Courage to Speak by Kylie Sabra

(Highlights taken from the full article, published prior to this release of SSJ#5.)

Kylie and Ele at display1

The imaginative world of SL is created by the talents and passion of its community. Creators of all ilk work side-by-side to bring this world to life, confident in the knowledge that the work they put their heart and soul into, not to mention dollars, remains exclusively theirs.

This hauntingly beautiful landscape, that stands as a monument to the imaginative capacity of humankind when awakened in a new frontier, lies ravaged at the hands of the new Linden Labs regime, with the release this fall of the new Second Life® Terms of Service. These policies are developed under the eyes of Rod Humble, who comes from 20-plus years gaming background as Executive Vice President of Electronic Arts’ EA Play label. He has worked on more than 200 games, which may explain his failure to see SL as the immersive, intellectual community of talented individuals that it is.

The majority of content creators in Second Life are highly intelligent and skilled individuals, deserving respect.

This new ToS is a sweepingly destructive tool that fells both pride of ownership and pride of creation with sharpened tines of shredding words such as: “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.”

On September 29, 2013, I moderated what turned out to be the first public meeting of the, later-to-be-named United Content Creators of SL. Trinity Yazimoto and I serve as Council Facilitators. We have determined to honor the membership with a professional organizational structure and demeanor of which they can be proud. We owe them nothing less, as we are aware that many SL creators earn their RL (real life) incomes in this world.

Because SL is a fertile field of fantasy and roleplay, the UCCSL adopted the Medieval concept of the Guild as the inspiration for its structure. Within a few days of formation, we built a Guild Hall at the Rose Theatre to provide a physical home for the UCCSL. Here, members can find links to information, the latest news, sign up for roles on tactical teams, and align with their Guild(s), or just sit and chat. 

The UCCSL gives all creators, and interested residents alike, an opportunity to unite under one umbrella, while still respecting the unique needs of the different types of content creators. The Guilds give voice to these unique needs, while tactical teams provide the administrative backbone for the organization to function. Tactical Team Leads and Guild Leads sit on the council and represent the voice of their constituents.

The creative community is now uniting through the UCCSL, hoping to find a diplomatic solution. On October 19th, hundreds listened to a three-hour simulcast internet stream of the Legal Discussion panel, presenting to a live audience at the Rose Theatre. Agenda Faromet, attorney on the panel, stated that a peaceable resolution is most desirable, and we wish to have the terms more defined.

On October 21th, the UCCSL  sent a letter to Rod Humble and Peter Gray at Linden Labs:

Dear Sirs:
The United Content Creators of Second Life is a group of residents and content creators, in both the commercial and artistic communities, who share concerns regarding the August, 2013 Terms of Service, specifically Section 2.3. To resolve these issues and concerns, we ask that you sit down and meet with the UCCSL Council. Please contact Kylie Sabra in-world to set a time. 

It is our sincerest hope that Linden Lab will sit down with UCCSL Council leaders and discuss equitable changes to the ToS.

If negotiations with Linden Lab prove unsuccessful, however, the UCCSL intends to bring the situation to the attention of appropriate state and federal government authorities. The group will also conduct a stepped-up public relations campaign in both in-world publications and gaming magazines, as well as internet radio and television. We will engage the worldwide audience in the plight of content creators and the demise of intellectual property rights in the digital age. This issue is larger than SL and Linden Labs.

The UCCSL will outlive its current objective, to effect change to the SL ToS. Imagine if the United Content Creators of SL had existed prior to this debacle? Imagine it was 10,000—no, 20,000 members strong. I find it unlikely we would be in this untenable situation now. Let’s ensure it never happens again.

—Kylie Addison Sabra, Council Facilitator of the United Content Creators of SL & Curator, The Rose Theatre Galleries

Join the United Content Creators of SL in world by pasting the following link into local chat and clicking on the resultant link.  secondlife:///app/group/d40ad6cf-a8cf-dae3-b762-9d816e519919/abou

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Peter Gray of Linden Labs has issued a statement to UCCSL. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-tt7l89N_zBOGtQLTlwNjBmUWs/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1 The key portion that everyone will want to know:

“We are “currently reviewing what changes could be made that would resolve the concerns of Second Life content creators, specifically protecting content creators’ intellectual property ownership while permitting Linden Lab to act as an agent of content creators, licensed top sell and re-sell such content.”

In the ongoing discussion, Linden Labs promises to review and “consider,” while we persist on receiving answers. Developments will be monitored and published here, hoping for a resolution soon.

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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

The full article: “Digital Property Rights in Second Life” by Kylie Sabra that ran prior to the publishing of SSJ#5.

Second Audience: Defining Issues” by Eleanor Medier

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.

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

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