Monthly Archives: November 2009

Second Life Bullies

By Elle Crescendo

For as long as you continue to spread your vial lies in public, this post remains!

SL has it’s fair share of bullies and you’d be very surprised who they are. I am going to blog about my own experience which is ongoing to this day, I will post a few links etc and you will come to you own conclusions. I have endured this for a very long time and despite various threats I am not taking this post down.  There is a certain irony to this because the people responsible for the bullying and harassment you will read about here, are the very people who recently did the Declaration of Human Rights expo within SL. I have had relentless harassment and threats from this individual and her friends.

I have NEVER initiated any of the circumstances you will read about below, I have only ever IM’d her once and not without provocation.  A little back ground on her – she’s a well known SL prefab designer and she’s a reputable builder, I’m not, she knows and plays with Lindens, partakes in group discussions with them, moles for them, I don’t, nor do I care to.

This is ongoing (As at February 2009), she will tell you I have been stalking her. She has spread lies about me, made very serious allegations about RL stalking etc (links will follow), threatened me, and she has been utterly relentless in her witch hunt, she is calculating, cold and manipulative in the extreme.

This is all because when I first began designing prefabs, I was influenced by her style.  She claims I replicated her designs (further on I will post a links to so called replicated designs).  I was once a customer of hers, a good customer, I bought at least 5 of her prefabs, at the time they were around $50USD (no  that’s not a typo) each and no modify. I got sick of paying for something I couldn’t change and make my own. So, I started to learn to build. I loved her prefabs, so at first I was inspired to create houses in a similar style, to the best of my knowledge that isn’t a crime. I shot 2 textures from my own prefabs, bought from her sim and used the texture shots on my build. Hey I considered it was mine, I owned it and I can do what the hell I want with it, right? Wrong. I had no idea it was wrong and I wasn’t selling it, I was learning, I had no idea I couldn’t snapshot a texture and use it on a build, I can do it in RL why not in SL, but I learnt from that believe me. So, this is where it all started and she got very nasty. She contacted me regarding the offending texture, apparently, “someone” (I did read a comment of hers where she said she uses some kind of imbedded digital watermark to track her textures just in case someone tries to use them) had informed her I was building a house using her texture, I removed the texture apologised and never used it again.   But from that moment on she kept an eye on me and my designs and the harassment has been endless.

The second occasion she contacted me, I had moved to a more prim friendly sim and was building a house. She  IM’d me demanding to know where I’d got my current texture from, threatening me with DMCA and telling me I had 24hrs to remove it (I didn’t even know what that meant). I’m paraphrasing but, she told me it was a legal procedure where she would get my RL information and use it to prosecute me in RL court, she was vicious and nasty. She kicked me out of her group, banned me from her sim and announced to her group that I was thief. The texture was not hers, she demanded a copy of the licence I held for the texture. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you she had absolutely no right to make such demands and I was in no way obligated to show her anything. In those days she often made such announcements within her group, she would name and shame anyone she thought was copying her. I remember someone telling her not to do it because people would TP there for a look and some people bought them because they didn’t cost the $50USD she charged.

Next was a barrage of nasty IM’s from her, she accused me of stealing from IStock she said “are you so stupid you used Istock textures and photo shopped off their logo”. She was now talking about my wood flooring, it wasn’t IStocks, but even if it was, I could have bought it, what’s with the nasty accusations. She told me she’d contacted Istock lawyers about my theft and they would be in touch with me shortly.  She also said she’d name me publicly and brand me as a thief, ensuring my reputation would be jeopardized (a threat she has certainly followed through with), she told me I should be ashamed, said I can’t go stealing IP from every Tom Dick and Harry (her words). I was terrified, I was new to all this, I had no idea what to do, I believed everything she said, she was a reputable creator, I was no one. I left the texture on the build where it was, I had nothing to hide and oddly enough, I never did hear from IStocks Lawyers. And oddly enough there never was a DMCA from her regarding the stone texture I still use today. I don’t and never have owned a copy of photoshop, nor have I ever used or bought an IStocks texture.

