This concern was initially sparked when one of the major sources of content (CG Textures) used by SL ontent creators placed a ban on their content being uploaded into the SL grid. Since then, another content source (Renderosity) has joined the chorus of external content sites concerned about the Aug 15 LL TOS changes. They also banned any uploading of their content into the SL grid. As word about the LL TOS change (in particular section 2.3) spread among the SL content creators community (aka SL-CCC), the magnitude and scope of the concerns being expressed by this community can best be described as explosive and growing fast.
The SL-CCC is a large fabric of SL residents who spend a known portion of their time either creating & uploading content into the SL grid (i.e. creators of textures, mesh, sculpties, music, copyright text, music, multi-media, etc.) for use across the SL grid, or, residents that tightly integrate with these creators on the grid (i.e. Merchants, Mall Owners, Art Curators, Venue Owners, etc.). For the most part the SL-CCC is made up of two unique communities: the creators of commercial content (merchants) and the creators of artistic content (Artists, Poets, Musicians). Generally these two communities don't often mingle. But, because of this recent serious concern on the SL-CCC's IP rights being hi-jacked or the rights of those whom these up-loaders have been licensed to upload into SL being infringed, there has been a common merging of expressed revolt against LL on their recent LL TOS change.
Although there has been a significant and growing concern about this LL TOS issue, the communities realized there was no tangible view of what the SL-CCC members were aware of, concerned about, and would like addressed. As such, to get a snapshot of these views, I (Toysoldier Thor) decided to develop a quick & dirty survey (using the free limited function features of Survey Monkey) to ask the SL-CCC member 6 questions.
Each of the questions allowed one answer of the options provided as well as an OTHER box. Unfortunately due to an error during survey development, I failed to enable an option that let respondents select OTHER as an option. As such, many respondents expressed "other" in the text box after selecting an option closest to what they were thinking. Also, I say quick and dirty as this survey was limited in max responses of 100. We reached that limit in less than 24 hours. At the time of this blog, the total respondents was up to 134 but to see all respondents would cost me $20 and I don't think it would have dramatically changed the trends being seen.
So without further delay, here are the results from the 6 questions as answered by the first 100 SL-CCC respondents.
There were also 3 "OTHER" responses among the 100 as well as 3 additional that I could see after the 100 limit. They were recorded as:
- I believe that provision to be unenforcable. See answer to last question.
- My rights are unaffected by the change as Section 2.3 specifies granting LL "non-exclusive rights". As such, this question is irrelevant
- this TOS is an industry standard in my opinion and nothing to be overly concerned about
- Speciifically about the LL right to alter and distribute even outside of SL without the creators consent or even
- Due to the TOS change I am not building new items for sale nor uploading anything for same.
- i couldnt give a shit, i think you are all over reacting
There were a lot of "other" comments as many of these respondents wanted to clarify their position. Here are the responses:
- THE ABOVE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION DOES NOT REFLECT MY TRUE RESPONSE. "Other" was not a valid answer to the quiz. I'm very concerned, but I have not changed my uploading habits. I am not a professional content creator. I am an IP attorney.
- I'm quite concerned but I can't just stop working because of it
- I continue to create because I have fees to pay, but I'm not happy with this TOS
- I am proceeding with caution as I believe that provision to be unenforcable. See answer to last question
- The options in this question are biased and far too narrow in scope
- I am not currently creating, but would not be inspired to do so until this was changed or corrected
- this TOS is an industry standard in my opinion. LL is not going to take my content and sell it etc. I don't believe that's what is happening here at all.
- OTHER: I still create and upload but only for my use, not for business purposes
- i will create content now - even upload to SL but i am holding back on uploading the larger more complicated work till there is some development in this
- Other (I will upload but obviousaly not anything to important to me.)
- I'm VERY concerned but have left current content on the MP but not creating anything new.
- I'm very concerned and still in doubt wether to continue my business in SL or not
- Other - its been at least 2 years since i decided to make all my own content and make it portable. if i feel in anyway threatened i will simply use it on other grids
- the is a busy time of year for me in sl and make most of my money so until after christmas i will continue to built in sl etc
- Very Concerned - But cannot afford to stop creating content due to RL mortgage needing to be paid. Am looking at options depending on outcome.
