The Genus Project, Target of a Second DMCA Complaint, Shuts Down Its Operations Yet Again

Please note that I am taking the entire month of July off as a self-imposed vacation from the blog so I can focus on my other work, except for sponsored blogposts, and major breaking news such as this. See you in August!


As you probably know, mesh avatar head-maker The Genus Project was forced to shut down completely as the result of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint not too long ago. On July 4th, 2020, they announced that they had reopened their store in-world.

Well, it didn’t last very long.

The news was posted to the Second Life Community Forums just three hours ago, and I went to verify it for myself in the notices from the GenusProject group:

I got a complaint again. I need to close everything again. I’m going to court and I want to settle this. I think it will take time.

Shortly thereafter there was a warning not to spread rumours about who was behind the refiling of this complaint:

It’s so important right now that we keep rumor discussion about other creators out of group chat. Catwa, LeLutka, Akeruka and a bunch of other fantastic SL creators have already demonstrated their support. Please do not make them regret doing so.

Understand that any trouble being caused in other group chats will be reported to me. If it is outside of their rules or considered harassment, the CSRs and Mods must act accordingly.

This was followed by a more complete statement later:

Dear friends and customers,

While we had hoped the DMCA business was behind us, we have received another notice from Linden Labs that we must remove our inventory and our store. As we have not been given info regarding who initiated this the first time, we are left to assume it is the same person and that it is someone with no actual claim.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused anyone – your patience, support, and loyalty to our brand is not something we take for granted. It is unfair to ask you to stand by us and stand with us as we fight this, but nothing about this situation has been fair. Please understand that we cannot provide details we don’t know and we ask that you keep rumors and accusations down while we work with our lawyers and with Linden Labs to prevent this from happening again.

And if whomever has filed this is reading? Please understand that filing these claims does more than hurt us as creators – it prevents us from giving customers the support they deserve. It stops us from releasing updates and letting customers get redeliveries. That is who you are hurting the most.

For an FAQ of what’s going on? Please join us on Discord here.

It would now appear that The Genus Project is now going to be involved in a long and costly court battle before they can sell their products again. A major player has effectively been knocked out of the Bento mesh head market for the foreseeable future, and perhaps permanently. This is going to affect not just the team at The Genus Project, but it is also going to impact all the content creators who created skins and cosmetics for this brand of mesh heads.

Honestly, what an evening. First Linden Lab announces that they are going to be acquired, and now this.

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UPDATED! Linden Lab To Be Acquired By an Investment Group Led by Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager

Please note that I am taking the entire month of July off as a self-imposed vacation from the blog so I can focus on my other work, except for sponsored blogposts, and major breaking news such as this. See you in August!


Randy Waterfield (left) and Brad Oberwager (right). Source: LinkedIn profiles


This evening, Linden Research (better known as Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life) dropped a bombshell press release: the small but profitable privately-held company which has been run pretty much independently since it was founded by Philip Rosedale in San Francisco in 1999, will be acquired by an investment group.

SAN FRANCISCO, July 9, 2020 — Linden Research, Inc. announced today it signed an agreement to be acquired by an investment group led by Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager. Closing of the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval by financial regulators in the U.S. related to Tilia Inc.’s status as a licensed money transmitter as well as other customary closing conditions. Upon closing, Mr. Waterfield and Mr. Oberwager will join the Board of Directors of Linden Research, Inc.

“We’re excited for this new chapter to begin. We see this as an opportunity to continue growth and expansion for Second Life and our money services business Tilia,” says Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg. “We’re grateful for the ongoing support from our community, business partners and investors. Now more than ever, there is increased recognition of the value and utility of virtual worlds to bring people together for safe, shared, and social online experiences.”

“Both the company and its virtual world community have a unique culture and creative energy that remain important to the long-term success of Second Life,” says Brad Oberwager. “There’s a bright future for both Second Life and Tilia and we’re excited to help fuel these growth opportunities.”

“Since its inception 17 years ago, Second Life has been a pioneer in the concepts of virtual societies, land and economies,” says Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, who is now CEO of High Fidelity. “I’ve known Brad for 14 years personally and professionally, and I’m confident he will bring his passion and proven strategies to help Linden Lab achieve new heights in distribution, scale, and quality while remaining true to the original vision, creativity, and community that makes Second Life unique and special.”

Mr. Oberwager has spent his entire career in technology and consumer-focused companies. Mr. Oberwager is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Jyve, a Silicon Valley based technology company. Prior to Jyve, Mr. Oberwager owned Bare Snacks, acquired by PepsiCo. Mr. Oberwager is an advisor to several technology start-ups and sits on the boards of several technology and CPG companies.

