Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.



  • I just saw a report about Anonymous hacking into large finance-related organisations, and the photo headline showed someone wearing that infamous mask and holding up a placard reading: Sharing Is Not Stealing. Ya, OK, that about sums up the mentality. Oh boy....



  • That anonymity mentioned by meshbox is a huge issue in and of itself... the low-life punks that frequent many corners of the 'net behave in ways that would get them hurt or arrested were they to do it on a public street rather than online. They hide behind the anonymity, and justify it by claiming that it's how the net is and has always been. They will then act as trolls in the forums to silence anyone who speaks out against it by getting threads closed and users banned... If they were to make the sorts of demands or to steal like they do from us in a real store they'd get kicked out, banned and likely arrested, and if they insulted people in r/l as they often do in the forums someone would eventually kick their teeth in. The way the 'net in general is handled these days virtually ensures that you can do as you please without ever having to face the consequences of your actions...



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

    That anonymity mentioned by meshbox is a huge issue in and of itself... the low-life punks that frequent many corners of the 'net behave in ways that would get them hurt or arrested were they to do it on a public street rather than online. They hide behind the anonymity, and justify it by claiming that it's how the net is and has always been. They will then act as trolls in the forums to silence anyone who speaks out against it by getting threads closed and users banned... If they were to make the sorts of demands or to steal like they do from us in a real store they'd get kicked out, banned and likely arrested, and if they insulted people in r/l as they often do in the forums someone would eventually kick their teeth in. The way the 'net in general is handled these days virtually ensures that you can do as you please without ever having to face the consequences of your actions...

    It's unfortunate, but the internet is essentially the wild west frontier. It's full of bandits, thieves, and thugs -- who are only bold because of the factor of internet anonymity.

    Sure there are good Sheriffs around, as well as "honest townsfolk", and even well-meaning vigilantes (though internet vigilanteism is a danger in itself), but it's pretty much a gongshow where the inmates are running the asylum and it's impossible to patrol or control all of it.

    Yes, a lot of these "keyboard warriors" would likely have their asses handed to them if they tried their online actions in real life.

    Then again, you really have to wonder if they're as sociopathic in real life as they are online...which is a disturbing thought.



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

    I have a question about ShareCG, since it's been mentioned.

    Several years ago on ShareCG, there was an uploader called "Dalmatiner". This guy uploaded a bunch of really nice automotive models I'd never seen before. They were well-made. They even had his name on the license plates. So nice of him to upload and share with the community!

    ...Except they weren't his work. At all. (I have a feeling this is who @meshbox is referring to, yes?)
    [...]
    How do I protect myself from being tricked by weirdos like Dalmatiner?

    I noted at the time over at ShareCG that I suspected Dalmatiner was Poserizing meshes that he downloaded from Google 3DWarehouse, as I had found some of his Portfolio could be downloaded from there. At that time, those meshes were distributed under practically a Public Domain license, except you couldn't use them to set up your own mapping service or 3DWarehouse, IIRC. Now that Sketchup as been sold to Trimble, the license is slightly now more restrictive, but you can still distribute modified versions.

    So, it sort of moves James' equation up the food chain. The best protection (aside from modeling everything yourself) is not to use freebies in commercial renders unless they are obtained from an established commercial Broker. That way one might be protected, at least in the US, under the Good Faith Doctrine of the Uniform Commercial Code.. Of course, the Good Faith Doctrine applies to purchased physical goods; it is unclear how it would apply to the purchase of licenses....



  • @James_in_3D

    Then again, you really have to wonder if they're as sociopathic in real life as they are online...which is a disturbing thought.

    After hanging around in KAT for several years (and still there under a new name registered through their new TOR capabilities) I've read a lot of comments and followed endless conversations. I'm quite sure that they're mostly young and somewhat uneducated. They whine about not being able to afford the content because they're broke. They have no real concept of the grown-up working world and definitely feel entitled to 'free'...er, stolen content. As they upload more they climb their goofy little social ladder in the community and gain status. Sociopathic might be a bit strong, I see them as having little accomplishments in their real lives and try to fill the void by becoming a "Super Amazing Excellent Really-Big-C**K Uploader!". Wow!

