Comments on: Second Life’s new ToS makes perfect sense Tateru Nino writes about virtual worlds, second life, statistics, culture, law, gaming, and eclectic oddities Fri, 27 Dec 2013 16:15:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Up4Dawes Sun, 10 Nov 2013 08:54:42 +0000 There is another scenario which could be plausible as many times the legal and the financial must be
redefined to meet present laws and also legal accounting requirements. There could be a number of reasons besides the possible reasons and motives that have been most speculated and commented on with most having to do with the ownership relationship with content issues.
Sometimes as is seen in instances of leasing equipment the rights of depreciation and assets is who can claim it the owner of the equipment or the lessee. For accounting purposes to possibly use content as a asset to attract or retain investors and to gain more lending options showing ownership may have been needed to be clarified by a new TOS without informing fully the intended use and alarming the user /revenue base. We have seen the corporate re-positioning of late and probably a attorney in mergers and acquisitions and corporate accounting law would be able to see the logic if any in the latest developments at the lab.But all too often we the the tree’s and not the forest.

By: Liz Wed, 06 Nov 2013 12:45:35 +0000 LL can KMA. Easy Peasy.

By: Shug Maitland Tue, 05 Nov 2013 21:57:49 +0000 Welcome Back Tateru, we have missed your insights!
re. the TOS; I think some reasonable limits on LL’s permissions are in order, after all it is the intent of content creators that what they upload into SL will be for use in SL!
Probably the best example is Textures. Many texture creators have websites where they sell their textures with varying permissions (SL only, xx grid only, all grids, any use) at varying prices. I know this is very hard to enforce, but LL has hijacked the INTENT by effectively saying they have the right to distribute anything anywhere.

By: Wayfinder Mon, 04 Nov 2013 17:36:31 +0000 Darius: “There is no reasonable use case in existence that requires Linden Lab to reserve rights on another’s IP so they can exploit it on another platform. If the IP Owner wishes their content to be made available on that platform, they are perfectly capable of making that choice themselves. If they choose to do so, they also retain their ownership attribution, moral rights, and possible income from that use. The prior ToS language made it quite clear that content uploaded to Second Life could and would be used by Linden Lab for the operation of Second Life… That is an expansion of the usage rights that far outstrips any reason whatsoever.”

I think Darius is correct. Further, it agrees with the heart of U.S. Copyright law, namely, that one of the breaches of copyright is someone ‘using something in a manner not intended by the author’. As a well-known example, in order for a movie of a book to be produced, they have to buy rights from the author– because the author did not intend, in publishing his/her book, that it be made into a movie.

Same with VR content. We intended it for a specific purpose– to be used on SL, and under our total control (unless of course, we gave it out as a freebie. In my opinion once something is sent out as a full-perm freebie, that is the equivalent of declaring it “public domain” because we failed to meet the copyright requirement of maintaining reasonable attempt at security. But beyond that, anything that has any kind of permissions limitation is considered our intellectual property– and NO TOS that Linden Lab provides can override our Federal rights in that manner.

They can’t even do so if we hit that “OK I accept your flippin terms” button… because users can legally argue they were COERCED into accepting the TOS (or have access to our assets blocked by Linden Lab). Coercion is against the law– and certainly cannot be used to steal our copyrights, assets and property.

So basically Linden Lab has opened up a kettle of worms here that a first-semester law student could have told them would not hold up in court. So as Darius says, there is no sensible reason in their declaration. What that TOS document !screams! to me… is that management at LL is (allegedly) smoking way too much weed, has a significant case of syndrome (we can do anything we want) and is too lazy (anyone surprised there?) to write the TOS in a manner that achieves their goals and at the same time will stand up in court.

The TOS *could* have been written in a way that customers would have understood, agreed with as sensible and logical, and no problem. But it seems to me– just on visible evidence– that someone at Linden Lab was getting fed up with user hassles, decided to throw a tantrum, and just said, “Look enough of this, we’re just going to tell people we’re going to exploit them and what are they going to do about it? Cry and moan and complain like they’ve always done? Let ‘em!”

And that’s exactly what they did. Which is the behavior I’ve witnessed from that company ever since early 2005: they do whatever they want to do without any consideration for the welfare of the customer. I don’t say that to be snide– but rather as an obvious statement of repetitive history.

Bottom line, they wrote the TOS as they did because they don’t give a rat’s hiney about how we perceive their company. They’re laughing all the way to the bank.

By: Darrius Gothly Mon, 04 Nov 2013 11:13:30 +0000 Umm .. huh? I understand your attempt to characterize the fees paid to “use” SL (by Premium Members) as profit for LL from the use of their customer’s IP, but you’re way off base Tigro. Not only are the fees paid by Premium Members strictly in exchange for Premium Benefits, but there are lots of free users that do not pay to “Use” SL. More to the point, not even Premium Members pay to use specific Sims, so there is no Per Use Profit.