Mr. Waterfield is the Chairman and CEO of the Waterfield Group. The Waterfield Group has invested in over 100 technology, financial, insurance, bank and other companies.


One commenter on the news over at the RyanSchultz.com Discord server noted:

One of the new investors in the group that bought Linden Research [Linden Lab] is Randy Waterfield, the Wookey guy.

Wookey, of course, is the company that bought Sansar from Linden Lab earlier this year, after the platform went through two rounds of staff layoffs and almost folded.

What does all this mean? Damned if I know! I’m quite sure many Second Life users will be wondering what it all means as well. New owners could mean a shake-up at Linden Lab, and we all know how much some Second Life users hate changes (witness the fuss last year over Tilia).

Of course, it might also be the best thing to happen to the platform, a new opportunity (with fresh investment!) to take it to the next level of growth.

Interesting times, indeed! Stay tuned.

UPDATE 11:08 p.m.: The news took many by surprise, including the team who work on the most popular Second Life viewer program, Firestorm, who tweeted:

Please don’t ask us, this was news to us too.

Longtime SL blogger Inara Pey reported:

I reached out to linden Lab on finding out the news, but was informed the company has no further comment on the acquisition beyond the press release.

However, given that the acquisition will see Mr. Waterfield and Mr. Oberwager joining the board, I would anticipate that – given the nature of acquisitions – it is unlikely there will be any immediate visible changes to Linden Lab, Second Life or Tilia Inc., and, and the company will likely to continue to operate in a “business as usual” mode with regards to both Second Life operations and the community for the immediate future. That said, there will likely be a lot of speculation as to the future of SL, together with concerns / fears as to what the longer-term future might be.

While it is purely speculative on my part, I would hazard a guess that the acquisition will take into consideration the increased interest Second life has witnessed over the last year(ish), and particularly as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and will see in inflow of cash for the company that will allow it to (hopefully) meet its immediate goals with both Second Life and Tilia Inc., and allow both platforms to continue to be developed.

And (of course!) there is an ever-growing comment thread over on the Second Life Community Forums.

UPDATE July 10th, 2:08 p.m.: In response to the intense level of speculation on the above-mentioned comment thread on the SL community forums, Brett Linden, Senior Director of Marketing for Linden Lab, made the following statement:

Good day, all!

Just jumping in to respond to a few of the comments…

A few folks are speculating that this is the end of SL and nothing could be further than the truth. Any talk of dismantling or radically changing the fundamentals of SL that we know and love is inaccurate. While we can’t get into specific details about the deal itself, I want to emphasize the fact that this keeps Linden Lab as an independent venture led by two investors who have a great deal of awareness about what SL is and isn’t. They are excited to join and help us grow both SL and Tilia while also respecting and recognizing the needs and sensitivities of the existing culture and community. 

And, in response to a question about when more detailed information would be forthcoming about the acquisition, and when the new owners would address the Second Life community, Brett said:

Great question! We look forward to being able to share more as soon as we can and I know that Brad is eager to meet the community as we get closer to the closing/approval date. 

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Sweet’s Bakes on Mesh Male Mesh Head and Body

Please note that I am taking the entire month of July off as a self-imposed vacation from the blog so I can focus on my other work, except for sponsored blogposts and the occasional review, such as this one. See you in August!


In writing about free and inexpensive male mesh heads and bodies for Second Life avatars, I discovered that I had overlooked two products that can be used together, or you can mix and match them with other Bakes on Mesh-compatible heads and bodies:

(I had written previously about the Sweet’s female mesh head and body here.)

Here is what the Sweet’s head and body look like, right out of the box, with the included Bakes on Mesh/system underwear (in this picture, he is wearing a male BoM skin I picked up as a free introductory gift from a store called DNA/Digital Nude Art, which has unfortunately since left the grid):

The Sweet’s head (but not the body) is based on the open-source Roth 2.0 mesh avatar project (which I believe was started in OpenSim and moved over to Second Life). According to the product description of the Sweet’s head:

Based on the Roth Project Mesh head – based on Classic SL head.

This is a basic mesh head, a bit jagged – but OK to start with and it works nice if you want to go mesh and still keep the look of your old system avatar. It actually works best with skins for classic avatars.

And I can attest that the head does look a bit jagged up-close. There are other options for free and inexpensive male mesh heads that could probably give you a better look, but if you are wedded to a particular facial look from a classic, system avatar, you will probably be able to easily reproduce that look on the Sweet’s head.

