I want to start this by saying, I am not on a witch hunt. I have been noticing things over the last 6 months, when looking at assets for someone close to me, that they could use in projects, and have been getting more and more annoyed at the sheer amount of content theft that has been ramping up on SL Marketplace.
I feel like those who use asset creation kits(be they mesh, text, sound, pose or animation) need to know this information, so they can better spend their own money, on items that are legitly sellable in Second Life.
A recent post to our SLS discord, with similar info, put the fire under my ass, so share my own findings of a similar nature.
You can view NeoBokrug’s Plurk Post, talking about a few of the same designers, below. He was kind enough to let me share it, as well as some other content, that you can find at the bottom of this post.
He feels very strongly about this situation as well, and was more than happy to share his findings with you all, so you can keep better informed. His community plays a lot of videos games outside of SL, so they are able to easily spot the content that gets stolen from other video games.
Now this Pack of Rippers, I suspect some of them are the same people, with different stores, and some are just sourcing from the same places. The way you can tell this is by what is being offered in the packages.
Are there shadow maps included?
Is there additional textures?
Did they optimize the LI count?
Are the Ad Styles of the same Quality?
Here is the list of stores, Designers, and their SL Marketplace Links:
Art Studio – YellowCatMiya
DisturbeD – Deby Frequency
EFE Designs – serseriefe
Full Perm V*A – Veronica Asalia
Giorgia Design – Giorgia Sciavo
House of Wax – Jimmy Scarfould
Mesh Place – mickey Kling
Meshed Potato – Holidays
NikoMeshxx – Nikolajxx
Qutworld – Qutsal Alex
SR.Store – simona2012
Zara Mesh – Snjezana Tzara
Now, there may be more, but so far, these are the only ones I’ve linked somewhat to each other, or simply sourcing stolen content from the same video games/websites.
How to figure out if an Asset kit is Stolen or Ripped:
Is the price too good to be true?
Many of these Rippers will try to undersell each other, if they aren’t part of the same team. They also try to undersell Trusted Kit Creators, who make similar products, cause their only goal is your Lindens, in their pocket.
Is the Quality too good to be true for the Price?
For Example, normally for a statue kit, you are looking to pay anywhere from L$500 – L$2500 and up for a full perm one, with all the AOs, UVs, shadow maps and meshes. More so with DAE and OBJ files. So if you see a really awesome looking one for L$200, it is probably ripped. now sometimes there can be promos, sales or the items is an older kit, so has been priced down, but then there wouldn’t be all other similar kits at the same store, for the same price. There can be other exceptions to this, though, as there are a few Trusted Kit Creators who are very generous.
What is their ToS like, or is there even one?
Most Rippers, once they have their money, they could care less what you do with the item, they didn’t make it, so it doesn’t matter if you put it in a hunt, or give it away to your group. Most Trusted Kit Creators, they will have very laid out stipulations on what you can and cannot do with their kits. These will be on their SL Marketplace item pages, or will have links to their websites with a more indepth ToS (Terms of Service) outline for the end user(you the purchaser)
What is the LI of the item(Home & Garden Category Mostly) or do they even list it?
Often times these Items will have a very high LI, this is due to the original meshes being made for another gaming system, or for another purpose, like background filler for Daz3D for example. Mesh needs to be optimized differently for Second Life, as our system is based on the Land Impact of items. Sim Owners or Land Owners only get as much as their sim or plot size allows them, so we in general look to mesh that has the lowest impact possible, so we can have more for other sorts of decorations when using items in our digital spaces. Most Trusted Kit Creators known this, and make their meshes to reflect what the consumers want. Things that are ripped are not optimized this way, and have higher poly count, which even when converting them for Second life, keeps them at a higher number. An SL car, that is a prop, and not even usable for driving in, shouldn’t be more than 10 LI. So when you see one for 27 LI, it brings up some red flags.
Do they even offer UVs, AOs, Shadow Maps, DAEs or OBJ files?
