I logged into Second Life this morning finding myself in something of a predicament. I'm honestly not sure whether to be flattered, indifferent, insulted, or infuriated. Let me explain.
As some of you may know, I created a roleplay castle complete with furnishings a while back. All told, it probably took around six months of hard work. I do mean hard work. It might not look like much to some, but let me tell you many hours of prim twisting, sculpt making, scripting, and texturing went into the making of said castle. I'm not even sure how many pieces of furniture are included, but there's some 6 packs ranging from 6 pieces to over 30. Granted, a labor of love, as I really do enjoy building things for people that appreciate them.
So I get an offline from a friend telling me about a similiar castle in a well known roleplay region. At first I don't think much about it. I often get reports, usually someone will add a prim and show as owner, or someone builds with the same general layout. So I sip my coffee and accept the landmark. I go exploring, never hurts to take a look. I teleport to the place in question and begin to rez. Indeed this castle has my same design, with some major texture changes and some minor build editing. Layout is exact, probably 80% of prims are exact. I right click and 'inspect'. Ok, so either this guy is really adept at copying modifiable prims and placing them (which would take a long long time) or use of some sort of copy viewer/tool was implemented. None of the castle prims show myself as the creator. I notice the creator/owner is there but either logs out tp's elsewhere when I venture near.
Now let me say, I've been copied before. It's never pleasant and I'm always hesitant to contact the offender for a few reasons. First, they likely have an alt they can pass backups to, which defeats the purpose of being caught. Second, in a retaliatory move, they may just start passing full perm copies all over the grid. It's frustrating to say the least. As a creator you can file a DMCA, and they do work. But they take time, and again if they take an xml backup or already have one, pretty useless. Obviously if they're using a copybot viewer they're familiar with how to import/export. A DMCA does not get an offender's ISP banned as far as I know. They can re-upload with another avatar and you have to start the whole process all over again.
To further complicate things, the owner/creator actually bought the set some months ago according to my records. It doesn't appear they are selling it. No store listed in profile or partner's profile. They're purpotedly an account in good standing. Groups show about 7 roleplay groups for their regions, a couple builder groups (lol, right?), and some medieval/fantasy event groups. '07 account and owner of a few private islands for roleplay. Profile says they enjoy building... Moving on.
So here's my predicament. Do I file a DMCA (which I may very well lose)? Anyone can use prims to make that layout. The textures are different. There's some slight build differences. The tower bases are not the same. They removed one part and added onto another. It's not MY build...but it is (if that makes any sense). I know my prims like a mother knows her child. I'm willing to bet most builder's do. But yet, I could still lose in a DMCA case. Right now I'm leaning towards, 'It's not worth it Johnny'.
The real frustration here isn't being copied. It isn't whether or not to file a DMCA. It isn't really about getting credit for a build either. The real disturbing part about all this is it makes me indifferent about building. If anyone really knows me at all, they'll realize that's a big deal. It's all I do in virtual worlds like Second Life or Inworldz. I don't socialize much, unless its with other builders or I'm forced to a party. Seriously, my friends threw me a birthday party in SL last year and I was fooling around in Blender the whole time. I really really just like to build and I know everyone says that. I've always had Builder's Block from time to time, and this is quite a bit worse. I'm not prone to the temper tantrum 'I quit' statements, don't get me wrong. I'm just finding it hard to care really one way or another. Maybe its just the natural evolution of a builder, or maybe I'm just having a down month...I dunno.