Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Public Enemy #1 - Copybot

I am not even sure where to begin to communicate my thoughts on this matter. My real life has been hectic lately and throw this into the pile and yesterday I just could not deal with SL and resulting issues. So I did nothing. Inlcuding not releasing new items.

Today I am faced with the choice to close store and join the ranks of shops that have closed, even tho I am not in 100% agreement with this decision. If I do not, I look like I am clueless or careless. If I do, I then risk losing income, customers, a creative outlet, and more. And this is not to say that I disrespect the people who have closed, they have done so out of their own convictions and that's fine.

Currently, I am thinking of closing my store to my group members only and cleaning up my shop. I need to decide if I am going to temporarily remove pose stands. And I plan to put up a sign regarding the ban of anyone caught using the copybot in my store.

I have seen similiar signs concerning banning members of the group who created the bot, but I do not agree with this. On the face of this, they may seem like an irresponsible group of hackers - Linden sanctioned hackers at that. But after talking with my husband Ziggy, I've come to better understand what they do. Frankly, finding the holes in SecondLife is a good thing. Cause if this group that has Linden members doesn't, someone else will. And they certainly won't alert LL to the problems until much more damage has been done. The group has found several serious holes in the code which LL fixed.

Which brings me back to Linden Labs. Frankly, they should have taken these steps prior to this. They knew they had issues with the texture ripper over the summer, yet they utterly refused to do anything about it. Now they seem to be stepping up to the plate, but their slow awareness is frustrating. The possible fix that Robin Linden brought up to bake the textures to objects WILL really help with the texture theft issue - but does not address the copybot problem at all.

The copybot may copy the texture onto the object, but it can't save that item as a skin or shirt. Each texture isn't copied over and over again, unlike objects. When you buy a shirt, you don't get the shirt texture, rather your inventory gets a pointer the UUID (identifier#) of the shirt texture. It's only the server once.

What the copybot CAN do is completely copy objects like shoes and hair AND their textures. And wings. It can copy the textures, because the object has that tag to the UUID texture.

It cannot copy scripts or (at last word) flexi parameters. But flexi parameters are sent to the client side, so with some tweaking, they could be copied.

And the current copybot "protector" does nothing more than spam people. And even if you decide that your customers need to put up with the spam, it's a temporary fix at best and it wouldn't take much to change the scripts in the copybot to get around that.

So. . . back to square 1.

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