Anshe Chung will likely be remembered by many as the "cyber rape porn star" over coming months and years, thanks to Guntram Graef. "Cyber Rape Porn" is just too memorable a triplet of words to sink out of sight. It's the sort of thing most people call a meme. It's going to leave a mark.
The contention is that an avatar is a copyright body of work, and as we all know, a copyright body of work may not be duplicated or derived from except as granted by the copyright holder, or as provided by law.
Guntram Graef considers this grounds to suggest that an avatar's controller has the right to exercise editorial control over images of that avatar.
This raises the question whether a photograph of a copyrighted work is a derived work or not, because there seems little doubt that an avatar is a copyrighted work, possibly a work that is composed of works of others, and thus a derived work, but a work nonetheless. Is a photograph/print of a painting a derived work? Surely, though the law allows some personal-use exceptions in some places and locations.
Internet Rule of the Sandbox digression: Would anyone turn up to an open press conference if the interviewee demanded full editorial control over all text and images?
I think a more interesting question is raised. Is this a work of parody, and thus potentially an exemption to the DMCA?
Is flinging flying penises at a copyright image inherently satirical, in this context?
If so, then there's potentially no breach here, and Graef's emails about "cyber rape porn" are misrepresentational, while still remaining an indelible mark on Anshe Chung.
Now, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be thrilled if that were me up there. I've had enough penises flung at me inworld, thankyou very much, as well as quite a few offered to me for one reason or another. The first person to whom I showed alt-mousing the camera took a snapshot up my skirt and spread a few thousand copies of that image all over the grid.
I wasn't very happy about that, no, but it's not something I was going to treat as a copyright issue.
Anshe, I'm sorry that this incident happened to you. I'm sorry that Guntram has attached 'Cyber Rape Porn' to your name. If he hadn't, everyone would have forgotten all about this by next week. You're probably stuck with it now.
Various companies have learned since the inception of the DMCA that it is a double-edged sword. It needs to be handled carefully, and with great delicacy, or it does more damage to those who use it than it does to those against whom it is used.
So..are these images and videos construable as parody? And has Graef done more damage to Anshe's long-term image than the images and videos ever could?