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Reader Comments (12)

Posted: Apr 3rd 2010 4:11PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with you 100% Tateru! A lot of the Lab's recent moves seem like shoring up before sale of the company. It's almost like they're saying "here's a lose end that big companies won't like so let's fill it." Even Pathfinder's departure (no doubt higher overhead) seems tied to bottom line improvement, not long term viability. Either that or maybe they plan to shut the whole thing down and keep all those $L balances?

Some of this was probably triggered by Stroker's lawsuit. Teh Lab thinks that via a one-sided "contract" no one can sue them for nuffin' now. Of course they're wrong but then I doubt they have a very good legal team.

The whole thing stinks and it's sure messing with the Tao of Linden and zen of the experience. What's the motivation for newbies to sign up now? I guess the departure of There will be positive for them but IMVU is sure more "visible" from a marketing perspective than SL.

Posted: Apr 3rd 2010 6:11PM (Unverified) said

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the review about the new TOS that impressed me most is from Nicholaz Beresford:
https://lists.secondlife.com/pipermail/opensource-dev/2010-April/001554.html

think there is not much to add.

Posted: Apr 3rd 2010 7:17PM Joystiq Login Bugs SUCK said

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I am a little surprised at Nicolaz saying "In fact I won't even log in again under the new terms and have canceled my accounts today."

But that was the same decision I made to a while ago with the open space cock-up.

The lab of today, the SL of today, is so very different to the one from 2006, and that difference isn't for the better.
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Posted: Apr 3rd 2010 6:37PM (Unverified) said

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I had criticized the TOS on a tangent in a blogpost a few weeks ago (on http://tgib.co.uk/2010/02/23/wait-a-second/ ), I just today finally wrote an email to Mitch Kapor which I might as well quote here in its entirety:

"Dear Mr. Kapor,

I write as a resident of Second Life, which I have been for more than 3 years now. During that time, and especially during the last few months I have witnessed several changes which have been conflicting with my beliefs in digital rights, and as I understand you're both a director of Linden Labs, and a co-founder of the ECC, I'd like to hear your opinion on them, if possible.

From its onset, Second Life had several technical restrictions in place that made it difficult to share content in-world, and served as strong copyright tools for creators. Also, it lacked the ability to backup anything that was stored under each Second Life account. Now it is my personal impression, that this stance has become worse with time.

It seems to me that Linden Labs has been, and is increasingly catering to inworld businesses, whose interests are - just as any other person or organization profiting from selling copyrighted material - to restrict the use and distribution of that material as much as they can. For example, it is not possible to have several accounts in Second Life and share assets between them, as these are either non-transferable, or non-copyable. Or, it is not possible to make a backup or export of creations released under a Creative Commons license, such as the famous art exhibit 'The Far Away' by resident AM Radio.

While this issue has been around for long and was certainly discussed more thoroughly before, I am worried that with the recently updated Terms Of Service, things might go even further into the direction of a strictly copyright controlled environment. The way I understand the updated TOS, all we 'own' in Second Life are licenses. Either licenses granted to exchange services in return for others (like the inworld 'currency') or licenses to use certain content created by others, or even ourselves. We, the residents, no longer 'own' the world, and maybe we never did. But then, Linden Labs has been misleading us in the past by claiming that the world was not only created, but also 'owned' by us.

And while this direction does not only contradict Linden Labs original claims, it must certainly contradict what the EFF stands for. The way Second Life is managed now, it
1. only caters to the interests of copyright holders, not users
2. strips residents of any ownership rights, replacing them with 'licenses' which are revocable at any time
3. prohibits them from backing up any of the content they have acquired legally, or even made themselves.

Dear Mr. Kapor, I highly respect your work and dedication to digital rights, and therefor would be most happy if you could give the matter some consideration and maybe tell me about your take on this situation.

With kind regards,
V"

Posted: Apr 4th 2010 2:34AM (Unverified) said

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@Tateru: "Is it enforceable?

Probably not very. Most of the terms of service you find for virtual environments and MMOGs are likely to be torn apart in a courtroom. This one appears even less likely to win the favor of a judge or jury than is the norm due to its length, complexity, ambiguity and contradiction between documents.

Not that you should take my opinion on it, of course. That's something you should be talking to your attorney about ... which is the very core of the problem here."

IMHO, documents like this aren't written to be defensible, but rather to intimidate the customer who doesn't know any better.

If there is any hint of a controversy, make an appointment with an attorney to discuss it. Really.

Posted: Apr 4th 2010 4:24AM (Unverified) said

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Snickers Snook: "I agree with you 100% Tateru! A lot of the Lab's recent moves seem like shoring up before sale of the company. It's almost like they're saying "here's a lose end that big companies won't like so let's fill it."

Very insightful and interesting statement Snickers. It will be interesting to see if it proves accurate or not. It's certainly a very logical possibility.

Posted: Apr 4th 2010 5:31PM (Unverified) said

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Good point Snickers.

§13.2 You may not assign your Account; we may assign this Agreement.

Posted: Apr 4th 2010 6:32PM (Unverified) said

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There is an enormous amount of confusion going on about the new Linden TOS, the third party viewer polices, the law and how it applies, etc..