    I've pointed out repeatedly that they can always make their own items, an offer that is met with stony silence. What?...spend hundreds of hours learning things?....gain a real sense of accomplishment? I almost laughed out loud when some kid mentioned (in reply to a comment I'd made about possibly selling my items on CgBytes) that he'd probably be pissed too if he saw items he made being shared on KAT. Don't they see the hypocrisy of what they do or the faulty logic they use to justify their actions?



  • @wandw I distribute my freebies with the understanding that it is okay to use them in commercial or non commercials renders, and the only real restrictions I place on them is that you can't claim they're yours and redistribute them. But I don't do a lot of freebies anymore. Kind of a shame really, I have a LOT of stuff on my hard drive because I'm constantly modeling stuff.



  • @Bobb said in [Sticking it to the Poser thieves & freeloaders.]...

    I've been badgering all the main vendor sites to get off their darned butts and start sending out takedown notices to the torrent sites for years. Hopefully this will continue. It would also be nice if the sites got together and lobbied the US Department of Trade to ask the Vietnamese government to arrest that sleazy scumbag, Phougdzu, in Vietnam and get all her sites taken down.

    Bob

    The main, legitimate, content sites do try. Vendors/creators do try. But, there are fifty-eleven people who will re-up things as soon as they're taken down. It's like playing Internet Whack-a-Mole.

    I used to alert distributors whenever I saw something in my constant search for legitimate freebies. It just got to be too much, even for just a "concerned netizen."

    Want to really stir the pot? Find something on one of these sites that uses a Disney product... See here: https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/contact-us/

    Disney grows their own Copyright/Trademark attorneys on both sides of the U.S. for around-the-clock readiness. I imagine a giant cube-farm of onsite specialists and a huge phone-bank connected directly to legal firms all around the country. Alerting Disney is like telling Vikings that there's an unarmed village that might have rich-stuffs in it...



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

    Disney grows their own Copyright/Trademark attorneys on both sides of the U.S. for around-the-clock readiness. I imagine a giant cube-farm of onsite specialists and a huge phone-bank connected directly to legal firms all around the country. Alerting Disney is like telling Vikings that there's an unarmed village that might have rich-stuffs in it...

    This tactic works. Adobe is also pretty vehement too.



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

    This is why I find the BMW vs Turbosquid scandal interesting.

    If a 'network provider' goes through the process of interacting with a model (for testing purposes, for example), it is hard for them to claim they are simply a network provider. They've had the opportunity to touch the model and validate it.

    A network provider that doesn't do any due diligence is no better than the free pizza guy I mentioned. We've all heard of the infamous 4chan, where links appear all the time pirated stuff (and if that idea excites you, know that links often appear there that lead directly to Russian ransomeware traps ). Most free sites are no better and can be easily tricked because they have very poor security practices.

    A premium site that has an established business relationship with a vendor adds a layer of safety, especially if that vendor is an established business. Here is what I look for:

    • Is the vendor a business or an individual? If individual, do they have any validating relationships?
    • Does the vendor try to hide their identity or contact information?
    • Does the vendor do crazy, rude things on the internet?

    No relationship is foolproof, but you can look out for yourself and your clients.

    Consider this - you take several thousands of dollars from a client to produce a professional work. In turn, that becomes a very expensive production, like a documentary. Then shortly after it is released, your client gets a C&D letter because you used some 'freebie' you found that wasn't being legally distributed. I would never put my client or customer in that position.



  • @meshbox I agree and those downstream issues affecting clients can be most vexing.



  • What puzzled me is what the file-sharing sites got out of hosting stuff that could be downloaded for free. There used to be lots of them around - mostly Russian, I think. They wanted people to sign up to a Premium membership - so they got money - but they got nothing from someone downloading a free item.



