The subject of ToS 2.3 has come up privately, so I thought I'd bring it up in here in order to stick all of my GoS feet and shoes in my mouth.
What's happened so far? Well, here's my biased and paranoia-fueled summary:
- Back in August 2013, Linden Lab made some changes to the Terms of Service that looked to many like an over-reach and a content-grab.
- Several third-party content sites such as CGTextures prohibited SL users from uploading their textures to SL because of the ToS.
- Rod Humble and Peter Gray insisted that it was not a content-grab, some wiser heads realized that it's the ToS and not the smoke and mirrors around it that matter, groups were formed, and... um... not much else happened.
- When Rod left and Ebbe arrived, he said that he was looking into the problem.
Here are the Terms of Service:
(48,000 words, according to Tateru Nino. Sorry, Linden Lab, but you're 2,000 words short of a NANOWRIMO novel, and twice as boring.)
The difference between the two can be summarized as follows: That blog post is full of crap.
There are a lot of blog posts on the subject. One in particular is Mona, who points out the actual changes made:
Others followed suit:
(feel free to google for more.. Thinkerer has had a few updates over the past few months)
Interestingly, an attorney in SL looked over the changes and came to a disturbing conclusion:
And most telling is CGTextures calling bullshit on Linden Lab:
But I think the strongest indicator that the Linden Lab blog post is full of crap is that James Wagner (Hamlet) Au swallows it - hook, line, and sinker:
He actually believes the blog post's claims despite all evidence to the contrary.
Really, dude. Stick to writing books, hawking the Oculus Rift, and having beers with the Labbies, okay? You're embarrassing yourself, and you're embarrassing us worse than the 80% with the misdirected anger.
Now where was I...
Look, the odds of Linden Lab selling a content-creator's pixel-panties in RL are zero, and I laugh when I see the mesh-makers cringe on various forums and sites. Yes, they rake in some bucks over their stuff, but outside of SL, not even the Japanese would buy nonexistent pixel-panties from a bullet train vending machine
If there's anything that has actual value in RL that could come out of SL, it's writing. And I'm a writer.
My take on it, scattershot-style as usual:
- This has been and continues to be a thorn in the side of collaborative writing, whether it's content creation or peer-review and sharing of material that might one day be published professionally.
- The Terms of Service is a typical Silicon Valley over-reach and quite a few have said that it is not defensible in court. They are claiming rights that they don't have and cannot demand.
- If you have content that is original and copyright-protected, you do have the right to accept the ToS and then copy it back out to Word or Notepad or Google Docs if you don't have it backed up already. It shows intent that you do want to continue using the service, but want the opportunity to remove the material you do not grant the right to.
- If Linden Lab can't effectively grow their subscriber base or retain interest in their flagship product, they're unlikely to have the skill, competence, or prowess to exploit user-made original content in the ways your paranoid fevered brain worry about at night.
- If you have content in textures, notecards, or objects, you already agreed to the August 2013 ToS. Doing anything rash about it now is a bit too late. (But now is a good time as any, I suppose.)
- Music streams do not travel over any part of Linden Lab's service. It's from source to Shoutcast/Icecast server to your client. Musicians and Deejays can get their pixel-panties out of a wad, now.
- Unless Linden Lab has an infinite number of monkeys listening to Voice and transcribing everything you say at open-mikes, I think that's relatively safe for original spoken-word content.
So, in the end, I'm disappointed in the fact that the Lab is doing this, lying on the blog about the nature of the actual changes, and expecting people to swallow their bullshit and call it Starbucks. (Bullshit Mocha Latte, anyone?)
But I plan on staying in SL, enjoying my pretty park, my pretty bridge, my pretty friends, and my pretty me (with those pixel panties, no less) until somehow Linden Lab tries to fuck that up too.
PS: At least SecondLie is having a blast with all this, right?