Second Audience: Defining Issues


The Second Life Terms of Service*: Content, Creators, & Rights Panel
October 19, Justitia Legal Resource Village, and the UCCSL’s Rose Theatre Opera House
Featuring Agenda Faromet, Tim Faith, and Juris Amat

It was lucky to not get into the Rose Auditorium to hear the panel. I stayed at the original landing site, where a second audience watched the stream—the assembly almost the same size as the first audience that had waited over two hours or more to be in the front of the line. Although we couldn’t ask questions, we could chat in local. This would not be appropriate had we been attending the panel directly—we would have to behave ourselves. So various viewpoints were shared—all of us with a strong interest in protecting our copyrights. We all own something worth protecting, and wish to be sure, before we invest any more time and money, that our enterprises can’t be taken away from us. This second audience comprised a cross-section of SL economic and cultural contributors. As a journalist, I was most happy to hang out and ask questions, even pontificate. I certainly was not alone in credentials!

SSJ#5-A-TOS story2-O

Maverick Buccaneer: “Omg. WE CAN’T EVEN GET THERE! Damn region is full!”
Miles Eleventhauer: “Looks like everyone who’s everyone in Second Life® is out…”
Glasz Decuir: “Buff, Why do a call in-world if we can’t go?”
Miles Eleventhauer: “Hah…One of the panelists can’t even get in. Chantal Harvey said she got there two hours in advance. I figured 30 minutes would be enough. I’ll just stay here..and stop trying to get in there. Here–watch the live stream–”
JoshR Woodrunner: “The stream is working well.”
Maverick Buccaneer: “I’ve got words for them—not only that—I got questions.”
OperativePhoenix: “Yeah I’m watching the stream while letting my friend know what’s going on.”
Maverick Buccaneer: “Fuckers should be on more than one region if they knew it would be like this. A stream isn’t good enough.”
Miles Eleventhauer: “If they just kept the panel here as originally planned, it would’ve been poor.”
Samadhi Quandry: “Yeah, can’t ask questions on the stream.”
Maverick Buccaneer: “Probably a lot of people camping last night.”
Miles Eleventhauer: “Jeez… I thought people only did that for iphones or Justin Beiber!”

SSJ#5-B-tos storyOn

Lyday Latte: “OMG—the panelist just said bad things about LinkedIn. Awful. Glad I don’t participate in those!”
Miles Eleventhauer: “LinkedIn, Twit, Pic, FB, all screw you.”
Eleanor Medier: “You have to be careful what you put where!”
Miles Eleventhauer: “The TOS says that Linden Labs is our attorney?? Damn…”
Lyday Latte: “Great! I have a free attorney now!”
Samadhi Quandry: “Are the Linden Lab people answering questions?”
Miles Eleventhauer: “I don’t think anyone from LL is on the panel… only lawyers. Like the panelist just said—send your complains to the FCC.”

SSJ#5-C-tos storyO

Eleanor Medier: “Its so nice to see a hot topic!!! If nothing else, we get to see who cares about this stuff.”
Miles Eleventhauer: “Yea… and I thought SL was dying…”
Sebastian Viper: “It might be after this.”
Maverick Buccaneer: “It will be dead if they keep the new TOS.”
Eleanor Medier: “Or it might do the opposite too. It might unite people. Grass roots is powerful.”
Sebastian Viper agrees. “Breedable companies, make them lots of money.”
Eleanor Medier: “To leave is to let them win. You lose all then anyway.”
Sebastian Viper: “I’ll lose if I stay too.”
Eleanor Medier: “Not if changes can be made.”
Sebastian Viper: “I’m not handing them over two years of work!”
Eleanor Medier: “I’m not abandoning three years of work!!”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Qarl Fizz, the former Qarll Linden, closed his place down.”
Eleanor Medier: “That is giving in.”
Miles Eleventhauer: “It was a ‘creative friendly’ TOS before…They pulled a bait & switch…”
Eleanor Medier: “Yes they did, so lets deal with it—not give in without trying.”
Miles Eleventhauer: “Contacting the FCC was a good suggestion.”
Eleanor Medier: “Awareness and publicity are powerful too.”

SSJ#5-D-tos storyO

Eleanor Medier: “Too many people do not read the TOS. And they make it hard to understand, purposely. It is very confusing. Hence we are all here.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “The TOS certainly is one long list.”
Eleanor Medier: “We have to click the OK without option—you agree or you are out.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “With a lot of room for interpretation.”
Eleanor Medier: “We are in a weak position due to this limitation. The way I read it is this: we come into SL with our work and we better be on top of the rights. Then, once here, LL wants rights to use and doesn’t wish to get in trouble if you are violating copyrights. You can’t use the system unless you agree—defacto.”
Maverick Buccaneer: “So unless LL is willing to pay me money for my rights to my shit, I’m not giving them up.”
Eleanor Medier: “It is really only when money is involved that this stuff matters. They may not try to claim ownership, but they can claim licensing rights. These are two different things. Licensing rights can allow them to use the work, without owning it. Then the money situation is very grey. This is why the panel is asking for limitations to be defined.”

