XstreetSL's hands off approach to unauthorized resellers

Posted by Cornelius Sloat on Tuesday, 25 November 2008

So, since we are on a ranting spree, might as well keep going! Following up on the unfortunate event of people reselling our freebies, we wanted to talk to the people at Xstreet SL as well as Apez, where the unauthorized resellers are using as a primary channel to distribute our products. However, the experience has been disappointing on both occasions.

For XstreetSL, they wouldn't even bother to look at your complaint - I thought I was getting an automatic response by some robot because I keep getting the same reply. If you file a complaint, their employees must have been trained to give out this default template of copyright policy.

Now the policy doesn't fit my situation and I don't want to file a DMCA, nor do I know if it will even work in the country I live in. Upon asking for more help and information, we only got fed with the same template again. Eventually we got to one person and she insisted that they are not going to bother until we provide the information they need - which is your RL identity and your RL address.

WTF, you say?

Yes thats right, when someone is screwing with you, XstreetSL's solution is to obtain your RL identity. But heres the real kicker - upon further request to look at our situation, they replied that

"As standard policy we send the complaint to the person the complaint is against. They would need the real life information to be able to properly contest if the complaint is false"

Not only will we refuse to listen to you, we are going to give YOUR RL information to the person who might be doing harm to you and potentially, your family.

There goes some great policy. You might ask "BUT BUT BUT, what about MY needs to contest properly...?". Well, they stopped replying after that... I believe the robot on the XstreetSL offices went "does not compute, does not compute..." and proceeded to explode.

Now, what about Apez? I've actually managed to talk to Cenji of Apez about the issue involved and I really respect his perspective and his right to do so, as well as taking the length to help us out. But at the end, the people who are reselling our products are running free... Correction - not free, they are actually selling our free give away and making a profit. They are being rewarded, or even encouraged to do the same to other people as well.

Now the justification for Cenji's resolution is that he follows the first sale doctrine in RL, which dictates that items people obtained either free or purchased can be resold without any permissions from the original creator. He further proposed that it is his responsibility to be balanced and not abuse the rights of the creators as well as the resellers, as it would be an abuse of power on his part.

"You guys sort it out, I don't care whos doing the right thing or not, I wont be sued so as long as I get paid, I don't care. You guys work out who will survive, its unfortunate but you are on your own mate"

All fair enough, but you know what? Lets ask us this question, if this is the just thing to do, if this is the right thing to do, will either of these parties be proud enough to announce to the public, and state their policies right in front of everyone, to tell everyone unapologetically that this is their policy? Are these guys willing to take it to the public and tell all their legitimate customers that this is what they are in for? That is content creator's rights (or the lack of) when something like this happens to them? That they are going to turn the other way and say "sorry buddy, you are on your own, but we are happy to take your money anyway". If there is any hesitation or doubt when you ask yourself that question, you know that your honest self is telling you - hey, maybe I AM wrong!

What is there to gain from rewarding resellers of freebie items? What is so balanced about equal rights between creators who actually spend the time and money and love to give vs those who just leech off others? Does it really take a genius to work this out? This is not a symbiotic relationship, it is a parasitic relationship, even predatory. Do you want parasites? or do you like being preyed upon? Are we going to throw our hands in the air and adopt a hands off approach - oh hey its not illegal, therefore we should not do anything to reward the givers and discourage the takers who don't give?

The lesson is -
If I am a community menace, it will totally be my right, and perfectly legal and fair, to take freebies and resell them. If I want to force someone I don't like to reveal their RL information, all I have to do is to infringe on their copyright, and screw with their business, and they will be screwed anyway, unless they give me their RL information, which means I can screw with them even more in RL too!

Hmmm, some great protection we have here, and some real balanced power we have with these services we are using. Lets all turn a blind eye on it and not let anyone know, let it go quiet and have a few casualties. Oh BTW, better YOU be the casualty than us they say!


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