Why Linden Lab Should Not Open The Content Migration Can Of Worms

When buying this package of textures, what you are really buying is a legal limited license to use and modify them according to your specific needs insides Second Life. You do not actually own them, nor the copyright.

The above are pretty standard terms for content creators within Second Life when they purchase textures. Textures really need to be sold as full permissions for people to use them in their creations and therefore the person selling the textures wants to place restrictions on use outside of Second Life. There are other items that will come with similar terms, building kits etc.

However they highlight an issue when it comes to Linden Lab’s new world because I’ve seen a lot of talk of people wanting to know if they can bring their content across into the new virtual world Linden Lab have planned. Some content simply won’t be compatible, some will. However even when it comes to content that is compatible Linden Lab should tread very carefully because of issues such as the Licence terms I opened this post with. Mesh and Textures are likely candidates to be compatible with the new world but just because they are compatible it doesn’t mean Linden Lab should facilitate transfers.

Then there are issues that have arisen since Linden Lab’s controversial terms of service change. Website CG Textures announced :

6th September 2013: Terms of Service update, using our images in Second Life is no longer allowed.

What has changed?

From 6 September 2013 you are no longer permitted to add our images to Second Life or other Linden Lab products. The use of textures downloaded prior to this date is allowed.

CG textures did not like the Linden Lab terms of service change and it remains a problem today, ten or so months on from when they were changed. The word on the street is that Linden Lab are trying to change the terms to reflect their intent but it has been an extremely slow process. However that’s an aside, the simple matter is that migrating content that has been built with CG textures content would be controversial to say the least.

Much of the content in Second Life is created with items purchased from other Second Life users, someone may purchase a script, a texture, a part. They put them all together and create a widget but they don’t own all of the content that has created said widget so they really do not have the permission to say it’s ok to export the content outside of Second Life. To get such permission you would need to contact all involved parties and any parties involved in co-creating their content. This could get very labour intensive.

Then there is content that has been created by people who are no longer participating in Second Life, they are no longer around to seek permission from.

Many content creators would also not want their content migrated across to the new world and I’m not talking about full perms sellers here, I’m talking about clothing, building, accessories etc. Some of their content is dated and the new world will hopefully allow them to create more feature rich and vibrant content with new tools. They may very well not want their old content surfacing there at all as in the new world it may look far more dated than it does in Second Life.

Again, when you buy content in Second Life, most of the time you are simply purchasing content with a licence to use said content in Second Life. We don’t own the content we buy, it’s a concept that is easy to misunderstand but that’s generally the way the land lies.

As uncomfortable as this may be for Second Life users, the safest route for Linden Lab to take is to not provide any assistance with migrating content. Content creators can choose whether or not they want to migrate their content once they understand what the new world entails and which content is suitable for the new world. They can then upload the content themselves, this really is the safest route for content creators and Linden Lab.

Linden Lab taking a hands off approach is also reassuring to existing content creators who would like their licence terms respected. This is a can of worms Linden Lab would be wise not to open and it’s one that users and content creators should be prepared to accept as the safest route for everyone.

9 Replies to “Why Linden Lab Should Not Open The Content Migration Can Of Worms”

  1. You’re so right. I completely forgot about that.

    Possibly LL could plan having a new ToS, which would not be really ‘labour intensive’ — just force everybody to agree to it when they next log in to SL.

    But now I understand that this might not be desirable, using your arguments.

    Dang, there goes the best argument for moving over: clear migration path. It seems that LL’s new world is getting less and less arguments to encourage people to move there — as opposed to go to the competition, which also promise snappy graphics.

    Time for Plan B (see my own blog 🙂 )!

  2. Although this is all highly speculative at this point, it seems to me even the few things that would be compatible for migration would have to be fully created by the user moving it.