From there I continued to learn to build and develop my skills, until I felt my builds were good enough to sell. I then bought half a sim and laid my houses out. Within 3 days of opening my store I received a nasty IM from this designer, it said something like “nice job copying my metro house and the Miami you might be interested in this” “This” was a link to her blog, where she’d named me, called me a thief, said I’d copied her houses, accused me of copying her furniture and stealing textures, she even claimed I was still using her textures. How odd that she thought I was still using her textures, yet she didn’t file a DMCA. Anyone who knows her can tell you she will not hesitate to file, so what she wrote was nothing more than lies. I don’t like to be nasty about other peoples designs, but frankly I’ve always thought her furniture was hideous and I’d never be interested in copying it.  Not to mention you can’t copyright furniture.

But here’s what I find particularly interesting about her blog post, she actually wrote that my designs were not enough like hers to be a copyright violation/infringement. (About six months later she contradicted herself and decided they were a violation and filed DMCA take downs on my most popular items on xstreet, more about that later.)  If she was unable to sue me for copyright infringement or get a DMCA take down, I had to wonder why her nasty blog entry was at all news worthy, it wasn’t, it was just calculated harassment and threatening. Inspired works are not illegal works, but she implied I was evil and immoral for being inspired by her. She seemed particularly concerned with my colour pallet, saying I’d copied hers (which is white btw), I’m not sure you can you copyright a colour pallet. I wrote a retaliation blog, stated the facts and to my surprise she deleted her nasty blog almost instantly. I decided to let sleeping dogs lie and deleted mine too, I thought that was the end of it, I’ve never been so wrong in my life.

Incidentally, this woman has been banging on throughout various forums, flickr and her own blog since 2006 about her copyright and how her designs are a registered brand, she used to stamp each and every prim with “copyright of xxx xxx” she even had giant signs erected all around her sims warning customers about theft of her copyrighted goods. Yet, her copyright was only registered in 2012, Copyright is a matter of public record.  That says to me this woman is more than capable of making shit up and screaming it from the roof tops, she’s a liar.

A couple of weeks go by and at this stage I’m feeling edgy when I’m online, almost afraid she’s going to IM me again. And of course she does, an IM that goes something like this “ I fail to understand why you insist on rezzing my structures and making knock offs of them” Something like that or to that effect. What’s interesting is I did have one of her boxes out, containing one of her rezzers on my private property, most builders look at and pull apart other peoples builds to learn how things work and I still admired her builds and liked them. So therefore;

1/ she was stalking around my land and saw a rezzer of one of her houses, otherwise how could she have known what I was doing ( I can rez any damn thing I like on my land, I sure as hell don’t need permission from the likes of her) and

2/ she’s been watching my build, which was nowhere near finished, so it was a bit presumptuous to call it a knock off. Um again, I’M THE STALKER, how ironic.

I am not a confrontational person, at all, nor do I have a single competitive bone in my body. I didn’t know a lot of people in SL and now every time I got an IM I jumped, I was frightened and unsure, I felt I had to watch my back. It was becoming clear she wanted me to leave and she wasn’t giving up.  So I tried to call a truce (even though I hadn’t done anything wrong, I needed this to stop) I said I would no longer make anything that was inspired by her builds. She accepts my truce, she also told me she makes her RL living from SL, told me how my blog hurt her and could hurt her business because I said she flirts with Lindens.  After everything that’s transpired I found it difficult to feel any sympathy at this stage, but regardless I apologised for hurting her.

A couple of weeks later, I log into SL,  I get a message from my Mystitool, telling me she’s within 15meters, she’s on the boundary of my parcel, because of course she’s banned from my land. The moment she sees me she vanishes.  I wanted to know what was she doing there, so I IM’d her. Quite inadvertently I had set up a dinning suite for sale and in the pic one of her rugs had been staged under a table. She wanted me to remove it stating I did not have a licence to use her rug in any commercial photo’s. So clearly she had been very diligently watching my marketplace as well as visiting in person. Yes the rug thing is pretty pathetic, but that was her excuse for hanging around my land.  So I removed that pic and was polite to her, all in the name of the truce, even though I considered it to be petty and pathetic. I very much doubt there was even anything she could have done about it. In fairness she does state in her TOS that you are never allowed to use her stuff in any commercial shots without a license from her to do so.