  • @A_Sunbeam Advertising was a major source of income for them. IIRC it's how they tracked down the owner of Kickass Torrents...via the trail from the advertisers to him. He was making obscene amounts of money.



  • Me again.
    I've infiltrated the flurry of new download and torrent sites that sprang up after KAT went down and have engaged in many conversations with owners, downloaders and uploaders.
    The new download sites seem to be run by kids. From the many chats I've had I get the impression that they're a bunch of script kiddy wanna-be's that don't have much except huge egos that they bolster by trying to get people to join their blog and become a community. The punk who runs www.________.ru has already been run out of the forums at KATcr.co (that was great fun!). Almost all the sites simply mirror each other with the exception of the private paid ones. From what I'm hearing, they are having problems with sign ups since the hosts seem to be dragging their feet with issuing referrer keys. The paid-to-download sites don't have a long lifespan since people will invariably share the content on torrent sites soon after downloading. They try to stop it but despite all kinds of threats, are unable to. Unbelievably, numerous pirates vehemently oppose these sites and urge people to pay the original artist vice some sleaze-bag file sharing site.



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

    Hey @Bobb ...I'd thinks about editing out the link to the torrent site. Since it's for illegal purposes, it likely shouldn't be posted here. (Then again, I'm not a mod, so I might be overstepping my bounds.)



  • Oops, I can't edit it any longer. Perhaps a mod can stick something else there. I'm not terribly worried since it's not a torrent site, rather a discussion forum.
    The place sprang up soon after KAT went down to provide a contact point for the displaced KAT folks. In order to avoid any possibility of being taken down, they prohibit any links to infringing material or torrents. It's a great place to see what's happening and to gauge the pulse of the file shar...stealing community. The forum at The Pirate Bay has a bit more activity in this regard. Demonoid was proposed as the new home of the KAT Daz-Poser crew but for some reason it didn't take off. TPB hasn't seen anywhere near the traffic that KAT used to get either. Discussions pointed to the new crop of file sharers (mentioned previously) becoming the new distribution method but they haven't seen the volume of files one would expect. The most popular one uses a system of points to download and you get new points every day and a lot more points if you share something. This has resulted in a flurry of people posting old files (generally really old content) leading others to complain. I don't think the place will last long and will sink into anonymity alongside so many others that had big dreams. This would be a perfect time for Rendo and Daz and Hivewire and SM to pounce on the few torrent uploaders and file hosts with a flurry of DMCA takedown notices, but as I've lamented over and over and over and over again....they don't seem to care.



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

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

    This is why I find the BMW vs Turbosquid scandal interesting.

    If a 'network provider' goes through the process of interacting with a model (for testing purposes, for example), it is hard for them to claim they are simply a network provider. They've had the opportunity to touch the model and validate it.
    ..
    TLDR below :)

    I don't know of any distributor site that would be within normal bounds for "Poser/DAZ/Recreational/semi-pro" use, including the one you just mentioned, that actively does anything in regards to verifying licenses, copyright or trademark rights. At least, I will qualify that - I have not seen evidence of such and am personally convinced that these sites purposefully refrain from even touching the subject. Why? Because it's tedious and requires someone to put an actual Mk1 Eyeball on a product before it is listed and it requires them to make a legal judgement call. And, because if they say they do these things, they can not claim the two extremely important "I's" - Innocence and Ignorance.

    (I am not an attorney. :) )

    This is extremely important! By being purposefully inept and by purposefully avoiding "qualifying" distributed content for licensing restrictions, copyright infringement or trademark infringement, they have a legal shelter to hide behind. It could be flimsy, depending on the situation, but it could represent a significant, costly, legal hurdle a complainant would have to leap over in order to actually sue the site for real money. IOW - They then have to prove that the storefront willingly violated these restrictions instead of simply proving it by the product being present after it had gone through published/subpoenaed internal Q/A qualifying stages.

