Thoughts on the (non-)changes to Section 2.3 of LL’s ToS

My take on all this…

When the Lab’s blog post was announced on Plurk with a fair bit of enthusiasm by the first users who spoke about it, I was cautious. I didn’t really expect the Lab to do anything w.r.t. the ToS anytime soon, despite Ebbe’s reassurances. So, I read the first comments… And then the announcement. Reading the announcement nearly had me saying “well, it’s about time”. And then I logged in and read the “revised” Section 2.3. That was when I realised that:

  • Those who welcomed the announcement with enthusiasm had simply not read or compared the two versions of Section 2.3. I guess they’re in for a rather unpleasant surprise. People, before you express an opinion on something, pleasepretty sodding please, READ IT FIRST.
  • The Lab didn’t bother to address any of the well-documented and very real concerns regarding the complete lack of limitations to the rights it demands. Personally, I’m not particularly bothered by having stuff I shared with others remain in-world as long as SL exists, and I don’t care much what people do with the stuff I’ve given them with copy/modify permissions. What the hell, when I set the permissions to copy/mod/no transfer, I’m very much aware that I might not agree with what they’ll do to the object(s) I gave them. But it’s theirs now, and it’s not my place to tell them what to do with it, as long as it makes them happy.
  • The Lab “addressed” only a matter that dominated the discussions because of the prokanoid screaming and yelling. In fact, it didn’t really address it, and it’s a non-issue, as it’s more-or-less covered by Section 2.4. Not to mention that SL content is practically worthless outside of SL and OpenSim. This is precisely why I’ve gone on record for saying that the SL user base got what it asked for, and deserved.

To me, these (non-)changes are a terrible disappointment, and – I’ll say it again – they’re insulting to all those people who worked hard to help Linden Lab. They’re a slap in these people’s faces, and there’s really no polite way to say it: Much of what the Lab’s announcement says is downright false. The Lab now has even more work to do to rebuild people’s trust.

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See also:

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts on the (non-)changes to Section 2.3 of LL’s ToS

  1. I was one of the few that realized the impact of this change early on, got branded a wackadoodle and cassandra and clownass as usual by the head-in-sand crowd, which is why I threw LEA25 back in LEA’s faces in protest and changed my usage of SL for creative original content.

    I don’t think the prokanoid/whackadoodle crowd influenced the Linden Lawyers’ efforts as much as the Lab’s utter disregard for the concerns of the customer and incompetence, but on the rest I agree.

    I look forward to your thoughts on the issue I’ve been most concerned about (and addressed on the Botgirl blog post today), which is the content that has actual value outside of SL: writing and prototyping content. No company in its right mind would use SL for prototyping, and the ToS just adds evidence to the 72-hour psychiatric hold papers. (If a company is a person, then you can put it in a padded room, yes?)

    And I’m wondering when folks will wake up to the fact that Hamlet lost his marbles and credibility long ago, and it’s Inara, Honour, Ciaran, Thinkerer, You, and a limited number of others that people should go to for serious commentary. (Although, come on… you’re going down Prokofy Road with the political stuff mixed in. 😉

    -ls/cm

    1. You went a bit off the rails in the end: Prok is a conservative and a borderline racist. I’m anything but that. On the other stuff… The ToS really should be written as a proper contract: In a clear, understandable manner, listing in high-res black & white what can be done, what can’t be done, how it can be done, why, when, and under what circumstances and conditions. As it stands, the “in any manner whatsoever” and “for any purpose whatsoever” clauses are the kind of stuff that would easily turn people away from SL.

      As for prototyping in SL, I’m sorry, but I beg to differ: SL has always been technically unsuitable for prototyping, and any discussion ends there, long before the company’s lawyers look at LL’s ToS. Let’s say I work for an engineering company and we have software like PTC’s Creo, or Dassault’s CATIA. Why in the name of Souvlaki Magnus would we shun such super-powerful software and bother with the Fisher-Price engine of SL and the clunky LSL?

      1. The good people at Fisher-Price are holding on line 2, they say it’s about your allegation that their products are of the same quality as SL and/or LSL 😉

    2. Furthermore, regarding the influence of the prokanoid and the Chicken Littles on the debate, they didn’t influence the Lab’s ToS-related “efforts” directly. Their yelling about the non-important issue was so loud and ubiquitous, that it drowned out any other voice – even the UCCSL focused (rightly) on the “for any purpose whatsoever” part, yet most people in-world keep babbling on about the “sell/re-sell” stuff and the “LL OWNZ MAH STUFFZ!!!!11111” bullshit. I’ve seen them in all sorts of places in-world, in forums, in blog comments, even in LL User Group meetings. They were fed the lines by the loudmouth schmucks who try to dictate the agenda. And they did change the agenda here. This was convenient for the Lab, actually. It required no real effort, it didn’t require them to actually limit their rights in any way, so they went for the easy “solution”, which solves nothing at all.

  2. I’m not sure why sell/re-sell is even in there. Linden Lab do no sell or re-sell items, they facilitate the sale in a similar manner to ebay or Amazon. With Amazon you can store your items in their warehouse and they will deliver the items for you but they do not sell/re-sell those items and they make this abundantly clear.

    The reason they make this abundantly clear is because any disputes are between the buyer and seller, not the intermediary who facilitates the sale and Linden Lab take exactly the same stance, which is why it’s an extremely odd part of the terms of service for Second Life.

    However other products in Linden Lab’s inventory are sold/re-sold by Linden Lab. I would imagine they need these terms for Desura, for example.

    1. There are three explanations to this that I can think of.

      A. It’s corporate legalese CYA (cover your ass).

      B. It’s to do with hardware reappropriation in the run-up to the new virtual world’s launch and the sub-contracting of hosting various SL-related services; it could be argued that subcontractors need certain clearances. This is NOT a totally satisfactory explanation. BT, Forthnet etc don’t need clearances to host e-shop services. For other functions, it makes sense, though.

      C. They might one day decide to sell SL. Very unlikely.

      I gravitate to a combination of A and B for some parts, with the rest residing forever in the minds of LL’s lawyers. And, of course… IANAL.

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