An image of Tateru Nino's Second Life avatar on the page of a bookThe Second Life Terms of Service (ToS) comprise over 45,000 words, spread across roughly 20 documents (including Wiki pages), all of which you must warrant that you’ve read and understood and agreed to before you can access Second Life or its forums.

I read the whole thing. Every time. It takes quite a while to go through it all, especially because it is written in The Black Speech of Lawyers. You probably don’t read it. Probably hardly anyone does.

And that, actually, is a major user-retention issue.

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Tateru Nino's Second Life avatarThat seems like a fairly simple question on the surface, and – in many senses – it actually is fairly simple, with fairly simple answers. You have to think it through a little bit to actually get to that simplistic core, however.

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Second LifeAlright, all of you armchair Second Life lawyers. Let’s turn the whole debate about Second Life’s new Terms of Service on its head, because looking at this from another perspective might be very helpful.

The question will be, what rights do you think Linden Lab needs in its Terms of Service to carry on the Second Life business as it stands today, without getting mired in lawsuits?

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Second LifeSecond Life’s new Terms of Service make perfect sense, and are pretty much exactly what they need to be.

It’s just the communication about them that are rubbish.

Okay, maybe the legal team as well. Okay, okay. Maybe the ToS (Terms of Service) itself too – but that’s in an entirely different way.

Hmmm… Let me back up a moment and take another run-up at this.

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