Yesterday’s Linden Lab blog post about the new TOS has unsurprisingly generated a fair amount of discussion. I’ve looked again to see if I feel any different about the changes in the cold light of day and the answer is no. I still feel the TOS goes too far and asks for too much.
They moved “sell, re-sell, or sublicense (through multiple levels)” from the beginning of the list to the end of the list. And then they added a totally unclear parenthetical: “(with respect to Second Life, Inworld or otherwise on the Service as permitted by you through your interactions with the Service)”.
That is all.
Vaki also pokes Linden Lab about their use of parenthesis in the new terms of service and points out that it’s unclear whether “(with respect to Second Life, Inworld or otherwise on the Service as permitted by you through your interactions with the Service)” applies to sublicense, re-sell and sublicense or everything before the phrase “(with respect to Second Life, Inworld or otherwise on the Service as permitted by you through your interactions with the Service)”
In their blog post Linden Lab state :
First, the modified version limits our rights with respect to user-created content in Second Life by restricting our use “inworld or otherwise on the Service.” Additionally, it limits our right to “sell, re-sell or sublicense (through multiple levels)” your Second Life creations by requiring some affirmative action on your part in order for us to do so. This language mirrors the corresponding User Content License currently in Section 2.4, which has been part of the Terms of Service for years.
This is all still very muddy. However have the changes convinced the likes of CG Textures to reconsider their decision to forbid new uploads of their content to Second Life or any other Linden Lab product? Jo Yardley asked CG Textures whether their stance had changed in light of the new TOS and the answer was still a no :
I’m afraid this does not change the situation for us. The new ToS still contains the words:
.. and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. ..
I can’t say I’m surprised about this as CG Textures are an outside of Second Life venture and therefore not as tied to the platform as many Second Life content creators.
CG Textures have quite a friendly license agreement, but as they explained not long after this all blew up :
With their latest TOS update they go way beyond what is reasonable.
From their angle, nothing much has changed. They understand that Linden Lab need certain rights in order to provide the service, they have no objection to that at all, it’s the parts about exploiting content in any manner whatsoever that are at the heart of the problem.
Another concern for Linden Lab is the wrath of Second Lie on Twitter!
Think of it this way: if it takes the Lab 11 months to write 20 meaningless words, there’s no way they can intelligently steal your content.
— SecondLie (@SecondLie) July 16, 2014
The only way Linden Lab could have made the ToS changes even less meaningful would be to put them in Comic Sans. — SecondLie (@SecondLie) July 17, 2014
If you miss using CGTextures in Second Life, you can always use Linden Lab’s new ToS and blog post as the “Whitewash” texture.
— SecondLie (@SecondLie) July 17, 2014
I remain bemused and disappointed about the new TOS changes. I’m really not quite sure what Linden Lab are playing at but it’s almost a year since this controversy landed and we don’t seem to be much further forward, I suppose that being a little bit further forward is some progress, but it seems to be such a tiny step.