- I am creating and will upload SOME things but not all and I am concerned
- I'm aware and very dubious, but I have continued to upload to keep my business going - I just hope they change the TOS soon.
- cant you see this is just so that LL can sell SL & it's data on the servers to another company.... that other company might invest & give us better customer service, this could be awesome.... LL are never going to be selling on people's stuff individually... get over it allready
- I'm concerned, but continue to create. I'm especially concerned that outside Second Life content sources are prohibiting downloading their content into SL due to the new TOS wording
- I been uploading but just for custom orders i had from before august
- I'm not sure how this will affect me yet, but I'm mildly concerned.
- im worried, but i have commintments for now, so i keep creating for respecting those commintments
- Actually, I'm very concerned - mostly because I legally purchase licenses for merchant resources in order to create my end products for SL. Since TOS cannot be retroactive unless it is formally stated (which it is not), I will only be using existing content and modifying that to keep afloat until LL changes the TOS back to the pre-Aug 15 wording regarding for use on the service only.
There were also several OTHER comments provided to by residents to clarify their position. These were:
- I believe this indicates that SL is being lined up to be sold off, my confidence in the service is shaken
- If the status quo is maintained, no. But if they take someones creations and use it for profit without consent and compensation I believe most creators would stop making content and a class action law suit would follow.
- However, I think some content creators may misunderstand and potentially leave for less-developed places that probably have similar TOS - or will very soon
- This move indicates a further preparation by LL for an exit strategy.
- Other - for the average resident probably little or no change
- SL will survive, but the only quality content will be stolen.
- It will only change because of people's paranoia.
- If all the content creators become aware of exactly what this means, it could be detrimental to SL. But as with most things like this, most either aren't aware at all, or they think it's "no big deal", in which case it won't likely be that drastic of a change.
- BUT only because you are all over reacting to it!!!!! ohh and by the way you are making it worse with this survey, scaring everybody shitless
- I wouldn't go so far as to say that it will kill SL, or even affect it all that much - there have been a lot of major changes over the course of SL's history - but it all depends on how LL deals with it.
- Either the honest creators will leave and wash their hands of SL, which would devastate the grid, OR, only those who don't care about TOS (the rippers and IP infringers who currently flood the MP and grid with merchandise that is not legally theirs to sell) will stay. If new content in SL consists primarily of this type of illegal merchandise, LL's allowing this practice to continue won't be under the radar any longer. It will be front and center and they can kiss any hopes of expansion of the grid, or any other virtual product goodbye.
- Huge volume of already infringing content means change is unlikely
A slight majority felt that LL should revise the current TOS vs. those that felt LL should just restore the wording from the previous editions of the TOS.
There were several OTHER comments to this question as well a posted below:
- Revise the TOS to make it conform to contract law. See answer to last question.
- Only one phrase requires revision within Section 2.3
- I think LL needs to address what this TOS means and even more importantly what it does *NOT* mean. I think more than anything this is something that better communication could have avoided and could still heal. LL ought to have better public relations with the user community. There needs to be reasoned communication and discussion on this topic, not the one-sided shouting matches that have been occurring. I think that some who are most upset by this are actually misinterpreting the TOS. e.g., "LL is going to steal my creations," "LL is going to sell my creations," "LL won't let me upload licensed or open source content," etc. (And your survey needs a more unbiased answer choice for this question. I will select "Nothing - they changed their TOS and its [sic] over..." but the real answer for me is that LL needs to have better relations & better communication with its user communities.)
- dont have to be publicly - just change the wording to not claim right on content they did not make and release a new TOS
- Also explain the reason for change.
- Formally and publically acknowledge the TOS wording was poorly chosen and ill advised then revise the TOS with input from community to something that both LL and community agree is in the best interest of IP, creators and SL.
- it does need rewording, but i am happy for them to be able to sell SL on to a 3rd party
- I can understand that there is a concern by LL and they felt the need to revise the TOS, but I want the wording and intent to alleviate the concerns of outside and internal Second Life content sources and creators, so they are assured they have sole rights to their work.
