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Monday, October 7, 2013

SL TOS a storm in a teacup? - Lacy Muircastle reporting ....

Is it all just a storm in a tea cup, or is it far more ominous than that .... Recently much has been written in various blogs and in various forums about the latest changes to the Second Life TOS by Linden Labs and in some cases the reaction to these changes have been to the detriment of the Second Life community at large, most notably is the recent resignation of Bryn Oh from the Linden Endowment for the Arts committee. Bryn, who is a brilliant artist and content creator in her own right, but who also has been an advocate for other budding artists and content creators in SL is quoted as saying  "After the new TOS came out I had to decide if I still felt comfortable being associated with the LEA, not the members but rather the concept.  One thing I do in both first life and Second Life is try to convince artists that they and their art are worth something.  You see, artists are quite often taken advantage of.  Anyway, long story short I have decided to resign from the Linden Endowment for the Arts due to the current TOS."

Here is the excerpt out of the updated TOS from Linden Lab that has everyone in a froth:

“Except as otherwise described in any Additional Terms (such as a contest’s official rules) which will govern the submission of your User Content, you hereby grant to Linden Lab, and you agree to grant to Linden Lab, the non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, re-sell, sublicense (through multiple levels), modify, display, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. You agree that the license includes the right to copy, analyze and use any of your Content as Linden Lab may deem necessary or desirable for purposes of debugging, testing, or providing support or development services in connection with the Service and future improvements to the Service. The license granted in this Section 2.3 is referred to as the “Service Content License.”

I am no lawyer and this is purely my own opinion, but I think if it came down to nuts and bolts and a content creator or artist wanted to assert their personal intellectual property rights or copyright and apply it to something they have created or designed, the above paragraph could be seen as highly contentious and an infringement on an individuals rights.

As Bryn highlights  "Linden Lab doesn't build the world the residents enjoy.  The give us the ground we stand upon and then try to make it work properly with varying degrees of success.  Their virtual world is built by its users and without content creators there is no second life.  They have an easily measurable value to the product.  Content creators in general appreciate what Linden Lab have created for us, and they don't demand much.  The population appreciates them."

We would very much like to hear your comments.

Bryn Oh standing on her disintegrating structure - designed for the New York show of the recent BOSL International Fashion Week, quite prophetic when you think about it ..... 


  1. Inara Pey has written extensively on this hot topic - see her latest comments @

  2. My name is DeNovo Broome. It's not a name to conjure with, but it is my own and it matters to me. I made it. I am a work of art AND I am a person. You may believe it or not, but there it is, believe it or don't. I really do not have an alternative than to celebrate the obvious; "ego, ergo sum."

    So this feels as if a slave collar were snapped around my neck. My reaction is not based upon law, nor culture, nor abstract discussions over copyright - my objection is nearly identical to the sudden intrusion of an ice cold speculum.

    I'm not going anywhere that is likely to happen. Not even if I were uninclined to worry overmuch about whether I was wearing panties.

    Let's leave the personal metaphors aside. I'm more than happy to share content. I'm not particularly worried about MONETIZING content. I'm simply bored with the idea of hunting down miscreants who "steal" my "intellectual property."

    But at the same time, I'm stunned that anyone would have the breathtaking arrogance to simply dismiss my rights entirely. And yet, it has happened and it would appear that I have no legal recourse, save not logging in at all. I would be content with that save for the fact that I have personal objections to suicide as a form of protest.

    Many would argue that it's just a game and just an account. I do understand their position and I hope they understand my feeling that they deserve the sort of experience that they assumed they were paying for. We shall see if their expectations congrue with reality. Perhaps my own assumptions about the broad importance of my own approach were ... well, I'm sure some would view it as being an expression of questionable sanity. As an artist, I can only smile as a response to that.

    Still, I was more than willing to pay for the indugence of my..... eccentricities. I was more than happy to live with the fact that my efforts rarely resulted in a positive cash flow. I was and remain unwilling to have a "business plan" to justify my existence or my tastes.

    It's the insult, the implication that simply by logging in and paying for my access, I have my reward and none of my contributions to second life matter now or will ever matter save as something like an oil reserve to be tapped.

    And that is why I'm giving Kitely an second look. Because simply NOT logging in at all seemed like an *inadequate* response. I would very much appreciate advice as to what grids are open to people who wish to explore individual artistic exploration without more than the legally unavoidable limits on artistic expression.

    Bryn Oh, I'm looking at you. You have complained, now volunteer. Find a place you are comfortable and let us know where it is. I am likely to be swayed by your choices - even as I explore my options. I have quietly enjoyed your works and I would miss them.

    1. Loved your quirky prose in the face of all the depressing news of late. It was good to read. I especially liked the "I have personal objections to suicide as a form of protest" line and I might just use that some day - LOL.

      Anyway, I have been over at Cloud Party for a month now. There is a learning curve as this is not "Open Sim" type of technology, it is NEW -- which is my book is good. It works amazingly well even though still in beta. The tech is exceptional -- and for ARTISTS it is wonderful. I have completed four builds, the last one quite arty and certainly something that could have ended up at LEA. Hoping to publish that tomorrow.

      It is completely free! Unlimited space! No upload fees! And a great interface (learning curve applies). It is not a place for making money but it doesn't sound like that is your focus. Browser based so no viewer to install. Chrome works best. Very nice resolution with shadows (in Chrome). Everything is basically mesh oriented so prims are not in evidence although there is "block building" (not my thing).

      If you stop by, chat me up. Same name. I am there a lot of the time these days.

  3. Hello DeNovo. Peter Grey has said that Linden Lab have no intention of appropriating our property or ideas and to be honest I believe him. Unfortunately what he says Linden Lab would or would not do is not legally binding, whereas the TOS is. So with that in mind there is a group of content creators in discussion with Linden Lab on adjusting the language of the TOS slightly. Hopefully that will work out but if not then I will put some serious time into finding the grid which best suits my personal needs.

    For example Kitely does sound good but I am not sure about the payment model where you get two hours free a month and then you pay by the amount of time you are online. That might not work for me personally but I still have yet to do more research on how they work. Cloud Party is browser based and has some really advanced building options, then there is the option of connecting to the hypergrid or going to Inworldz etc. It really depends what you need. If the current TOS can't be rectified then I will look elsewhere and blog my findings, but I have faith something can be worked out.


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