    Even with this limitation though, they will still run the risk of massive copybotting for the sole purpose of migration. What happens when a person illegally copies stuff to move for their own personal use, claiming fair use rights because they already bought it? I have a feeling that if migration is allowed at all, this will be a large scale problem content creators will be fighting like never before.

    1. Yes that’s another reason Linden Lab should not be looking to aid migration, Some people would be moving content they do not have permission to move, some would do it maliciously and some because they didn’t understand the terms of the licence they currently have.

  3. And if content creators have to go to the trouble of uploading new versions of existing SL1 content to SL2 will people be willing to pay for it if they already own the same items in SL1?

    I have read so many times that people will not move to Opensim and leave their precious stuff behind so will the same argument be used again as a main reason not to move to SL2? Hell, there are people still using V1 viewers and the TPV’s because the Lab’s own V2/3 viewer never got universal acceptance (and will the Lab still allow TPV’s for SL2 even?). Then there is open source High Fidelity which promises to adopt Hypergrid, allow owner’s servers and change the nature of content security altogether.

    I’m sure there will be many who want to give SL2 a try but still spend as little as possible getting some sort of inventory together while the vast majority will not be so keen. Some will be outright hostile even and feel cheated by the Lab for being forced to spend more money for what they already own. And how much is this about changing the business model anyway?

    How much have you got in your SL1 inventory and how much did you spend on it and how long did it take to build? People will be thinking about all this I’m sure.

    Moreover, one has to remember that SL1 is also built on people that have built some fantastic regions up with all kinds of role play games, entertainments and educational venues. I know for sure people that work and do business in SL1 are highly competitive and work tirelessly to keep their members while others will spam, poach and steal away players from everyone else. It is another reason Opensim struggles to persuade SL residents to give the free Metaverse a try. There is huge resistance to loosing players and customers. So it’s not all about content even though that is a massive factor. It has a lot to do with unwillingness on the part of users to migrate to the unknown from what they know so well, especially when there are persuasive forces at work trying to hang on to them. I suspect people will stay where their friends are and the stuff they own already. Blue Mars failed to gain tracking even though it was built on technology far in advance of Second Life and the same for Cloud Party. Opensim has made some headway mainly because it is so like SL1 and has been around so long. In fact a lot of people have their feet in both SL and Opensim grids these days which came as the result of migrations when Linden Lab made yet another of its many legendary blunders. I have to wonder if SL2 will be the final blunder that kills the golden goose!

    However, in my view, High Fidelity, which appears to have so much in common with Opensim, is the one to watch. Not SL2.

    1. Opensim and its rise is where we first saw issues regarding moving inventory and a realisation that people do not own the content they buy. Some content creators strictly forbade using content on other grids.

      This is also why the Kitely marketplace has the export to other grids option.

      Inventory is important to people, so are communities and as you point out, this is a big reason why people don’t move to cheaper alternatives, they have their communities and base in Second Life, this isn’t likely to change when the new virtual world arrives, that will face the same challenge that Opensim, Inworlds, High Fidelity and Kitely face.

      The big advantages for the new Linden Lab virtual world will be bringing across your friends list and bringing across your Linden dollars, they will help.

      However time will tell whether or not it can gain the traction Linden Lab seek, High Fidelity is indeed an interesting option to keep an eye on.

  4. I will never join any project that has Philip on it, period.
    I doubt ill join any other project from Linden Lab besides Second Life.

  5. Indeed, EULAs are going to be an issue that will have to be considered by anyone that wants to transfer content from SL 1.0 to SL 2.0 or however else it’s called, and I really think LL needs to amend Section 2.3 of the ToS pronto. Since you mentioned CGTextures, though, I’d like to toot my own horn a little and remind you of what I had written back then about the rather drama-whoring announcements issued by CGTextures and Renderosity.

    1. I have always had a lot more sympathy with CG Textures than Renderosity. Renderosity’s terms never seemed compatible with Second Life’s TOS, whereas CG Textures were until LL changed the game by claiming the right to use content for any reason whatsoever.

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