- Either they should revise the policy and explain what they were thinking when they made which seems like such a blunder. The alternative is to be honest about why the company needs to make the change. I can not imagine any positive reason for users. Mostly I can imagine reasons such as preparing to sell the company, possibly also not good for users, especially content creators.
- LL should offer an explanation, but I'm not sure that they need to apologize, except for not making it clear what had changed when they made the change to begin with. It would be amazing if they changed the wording to include their intent, but I honestly doubt they would do it.
- Fire Rodvick, formally apologize to SL residents with promise this kind of TOS wording will never occur again
- Just put it back to the way it was before. I don't care about grandstanding and public apologies - I'm sure the bloggers will take care of that...
That being said, there were also a lot of OTHER comments to this question as posted below:
- LL's ToS will not be challenged in a court of law. The arbitration clause will prevent that.
- I am not a lawyer so I do not know what the outcome would be, I just picked the answer I did so I could answer here.
- The TOS is a contract. Contract law specifically requires five requirements for a contract to be valid and enforceable. One is consideration. That is why a contracts specifically say "for $1 and other valuable considerations.... " They may think that being allowed to use SL is the consideration BUT the wording in that provision specifically says that there is no consideration thereby rending that provision unenforceable. I believe someone harmed could sue LL and win because of this. As far as waiving rights to sue, basically if LL enters into an agreement to perform an illegal act, this would not constitute a legal contract and the waiver is also unenforceable. LL's lawyers need to go back to law school. See this for the 5 requirements and explanation of each: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/5-requirements-contract-15616.html
- A completely irrelevant question which has no bearing in trying to persuade Linden Lab to correct a poorly-worded section within the ToS. Any answers can only be subjective in nature, as only those with a reasonable understanding of Tort Law, the history of holding to date when the ToS has been before a judge, and all limitations and caveats placed against those holdings.
- It's probably not wrong legally, but very customer unfriendly
- Other opinion: As a non-lawyer, I have no basis for an opinion. This is a meaningless question.
- I am not a media lawyer nor are 99.9% of the people commenting on this issue. However, I believe the TOS would indeed be upheld. It is an industry standard for user-created content sites such as Youtube, Facebook, etc. Please take a close look at the TOS for Youtube, Twitter, Facebook etc. They are the same, and ascribe to the company the same types of rights over user-created content. From what I've seen, LL's TOS actually ascribes *more* rights to *content creators* than some of these others.
- ToS are rarely enforceable, period.
- I am no lawyer
- LL did not inform users of the change in TOS before changing the TOS, thus permitting users to remove content before the current TOS went into effect.
- every single one of us your agreed to the update,, also by clicking yes,, our e-signature is there and,, well a binding contract.. can that be reversed? I hope so..
- I have no idea
- no idea
- Other It would win in the vast majority because most people cannot afford to sue someone.
- No Idea-not a lawyer
- Other - but no one will challenge it publicly:) we've seen that before. stuff gets settled
- Assuming anyone has the funds and time to challenge them.
- not sure
- LL would lose a COPYRIGHT/IP case if they attempted to grab user-created content, but I don't believe that LL is gearing up to do that.
- i have no opinion on this
- I don't have legal knowledge to back up any personal opinion in this area.
- No idea. I'm not a lawyer
- No idea until it is tested in a court. I'm not a lawyer. I can only react to this as a content creator and how best to protect my work, as well as the resources I purchase licenses to use - I abide by those licenses and am therefore unable to transfer that license to LL (even if I wanted to which I don't).
I want to point out again that this was a quick and dirty 100 max respondents survey to gain a general sense of the thoughts of the SL-CCC membership. As it is only 100 respondents, the sampling is very small and does not necessarily reflect the feelings, thoughts, opinions of the entire population.
But, there are some strong trends shown that indicate some consensus of where the creators of SL stand. I hope this helps in the discussion and also begins to show to LL that its population of creators that make SecondLife what it is... are not happy with the recent TOS change - regardless of what LL's explanation has been via informal non-binding communications to the community.