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NOTE: Post co-written with Odysseus Giacosa.

One of the most popular demands among Second Life’s community, and especially the content creators, has been the development, installation, and deployment, of technologies and technical means that would prevent the upload of content that infringes on their own intellectual property. Such a technology, which computer developers and internet experts call an “upload filter”, is supposed to work as follows:

When you attempt to upload something to an internet platform, the upload system analyses it and compares it to a database of copyrighted material. If it is found to bear any similarity with a copyrighted work, then it is rejected and you are told what a naughty something you are for attempting to rip off a poor creator. This is pretty much what YouTube’s Content ID system does: you upload some music, it checks it against its database and, if you can’t get an ad-powered licence for it to be uploaded, it’s rejected. You may appeal the automated system’s decision if you think your upload was rejected in error, but don’t hold your breath.

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linden-lab-logoLast August, Linden Lab revised its Terms of Service. The most important changes were made to Section 2, which governs content licences and intellectual property rights. While the entire section was overhauled severely (you can read about the changes in greater detail here and here; I have also covered the issue as exhaustively as I could), it was the changes to Section 2.3 that caused certain content creators to protest in various ways, and led to two controversial announcements from stock content providers CGTextures and Renderosity – for my assessment of these two announcements, please read here. Today, July 16th of 2014, the Lab announced that it has amended the offending section.

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Allegations of IP theft and copyright infringement are extremely common in Second Life; all you need to do is have a look at social media used predominantly by Second Life users. Personally, I’ve lost count of the often heated discussions regarding who has copied or ripped off whom, what, how, to what extent etc. Oftentimes, the allegations and claims made in such discussions are wide of the mark. Sometimes they’re correct. This, of course, shows that there is a certain degree of confusion regarding fair use and copyright as they are applied to Second Life and similar virtual worlds (most notably OpenSim).

Thus, someone with actual knowledge needs to step up to the plate and inform people. Personally, I can’t really think of anyone more suited for this task than Vaki Zenovka. People who watched the ToS debate closely will remember that, back on October 19, 2013 Vaki (through her alt, Agenda Faromet), an RL attorney, along with other RL lawyers active in SL, held a legal panel to provide proper, precise and concise information on how LL’s new ToS really affect users and content creators. The panel was very successful and answered crucial questions, thus helping to counter a number of widespread misconceptions. This, however, is not the only informational initiative that Vaki has participated in. Last year, together with Tim Faith, another RL attorney (SL username: Yoss Kamachi), she held a panel to inform and educate SL content creators on the topic of copyright and fair use for SL content creators, and they are going to repeat it this year.

As she comments:

We did this last year and it was really successful, so Tim and I are doing it again this year. Are you interested in learning more about what we mean when we talk about “fair use”? Would you like to hear some actual lawyers talk about what it really means, what the current state of the law is, and how it applies to content creation and use in SL?

Of course you would.

So, tomorrow, Saturday, March 1st, 2014 and at 10AM SLT, Vaki/Agenda and Tim Faith will host this legal panel again, offering a great opportunity to those who missed last year’s panel and/or need clarifications on issues like LL’s current Terms of Service, Intellectual Property and Fair Use. The panel will be held at the Justitia Legal Resource Village. Of course, questions are welcome.

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Mona

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-ro

UPDATE: The meeting will taketook place at UCCSL’s sim:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Angel%20Manor/161/215/29

tosOn the 15th of August, Linden Lab changed its Terms of Service (ToS) and considerable concern has been expressed over how Section 2.3 affects content creators, as the language contained therein grants LL rights that content creators may be unwilling or unable to grant regarding the content they upload to LL’s services, and especially Second Life. In response to the concerns raised, Vaki Zenovka, who is an attorney in real life, announced a panel of real life legal experts to meet in an open forum where the changes, their impact and SL content creators’ concerns will be discussed.

Vaki announced the meeting on her blog on the 15th of October:

Please join me (as my alt, Agenda Faromet), Tim Faith, and VIPO’s Juris Amat — all of us IP attorneys in real life — as we discuss the latest changes to Second Life’s Terms of Service. We’ll take a close, detailed look at exactly what the controversial section of the new ToS means, how it affects content creators (and regular users), what changed from the old terms, and why people are so upset. More importantly, we’ll answer your questions and discuss how the Terms of Service affects your rights now and in the future.

The meeting will be held at 10:00PM SLT (PST) and at the Justitia Virtual Legal Resource VillageAngel Manor. The meeting will be recorded and, given sufficient demand, a second session may be held at a later date.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-lD