As for the Sweet’s body: the biggest single problem that I have with this male mesh body are the hands, which are among the ugliest, most misshapen hands I have ever seen on a mesh body, with short and stubby fingers:

The fingernails and toenails are separate system/Bakes on Mesh gloves/socks, or tattoos if you prefer. The feet do look better than the hands:

The Sweet’s male mesh body comes with a HUD with some rudimentary alpha sections, which means you should be able to get most clothing designed for other brands of male mesh bodies to fit fairly well:

Here is my Sweet’s male avatar all dressed up with some hair (the Tom hairstyle is actually included in the package, and it comes in a wide variety of colours):

I picked up the top and pants as free prizes from a recent hunt at Etham, and the sneakers are the unrigged Karmenov hightops, a free group gift from VERSOV (here’s the exact SLURL; the VERSOV group is free to join, and you can pick up three other high-quality sneakers as group gifts).

In summary, this is a perfectly serviceable male mesh body for only L$2, but I do think that there are more attractive-looking male mesh heads and bodies out there on the market. (Sorry, but those hands are a deal-breaker for me, personally!)

In addition to the mesh head and body, Sweet’s also sells men’s classic/Bakes on Mesh skins, in a set of lighter skin tones and a set of darker skin tones, for only L$1 each. Second Life vlogger Cat Pink SL recently published a YouTube video of several inexpensive (L$1 to L$10) male Bakes on Mesh skins available both in-world and on the SL Marketplace:

If you are looking for eyes, you can start here for a good selection of free system and mesh eyes (Sweet’s also has a nice free set of eyes available).

I have added Sweet’s to my comprehensive list and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for male avatars.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Group Gifts of Bakes on Mesh Skins from WOW Skins

The advent of Bakes on Mesh has meant that many people are now looking for BoM skins for their mesh avatars. Today, I wanted to share with you a true bargain: the group gifts from WOW Skins! It costs only L$99 to join the WOW Skins group, which gives you literally dozens of system/Bakes on Mesh skins, which works out to about L$2 per skin, a real deal! In some cases, the group gift skins come in only one skin tone, and in other cases, they come in a range of skin tones.

Just to the left of the main entrance to the store (exact SLURL), there is a panel where you can pick up the current month’s group gift, plus a gift box on the shelf below the panel, where you can pick up all the previous group gifts, all at once! Very efficient.

But first, without joining any group, you can pick up The Stay at Home Club’s free gift from WOW Skins, Sonia, which comes in a full range of skin tones:

The Stay at Home Club gift is in the gifts and lucky boards room, which is located in the far left-hand side wing of the main Wow Skins store. There are also a number of gift boxes with skins, if you join the various SL groups listed on the panels below each gift, such as Fabulously Free in SL and SL Frees & Offers:

Now, let’s take a look at some of these free group gifts!

This is the July 2020 group gift, the Malaika skin in the sandy skin tone, which comes in system/Bakes on Mesh versions as well as Maitreya, Catwa, and Omega appliers:

Here is the June 2020 group gift from WOW Skins, the Anita skin in the sandy skin tone:

And here is the group gift from May 2020, the truly lovely Elora skin in bronze:

Now, please keep in mind that for some of the older group gifts (a few of which date back to 2013), there will be some problems at the fingernail bases and the toes when applied to mesh bodies. For example, here is what the Dama skin looks like on the Classic female mesh body by Meshbody:

Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this! Just pick up the free set of Bakes on Mesh feet and finger fixes available at League (here’s the exact SLURL). They come in a wide variety of skin tones, and you should be able to find a close match.

With that problem addressed, let’s take a look at the group gift system/Bakes on Mesh skins from WOW Skins! Please note that all of these skins have the makeup baked in; you won’t be able to remove the eye shadow, eyeliner, or lipstick on any of these skins.

WOW Skins come in a variety of skin tones. If the group gift skin tells you what the skin tone is, I have listed it in parentheses after the name of the skin.

Dama

Janette (Tan)

Ryanne (Tan)

Angy (Caffé)

Nahia (Milk)

Savanah

Creamy (Bronze)

Rosalia

Noralie (Bronze)

Kendra (Bronze)

Gisella

Stella (Tan)

Suvi

Prezione (Tan)

Moon (Tan)

Angel (Tan)

June (Bronze)

Yolanda (Tan)

Kathy (Bronze)

Salma

Rory

Petals

Mady (Bronze)

Love (Tan)

Kesia

Jada

Ina

The avatar in these pictures is wearing:

  • Mesh Head: the Cat Calm head from Genesis Lab (more information here)
  • Mesh Body: the Classic female body from Meshbody (more information here)
  • Hair: Dolly hair in rich brown by Firelight Hair, a gift from The Free Dove (more information here)
  • Choker: the Nefert gold choker by Poison Rouge (a free gift from the recently concluded 5th anniversary round of the Três Chic shopping event)
  • Dress: the Nice ballgown by JUMO (a free Advent calendar gift from last December)