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Reader Comments (10)

Posted: Feb 26th 2010 12:23PM (Unverified) said

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If your organization cannot produce a better or even nearly-as-good viewer as third parties do then you have few choices: concede that you just got schooled by third parties, or change rules to make sure these annoying persons can't come play in your sandbox any more and embarrass you.

Posted: Feb 26th 2010 10:17PM (Unverified) said

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We don't think there's any competitiveness or malice involved. More that someone on the legal team just phoned this in half-asleep, presenting some otherwise good rules in an impossible tangle.
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Posted: Feb 27th 2010 6:04AM (Unverified) said

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with all the secrecy behind the 2.0 release, not to mention all sorts of other stuff from LL over the time, it does kinda fell like they're trying to keep people out...
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Posted: Feb 26th 2010 9:26PM (Unverified) said

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Tateru, not that I'm doubting you, but could you possibly quote the exact points of the current TPV policies that conflict with the GPLv2, just to clarify?

Posted: Feb 26th 2010 9:57PM (Unverified) said

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Let's start with TPV 7(d) which places liability for defects on developers (though the statement itself is actually somewhat ambiguously written). That conflicts with GPLv2 clause 11.

Then there's section 6 of GPLv2 which states in part: "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein."

And that's pretty clear right there. GPLv2 grants the conditions under which distribution of the code and derived works may take place, and prohibits the addition of further restrictions, conditions, or terms on that distribution.

It's quite possible (and we think it's actually *likely*) that the Lab intended most or all of the conditions in the document to apply to viewers that connect to the Second Life service, rather than as general restraints on distribution. And that would be fine and appropriate. They're well within their rights to impose any lawful restrictions they please in that regard.

Problem is that the TPV doesn't *say* that, instead listing a set of additional distribution restrictions over and above those provided by the GPLv2 license. That definitely needs to be cleared up, because GPLv2 section 7 says: "If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all."

There's more, but that's a good start. We don't think there's much objection to the substance of most of the conditions (which are, on the whole, pretty reasonable), but it is mostly a matter that - as a legal document - it's shoddy, ambiguous work that conflicts directly with the other licensing.

The Lab's agreed in principle with these problems and the need to correct them, and their legal team will be having another stab at the document over the coming days/weeks
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Posted: Feb 26th 2010 10:13PM (Unverified) said

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Tateru, thanks for the clarification. Indeed I do now see exactly where the policies are conflicting, and I agree that otherwise the policies are pretty reasonable. Let's hope the Lab's legal team gets it 100% right this time :)

Posted: Feb 26th 2010 10:34PM (Unverified) said

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This update from the Lab:

"I know that the member of the legal team who owns the policy doc is still working over the final version. Linden Lab has approached outside legal experts with your feedback, and one of these experts is a lawyer who specializes in open source license compliance issues. Based on these experts' feedback and further internal review, our legal department will incorporate any required changes."

Posted: Feb 27th 2010 12:17AM (Unverified) said

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The policy is quite obviously explicitly with regard to software *connecting to their servers* and therefore does not violate GPLv2.

Posted: Feb 27th 2010 2:19AM (Unverified) said

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Well, that's certainly what we think they *meant*, yes. It's just that the text does not actually say that.

The Lab's acknowledged that problem and that is a part of the rewrite.

Posted: Mar 1st 2010 11:49AM (Unverified) said

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What I am worried about is they can use this to force TPV to use the 2.x code base if they want to use SL.

Currently the official policy is that LL will only produce 2.x once the beta is over, but TPV are free to use earlier versions. As long as they are in the viewer registry. I think that policy was the *real* story of the day and they did their SOP of getting everyone to focus on the beta viewer instead.

What is to prevent them from, at some point, only allowing 2.x in the registry? Whether it is a newly discovered security hole (that they do not distribute the source patch for), not supporting 1.23 in a server upgrade, or pure whim. They have forced viewer versions to not be used before.

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