TOS Revisited 2013-39

A significant problem for those of us that want to get the TOS changed is the number of people that are aware of the problem. As of this morning only 3346 people have read the blog post: Updated LL TOS Claims FULL RIGHTS to ALL CONTENT. That’s only 5.6% of the max concurrent daily login, 1.3% of the weekly login, and 0.3% of the monthly login. Those are really insignificant numbers. Even if ten times that many people are aware, it is a pretty small group.

A lot of work needs to be done to get the message out. If you follow fashion blogs, you might try asking in comments or feedback whether or not they’ve seen the changes to TOS and what they think about them. Possibly send them here to read about the changes. If you do, give them the link: ToS Changes.

Over on Desura the TOS change has only made very small ripples. I’m surprised it hasn’t drawn a larger reaction. Maybe those users are assuming the TOS just hasn’t changed. The few I’ve talked to certainly didn’t realize the TOS changed. They were expecting to get an email, but they are new to Linden Lab.


This debate is not over. Many people see things differently. Attorneys love that and it guarantees them full-time employment.

A significant number of people are of the opinion that Linden Lab would never do the bad thing. That being appropriate your stuff and sell it for their benefit without any regard to you. I agree with them. But the Lab’s TOS is not about trust. It is a statement of what we agreed to.

Regardless of what we agree to and what we believe other companies are reading Lindens Lab’s TOS and refusing to allow their content to be used in Second Life. This is destroying Linden Lab’s competitive edge in the 3D virtual world space. I think it also tells us something.

Crap Mariner commented on a previous TOS article that he would be removing his literary work from Second Life. Because of publishers he might use in the future. They will ask the simple question of whether or not anybody else has any rights to his work, his answering yes pretty much precludes him from having his work used by those publishers. Other likely vendors of your creations would probably have similar problems.

So, this is a many faceted problem with lots of unintended consequences.

Talking to Lindens

The Lindens in world simply cannot talk about the TOS. They aren’t attorneys so they cannot answer legal questions. Plus they have apparently been advised not to talk about it. But, they have said the people that need to know there is ‘user dissatisfaction’ know there is a problem.

As yet, we have not seen Linden Lab move on this point.

11 thoughts on “TOS Revisited 2013-39

  1. I am often accused of being a fan boy and supporter of LL, but I would like to think that these are growing pains. In an attempt to merge the terms across all services this change was made. I think we will see a wording change that clarifies this in regard to second life specifically. There is already language in the TOS that allows for specific services to have different exceptions. I expect we will see that.

    • Sean, I tend to agree with you, really. But so far, the only (semi-)official statement we have from LL is that they are happy with the wording of the ToS, and we shouldn’t worry our little heads, because of course LL would never do anything bad.

      Nalates, I agree with you about the ToS covering all content, not just what’s uploaded after the change. My full line of thinking is here:
      but basically, the new ToS now simply states that “you agree that LL has the right to your user content”, rather than granting the license to each piece individually by uploading it.

      • 🙂 We think the same thing for somewhat different reasons. You make a good point about the wording change in your G+ comment.

        Your point about the Lab, or any party, not being able to ‘make’ things change you have done under a previous agreement by rewriting the current ToS I agree with. But, that does not stop you from agreeing to a new agreement/ToS rewritten to say what you did in 2006 is to be construed according to the new agreement. A person does not have to accept that agreement, in which case the previous ToS would apply. But, that all changes once one agrees to the new ToS.

  2. Nalates, usually I think that you are giving really well researched and edited information. In this case I believe that some parts of the post could actually be understood as a source of misinformation. First of all you should fully understand what non-exclusive means. You can find a good definition here: You are giving the impression, that the difference between the two is the level of rights granted. You are saying that they need non-exclusive rights “in order to operate the service”. This is giving the wrong impression. The difference between the two terms exclusive/non-exclusive is simply that a non-exclusive license can be given to several parties simultaneously.

    The level of rights that users give to Linden Lab is defined by another wording. The old liscence (TOS) defined LL rights with the wording “for the purpose of providing and promoting the Service”. It now reads “for any purpose whatsoever”. This means that they can resell anything anywhere and how they please. The word non-exclusive simply has no influence to that.

    You text also doesn’t highlight correctly where the most severe implications will be felt. The huge problem is in my eyes not that Second Life content creators will leave SL. Most SL content creators heavily depend on the Second Life platform and will not stop no matter how many rights you take from them. It’s for them a question of selling something or nothing – there is no other market. The problem is that if someone wants to incorporate work of other content creators into their product, they cannot do so anymore. Unless something is entirely your own creation or purely public domain – you do not have the necessary rights to grant your end product to LL. Not with Creative Commons; not with expressly commercial licenses; not with ny license. Uploading to SL will be a violation and a criminal act. The new TOS wording does not work with other licenses. Getting licenses to mesh is a hellish puzzle, and LL simply screwed this one up. SL relies on user created content and they are therefore sabotaging their own business model. Furthermore the SL reputation within the modelling community will take an immensive new bashing. Reputation of the SL platform already wasn’t great (to put it kindly), but it surely can get worse. Kiss any hopes goodbuy that professional content creators might consider SL as a content selling platform in the near future.

    Last but not least your tip to file DMCA Takedown Notices is in my eyes misleading. Users have agreed to the old TOS. The old TOS stated that you give LL the rights to use it to “Operate the service”. So the only thing that a person can do that is afraid of their content being resold in the future is asking LL to stop sellsing the content in Second Life and beyond. The content cannot be removed if other users acquired it. If you don’t agree to a new TOS it does not give you the right to infringe the agreements that you signed with the old TOS – and you would do that if you ask for deletion of content. That could make you the aim of compensation requests by other SL customers. Therefore it doesn’t sound like a wise thing to do.

    I personally think that the best resume of the situation is given in a blog post by Ciaran Laval:

    (I cited some arguments from the comment of Tali in a NWN post

    • Penner, I believe you missed my point on nonexclusive. I was making the point that those saying the item creator was giving up their rights were wrong. Your statement of the difference between exclusive and nonexclusive granting is accurate.

      The idea that content cannot be removed if others have purchased it, is inaccurate. The Lab has removed content from the grid after receiving a DMCA take down.

      Also, saying “the only thing that a person can do” is inaccurate. There are a number of things. The frame that my DMCA info is provided in is about influencing the Lab. I points out the actions one would take to protect IP and to influence the Lab would be different.

      Many of the points being discussed by the community cannot be decisively settled until someone takes matters to court.

  3. Once more, what hurts the Labs reputation even more than the actual deed, is the fact that they are not communicating about it.

    I think what will get their attention the most will be the repercussions of resource sites and companies such as CG Textures and Renderosity changing their TOS and how it affects the content creators of SL.

    • I agree. Other content sites changing their ToS will have an impact. But, I am not sure that is seen as important in the Lindens thinking. Nor do I believe the Linden stats have any tie to those factors that would make it obvious to the Lindens.

  4. Pingback: ToS Changes: The “Desura connection” and a personal perspective | Living in the Modem World

  5. Pingback: TOS – The Desura Connection » Ciaran Laval

  6. Pingback: A scrutiny of the recent changes to Second Life’s ToS | Mona Eberhardt

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