It is important to note, further on you will read how she filed DMCA on my most popular selling houses (Nov 2009). The above incident happened about 6months prior, the same houses were on xstreet at that time the same house with the pic of the rug and she did NOT file a take down on them, 6 months prior, why? 6 months later she claims they are replicas of her builds? She has seen them both inworld and on the marketplace.  There have been pics of those houses on my flickr page, my SL profile and my SLU profile (which she has viewed) for a long time, she has never before accused them of being a replica of her houses until one week ago. Why, because I won’t quit SL!

Next, she now decides to change tactics, I log into SL, I get an IM from a customer, who has purchased my house and isn’t happy with it, his name is Cole Citylights (old account, no details in profile), Cole is demanding his money back, he says there’s a seam in the back of the house that is over lapping and he’s not happy about it. Now I know that an account from 2006 can fix a seam in a second, but he wants his linden back. I check the house and tell him he’s quite correct, I’ll be happy to repair it and send him a new copy as the item is no transfer. But Cole doesn’t want a new copy, Cole is nasty and responds with “I doubt you’re capable of fixing it” he wants his money back, he says he has a friend with him and his friend says the house looks similar to said designers ’s houses (how amazing and what a coincidence), he says he has IM’d her to let her know.  So how come she didn’t DMCA my house back then, when this concerned resident told her I was stealing her intellectual property? Cole then goes on about copyright infringement and tells me he doesn’t approve of thieves and demands his money back.  When I ask him exactly what is similar to hers he responds with the “fireplace is similar and has a similar texture” (someone needs to tell these idiots you cant copyright a fireplace or any furniture and similar is not a crime).

At this point now  I’ve had enough, I’m afraid to log on and find out what the next instalment will be, what the next IM from her is going to be and now this. I give Cole his money back. He then asks permission to blog my conversation, I told him to do what he felt he must do, his response, “it’s always nice to ask” and then tells me “you have a nice day now”.  There never was a blog post that I was able to find, it was just another scare tactic. I knew from the moment he IM’d me that this was a set up, most people who buy an item they like, want to keep it and are happy to have it replaced. I also knew without doubt who was behind it.  He then wrote a nasty review on my xstreet, compared my house with her work (naming her business) and said he’d used his refund to buy one of hers and it was much better quality than mine. It read like an ad for her business.

Finally after all this, I hit the mute button.

But things don’t end here, her friend starts to IM, she seems very kind and really concerned, she tells me she wants us ‘both to be the fabulous women she knows we can be’ and that this nonsense must end, she said it’s cruel and she wants both of us to stop. I want this to stop, by now I’m at my wits end, it’s upsetting and I’ve had enough, I’m terrified of this woman. But it doesn’t end, it gets worse the friend turns nasty, she makes a lot of nasty threats, accusing me of stalking this designer in RL, she said “you went to far when you took it to facebook” she said I was perverse and I had no idea what the hell she is talking about, I don’t know who the designer is in RL, I don’t know her name or anything about her. This friend also tells me I’m going to be subpoenaed through LL and tells me they are processing a cease and desist, I don’t know what that means and when I ask her, she says “I have no idea what happens when they start that kind of legal shit, but it’s very serious for you”.  She tells  me I must leave this designer  alone and to back off now,  accusing me of stalking her in RL  The friend goes on to tell me that people are tracking me, they know every move I make, so I should just give up. I’m sorry, what “tracking me”, who is stalking who here, her words “there are people who are tracking you now” hmmm, that does sound a lot like stalking and it’s certainly not me doing it. This same  friend told me they had hacked my computer, something they now deny, what they maybe didn’t know was that my IM’s go to email, I was offline at the time she IM’d regarding the hacking, I will post that IM below.

This friend contacted me several times, getting nastier each time. She contacted a friend of mine in SL and told him to warn me that I’m in deep trouble with the law if I don’t back off.  But prior to getting nasty, the friend handed me a gift, it was a hanging chime, she told me it was from her shop, she told me to hang it in my house.  In retrospect I suspect it may have had tracking scripts in it, I have been to the friends store, she doesn’t sell chimes she sells very overpriced dresses and claims to be a RL acclaimed architect and clothes designer for very high end well known magazines such as vogue………yeah ok sure you are, I mean all the designer is SL are aren’t they?

