CopyBot is a debugging tool used to access the virtual world Second Life. It is able to, among other things, export objects within Second Life to an XML file, which can then later be imported for use in the game. LSL scripts cannot be copied at this time.
CopyBot was originally created as a debugging tool by the libsecondlife development team, and was created with such purposes in mind as an import/export or "backup" tool, or to assist in the development of AIs and NPCs.
- Possible uses of the import/export function:
- No reliance on Linden Lab for data backup services.
- Importing content created on other grids such as the preview grid (currently Aditi, previously Siva).
- Importing content created on a locally installed simulator (and thus not having to rely upon the availability of official simulators).
- Exporting one's own intellectual property to other environments.
These intended official applications required creator and owner permission, and a response to a disclaimer before content could be copied.
The source-code for the official CopyBot was made available via the libsecondlife website. It was downloaded, edited and recompiled into the application which is now used to replicate objects and avatar appearances without the owner's permission. This activity stimulated an emotional discussion in the Second Life community and numerous articles in the popular media. Residents also began selling links to the software in exchange for Linden Dollars (L$), Second Life's virtual currency.
CopyBot does not operate within the Second Life virtual world. It is written in C#, not LSL. Software was distributed via third-party sites and services such as SL Exchange. Currently (April 2008), most legitimate Second Life out-of-world operations do not allow the distribution of CopyBot, although there are programs which use either original Copybot code (heavy modified) or this funcionality re-implemented as well as some kind of copyright protection (i.e. allow only copying items/dropping restrictions if you are creator). This is an attempt to recreate what was the original intention of CopyBot (backup purposes).
A group called the Patriotic Nigras, notorious within Second Life for their griefing of its users and their development of an alternative Second Life client, ShoopedLife, have taken charge in the development and release of the most recent versions of CopyBot. Notable achievements include the creation of a more user-friendly interface, IRC support, and the ability to copy "sculpty" prims.
The Patriotic Nigras continue development, and are currently working on implementing it into ShoopedLife to allow for easier use of CopyBot functions without requiring separate processes and Second Life accounts.
These new versions also incorporate "autopiloting" for bots when their accounts are not actively in use by their owners. This can be seen when the bot's location updates automatically in the GUI, and also when the bot's account owner actually logs in to SL as the bot itself. It is unknown at this time if PN is specifically directing the bots to attack various points on the grid, or if they are using the information collected during bot creation to obtain further information about the actual users of the program.
From the open source code of Copybot, several businesses have formed promoting safe and responsible use. Among these is Inventory Backup. Inventory Backup promotes the legal and responsible use of the CopyBot program to protect creations and offers video tutorials to help learn the software.
- Resident outcry and virtual protests quickly followed a meeting on November 13, 2006 after Linden Lab met with residents to discuss the use of Copybot.
- Several Second Life merchants threatened to close up shop unless CopyBot was blocked by Linden Lab. Though the possibility of CopyBot's technical removal has been disputed in the past.
- Moopf Murray claimed to have been the subject of abuse and harassment from other Second Life Residents due to a product he created being used by the Residents selling links to the unofficial copybot program (the other Residents used a vendor created by Moopf).
- Moopf later claimed to have had an official Abuse Report sanction filed against him by Linden Lab
- In 2007, University of Michigan law student Kurt Hunt published "This Land Is Not Your Land: Second Life, CopyBot, and the Looming Question of Virtual Property Rights" in the Texas Review of Entertainment and Sports Law. In his article, he argued that the CopyBot controversy highlights the extent to which developers and users of virtual worlds disagree on the appropriate legal status of virtual property. He also suggested that CopyBot provides perhaps the best example yet of how the instability of virtual worlds may threaten economic development and emerging property rights.
Official Linden Lab statements
- Cory Linden announced that using CopyBot or similar tools to copy intellectual property in violation of applicable laws was in violation of Second Life's Terms of Service.
- You agree to use Second Life as provided, without unauthorized software or other means of access or use. You will not make unauthorized works from or conduct unauthorized distribution of the Linden Software.
- Despite the large volume of complaints left in the two CopyBot related blog entries, as of November 16, 2006, Linden Lab reported that they had received only slightly more than 50 official complaints relating to the malicious use of CopyBot.
- On Friday, April 11, 2008 laurap linden stated the following:
- CopyBot Infringement - A Terms of Service Violation
- Finally, to reiterate our policy on CopyBot: Any use of it to make infringing copies of our customers' e-houses violates the Terms of Service and may result in suspension or banning of Second Life accounts. If you believe that a Resident has used CopyBot (or a similar application) to make infringing copies of your content, please file an abuse report and provide as much information as you can to support your claim. Although technology can’t prevent the copying of data drawn on your screen, we don’t tolerate Residents who seek to profit from infringing use of CopyBot.
- We're sometimes asked why Residents are allowed to have or sell copying devices. The answer is that there are legitimate uses of a copying mechanism. It's the infringement that we don't allow and won't tolerate..
- Yamamoto, Baba (November 13, 2006). "CopyBot". Retrieved 2006-11-21.[dead link]
- Au, Wagner James (November 16, 2006). "Copying a Controversy". Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Yamamoto, Baba (November 15, 2006). "libsecondlife and CopyBot". Retrieved 2006-11-21.[dead link]
- Martin, SignpostMarv (November 15, 2006). "Open Forum: CopyBot Controversy". Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- "Community: Beta Test Grid". Linden Lab. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Terdiman, Daniel (November 15, 2006). "'Second Life' faces threat to its virtual economy". News.com. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- Linden, Robin (November 13, 2006). "Copyrights and Content Creation in Second Life". Linden Lab. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- "LindeX: Currency Exchange". Linden Lab. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- "libsecondlife FAQ". libsecondlife. Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Inventory Backup (October 18, 2008). "Inventory Backup". Inventory Backup. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
- Au, Wagner James (November 14, 2006). "Open Form: CopyBot Controversy". Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Murray, Moopf (November 14, 2006). "Open Forum: CopyBot Controversy". New World Notes. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Murray, Moopf (November 15, 2006). "Open Forum: CopyBot Controversy". New World Notes. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Hunt, Kurt (2007), This Land Is Not Your Land: Second Life, CopyBot, and the Looming Question of Virtual Property Rights, 9 Tex. Rev. Ent. & Sports L. 141
- Linden, Cory (November 14, 2006). "Use of Copybot and Similar Tools a ToS Violation". Linden Lab. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- "Terms of Service". Linden Lab. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Linden, Daniel (November 16, 2006). "CopyBot Action". Linden Lab. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- Linden, laurap (April 11, 2008). "Protecting Your Copyrighted Content". Linden Lab. Retrieved 2008-04-11.