With most Trusted Kit Creators, you are going to get many things in your package, like Shadow Maps, Material Layers, Photoshop Files, AOs, Textures for the item in multiple colours, Options for DAEs and OBJs, UVs, Animations/poses to make the item work inworld, among other things. There will possibly be contact sheets, ads, ToS, Instructions and Landmarks. These things will be listed in the Kit’s SL marketplace Description, or even viewable in the Features or Contents tab of the Kit’s Listing. Known Rippers normally just give you the mesh with the texture already on it, and no options, or very little added features to the item itself.
Is there a Demo, and if so, how does the Poly look when you inspect the Mesh?
For someone who doesn’t make their own mesh, this one is going to be a bit hard to describe, for you to understand. The best I can do is this; if the mesh is optimized for sl, you will notice clean segments of triangles, that connect in a somewhat predictable pattern. If the mesh wasn’t originally made for SL, it is sort of like someone ate triangles, squared and rectangles, got sick and vomited them all up. The resulting mess now rezzed on your Skybox floor is product of this geometric vomit. It’ll look contorted and messy, with no or not much noticeable pattern or flow to the poly.
Are they types of items they sell, and the Quality of said items, vastly different from week to week?
It is normal for a store to have different levels of Quality, but it should be a natural progression, with the older items being a bit simpler, or having less features, or less intricacy to the items. As they learn more, their mesh gets better. If you see a store that one week has mesh people who have super pixelated textures, to super detailed steampunk toasters with awesome metal textures in high definition, then to poorly pixelated zoo animals, chances are, that store is not legit.
Now, this in itself, is not a perfect system for figuring out if something is stolen content. Some of these Professional Rippers are upping their game, and offering all the things, like textures, AOs, Diffuse Maps, Materials, DAEs, so on. This is just a starting place, to help you along your way, to making the best choice, when purchasing Full Perm items you might need for a project.
A lot of these examples pertain to mesh itself. Texture Kits, Poses/Animations and other Full Perm Assets, even Scripts, can be harder to tell. I will make notes towards each, when I have the information to share with you. It’ll have to wait for another day, as this post is about the stores listed above, and they are all Full Perm Mesh Kit Sellers.
Okay, this is all well and good Helena, sharing this with us, but where is the proof?
Well, proof you shall have!
This made me laugh. I wasn’t going to check each of the 12 stores on this list for this chair, but this one for example, is so easy to explain.
It is highly unplausible, that this many Full Perm Kit Creators got inspired by exactly the same thing, at the same time, and created literally identical mesh chairs. You do not need to know the source, to know that these are ripped and stolen from someone, somewhere. Now, they were not taken from another SL designer, these would have been taken from either a game or a 3D resource website. We will talk more on that topic later.
I’ll add citations to these as I find them, but as you can see, there was really no need for it. For these 12 stores, to have this much content that is EXACTLY the same, just is not possible. Unless they are all the same person. Now I do suspect that a few of these are linked, or at least a part of a team that is doing the theft, but there are a few that are a bit different that are just sourcing from the same places.
So where do these people steal their content from?
Sometimes it is Copybotting.
In this case though, they are getting content from outside of SL sources. places ike TurboSquid, Renderosity, Daz 3d, DeviantArt, Free 3d, SketchFab, Render Hub, Art Station, just to name a few.
They are also getting them from Games, taking the files right from the game download itself, or finding the files already unpacked on the net, and using those(thus not even having to have had the game to begin with).
We, the Team here at Second Life Syndicate will be creating a resource list, for both Untrusted and Trusted Kit Creators. It’ll take a bit to get it going, but this post here is a start to get us there.
I am hoping that we can help you make informed decision on where your money goes, when deciding on the resources you need for whatever project you are working for.
NeoBokrug already has a list started for his own community, that he is also allowing me to share on here. This is a link to his spreadsheet.
Thanks to Neo for allowing us to share his own findings and his plurk post.
If you know where and of the above meshes were directly ripped from, feel free to use our Contact form, and let me know. I’ll add in the citations.
This was a long process . . .
Helena Stringer signing off!