After the nasty encounter with the friend, I did leave SL for a period, I closed my account  (Bella Posaner), they had completely ruined the SL life experience for me, I was too on edge to get any enjoyment out of it..  I took a step back, I let things settle, I tried to move on and forget about it and I thought they might too. I then created a new account and started from scratch, I wanted peace, I didn’t want them to know who I was, I didn’t deserve any of this, I don’t do confrontation and they were not going to leave me alone, they were getting off on this and having fun at my expense. I bought all my textures again, building materials etc, I could have simply transferred them from my old account but, I am not a thief. I rebuilt my houses and put them back on xstreet.  For a very short time it was peaceful, but not for long, I guess she was looking out for my designs, one day I logged into xstreet to check sales and find one of my products had been purchased by none other than said designer. Yup, she recognised my designs and bought one, a bed. I assume to give it a poor rating, or to let me know, she knew who I was, she was playing games with me. Also around that time I noticed she’d joined one of my groups I assume to track my online movements, she had directed a couple of comments at me. Not long after she bought my bed there was this post in SL Secrets SCD (see below) So it started all over again, the nasty IM’s and accusations,  after the SCD post came an IM from that friend I have removed her name;

5:28] xxxxxx: Hi Bella, nice to see you’re still untreated for multiple personality disorder with a penchant for copyright infringement…don’t you know you have been hacked and are the laughing stock of SL? Can’t you get some pills for your condition?

[5:31] xxxxx: Everybody knows you are Kyle and FannyAdams on the blogs – including Stroker and Tenshi…it’s been fun taking the piss out of your stupidity in IMS…can’t you do something about your mental situation? LMAO!

She’s calling me Bella, contacting me on my new account (elle crescendo) so she’s making it clear they know who I am. Tenshi I sort of know, I’m in her Artists Voice Group, I have no clue why Stroker would have any interest in who I am, until his recent court case, I had no idea who he was. But there you go, by their own admission, they have hacked my computer and bad mouthed me around the community. There is only one forum I post to and that’s SLU, under the name Shelly.

The SCD post just after she bought my bed from xstreet.  She also posted in SLU how much she loves cats eyes and enjoys drawing them.

slsecreteyes

The next thing I receive is a DMCA take down for my houses (Nov 2009), there is absolutely no validity to substantiate this DMCA, it is entirely false. Why wasn’t it filed at least 6-7months she knew my builds,  she was obviously trolling my xstreet ads, she harassed me about them. I could counter, but something tells me these people want my RL info and I’m not comfortable giving  it to them. I’m essentially an SL hobbyist, I have zero interest in being in any real sort of SL business, I have a real job, earn real money, I have no need to earn income from SL, if they do, that isn’t my problem

Here are the houses she DMCA’d http://www.flickr.com/photos/37486754@N04/

This is my old flickr photostream, in the inspired works set are the houses that she had taken down I have labelled them house 1, house 2, house 3. House 3 was only uploaded today as I haven’t used flicker in a while, but you get the idea. These houses were designed by me in May 2009 uploaded to flickr in June. Go and take a look if you feel inclined, you will see the source of inspiration if you know her builds, you will also see mine are not replications. The upload date is prolly around a month after build completion

Following is a link to a thread started by the designer gloating about the DMCA takedown, this is an SLU forum, it was tactically placed there, because that’s where I post. She actually claims I ripped her houses, she also claims my builds were shocking, she claims I replicated her houses.  Inspired sure, ripped definitely not, shocking built, not at all!  This is the first DMCA takedown I have ever received, this is the 2nd account I have owned to sell with on xstreet. I have not been banned or ever even received so much as a warning from LL

http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/36930-dmca-xstreetsl-getting-better.html

(what’s interesting about the above post, is she says my accounts have not been banned, recently she’s taken to telling people that I’ve been banned previously from SL, more lies)

I have never once copied her houses, I was certainly inspired by them, and that is what this is all about, competition. If you truly believe in your product, there is no need to eliminate possible competition in this way.

