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.