Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 IPRIGHTS: VIDEO: If you want to sell exclusive rights to videos done in SL, check the TOS

If you want to sell exclusive rights to videos done in SL, check the TOS.
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Writers and videographers (people who make machinima) are the first to have been affected by the new Terms of Service established by Linden Lab in August 2013.  
These terms might be interpreted to apply to any video produced in Second Life.  The terms do not specifically mention video production, but they do mention "derivative works."   Video productions could be regarded as derivative works.  That would mean that Linden Lab has the rights to publish and sell such material.  They don't have to get your permission.  They don't  have to pay you anything.  
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Executive Summary for video productions
  • For commercially marketable video productions:
  • Consider how the TOS will affect exclusive rights to distribute your production.
  • If you want to sell your SL-derived  production  to a distributor get a legal opinion.  
  • Try to get LL to waive its possible claims on selling your production.
  • Or move your production to another grid.
How does something that might be so become an immediate problem?
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Let's suppose that you are a video producer and have been producing videos that bring in reasonable revenue from YouTube. No problems.  But you decide to go upscale, make a video series, and offer it to Amazon.  Suppose Amazon offers to buy the exclusive rights to distribute your series on Amazon Prime for the next  year.   Somewhere in that contract, you have to sign a certification that you have exclusive rights to license distribution of the series.  You produced the series.  You own the copyright.  Surely no one else owns the rights to distribute your series. Maybe.  Maybe not.  Read the Terms of Service you accepted when you needed to get into Second Life.  
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You may need a legal determination of this matter before you can complete the contract.   Or you can contact Linden Lab and ask them to sign a legal document waiving their possible claim to rights to your series.  
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Who do you contact at Linden Lab?  I don't know.  You can explore that now if you like.  Just ask Linden Lab for that waiver right now.  Best get a lawyer first, to draw up the document, so you can be sure it is legally binding.   Sure that will cost money.  But if you don't have exclusive rights to your series when you want to license it to a Amazon, that could cost money, too.  
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But that is not the only cost you might have.  Imagine that you have the good fortune to find someone at Linden Lab who actually has the authority to comply with your request.   Do you really think they will run your document through their legaladministrativefiscal, and other processes for nothing?   
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What other choices do you have?  With regard to videos already made in Second Life  , there is not much else you can do.   With regard to your future work, you can move your activities to some other grid.   I have moved my commercially oriented video production and some other activities to Kitely.   I will continue to make videos in Second Life about activities there--these I post on YouTube and embed this blog.  These have no lasting commercial value, so the TOS is no problem to these.

Why Kitely for video production? 

  • As many metered regions as you want at about $1/month, USD.  
  • Yes, that is one dollar a month for a stored region.  
  • There are also visitor-time charges--that is what metered means
  • A visitor in your metered region may cost you 20 cents an hour.
  • You put a set on a region and use it only for building and video production.
  • Few people need access, so metered costs will be low.
  • You can download the set as an OAR file and run it elsewhere.
  • You can use SOAS and run the set on your computer. 
  • You make the OAR of the set publicly available as you may want to do if you produce on a grant.
  • Example: Undersea observatory. Pre-fab sim. Free. Displayed on Kitely
  • New Media Arts, Inc is developing a video production capability on Kitely and may provide some help to other video production efforts.  
Related
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Video-Machinima in virtual worlds
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you SO much for that information.
    That's why I'm at home on 3rd Rock Grid.
    An artistic community like that would NEVER allow such a thing, but we know better.
    All that needs to happen is pull the demarc out to encompass the worlds that actually work to build a community, not just cash in and exploit the community that put them on the map.
    AOL tried it and failed, we suffered through that break up, but this is the SNAFU that broke up the chatrooms. We were their BETA testers, trouble shooting everything for them.
    I come from homesteaders, but is that fair or even business savvy?
    As it is, 3rd Rock sends people looking for "toys", BACK to SL?
    So, where is the slove?

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