This woman is a liar, a bully and worse, she’s a fake, this is her vendetta. It’s very sad that people held in high regard are able to get away with this sort of behavior, but that’s the way it goes. I believe in karma and she will get hers in some way, at some time. “How people treat you is their Karma, how you react is yours”. She contacted a customer of mine who posted a review on xstreet and she slandered me, telling him I steel copyright and IP, she told the customer they could get involved in serious legal issues if they kept my work out. She also contacted a good friend who posted a comment on my flicker page about a new design.  She even told him the only reason I was friends with him was to get at her. Interestingly enough, she herself had defriended him, long ago he refused her offer to work for her, recently contacting him to bad mouth and slander me. He is a very well known SL designer and one you would know. Once he got big she tried to reclaim his friendship. His words to me re: her “she’s as cold as ice”.

Of interest I did some stalking myself, I found this designer is involved in a few dramas one even involved the police. You will not read about me anywhere, you won’t find me involved in drama, conflict or controversy. What you think of me is not my business, there are two sides to every story but reputable people are not always good people.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pradprathivi/2585295697/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jojoruno/4374500253/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nurmoo/3965488006/

http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/14586-replicating-prims-second-life-ethical.html

UPDATE

Thanks to this blog I recently had contact with an AV who has also been threatened by this same designer.  She showed me IM’s where she was told, “if you ban me, I will pursue you, legally and publically” she was terrified. That was over a plastic chair design, one which was similar to the designers.  You can not copyright furniture and I know she knows this; it seems she makes a habit of threatening people.

Another Update 13 July 2011

Unbelievably this is still going on;

13th July 2011.  After attacking me out of the blue on a public forum several times, to no avail and to her detriment. I received yet another DMCA notification, this time on 4 designs she believes infringe her copyright.  Again, I can’t counter, I can’t risk my personal information in the hands of this woman.  In her posts she continues with her threats, stating she has consulted a lawyer and will pursue if the designs are not removed.  Instead of countering, I take the designs down, resign from that particular forum (which I enjoyed being part of).  She even did her best to derail my goodbye thread.  She claims in the post below that I got her RL info from her previous DMCA, anyone who knows anything about the DMCA process knows that you DO NOT get any information, you are not even told who has filed DMCA’s even if you counter file there is STILL no information provided to you about who has filed. I assume if it gets as far as court proceedings you have to be notified then. As crazy as it seems believe me it’s true and that is why it is so easy for the DMCA process to be abused.

Her attack http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/61224-screw-copy-botters-3.html#post1310823

In the following thread comes another threat. Even the moderator took to removing parts of her post as it was obvious she was becoming more and more vicious.  If you read this post it also looks seriously like a threat regarding counterfiling her DMCA, she using examples of someone else who countered filed and she got them banned.

In a last minute bid to redeem herself she says she wishes me no harm (kind of a strange work to use).  She has done nothing but harm to me, she has hurt my reputation, had my work removed, harassed me endlessly, which has caused me emotion anguish  and distress, she has intimated me and at times completely destroyed the SL experience for me. To this day I feel anxious every time I release a new product, concerned that she will somehow perceive that some element of the design is similar to something of hers and this will all start over again.

http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/virtual-business/61796-seeing-believing-copybot-again-2.html#post1322942

Following is my thread to say goodbye, she cant’ resist putting the boot in yet again, only it doesn’t go so well for her, as people start to see her for the bully she really is.  http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/61941-good-bye-slu-2.html#post1323873

Here’s another thread she started, directed at me, threatening me with loss of account, she thinks I flagged her marketplace items, 9 months later she is in a thread saying “I fell afoul” and saying her houses were flagged because she put them in the wrong category.  She also had items removed by Linden Lab because she was word spamming. It’s yet another example of her threats and false allegations.

http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/50988-um-thanks-marketplace.html

http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/general-sl-discussion/62196-need-vent-market-place-flagging.html

So you can see why I left the forum, those are just a few examples.  There are more screen shots of her criptic SCD threats and her nastyness on various forms of media. I will not leave SL again, I will not allow her to deter me, she has only succeeded in making me more determined than ever.  Her accusations about RL stalking are entirely false, I don’t understand them at all, She claims my alts had my RL photo’s of me, I just can’t understand this.  I can not decide if she’s batshit crazy or if someone has used us both, someone who clearly has it in for her. Either way someone doesn’t like her, I’m surprised I didn’t get credit for this one too

http://shoppingcartdisco.com/gossip/scarlet-creative-sims-closingclosed/

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