been banned from KAT. They obviously don't like being taken to task and confronted with the reality of stealing stuff from their Grandmothers.
    I'd like to continue being a nuisance and would like to try something a little more behind the scenes. I still have a little seedbox (great for sharing my HDRIs, huge panoramas of the Mojave, and my vintage lingerie catalogue scans) and was considering downloading a shared file, opening the geometry file and moving some numbers around, then putting it back up and sharing this now corrupted file.
    My question is, do I have to ensure that the files are the same size as the original? I'm assuming that I do.

  • @Bobb If they're selling pirated stuff, why not just turn them in and notify the people they're stealing from? Don't protect them. If enough of the people that they're stealing from start coming after them, they'll eventually get the message that what they're doing is more trouble than it's worth.

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    @eclark1849 People have been doing that for as long as content for Poser has been being made. That's why a lot of content artists have stopped making content or dropped the amount of quality and time spent on the content they do make. For every one pirate that gets taken out 10 or 20 others take their place. And they're never really stopped, they just come back with a different IP. It was a bit easier 10 to 15 years ago to track down individual pirates because the net was a lot smaller, and there were a lot less people on it, even fewer who used or cared about Poser and 3D. These days there are hundreds of times more people and just as many more pirates, virtually impossible to track them all anymore on your own. Trying to talk reason into them is like yelling at a brick wall. They don't care that they're stealing - they think they have the right to it simply because they don't want to pay for it. It's no different than stealing from walmart or anywhere else, but they think it is because it is digital content, and don't care that it still takes time and talent to produce it. And then they have the nerve to complain that the quality of the content they're stealing has dropped over the years. And until laws are passed internationally that goes after pirating, and puts severe consequences on it, equivalent to shoplifting and includes jail time, it's never going to end.

  • @AmbientShade Then maybe they should do what the music industry did and go after the users of pirated content personally.

  • All of this brings to mind another part of the issue and one that has been discussed numerous times on other forums at other sites... the sense of entitlement that people seem to have.

    The pirates and the people using stolen items from warez sites seem to think that they are entitled to everything simply by having been born it seems. They get irate when told to stop using stolen content, and will justify their attitude by saying "this is how the net is supposed to be" (or something to that effect). I've actually seen threads on various forums where a vendor has announced they were closing, and as soon as they closed, threads would be started asking if anyone would be hosting/giving away the content once the vendor was gone. In some cases those vendors that closed were forced into closing by the very people looking to get their products for free once they were gone...

    It's not just that the pirates will think nothing of stealing something... it's that they will now actively attempt to gain said items by forcing vendors out in hopes of gaining them... and it gets a bit worse every year. Announce that you've retired a product and the thieves will go to town because they seem to honestly believe that once an item or vendor is retired, the product(s) become fair game...

  • @eclark1849 said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    @AmbientShade Then maybe they should do what the music industry did and go after the users of pirated content personally.

    The music industry is vilified for that, too. If you aren't a big player, you have fewer means of recourse.

    There have been a few instances where Ive dealt with pirates directly and effectively. For example, there was a young guy in Quebec who was running a download site off of his parents company's server. I told him he'd better take the site down or I would tell his parents, and he made all sorts of legal threats. So we faxed the company addressed with the parent's names and...well, that site came down ;-)

    I think a really powerful solution is identifying exactly who people are. Anonymity (for all its virtues in countries where people are truly oppressed) is a tool for the worst sort of people to mask their crimes. We had a customer who was uploading our products after paying for them - because of knowing who they were, we were able to identify who was doing the uploading. A warning was given and it stopped. Unfortunately, if you sell through a brokerage you do not have the tools to do that - only the brokerage does.

  • @meshbox People's perceptions are often skewed. That's why people vilified the music industry. People thought they have deep pockets and thought they wouldn't notice if soeone just download one song. The 3d industry's pockets aren't that deep and it is made up more of individuals than corporations.