    I have personally taken the time to email distributors/hosts/stores for copyright infringement issues and trademark issues with products that infringe upon Warner Bros, Disney, etc.. Why? Because, usually, I assume they just don't know about the particular product and aren't purposefully trying to rip-off any license-holders. And, also because I know they are purposefully avoiding having to devote resources to the issue and possibly expose themselves to litigation, should they ever, ever, slip up. Disney is not going to shirk from suing someone for selling models in their store with the Star Wars logo, character names, trademarked symbols and graphics, etc... Paramount (?) isn't going to be happy with someone selling Star Trek figures/ships. Can't even sell a Flintstone's figure, either! :) I'd rather some of the stores that I like didn't get forcefully introduced to well-paid copyright/trademark attorneys and risk having to close their doors or go into receivership.

    And, nobody bothers to say thank-you, either. Why? Well, legally, it may be because they want to be able to deny any such event occurred. (Even if they make changes or remove the item.) Other than that, it could just be because I forced them to react. One can never tell.

    In short, TLDR version - These commercial sites could actually expose themselves to more expensive penalties, fines and civil damages by attempting to actually "police" their content and benefit, somewhat, in a legal way by being able to show evidence (A lack of evidence of a qualifying/review system) that they are "Innocent and Ignorant." They're actually safer if they don't have to examine that "Star Wars Landspeeder with Luke and Obi-Wan" model and it just automagically makes it on their storefront, with appropriate "click here" promises by the submitter that they have the appropriate licenses.



  • @morkonan
    You may not be a lawyer but you've certainly presented a concise, logical, and well reasoned explanation of why 3D sites seem so lackadaisical regarding copyright. This explains a lot.
    I wonder what the long term fallout will eventually be. I know of several artists that don't sell anymore because of piracy, and many others (myself included) who work for industry and government, leaving their employer to deal with it. I can't imagine being a free lancer in this business unless you do contract work.
    Thanks for you post.



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

    In short, TLDR version - These commercial sites could actually expose themselves to more expensive penalties, fines and civil damages by attempting to actually "police" their content and benefit, somewhat, in a legal way by being able to show evidence (A lack of evidence of a qualifying/review system) that they are "Innocent and Ignorant." They're actually safer if they don't have to examine that "Star Wars Landspeeder with Luke and Obi-Wan" model and it just automagically makes it on their storefront, with appropriate "click here" promises by the submitter that they have the appropriate licenses.

    I am not a lawyer either ( I do have 14+ years experience doing this) but let me put forward this...

    Content Paradise seems to me to be the only brokerage that is safely a network provider.

    • Every vendor can use their own content license
    • Every vendor uploads their content for release without human involvement from SM
    • Every vendor can release their content whenever they want
    • SM does a great job facilitating fixes / improvements / satisfaction between vendor and customer but ultimately plays gatekeeper on refunds, etc.

    Content Paradise is about as pure and honest a platform you can get. Almost all brokerages 'game' a certain amount of risk by how much they interact with the 'message' package uploaded by the vendor.

    I submit that it is irrelevant if the brokerage says it does or does not evaluate the actual content. A human being opens the zip files, checks integrity, reviews the marketing content and then approves it based on some internal mechanism. The brokerage has invested time / money into the process for the purposes of generating revenue. They often have their own user license.

    A 'network provider' can claim a download is just like a 'post' to a forum - they don't know what is in it because they have no interactive relationship with whatever is being posted.

    Any one of the interactions of a brokerage with any aspect of the product that isn't done 100% hands free and 100% conforms the the definition of being a network provider under the Digital Millennium Act puts them as risk.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    This is why I've been leaning more and more back towards traditional, physical art lately. With a clay model or a painting there's nothing to download. Sure it can be plagiarized but that still takes skill and not just any kiddy with a keyboard can rip you off.

