This week, Strawberry Singh hasn’t really created a meme (in her words). Instead, she wants our views on the recent change to the Linden Labs TOS for Second Life users. This is one of the biggest controversies I have been aware of during my five year tenure in SL. And while I am not a creator, the change to the TOS has opened my eyes.
Instead of a list of instructions, Berry has just asked that we answer her questions, either in a blog post or in the comments of her post. She has linked to quite a few resources about the changes, so if you are unaware of what has changed, hop over to her blog and hit the links.
I admit that, while I am not a creator in Second Life, these updates have given me pause to think. Enough to consider leaving Second Life? No. But I am concerned how this could impact builders and designers in SL, particularly those who earn their livelihood from SL. I would be saddened to wake up to a Second Life that no longer included such designers as Onyx LeShelle, Cory Edo, Gospel Voom, Truth Hawks, Siddean Munro or Hart Larsson (to name just a few). Losing even a few of those creators could heavily impact the bottom line of the SL economy. I shudder to imagine it.
I had a conversation with my brother the other day about the TOS. It happened because he is a builder and while checking out his latest house, I casually mentioned that Linden Labs actually owns it. He had no idea what I was talking about. I explained briefly about the change to the TOS and his response was, “You actually read the TOS before accepting?”
That is a good lead-in to the questions Berry has posed.
1. Do you usually read the TOS thoroughly before you hit accept? No, I don’t. And I find it a bit underhanded that they don’t include a synopsis of the changes, as most reputable online companies do (Ebay, Paypal, hell, even Facebook offers this when they make changes.) I am a bit cynical so it makes me wonder if LL chooses to skip this, knowing that most people don’t read the full TOS – particularly when one has to determine the changes for themselves without even an indication of which sections have been affected. Unless you have an extensive knowledge of the previous version, you could read the entire document and not even know what is now different. It’s easier just to tick the box to accept the changes so you can log in and go about your SLife – regardless of the consequences.
2. How do you feel about the new LL TOS changes, specially from August 15th and section 2.3. Aside from feeling LL has tried to sneak these changes past their users by not giving an outline of the changes, my feeling is that they are setting themselves up to take the work of their user base as assets for other games they have (or may) develop. Despite their cries of, “Oh, that’s not what we meant!”, I have to believe that their legal department knew full well what they were doing when they drafted these changes. According to one blog I read on the subject, attorneys have said that it would take very little to change the wording to allay the fears of SL residents – especially its creators.
If they didn’t mean it…then change it. I’m sure those lawyers are on retainer, if not actually on staff.
3.Do the changes affect you directly? No, these changes only affect me indirectly as a consumer in SL. That said, I no longer upload my photos into SL unless it is for a client shoot or my own profile picture. I used to regularly update the photos in our home, but no longer. I don’t believe LL would have any use for my photos, but I’m not giving them the opportunity to take my images just because they reside on their servers.
4. What do you think people should do about this new change? I support the creators who are speaking out against this change. I have heard more than one activist suggest that the only way to force a change is to mount a test case in court. However, it has been suggested that simply bringing a case against LL for what they might do would stand very little chance of winning. Others have mentioned a class-action suit against LL, but again, I wonder how effective that would be if none of the intellectual property has been used by LL in any way. And I believe everyone should now read any changes to the TOS, or at least find a synopsis of the changes put together by people who have read them. This time the change is geared at creators, but who knows what future changes will target?
I should have stuck with the short answer. I haven’t a clue.
5. Are you or have you ever thought about leaving Second Life? What would you do with your time/blogs/career if you ever did? Because of this change? No. I enjoy my time in SL. It gives me a creative outlet both through my photography and DJing. I’m sure a day will come when I no longer feel the desire to log in. What I do with my time will be something I determine when I cross that bridge. However, unless I moved on to another virtual world where I could continue my photography, I cannot see any reason to continue blogging.
Speaking of creators, the outfit I am wearing is from two designers taking part in this Tuesday’s SLebrity SLection Street Sale at the Cosmopolitan Sales Room. This is a one-day 50L vs 50% off sale, so if you’ve accepted the TOS and can log in, hop over to pick up some bargains!
Pretty stuff I’m wearing:
*Tank & Bolero: Part of SLACY’S SIMPLY PLAID & LEATHER BLACK Outfit (skirt not worn) by Sabrina Hoyer (Available at SLebrity SLection Street Sale on Tuesday, October 22)
*Skirt: blah.BLAH.blah*MESH*Kimmie Skirt-12 Colors Via Hud by Lyric Derryth (Available at SLebrity SLection Street Sale on Tuesday, October 22)
Earrings: Amacci Earrings – Stripes II – Bronze by Carina Larsen
Hair: Analog Dog .b – pornado sangria by Queue Marlowe
Skin: [PXL] Creations – [PXL] JADE SK Bare Lips MEB C2 by Hart Larsson
Makeup: [PXL] Creations – [PXL]JADE SK Smokey Eyes (tattoo) by Hart Larsson
Hands: Slink Mesh Hands (av) Casual by Siddean Munro
Hand appliers:[PXL] Creations – [ PXL ] Slink Hands Appliers SK by Hart Larsson
Eyes: Amacci Gaze Eyes – Ocean Blue by Carina Larsen
Lashes: Mon Cheri *MC* “Falsies” Eyelash by Freya Oliveri
Pose: aDORKable Poses: Attitude by Adorkable Peapod (available on Marketplace only)