I just read somewhere that according to the new policies, one can no longer backup their items with Second Inventory or import/export of the available third party clients. And with any time you might get by with it, it will be cut short when they change out the servers and clients to where the old ones cannot connect is what I am hearing.

GPL/GNU works in SL, many other freebies under public use terms are being harbored by Linden as being their own works. Stating that freebies cannot be taken off the grid GNU/GPL or not. Well, that is against the terms of the GNU/GPL. Linden hosts the items, linden must make sure the source is available if they want to host the items.

Well, if it's true, and I believe it is, that Linden is pretty much running off open source, I'll be leaving SL for good. I had to accept the terms when trying out the new viewer. The TOS was in my face and I couldn't get rid of it unless I hit deny and close the browser or accept to login like some friggen Microshaft bullshit.

Linden has far over reached their bounds. By a long shot. And many have stated their TOS would never stand up in court. I tend to agree with that assessment.

Posted: Apr 4th 2010 7:28PM (Unverified) said

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With the new TOS at least they had the decency of giving you 30 days upfront warning. Even if you agree to it, i will only be in effect on Apr. 30th and until then you are logging in under the old terms.

Actual effectiveness will be if you log in after Apr. 30th, so until then you can even wrap up things without being under the new TOS. This is what I did because I wanted to say goodbye to a few friend.
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Posted: Apr 4th 2010 7:56PM (Unverified) said

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Actually Nicholaz, I think the issues are bigger than this. They have already put in place the new TOS, so I'm not sure where you are getting this "30" days from. Once accepted, you are accountable to the new tos.

The issues I see are this according to what I've been able to understand from the new TOS, and the TPV policies.

First and foremost, Linden has stated that a resident is only entitled to a "license" of works in SL. As to state that the content creator is not the owner of such content when creating it within the SL virtual word. This in and of itself is unacceptable and I don't believe it would hold up through the scrutiny of the legal system for several reasons.

Secondly, It's my belief that Linden is circumventing the license agreements of the content creators in various formats by stating that the license that you are accepting with the Terms of Service is that of Linden Lab and no other, that the license is a "use" license within the Second Life virtual world only. How is this an issue?

Many reasons, for one, who wants to create content solely for the purpose of Linden Lab owning all such content? Or be told that the content is only to be used under their terms and that the creator gives up all rights to the content to Linden? That is just ludicrous.

Secondly, there are multitudes of content on the Linden Lab servers that were licensed under various open source agreements. GNU/GPL, Creative Commons, etc by the creators of the content.

Linden is taking the stance under my understanding that they are the owners of such content and that they are granting a usage license for such works hosted on the Linden Lab servers. This is not legal IMO. Linden cannot over ride prior license agreements that which the creator of such content licensed the works under. That license in which the third party has accepted from such content creator. There are quite a few individually licensed works within Second Life. And Linden is therefor over riding any and all end user content created license agreements and plainly stating that for any usage of the Linden services, that we agree to the Terms that Linden maintains ownership of the content within their domain.

Again, this is ludicrous and in my own opinion, Linden is claiming that any licensed works under the GNU/GPL or other open source license types are null and void. That the agreements are with them, not the creator of the content. This is unacceptable and not lawful if my view of the TOS is correct coupled with various other documents they have written.

For example, if Linden is hosting an item that is licensed under the GNU/GPL, they must make sure that the source is available for use. They are stating in the TOS that any item within SL created and licensed under the open source type licenses are not in any way valid, that only the Linden "usage license" per account is valid.

If you cannot take anything of the Linden grid, this makes the validity of their Terms of Service null and void in my book.

Talk about open season on Linden. Their TOS is certainly full of holes that would make them redesign their whole legal thought process if brought before a judge. That is my opinion with the understanding I have with what I read, see, and understand Linden doing.



Posted: Apr 5th 2010 10:58AM (Unverified) said

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Ted, I'm taking it from §11.2 and §1 "(By continuing to access or use Second Life after the effective date ..."). The effective date is Apr. 30 (http://secondlife.com/corporate/tos.php)

The more I read of this TOS, the more I think Snickers' comment above is the true reason behind the new terms, i.e. shaping the service in a way that a potential buyer won't have to fear to acquire any risks and obligations from the users.

Like a potential buyer or his lawyers would ask: "Ok, can we get the software, stop the whole mess and start from scratch?" Or. "If we buy this thing, do we need to buy the content from each user too?" Etc. etc.

Maybe someone is just a bit too eager to see return from their stock options.


Posted: Apr 5th 2010 3:52PM (Unverified) said

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Too eager to see a return on stock options for YOU, maybe. :) You are an obstacle in the eyes of the stock holders. And, In the eyes of the Lindens, too. I kind of think many employees of Linden Lab look at Second Life and their jobs there as unstable and on the verge of sweeping changes that can leave them laid off, without much notice. This kind of work environment does not foster loyalty and does not compel the average employee to and innovate, let alone provide basic, competent customer service. Just do the bare minimum to satisfy your manager; fuck it, the ship is slowly sinking anyway so why bother? I'm not attacking the employees here, they are workers and probably abused like you and me are. But that's what happens when stockholders let their investment be handled by bungling idiot top managers.
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