  • @eclark1849 said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    @Bobb If they're selling pirated stuff, why not just turn them in and notify the people they're stealing from?

    I have....repeatedly. Because of the lightning response by 'Doc' over at Render-perverted-but-fun-otica, their stuff gets taken down instantly. They don't even bother posting cgBytes or R'otica stuff since they know it'll get taken down in seconds. They occasionally lament about this.

    However, I've reported many, many (many, many, many, ad nauseum) times to this place and Daz3D and SM, and none of them appear to do a damned blessed thing about it. It's so simple to send a DMCA take down notice to KAT, or the file sharing service (Rapidshare, OBoom, etc) but they don't bother. I guess they don't care? They make a big deal about piracy but don't actually do a thing about it...ARE YOU LISTENING RENDEROSITY!? Right now there are hundreds of files from here and Daz3D being shared on KAT. Seeing some actions a few days ago I was hopeful that someone here (or a Daz3D) had finally gotten off their butts....but it wasn't so. Things are back to normal and the stealing goes on unabated.

    I'm worried that content artists while stop making items for me to play with because seeing their stuff stolen is such and insult and kick in the crotch. I'm told that this is what drove 9mbi to close up shop. I have stuff I'd like to sell too but as long as the kids, punks, thieves, and freeloaders continue to treat downloading as a right, it's staying on my hard drive (and shared with a few Poser friends).

  • @James_in_3D said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    How do I protect myself from being tricked by weirdos like Dalmatiner?

    That's a great example as he was the one that reposted my trailer model. Users (and I believe you did) pointed out that he was distributing our model, so we actively pursued its removal and his removal from ShareCG.

    Free sites that allow almost near anonymity cannot be trusted at all. Download something from a free and open site is like practicing unprotected sex. The person who uploaded what they thought was a free model, that they didn't create, doesn't know if it was a free model to begin with.

    The solution is, don't trust these sites at all. Get free models from reputable vendors who clearly state that they made the model. If you don't get it directly from them, then get it from a site in which they are actively vending. The reason for that is that (for example, Content Paradise) is that the site has vetted the vendor, including financial / tax related information. If they do not actively vend then don't trust it.

    So lets compare with a free slice of pizza.

    Imagine, for example, you are walking down the street, and an unkempt homeless person appears from around the corner, walks up to you and hands you a slice of pizza. The slice of pizza looks quite good and clean, and its still nice and warm. But you don't know of any pizza places in the area. Compare that to walking near a vendor display in Costco, where a vendor is handing out slices of pizza. They are wearing official vendor clothing, and the display is sturdy and substantial (it took some time to set it up), and they have one of those toaster ovens where they are heating up slices. Now, both slices of pizzas appear EXACTLY the same - and you are hungry. Would you trust both of them equally?

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    @James_in_3D said in Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.:

    I have a question about ShareCG, since it's been mentioned.
    How do I protect myself from being tricked by weirdos like Dalmatiner?

    Whether it's from a freeware site like ShareCG or a high $$ premium site, there's really no way to know for sure until one of the models gets reported. That's what we were saying earlier, about buying models from just about anywhere, because stolen models are all over the place - free and premium - and even the site owners have no way of knowing 100% whether the content artists are posting their own models or just stealing and reposting from somewhere else. And once someone gets busted for one model, chances are pretty high that most, if not all, of their other content is questionable too.

    There are some ways to guard against it tho. Mostly its just being familiar with the content artists that you're downloading from. If they have a blog or website that shows their work, or they post regularly to forums like this, or you have a way of developing some kind of relationship with them as a fan or follower of their work, then all of that helps diminish the chances that you're going to get stolen content from them, especially if you can see the development of that model or similar work.

    But most content out there is not pirated. It's just that it's not difficult to come across a lot that is. Sometimes you can spot it simply by frequenting a lot of sites and forums and being familiar with a lot of the content artists and their work.