The expansion of the rights reserved by the new ToS specifically relate to distribution and use in other platforms for IP uploaded to and intended solely for Second Life. (Although more precisely, the ToS allows uploads to any LL Property to be used anywhere they choose .. whether LL owns the target platform or not.) There is no reasonable use case in existence that requires Linden Lab to reserve rights on another’s IP so they can exploit it on another platform. If the IP Owner wishes their content to be made available on that platform, they are perfectly capable of making that choice themselves. If they choose to do so, they also retain their ownership attribution, moral rights, and possible income from that use.

The prior ToS language made it quite clear that content uploaded to Second Life could and would be used by Linden Lab for the operation of Second Life. Operation of the Marketplace, the LindeX, web profiles and other SL-specific properties are reasonably included in that definition. However the new ToS specifically reserves for LL the right to expand their exploitation to any platform, anywhere, whether currently in existence or not. That is an expansion of the usage rights that far outstrips any reason whatsoever.

By: Tigro Spottystripes Mon, 04 Nov 2013 10:07:35 +0000 Imagine how messy it would be if they had to show who did each and every texture on a sim for each person that visits it. And would it really make sense if each texture maker would get paid a fraction of the fees paid by every premium account that sees that texture on screen?

ps: i focused on textures, but it would work pretty much the same for just about any other content type.

By: Darrius Gothly Mon, 04 Nov 2013 09:32:55 +0000 Tateru, I have to disagree with you on your main point: The new ToS does not make sense in the least. It is the wrong wording, at the wrong time, with an incorrect and very damaging effect with absolutely no consideration after the fact.

Your premise is that the language set forth is needed in order for Linden Lab to operate their various platforms, ensure continuation of content after the original creator departs, and protect themselves from lawsuits. This may be true for some of the terms they state. However it is not true for all of them, yet they insist on retaining them all.

For example, their requirement that “… you hereby waive, and you agree to waive, any moral rights (including attribution and integrity) …” is totally unnecessary for any reason whatsoever, other than to allow them to attach their own label to your IP. The fact that they continue by stating you will not receive any remuneration etc. simply drives home the reasonable conclusion that they have intentions to profit from the hard work of their customers without sharing that profit.

Even from a purely “Legal Professional” point of view, the new ToS removes all limitations from them, provides no protections for the users, and further distances them from operating as a law-abiding corporation. The fact that they’ve intentionally included terms and conditions that are “not legal” is indicative of their game plan to stiff their customers, knowing full well that they can get away with it in 99.999% of situations.

But rather than debate point by point, I will simply summarize by stating that they have no cause to draft an agreement … or even a “Contract” for that matter .. that is this far over the line both in perceived intent and actual limitation. Their “need” to protect themselves from lawsuit could be better handled by doing their job properly, implementing the account and IP Theft prevention measures suggested and recommended by their customers, and doing the job they are PAID to do to the proper professional level that is customary and expected.

By: Tateru Nino Mon, 04 Nov 2013 08:13:50 +0000 [DELETED] (Forget I asked this – it deserves its own post, which I’ll provide)

By: Wayfinder Mon, 04 Nov 2013 07:11:00 +0000 “I don’t think the Lab made the TOS changes with any intent to change much regarding Second Life.”

You may be right. But then, how can we know? All that we can go by is the wording of the TOS– and that wording states LL has the right to “exploit in any manner” our works. If that’s what it says, we have to take it for granted that is their intent.

By: Tateru Nino Mon, 04 Nov 2013 04:57:29 +0000 Good point!

By: Ciaran Laval Mon, 04 Nov 2013 02:35:43 +0000 Personally I think you’re starting from a false position, admittedly it could be I who is starting from the false position.

The controversial parts of the terms of service are pretty much lifted from the old Desura TOS. The Lab want a unified TOS, therefore they have started from a point of which parts of the disparate TOS gives them the highest level of permissions they need. Those permissions were incorporated within Desura, so Desura wins the day in term of the unified TOS.

There have been some other additions but I don’t think the Lab made the TOS changes with any intent to change much regarding Second Life.

Where I do very much agree with Tateru is with regards to how this has been dropped in people’s lap, without much sensible discussion from the Lab.

By: Skye Sun, 03 Nov 2013 19:17:33 +0000 As a business woman in RL, and an associate with Electronic Arts, I have seen TOS like these before and I agree with the author. This is mostly legal speak to protect LL from lawsuits. If you just use common sense you would know that LL couldn’t start stealing user’s content without destroying itself in the process. :)

By: Dartagan Shepherd Sun, 03 Nov 2013 03:52:22 +0000 Right, no lawyer is going to advise you to trust a document like this with your IP online or offline. The irony in most of this is that the creators protesting it are actually more informed and savvy about it being an overbearing contract, rather than being the ignorant users you suggest.

