As you may or may not know, I recently released a new skin at the skin fair named "Anakoi". A few days after the release, I had a person who will remain nameless, contact me and let me know that the belly button on my skin was a stolen one. My instinctive reaction was to defend my work, #1, because I had meshed two different belly button's together to get the outcome that was the end result, and #2, I completely photo resource and hand draw my faces, but I use what I believed to be "Legit" skin templates for my bodies along with photo resourcing images as well, and #3, Who in the world would steal, JUST a belly button (Were my thoughts). This informant then sent me a photo of a side by side comparison of my belly button, alongside a very old curio skin that she informed me was no longer sold. In my opinion, the belly button's were not exact, firstly because I just didn't want to believe I had fallen victim to one of the oldest SL tricks in the book, but secondly, because I had used TWO belly button's to create mine. With closer inspection, it was my displeasure to see with my own eyes, that the belly button in question, did infact come from this curio skin that she had shown me.
Without hesitation, I went through all of my templates and checked each belly button. I have so many different versions of "Anakoi" and my skin bases, that I had to go back through older files to find the culprit. I immediately pulled my skins at the skin fair, off of the shelves, then went to a stock site that I use for my skins, and replaced the belly button on all of my skin's, including the demo's, with a real life belly button that I purchased. I then immediately Contacted Gala Phoenix, the owner of Curio, and let her know exactly what happened. She asked me to send her the template so that she could inspect it herself, I complied and sent her the template and the link to the template. I asked her if she would please DMCA it so that it would be taken down so no one else would be victimized, she agreed. Upon closer inspection, Gala informed me that the belly button on the template was indeed her belly button. She let me know that the back of the template was not her creation. Gala and I both agreed that this person was mixing skin's together to camouflage the theft of a fusion of stolen skins.
The mind boggling part of it all is, this template store has been open for a long time, and also has an inworld store, with mesh avatars live demoing his skin templates. A good friend of mine told me that these stolen template stores are getting smarter and blending in with legit template companies better and that all we are able to do is report the theft and warn one another while doing as much research as possible on the template owner before purchasing. So this is my warning to you all.
DO NOT BUY FROM Henhouse Body Studio!
Long story short, I would never do anything to jeopardize my store's brand and/or name that I have worked so many years to create, especially not over a belly button, or over anything for that matter...EVER. I am completely against any type of theft and am an advocate for all things LEGAL and FAIR. I have had two empty profiles contact me inworld, sending me insulting messages about the belly button or my skins, even AFTER i have removed the stolen button from my skins. Apparently, that is not enough and some people just enjoy griefing because they have nothing better to do. These type of message's do not bother me and going forward, these type of people will be ignored and blocked.
Some of you may be asking, why am I explaining myself, and my response to that is, this was a learning experience for me and if sharing my story means helping someone else, than I am more than willing to do so. Buying templates on the marketplace is not necessarily the way to go. It is a great tool for practice, but I strongly advise you hand draw your skins and use photo resourcing sites instead, like I was doing and will be doing going forward.
I will be updating this post with a list of legit template companies that you can buy from if you are interested in getting in the business of creating skins.
If you have any questions about this matter, please feel free to contact me inworld. - Stasey Oller