    I don't see the BMW vs Turbosquid issue as being quite the same here, unless those BMW models are actually stolen models directly from BMW's archives or a licensee. If they were just built based on reference images of an actual BMW then that's different, or should be. However I do know that there are direct stolen models on TS and other CG sites. When it comes to likenesses and similarities then the water gets really murky, because at this point there is virtually nothing anyone can create that isn't going to look like something someone else already did, at least to some extent.



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

    I submit that it is irrelevant if the brokerage says it does or does not evaluate the actual content. A human being opens the zip files, checks integrity, reviews the marketing content and then approves it based on some internal mechanism. The brokerage has invested time / money into the process for the purposes of generating revenue. They often have their own user license.

    A 'network provider' can claim a download is just like a 'post' to a forum - they don't know what is in it because they have no interactive relationship with whatever is being posted.

    Any one of the interactions of a brokerage with any aspect of the product that isn't done 100% hands free and 100% conforms the the definition of being a network provider under the Digital Millennium Act puts them as risk.

    Your experience, here, of course is invaluable. In my experience in manufacturing/distribution/etc dealing with all sorts of regulatory issues, there are definitely ways to limit risk as well as seemingly innocent ways to greatly increase exposure to risk. I am ignorant concerning the differences in definition between "network provider" and "brokerage" in this specific context within electronic media. :)

    But, what claims and procedures a company makes that touch directly upon legal or regulatory issues are very closely scrutinized. For instance, and I'm extrapolating, if a broker/network examines a package for viruses, that's obviously an automated process and doesn't expose them unduly. Plus it looks good... So, we go a step further and the package is actually examined by a human being. OK, for what purpose? It's very important that the intent is known, here. If they are only supposed to examine the package to be sure it complies with their format and there is no specific instruction/intent to examine it for copyright/trademark infringement, because they have left that up to the creator, then it doesn't matter how many people open it up and look at it - They're partially shielded inasmuch as obvious intent to defraud isn't evident. Further, they can claim that they can not afford to hire an attorney to review every package received nor can they safely rely on employees that are not legally trained to do that. Their broker/network agreement with the actual artist places the onus on them to clear their own rights.

    That does not mean they can't be sued! Obviously, an obvious breach is obvious... But, by purposefully instituting practices that actually force them to be Innocent and Ignorant of any intent to violate such protections, they can hope to minimize their risk exposure. Unless they are forced by law to change their practices, which will never be done considering how much it would cost distributors/networks to implement, the primary burden for the commission of a "crime" would be on the creator. But, that doesn't mean that very real amounts of money could not be retrieved from particularly egregious distributors/networks.

    It seems that the law and legal professions will only accept "so much" abuse of their copyrights and trademarks and unscrupulous businesses tread carefully to stay beneath the radar. It also seems that even businesses that want to be conscientious sometimes are forced to bow to necessity, as having a "conscience" in a business environment that is fraught with litigiousness is... often hazardous and prohibitively expensive, these days.

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

    I don't see the BMW vs Turbosquid issue as being quite the same here, unless those BMW models are actually stolen models directly from BMW's archives or a licensee. If they were just built based on reference images of an actual BMW then that's different, or should be. However I do know that there are direct stolen models on TS and other CG sites. When it comes to likenesses and similarities then the water gets really murky, because at this point there is virtually nothing anyone can create that isn't going to look like something someone else already did, at least to some extent.

    I think Trademark law would cover that as the "design", the specific shape and design of the automobile, is probably a trademarked image. It would also, of course, cover any graphic labels, certain names, symbols, the design of the console buttons, the fonts used, the paint color, specific shapes that are unique to that auto, etc... Basically, anything that a Copyright wouldn't cover could probably be edged in as being Trademarked.

    That many people create similarly looking things does not mean that those things can not be readily identifiable as being different. Apple and Samsung, I think, recently had a design patent/trademark dispute concerning the shape of the iPhone, and every darn cellphone, these days, follows a very similar "shape." :) (They probably got in while the water was still warm, for that one, before the shape could be easily classified as "generic.")