Copybot scenario has run rampant without anything to hold it back since mid 2006. The only thing keeping the activity at bay was the technical geeky knowledge one must have to make it work. Then along came the open-source Second Life viewers where all the computer code that explains how things are put together on the grid were unleashed. So, of course the copybot scenario moved from the uber-geek crown far closer into what one might call "mainstream" abilities. It becomes too easy for anyone and everyone to "copybot" anything on the grid.

So the first salvo in fighting back, almost three-and-a-half years later, that has any real meaning in terms of any kind of effectiveness is the "Client Detection System" ( properly: CDS Ban Relay) by Skills Hak.

The system uses discreet and covert methods to determine which Second Life client software (viewer) you are using, then matches that information against a database of known "illicit" viewers; hence the viewers that can be easily used to break the Linden Lab Terms of Service on the Second Life Grid.

Now there are three chapters to the entire copybot hysteria controversies:

  • The original fear by creators of being "copybotted"
  • The ridiculously shrill and vehement copybot "vigilantes"
  • And now the CDS Banhammer against anyone known to have (or had) copybot abilities via the use of an illicit viewer.

Obviously these are highly-charged emotional issues. Creators work hard to create their creations. Often is it a labor-of-love and at other times it is painful, gruelling work and when that work in either case is stolen it is painful enough. But when others actually make a profit from that theft, especially when it is to the detriment of your remaining business, it can be outright soul-killing (emotionally-speaking, of course.)

Here is where things become laughable...

When copybot first hit the scene in 2006 there was wide-spread outright panic. Sim-owners would actually shut everything down, denying access to anyone. Even parcel owners whose retail stores were salt-and-peppered through the grid put-up the "ban" lines and preferred to take zero business for fear of being ripped-off. Misinformation was rampant and half the grid literally shut-down. Then came the scam that a simple chat command could disable the copybot system and the other half of the grid would spam open chat with stupid statements every 10-seconds.

Except for the sheer unnecessary outright panic, this was a genuine concern.

Then came the idiot vigilantes who, by inspection, don't know what it is they are actually looking at. More often than not they see what they think is copybotted items and start Abuse-Reporting people left and right. Spewing vitriol in vigilante groups and raising the mob with torches and pitchforks to overwhelm someone's place, spreading rumors and lies as fact, sometimes ruining someone's business and reputation over false information.

Now it is the flip-side of the coin: The CDS comes along. The first ever tool for creators to even attempt to fight-back against "copybotting" and the vitriol continues. Whenever the CDS system is spoken of in the SLogosphere, the comments section always contains the requisite idiotic replies:

  • "I use the (name of copybottable viewer) and I don't steal anything. This is stupid and unfair!"
  • "Just because I use (name of copybottable viewer) doesn't mean I'm a thief!"
  • "This is stupid. I am boycotting every store that uses the CDS!"
  • "The CDS is illegal! It illegally scans your hard disk!"
  • "The CDS steals your personal information! I have a right to PRIVACY! It should be BANNED!!!11!ONE11!!"
  • "What if I become banned? Where is the list of viewers it won't ban? ZOMG! I'll be banned on the official viewer!!!!!"

Here is why all the above statements are utterly ludicrous:

"I use the (name of copybottable viewer) and I don't steal anything. This is stupid and unfair!" Having the ability to copybot anything also is unfair. The fact of the matter is you can't be trusted. Why? The answer is simple: you actively went through the research and motion to seek-out a copybot-capable viewer, downloaded and installed it and actively choose to use it even though there are many other very good viewers out there. Since you actively chose to go out of your way to obtain that software, the use of its capabilities was your intent, regardless of whether you actually exercised that intent. And if you have chosen not to, you would discontinue using that viewer as the non-illicit viewers are better and more stable. Hence your argument is moot or an outright lie. You simply cannot be trusted.

