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.


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.

The Genus Project Store Reopens—And the Free Group Gift of the Strong Face Bento Head Is Once Again Available!

I picked up a tip from the Second Life – FREE Free and Low-Cost Items group on vKontakte (the Russian version of Facebook; I use the automatic Russian-to-English translate feature on my Chrome browser): the Genus Project store has reopened! According to a notice sent out to the GenusProject store group (which is free to join):

Dear friends! Finally we will be able to open the store again, we have received a response from Linden lab. Unfortunately, we do not know who sent the complaint, but I will deal with this issue. While we were discussing this issue with LL, at the same time we’ve been upgrading and bug fixing for [our] heads.

So it would appear that the DMCA complaint issued has (at least for now) been settled in The Genus Project’s favour. We (and they) still don’t know who issued it, though.

And, if you missed your opportunity to pick up the free group gift of the Strong Face female Bento mesh head, it is once again available! This time around, it is not in the group notices, so you will have to visit the store to pick one up (here’s the SLURL):

The Strong Face group gift from The Genus Project (picture source)

In addition, all heads in the store are now on sale for L$3,300! Obviously, the store in inundated with avatars, so I would advise you to either wait a while for the crowds to die down a bit, or use a tool like the handy free Teleport Hammer to fight your way in. (If you are a Premium member, you get priority access to overcrowded sims.)

In another group notice, the product team informs us:

Please do not teleport to the store for redelivery. It is broken. Please stay tuned to notices when it’s fixed.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: I Test Drive the Free Onupup Male Mesh Full-Body Avatar

I have spent quite a bit of time writing about free and inexpensive female mesh avatar heads and bodies, so today I decided I would blog about a male mesh body for a change. And that is a free, full-body (i.e. head and body) male mesh avatar with the unusual name of Onupup, which has been available from the SL Marketplace for at least the last couple of years.

Here is what the Onupup male body looks like, right out of the box, with no adjustments to the default shape at all (as well as a look at the alpha sections on the HUD). The black underwear is separate and included in the package.

Now, this body comes with the skin you see here, but you can turn on the ability to use Bakes on Mesh skins with this body by selecting each of the three sections (upper body, lower body, and head, and going through this four-step process for each section:

  1. Right click on the body part in your Inventory, and select Edit from the menu.
  2. In the edit window, click on the Texture tab, then click on the actual Texture itself.
  3. Underneath the texture display, click on the Bake button.
  4. Select the correct baked texture from the drop-down menu (e.g. BAKED_UPPER for the upper body).

After this, you will be able to use Bakes on Mesh skins on the Onupup body. Here I used a set of BoM male skins I picked up from a new store called DNA, which very quickly disappeared from the grid (but not before I blogged about them). Fortunately, I made sure that all my male alts picked up this set of skins for future use! I’m quite sure you can find male Bakes on Mesh skins fairly easily nowadays, anyway.

Now, I have to admit that this is a very quirky mesh body. For example, when you set him up, his mouth hangs open, and you have to find the Mouth Close Pose gesture in your package and play it, to close his mouth (?!??). Likewise, you will probably also have to type /10 menu in local chat to pull up a blue menu and click on a button to relax this avatar’s hands so that they will work with Bento hand AOs. (Like I said, quirky.)

I found I had to fiddle with the head and body sliders a lot to get a somewhat acceptable shape for the Onupup avatar; in particular the upper arm musculature looks “wrong” to me, no matter what I do to the sliders:

Another quirk is that you need to remember to add the fingernails and toenails as separate attachments! (And to remove said toenails when alphaing out the feet, as you will have to rely on unrigged shoes and boots for this avatar.)

Another problem area is the head, in particular the eye sockets, which appear to be set a little too high for classic, system eyes. You will find that many of the newer system eyes will look absolutely terrible on this head, so I used an old set of eyes from Exodi (another store that has left the grid), which did not have an eyelash “shadow” on the top part of the eyeball, a little trick that eye designers often use to make the eyes look more realistic, and which completely fails on this particular mesh head.

From some angles the mesh head looks wrong to me, even after multiple adjustments (again, the upper eyelid area is a problem). Here you can clearly see that the holes for the system eyes are set too high on this head (you might be able to get around this by using adjustable mesh eyes, but I did not test that out).

Here is the Onupup avatar, all dressed! This entire outfit is from the Freebie Megastore in London City, and it is called the Casual Male Starter pack:

I found I had to pretty much alpha out the entire body underneath these clothes and shoes to get it to work properly, however. You can do a keyword search on the SL Marketplace for “Onupup” to find a growing collection clothing designed specifically for this body over the past two years.

If I had found this free male mesh body two years ago, when it was first released, I might have been happy enough with it. But today, right now, I do think that there are better-looking options for male mesh avatars out there that are inexpensive (for example, the wonderful, fully-featured dollarbie Classic male mesh body from Meshbody, paired with the various male Bento heads offered as limited-time group gifts by Akeruka over the past couple of years). Both the Akeruka heads and Classic bodies support Bakes on Mesh, and they work well together.

The complete lineup of freebie male full-body mesh avatars from the Gift Room at the Altamura store (which you can get if you join the Altamura group for L$100) are also a higher-quality, better-looking male body than Onupup, although they have limitations, too (you can’t change the skin on them or use Bakes on Mesh skins).

In summary, I think that the Onupup body is not bad, particularly if you are flat broke, but it has a few problem areas that need to be ironed out. The creator, Onupup Resident, says in a notecard included in the package:

This comes completely free, use it, if you like it, be my crowd-founder, patreon, donator, funder so I can continue making more things, even 10L would encourage me to do more. Any thing I will make will always be free. If you don’t have money or simply you don’t want to give money, you don’t have to, you can still happily use it.

You might want to get it from the SL Marketplace and put it through its paces yourself and, if you like it, throw a few Linden dollars Onupup’s way. I’m sure he’d appreciate it!