Second Life TOS News 2013-43

There is a post in the SL Forum by Toysoldier Thor about a letter Linden Lab® sent in response to the United Content Creators of SL. See: PeterGray @ LL Responds to UCCSL RE: LL TOS Concerns.

There is a point that is obvious to users, which the letter now suggests is the official policy of the Lab. It is the idea they are not going to be debating the merits of the change. They, the Lindens, have been very silent on the subject. You may have noticed that Lindens in general will not discuss the TOS change. I think we can safely speculate that it is official policy for staff to keep silent in regard to TOS.

Peter gray, the PR person for Linden lab, leaves little if any about whether or not the Lab will discuss this issue with users or user groups.

The good news is Peter implies in the letter the Lab is rethinking the TOS. Quoting the letter:

To that end, we are currently reviewing what changes could be made that would resolve the concerns of Second Life content creators, specifically protecting content creators’ intellectual property ownership while permitting Linden lab to, among other things, act as an agent of content creators (such as yourself), license to sell and resell such content.

Also, it seems when I guessed that Linden Lab might be considering selling SL Market Place items to other Linden Lab properties, like Desura, I was right. I think Peter makes it clear that they are planning some type of cross selling between the various properties.

… Accordingly, the revision to our Terms of Service was made in order to further extend the ability for content creators to commercially exploit their intellectual property through user-to-user transactions across Linden Lab’s other products and services (including our distribution platform, Desura), not just within Second Life.

I think it is more likely that we will see Desura™ content coming to Second Life™. But, we as Second Life users will have the opportunity to market to Desura users.

Summary

So, it seems all is not lost. Provided Linden Lab is not just blowing smoke at us, we may see a change in Linden Lab’ s TOS.

Some are wondering why it took Linden Lab so long to respond. I’ll point out again that I think timescales for users and Lindens is very different. My belief is for a large company to get management and legal staff together and agree on anything takes time. A couple of months is nothing for them. As users it’s a really long time.

Several people are having trouble with the word: exploit. I think too many people relate the word exploit to an association with abusive exploits. The actual definition of the word is: make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource). (Definition by Google) If we reword that sentence it reads;  …extend the ability for content creators to fully benefit from their intellectual property… I think most would find this more acceptable. So, I see the use of the word ‘exploit’ as a non-issue and believe the word is being used with an implied positive connotation.

Marcus Hancroft points out in a post that the panel members from the UCCSL pointed out that the use of the terms sell and resell of our content was also a nonissue. The real problem remains UNLIMITED INTENT.

For many the next most important point is the irrevocable license. But, Cloud Party has the same irrevocable license clause. I think that clause is going to be a problem for Linden Lab, meaning they are not going to give it up. And there’s good reason for not giving it up. You sold it to me and I want to use it as long as I am here whether you stay or not.

There is also a thought going around that a person could stop uploading new content, remove all their existing content, pull everything out of the SL Marketplace, flush the inventory, close the SL account, and then file a DMCA takedown notice (I suggested that in one of my articles). That course of action ignores the fact that one would probably need to refund all the money from sales of their product or possibly face people filing damage suits or possible charges of fraud. Whatever, there is no doubt that such course of action with damage a lot of people.

Speculation

I think most of the wild speculation will be curbed by this letter. Some have speculated Linden lab is getting ready to sell Second Life and others have been explaining why that’s very unlikely. I’m in the ‘unlikely’ camp.

Others have been speculating that they’re making a content grab. The first letter (to Inara Pey) said, no we’re not. I tended to believe them. But, that still left us wondering what would happen to the content if Second Life were sold. I think this letter lends support to the statement; no we’re not. But, until we see a revised ToS we still do not know where we stand.

At this point I much more hopeful.

8 thoughts on “Second Life TOS News 2013-43

  1. Pingback: Cajsa Fast Five: October 26th | Its Only Fashion

  2. I don’t know how to feel about a new marketplace focused in modders.

    I am a fan of The Elder Scroll and Fallout sagas and play some others games that are prone to be modded, so you could say i am into modding comunity… i am member of Nexus, lovers lab, steam workshop and gtainside. As a less or more active member, i certainly know the market of mods is HUGE. And i also know modders got a lot of hunger for resources… specially animations. So when i talk about SL to some modders i have met, there feel astonished by the amount of all kind of content our marketplace moves….. but some are also surprised because people is willing to spend money on that content.

    Modders are mostly amateur programmers and 3d designers that devote their time on projects they would like to enjoy, and maybe share. Some of then make it also for the fame. Worth mentioning that some very popular modders makes themselves very noticeable.. to the point that the game providers, that always keep an eye to new talents, harvest them for the corporation. But in any case, they devote their time for free… and expect to get what they need for their mods for free too. Most of them have no troubles to rip off the resources they need from games. I would say that’s part of the spirit of modding community. You give away your mods, but you also takes what you need.

    I am unsure on how LL want to approach this possible market… i would do very carefully. A safe market platform is needed. More protection and support for creators have been demanded for long, lets hope that making the market bigger doesn’t increase the problems SL creators already have. Last thing we need is a new wave of rippers and ‘copybotter’. I definitely do like mods. But if i have to choose i prefer an healthy SL.

    • I do not see LL setting a focus for the Market Place. All I see is the possibility they will provide an opportunity. I think we users of the Market Place will or won’t set a focus.

      I am concerned that we will see another large set of changes coming to the Market Place. The last round of changes was miserable and I think blackened both of Lab’s eyes.

      • /me shivers thinking about new marketplace revamp.

        I would see more a new marketplace running and directed in desura for desura users. I believe this mainly because most assets made for SL.. will only work in SL.

  3. As you mentioned the TOS is still in need of change despite how much positive intent they reveal with it. There’s no real chance Linden Lab would ever abuse unlimited rights over our content, but it’s still very evil to ask for unlimited rights.

    I’d actually find that “agent” comment troubling if I didn’t know and trust Linden Lab. I know Second Life enough to realize “agent” will probably translate to a feature akin to the existing Merchant Outbox to manually list uploaded content for expanded purposes; like say maybe be included in Amazon bundles or something. (Or Desura, but why on earth would they make us first butcher a model to make it SL compatible in order to list for Desura purposes? Still don’t see that happening.)

    For those more highly suspicious of Linden Lab though, or don’t know Linden Lab much at all, unlimited rights and agent talk is crazy. I still find it myself while still trusting Linden Lab.

    One TOS for all services isn’t sufficient justification. I don’t know why anyone would read that excuse and go “Oh that makes sense”. Maybe that makes sense for a mom & pop shop, but Linden Lab is a multimillion dollar company perfectly capable of drafting and providing multiple TOSes for multiple levels of service. It’s not at all uncommon on the internet for companies with multiple products and services to use their standard TOS for all matters of redundancy, and then issue Additional Terms tailored in language and scope specific to each product or service to avoid nasty overreaches like we currently have.

    Hopefully a TOS revamp hinted at will be soon, or else I’m comforted even less by this “agent” talk even though I know perfectly well Linden Lab doesn’t have a history of abusing my content, and isn’t likely to commit company suicide in the future by starting.

    • It is not evil to ask for things, regardless of what they are. Forcing us to agree via a coercive-accept-or-stay-out without warning verges on evil. But, is more likely bureaucratic lack of awareness.

  4. Pingback: United Content Creators of Second Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.