Yes there are some online agreements that are this overbearing. Most however, are not and do not grab at so much content in so many mediums.

That LL “probably won’t” is a question of trust. The reality is that trust is contained in the contract. The entire reason for a contract is to establish the limitations between parties. The farce here is that this contract expresses virtually no limitations.

By: Vanessa Blaylock Sat, 02 Nov 2013 10:26:12 +0000 Yes, exactly. The “new” terms make “sense.” Also we should consider the number of examples of LL “stealing” user content, which as far as I know is zero. So the fear of the legalese is unwarranted by the actual observed practice.

On the larger not-that-we-can-do-anything-about-it part where nearly ALL TOS are bullshit. Well, that’s true too. We live in a 21st century world where many organizations and systems do not yet actually appreciate that there is an Internet. I’ll avoid the temptation to talk about nations and governments here and just talk about TOS…

Back in the quaint, old 20th century, very few people regularly engaged in contracts. Maybe you bought a house or car now and then. It was a big deal. But the kind of contracts represented by most TOS weren’t something that mere mortals regularly dealt with. The few people who did, had lots of lawyers to argue with each other and collect lots of fees while hammering out compromises that their clients couldn’t actually read, but that the lawyers assured them protected their interests.

Today we e-sign theoretically binding contracts that we have no realistic hope of ever understanding every day. And half the parties in these “negotiations” have no representatives at all. And the contracts are written that way: everything for the platform provider, nothing for the user. Unlike LL stealing my creativity, which will probably never happen (doubly so since everything I do is Creative Commons Attribution anyway) other platforms do, on a regular basis, encourage users to upload their life and precious memories so that when they get bought they can send a notice that “we’re deleting all your wedding photos and other precious memories, we just got bought and don’t need you anymore. Don’t bother calling, the cell reception is spotty on the private island we just bought with our profits.” This year alone Posterous, Memo Lane, etc dumped their user’s content. Memo Lane gave just 23 hours notice!

Is there some future of “human readable TOS” where you aren’t faced with the login screen: “accept the new 15,000 to 30,000-word TOS and proceed to the service, or GTFO and never see your content again”? I hope so. As it stands now, we are serfs to these feudal lords, and when feudal lords like Google and Apple make war with each other, the serfs are the casualties.

By: Bear Silvershade (@BearSilvershade) Sat, 02 Nov 2013 05:06:18 +0000 Thanks for a succinct, well-written view on the TOS.

By: Short and Not Sweet At All: The State Of the LL ToS Debate | Mona Eberhardt Sat, 02 Nov 2013 02:27:32 +0000 […] Second Life’s new ToS makes perfect sense – by Tateru Nino […]

By: Tateru Nino Fri, 01 Nov 2013 23:20:54 +0000 Absolutely, this is just my opinion and shouldn’t be mistaken for anything else.

By: Toysoldier Thor Fri, 01 Nov 2013 23:18:14 +0000 Well if there was one thing accurate about the blog posting it was that these broad-spectrum TOS, contracts, agreement can be be read by and interpreted differently by 10 readers. This clearly falls into this blog posting.

The author read and this TOS in a …. blah blah blah… manner and as a result her interpretation proved to be as blah blah blah.


The first and seemingly most important points she brings up and tries to explain/justify are the “perpetual rights” in the TOS… which is not even the #1 sore spot among the SL Content Creators. And for the reasons explained. YES, we content creators know that SL needs to have the right to leave content sold on the grid – stay ON THE GRID for as long as SL exists. But she misses that “perpetual” is not limiting / defining LL’s perpetual rights and where it ends. She assumed it only meant within SL and on for the intents she understood.

Same holds true for her limited “assumption” of rights outside SL. In fact not even mentioning perpetual rights but also UNRESTRICTED LL rights. Perpetual only mean length of term – not power of rights.

She then states (contrary to 3 RL experts of IP law) that the LL TOS terms that LL’s rights are unrestricted are actually non-enforceable. I think I will take the word of 3 lawyers in agreement than one author who’s RL expertise on IP an contract law has not been stated.

And yet the author does not even mention the one aspect of the recent TOS that most Content Creators have been most concerned about … the removal of LIMITED INTENT FOR LL’S IP CONTENT HI-JACKING rights. Seems the Author has really been out of touch on this entire topic and not been reading much of the discussions among the Commercial and Artistic content creators.

So… take this blog as she mentioned herself in her blog… JUST ANOTHER INTERPRETATION and one not in touch with what creators are most concerned about.

By: Tateru Nino Fri, 01 Nov 2013 23:17:34 +0000 Indeed – and judging by the response, the explanation didn’t seem to be well-understood or very satisfying.

By: Wizard Gynoid (@wizardgynoid) Fri, 01 Nov 2013 15:59:47 +0000 Actually, the Lindens have tried to explain this.