Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2015 IPRIGHTS: HELP: Second Life TOS (probably) relinquishes its claims on your creations. Finally!

Second Life TOS (probably) relinquishes 
its claims on your creations.  Finally!
updated 1/12/2015Scroll down for News and notes (including articles about new TOS)

Executive summary

  • The good news:  LL modifies its claim to the right to sell your creations.
  • The mixed news:  The new language is unclear.
  • The bad news:  LL is not likely to moderate its claims further.
  • The troubling news: LL has not had its legal team pay attention to the legal interests of the content creators.
  • Content creators: LL will probably not sell your products without your permission
  • If LL can transfer your products to SL2, it will probably share receipts with you.
  • Writers and video producers: you still may lose exclusive rights to content that passes through SL.   
  • Caution 1:  Salebankruptcy, or closure of SL could make your products available for sale by a subsequent owner.
  • Caution 2.  LL could change the TOS any time and you would have to agree or no longer have access to your products.  The Catch 22 of Linden Lab's new Terms of Service
  • Caution 3.  The language of the new TOS is unclear and can probably be clarified only by legal action.
  • Caution 4.  Only the content of the TOS is legally binding on LL.  No other statement has any legal standing with respect to the TOS. 

Full disclosure

I have moved all my activities that could be affected by the TOS to Kitely.  I have nothing at stake in this matter anymore.   I will continue to report on the matter. 

I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice.  If any of the issues discussed here are legally or financially important to you, you should consult a lawyer.   Or consider whether you want to keep doing business with a company that makes you to pay for legal advice to protect your interests from them. 

Details of the change

They moved “sell, re-sell, or sublicense (through multiple levels)” from the beginning of the list to the end of the list. And then they added a totally unclear parenthetical: “(with respect to Second Life, Inworld or otherwise on the Service as permitted by you through your interactions with the Service)”.---  Linden Lab whiffs the ToS again

Content creators

  • LL will probably not sell your products without your permission.
  • If LL can transfer your products to SL2, it will probably share receipts with you.
As Ebbe correctly notes in response to questions on this matter,  it is not in the interest of LL to sell your products without your permission and without compensating you.  SL depends for its value on on the content creators.  If LL mistreats the content creators, they will go elsewhere (Opensim, for example) and most of the value of SL will go with them.  My opinion: the only way it would make good business sense to sell your products would be as a going-out-of business sale.

I believe Ebbe, but I would observe that it was not in the interest of LL to issue the seizure TOS that it issued last year.  I could cite a number of previous actions by LL that were not in their business interests.  So the best I can say is that LL will probably not sell you creations.

Outworld content creators: a very different issue

Outworld content creators use virtual worlds to create content that they expect to sell in the outworld.  These could be: 
  • writings 
  • video productions
  • images printed as art work 
  • physical objects printed in 3d (perhaps as limited editions)
  • virtual objects displayed in Opensim software (in Sim-on-a-Stick)   
Creative content sold in the outworld often loses much or all of its value if the owner cannot sell exclusive rights.   The TOS may deny you the claim of exclusive rights.   LL could remove the problem by a change in the TOS to include a clear statement that nothing in the TOS shall be interpreted as preventing you from offering your creations to third parties with exclusive rights to sell, publish, distribute, or otherwise make available to the public your creations.  

In a conversation with Non-Profit Commons, Ebbe also suggested another point that might be relevant:  to claim exclusive rights you might have to pull your content out of Second Life.  That would indeed be a reasonable condition, assuming that you only need to remove the content you control.    You probably would be giving up the claim of exclusive rights if you offered your creation for sale in Second Life, but you have a choice about that.  

Could you regain exclusive rights by pulling your content out of Second Life?   The current TOS does not suggest that removing your content from SL would terminate the license you give in the TOS:
"... unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute..."  (section 2.3)  
Perpetual means forever.

You have a reasonable course of action here.  Ask LL for a legally binding statement that it waives any claims that would prevent you from offering your creations to third parties with the claim of exclusive rights.  (You need to have a lawyer write the language.)   

Writers and RL publcation  

  • Writers: you still may lose exclusive rights to content that passes through SL.  
  • The intent of LL is irrelevant.  If you cannot certify that you own exclusive rights to what you have written, you may not be able to sell it at all.  
  • You can avoid compromising your exclusive rights to what you have written:  just don't pass your your marketable work through Second Life. You can use email or a cloud based drive such as Google Drive.  
  • Alternatively, ask LL for the waiver mentioned above.
  • If you want to sell exclusive rights to your writing, don't put it on notecards in SL

Video producers and RL marketing

  • You still may lose exclusive rights to content that passes through SL or is captured from images and sound passing through SL.  
  • Ask LL for the waiver mentioned above.
  • Or use an alternative platform, such as Kitely. 

Other issues

My opinions on what to do, inworld content creators

1.  Content creators: Stay with Second Life.  It is not in the interest of LL to sell your products without your permission and without paying you.  To do that would a create a mass exodus from SL.  SL is too large a market for you to shun on the possibility that LL will shoot itself in the foot again on this.

Special case: video producers   

  • Video producers may want to sell exclusive rights to their products.
  • They may have abandoned exclusive rights in accepting the TOS.
  • Action ItemHire a lawyer, get legal opinion.  Or:
  • Action ItemAsk LL for the waiver mentioned above.  Or:
  • Action Item: Move to another grid to make marketable videos.
  • Why Kitely for blogs and video production? Kitely vs Inworldz vs Second Life

Suggested Terms of Service from Maria Korolov

Related-Previous
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News and Notes

Events in the virtual worlds  

Redondilla Short Poetry Workshop-Tue-7/29,7pm SLT
This week the Short Poetry Workshop explores the Redondilla which is a Spanish quatrain commonly used in the 16th Century. It has a rhyme scheme of abba with some variations. So come join us to learn, write and share Redondilla

Kitely updates to OpenSim 0.8

  • Varregions will not be available.  For now, Kitely will stick to its own megaregions.
  • ODE physics will be the default, but you can set your region to Bullet Sim if you choose.

Contests and dated events

  • The first-ever hypergrid fashion expo begins this Saturday on Tangle Grid and will last through August 3.
  • To hypergrid teleport to the event, paste tanglegrid.net:8032:expo isle into Map-Search. If jumping from a grid running an older version of OpenSim, you can also jump to one of two way points — an 8500, 8500 location at tanglegrid.net:8032:HG Station 1 and a 4500, 4500 location at tanglegrid.net:8032:HG Station 2
The theme is 'TRANSCENDING BORDERS.' Artists & filmmakers can interpret the theme as they see fit. Whether transcending borders between time and space, past and present, one nation and another, one language and another, a culture or civilisation or any other of the innumerable borders that present themselves as we navigate our lives. You the artist... You the machinimatogrpher...You decide.
Entries Close at Midnight SLT 31st October 2014. Winner will be announced in December 2014.   First entries
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Artists-in-Residence will receive a full sim for five months on which to create and display their proposed projects.  Artists will have up to three months to build their projects (though many have suggested they will be completed sooner), with all exhibits set to be open by end of October. 

Newcomer Help in Virtual Worlds. 

Education

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Video-Machinima in virtual worlds
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