"Just because I use (name of copybottable viewer) doesn't mean I'm a thief!" Perhaps. However, in that case my use of the CDS system is not meant as a strike against you. I must go with the lowest common denominator and that is the illicit viewer itself. Not because you are using it. But because the unscrupulous thieves are using it. Thus, it automatically becomes "guilt-by-association". If you choose to continue that association then I have no answer for you. You are foolish enough to continue using that viewer so if you get your ass handed to you by that system, by all means do file an appeal to be removed from the grid-wide ban list. Certainly your upstanding citizenship will be taken into consideration and mercy will be poured all-over you in this case.

"This is stupid. I am boycotting every store that uses the CDS!" Wow. This is actually a good thing because you are likely not the kind of "customer" I want. First, based on the previous two arguments and also because unless I advertise that I use CDS (why on earth would I do that?) the only way to know its presence is by getting yourself banned (hence you fall into the groups above) or you're an alt of someone banned or you accidentally bumped into the actual prim (which is hidden). Thus, the only way to know which sims to "boycot" you must either be an illicit viewer user or you run with those who do: guilt by association.

"The CDS is illiegal! It illegally scans your hard disk!" No. It's not illegal. No. It doesn't scan your hard disk drive. If not outright "blessed" by Linden Lab, it is approved by them. The system is totally vetted. As for the whole "scanning" your hard disk drive idea? Pah-leeze. It would mean that something on the grid would have to be scripted to tell your viewer to do that exact thing. Are you really ignorant enough to think Linden Lab would dare put that kind of ability and power into their scripting language? In truth, the only Second Life anything that will (and likely does) scan your hard disk is that illicit viewer you are using that the CDS is designed to detect.

"The CDS steals your personal information! I have a right to PRIVACY! It should be BANNED!!!11!ONE11!!" This is probably the most laughable argument of the bunch. Even if the CDS does track your I. P. (Internet Protocol) address, that is not "private" information in the least. Go to to see just how "anonymous" you truly are anywhere on the internet, including Second Life. The only possible way your "privacy" can be protected is to not connect to the internet at all. Good luck trying to connect to the grid with that.

"What if I become banned? Where is the list of viewers it won't ban? ZOMG! I'll be banned on the official viewer!!!!!" The CDS system is vetted and approved by Linden Lab. I know this is hard to believe for a lot of you, but Linden Lab is not out to "get you". They also will not knowingly allow anything that could be out to "get you". There are protections and fail-safes built-into the CDS system. This is why it is "only" 80% effective (as reported) because it will err on the safe-side, creating an environment of zero false-positives. In other words, when it catches an illicit viewer it doesn't make a mistake. If it is unsure, it will go with the safe-side and not ban that user.

In short:

  • CDS is vetted and approved by Linden Lab, meaning it not only meets ToS requirements, but also is friendly to the Grid system.

  • CDS will not falsely ban anyone using a legitimate viewer - unless that person is already banned previously on the same or another sim on the grid while actually using an illicit viewer. The system will remember you and if you are banned at one sim that uses CDS, you are now banned from all sims where the CDS is installed. Thus, if you were banned for using an illicit viewer yesterday and login with a "safe" legitimate viewer today: you are still banned unless and until you file an appeal and are removed from the grid-wide ban list.

  • Privacy and "scanning" is a misnomer with regard to the CDS system. If any of that happens to you it's not the CDS system, it's the viewer you are using. The CDS system is a scripted object. Linden Lab certainly would not allow such abilities in their scripting language as that would open them up to some serious legal action.

  • CDS is practically invisible. The only way to know one exists on the grid is by divulgement (the parcel owner actually advertises that they use it); by actually seeing the CDS prim object and knowing what it is; or by having your virtual ass handed to you when you encounter a sim using it. The only other way is by word of mouth which doesn't do much for your credibility with regard to your associations. Thus, by proclaiming your "boycot" of sims that use CDS only tell me that you are full of crap and your bark is a magnitude worse than your bite or you are a flat-out lier and thief trying to convince me otherwise. Your boycotting me is probably doing me the favor.

In a nutshell: the CDS system is a good thing for creators and builders. It's the only real defense in almost four years against the scourge of thieves and ne'er-do-wells running rampant across the grid.