Some Information on Cyberpets

This section is going to be slightly outside the context of the rest of The Silver Unicorn. I want to briefly discuss cyberpets, for those of you who are new to the term.

So What Is a Cyberpet?
At its simplest level, a cyberpet is a graphic made by one person for use on another person's site. This graphic is usually of an animal, and is meant to be treated like a pet. (They're more fun if you write a story to go along with them.) Cyberpets are generally "adopted" from cyberpet adoption agencies. In return for use of the graphic, adopters are expected (and usually required) to provide a link back to the adoption agency. There are two main types of adoption agencies.

Click-and-Take Adoption Agencies
With a click-and-take agency, the operator creates a few graphics which are then placed up for anyone to click on, save, and then use on their own site. Everyone gets the same graphic.

Variations on Click-and-Take Agencies
There are a few subgroups of click-and-takes, including:

Individualized Adoption Agencies
With an individualized agency, the owner will usually create a few example creatures, which are not available to be taken. Instead, you sign up for a critter of your own, which the agency owner then creates. Your critter will be uniquely made just for you. You will usually receive your critter by email or through an individual pick-up post. Individualized Agencies tend to be more popular than Click-and-Takes, and require much more effort on the part of the agency owners.

Variations on Individualized Agencies
There are several subgroups of individualized agencies, including:

Cyberpets and Copyright Laws
By law, anytime anyone creates a graphic, they automatically have a copyright on that graphic. This means that the graphic can't be used, copied, distributed or modified by anyone else without the creator's permission. In other words you can't just take a cyberpet you like and post it on your site. You have to follow the rules set by the agency owner. You also can't start up your own agency using graphics from another site (unless you have specific permission).

If you have any questions about cyberpets, feel free to send me an email at:

Page last updated: Fri. March 8, 2002
Page made: Fri. March 8, 2002