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.
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.
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.