SSJ#5-E-tos storyO

Maverick Buccaneer: “I want 10mil USD for the rights to my poetry and all of my photography etc. I’ve done or taken in SL if they want my stuff.”
Eleanor Medier: “Well, let us not forget they are not in our businesses. They could not take what we do and make a business of it.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Will Burns (Aeonix Aeon) wrote on his blog, suggesting they could, with some of it.”
Maverick Buccaneer: “They want my rights they gotta purchase them.”
Eleanor Medier: “They would only if big money can be made. I’m not sure an artist’s work is worth it unless you are already world famous.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Like Indie game developers? Will Burns wrote quite a bit about this and was trying to look at a worst case scenerio. He had the opinion while SL content wasn’t much good to game developers like Blizzard … It was a ‘gold mine’ to indie game makers, like those using Desura, with the Lab recently bought.”
Eleanor Medier: “Game developers seem more at risk to me than artists.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “He wasn’t saying that was what the Lab was doing for certain, only trying to imagine the worst case scenario.”
Eleanor Medier: “A test case may be necessary, hate to say.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Yes.”

SSJ#5-F-tos storyO

Eleanor Medier: “The real stumbling block here is that we already agree by being here. Trade secrets are a different protection. Patents and trademarks too. They are not the same as copyright or license. People don’t understand these differences.”
Tanglecosm Steamweaver: “If I take a snapshot or make machinima that includes a view of someone else’s build, that should be permitted, but I don’t gain the rights to that build.”
Eleanor Medier: “Yes the snapshot of a publicly displayed work is permissable– but I believe if you publish for profit, you need permission, unless under the compilation clause.”
Tanglecosm Steamweaver: “And if I put my company logo on a prim, I still own the logo.”

SSJ#5-G tos storyO

Eleanor Medier: “It is really good how many people care about this!!! It is bringing together very disparate people.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Yes, shows the community’s active and paying attention.”
Eleanor Medier: “It just seems that if LL has no intention of using content from creators within SL, why not just add some limitations, and end all this? It doesn’t seem hard to do.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “There’s quite a number of opinions on the matter.”
Eleanor Medier: “But all they have to do is declare their intentions—I suspect much of this legalese is trying to protect them from being sued.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “But it seems to come down to: did they just make a clumsy move, or are they up to grabbing more cash at the expense of the builders?”
Eleanor Medier: “These lawyers do know what they are doing. It is hard to believe it was an ‘oops.'”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Yes.”
Eleanor Medier: “Especially given the cases of Yahoo, Google, Instagram….”

SSJ#5-H-tos storyO

Eleanor Medier: “Ohhh—they are saying that if we don’t allow ‘reselling,’ we should never have uploaded to SL in the first place—hmmmm. I see SL as a platform. For example, Photoshop doesn’t own what I create in it. I upload stuff into Photoshop all the time.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Yes.”
Eleanor Medier: “This seems more like a license issue than copyright issue. If I am the creator, I own the copyright no matter what.”
Bixyl Shuftan: “Yes.”
Eleanor Medier: “Hey—if they can market my magazine better than me, maybe I should work for them!!!!!
Bixyl Shuftan chuckles.”


We will continue to follow the progress in community understanding for the Linden Labs’ Terms of Service in Sim Street Journal Issue #5, to be released at the beginning of November.

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* QUOTED FROM SECOND LIFE’S TERMS OF SERVICE that pertains to licensing issues:

“Except as otherwise described in any Additional Terms (such as a contest’s official rules) which will govern the submission of your User Content, you hereby grant to Linden Lab, and you agree to grant to Linden Lab, the non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, re-sell, sublicense (through multiple levels), modify, display, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. You agree that the license includes the right to copy, analyze and use any of your Content as Linden Lab may deem necessary or desirable for purposes of debugging, testing, or providing support or development services in connection with the Service and future improvements to the Service. The license granted in this Section 2.3 is referred to as the “Service Content License.”

Linden Lab has no obligation to monitor or enforce your intellectual property rights to your User Content, but you grant us the right to protect and enforce our rights to your User Content, including by bringing and controlling actions in your name and on your behalf (at Linden Lab’s cost and expense, to which you hereby consent and irrevocably appoint Linden Lab as your attorney-in-fact, with the power of substitution and delegation, which appointment is coupled with an interest).”

Eleanor Medier is publisher, real life expert, and author on creative business practices.

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This article is part of a special online report covering Creators’ Rights.
To understand an overview of the issues, please also see:

Digital Property Rights in Second Life: Times have Changed” by Kylie Sabra

Ten Ways to Defend Creator’s Rights” by Eleanor Medier

The Second Life Newser does a great job of encapsulating notes from the panel.
The United Content Creators of Second Life leads the creative community to address LL with issues.

Peter Gray of Linden Labs has issued a statement to UCCSL.

Sim Street Journal covers commentary on relevant issues of virtual commerce and culture.
Published in complimentary versions: in-world and online.

(Please see the in-world release or download Sim Street Journal#4 for more photographs, articles, and functionality.
Also available on 

Contributions are encouraged if covering topics relevant to the real world readers.
Comments and opinions are also invited.

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© 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.