Friday, October 5, 2012

The Unreal Loss of Real Talent

Enzo Champagne

Update: Enzo has returned to Second Life.

In Second Life, as in real life, anyone can fall victim to criminal acts. In SL, we depend on Linden Labs to mediate our disputes when it comes to frauds, theft, or scams. As we've seen recently, the Linden Gods often drop the ball when we don't have paid accounts. But this would never, ever happen to a big name, right? Wrong.

Enzo Champagne, creator of CHAMPAGNE! Sparkling Couture and a supporter of the LGBT community, found himself subject to fraudulent use of his account by hackers, who took his Linden balance and accessed his Paypal, spending the funds at one Second Life business. Upon learning of the fraud, Enzo reported the incident with transactions to Linden Labs, allowing them to see who the thieves were. The following day, the Second Life business returned Enzo's stolen funds and Paypal returned the funds in accordance with Paypal fraud policy. Enzo alerted Linden Labs that the funds had been returned but that they should pursue the thieves. As is normal, his account was blocked while Linden Labs investigated the fraudulent transactions. To Enzo's surprise, he was informed that his account would be permanently terminated with no other reason given then that he had "violated the terms of the TOS." Enzo's appeal was lost and his only hope is the efforts of someone trying to get LL to review his case again.

Enzo is a truly talented designer, a stunning photographer, and a kind, generous man. The loss of his contributions to SL will be a pain we'll for quite some time. If we're lucky, he'll find his way back to us, and find a way to bless us with his incredible talents once again.

Various sit-ins are occurring in Second Life in an effort to get the message to the Lindens that Enzo's account should be reinstated, and it should. However, we are aware that this has happened to many who don't have Enzo's visibility, as well, and stand behind Carilynn O'Hare and Ponchtuti Boucher's efforts to create a petition drawing attention to the errors in Linden Lab's governance system that would allow a known griefer and copybotter to thrive and maintain a store with copybotted items on Marketplace, while permabanning victims of Second Life crime. We will keep you informed of information regarding the petition as it becomes available.


  1. The saddest part about this nightmare is that Enzo is not alone in his plight. So many victims have fallen prey to the vicious criminal acts committed by heartless lowlifes in SL, and yet the powers that be turn a blind eye and do not mete out justice where it is warranted.

    WE MUST STAND TOGETHER as a community and let let the world know that we will not cower in fear or tolerate being abused.

  2. And as for that terrorist Ramonzita shamelessly copybotting people's shapes, the reality of the matter is this. A shape is hollow. She'll never be able to copy the life and personality of all the amazing styling talent of the people who those shapes rightfully belong to.

  3. Something to pass on to any victim-- If Linden Labs has received money in any way from a resident, they are required by law to provide recourse and customer service. This applies to anyone who has bought linden dollars especially.

    Don't let LL get away with, "You aren't Premium, so you don't have rights." If they pull this, call their billing department and inform them that you will be taking legal action under your country's or state's commerce laws if they don't help you as a paying customer.

    A person who buys Linden currency IS A CUSTOMER of LL under the law. It is for this reason, along with just good business ethics, that Blizzard will work to restore all hacked accounts drained of all assets to their former state. LL needs to follow this example or be forced to.

    I find LL's stance on this interesting in another way: Often, those who buy Linden Dollars spend much more money on SL than those who simply maintain a premium account. I used to buy L$10,000 a month for an average of $38. You would think they would value my business just as much, if not more, than the customer who only pays $6.95 a month. Yet, being I am not a premium customer I couldn't even get an email response. Guess what? I don't buy Linden Dollars any more, nor will I get a premium account while LL maintains this stance.

    1. It is rather foolish of Linden Labs to decide that a Premium account means that a person is more valuable to them than a person who elects to avoid the Premium status. So many avoid the payments due to the lack of real benefit and choose to purchase greater amounts of Lindens instead. I'm not an attorney and won't comment on the legal aspects, but I will say that the Premium account aspect would seem to encourage budgeting when it comes to Second Life. When a person is already paying a set amount to access a "game" they're more likely to limit themselves when they're spending beyond that set amount. Those who are entering without the Premium account and purchasing Lindens to buy what they want to enhance their Second Lives might be much more likely to drop $50-$100 or more without a second thought. It does strike me as very poor business practice to treat individuals who are probably dropping more funds into your company than someone who is "Premium" as someone with lesser value. Beyond that, failure to deal with criminals when they are reported, regardless of who reports them, allows the criminals access to the highly-valued "Premium" members.

      Thank you for sharing the legal information. Again, that is something I have no expertise about and can't comment on, but I do hope it will give our readers the means to deal with Linden Labs if they find themselves in this unfortunate position.