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Chic Aeon

Please Tell Me I Am Wrong - TOS Woes

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Now I really do want some of you techier folk to tell me that my magical insights of the morn are incorrect. They don't FEEL incorrect however and they fit perfectly in line with this post which is long but well worth reading.

This is a comment that I added to that post this morning. It is in it entirety, the important parts in bold.

 

I have been thinking more on this post. My gut tells me you are correct -- maybe not totally; most of us don't have 100 percent reliable crystal balls, but enough for me to go with it. I am strangely calmer today; probably a good thing.  I wanted to add something that supports your theory, something that not many folks know or have realized.

One of the main arguments about the TOS changes is that Linden Lab wouldn't want all our STUFF. I concur *wink*. Even after the purge of the Marketplace when direct delivery was initiated, there are some pretty awful things. I have close real life friends who have been managing databases for large Internet companies for almost two decades; I checked with them on the ease of the process.

I have always believed Linden Lab was after mesh. Mesh with the new materials? Even better. It is super easy to filter out mesh from the Marketplace listings since we put a check-mark to show our item is mesh. Then look at the top sales. There is your salable product list.

OK, as was typing this I found some of my logic faulty and I have deleted that train of thought to spare you going nowhere, but I am thankful for it because it lead me to the realization that LINDEN LAB MAY HAVE OUR DAE FILES! Those are what we upload when we send mesh to either grid. The DAE gets converted for use, certainly, but we UPLOAD those files to the grid. A mesh object arrives in our inventory. Our DAE file (and similar files) hold all the information needed to MAKE THOSE DERIVATIVES.   I said "may have" as I have no idea how the uploader works, but it feels like the last tumbler just clicked into place, so I am guessing it is actually a  "HAS" statement.

I went back and read the TOS again. The tricky part it seems is what defines "User Content". And from the terms at the top of the TOS, we see that the definition is:

"User Content" means any Content that a user of the Service has uploaded, published, or submitted to or through the Servers, Websites or other areas of the Service.

[PG swear word deleted so not to get dinged by the moderator]   How did we not SEE that?

Again, THANK YOU. You and CG Textures are my heroes in this.

 

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They don't save the .dae format and they don't need it. The SL mesh format contains all the information needed to get the models back into a 3D editor, and in fact there are already clients that can convert them back.

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Very simple so don't make it complicated OK. SL is a big computer OK and you upload to lindens computer you have now given them a copy.

 If you upload to my computer I know have a copy since it is on my computer I am liable for it since I am liable it becomes mine. The catch 22 was done in congress back in 1993 when congress passed a bill saying they are not liable for illegal stuff uploaded but they do have to report it if found.  That said it is on there hard drive they own it you may  bring it in and take it out but it will always be owned by LL.

as far as the DAE file  it is actuall a format that is read by a upload program the DAE never get stored it is converted .

 

 

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To be horribly pedantic... what gets uploaded is the internal mesh format, as others said. It is very nearly convertible back into the model in the dae, but not quite. That's because in converting into the internal format the numbers for the geometry etc. are converted into 16 bit integers. This conversion involves some loss of precision that cannot be recovered. So there will be small differences, although almost certainly not enough to make any practical difference.

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OK. Thank you all. So they don't have the DAE files but it matters not as just as bad as I though. Obviously I don't go around looking for ways to steal peoples mesh.

Good to know. Don't feel any better though.

 

 

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Before reading that blog post, my opinion was that there was nothing to worry about -- LL will change the TOS in response to the backlash they are getting, right? No harm meant, I figured.

In retrospect, that stance feels naive. I see little other explaination than "business as usual".

I guess the silver lining is that if virtual worlds have a future (and I believe they do), it's been abundantly clear for years now that the future isn't Second Life.

Second Life is just too big in it's own market to compete with. I've always thought that the reason for the lack of SL alternatives that are significantly better is simply that no one with the means to supercede SL is willing to try so long as they have the market tied up.

If LL cashes out, displaced users and content will have nowhere else to go but to alternatives (hopefully open source ones). Finally, progress will be made towards something much better than Second Life. Optimistically speaking.

I hate to root for the worst case senario, but I am of the mindset that "change is almost always for the best in the long-run". We'll just see what happens.

Until something gives, I have no choice but to suspend any plans of making content for this platform.

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Thank you Chic, for linking to that blog post. Nice to read something about this whole thing that is well thought out and rational.

The connection (or potential connection) between the TOS changes and Desura is very apt, but I would like to point out that asset libraries for indy developers already exist, not the least being the one built into the Unity3D engine. Most if not all of these have profit sharing arrangements with creators. Their commission is much higher than the SL marketplace cut - up to 50%, but this is offset by the higher price you pay. Similar quality items in other asset stores can sell for 10 or 20 times the real world dollar amount as SL items.

I'm not really trying to make an argument either way, here, but assuming LL's strategy is to license SL content for Desura, they're in for a whole new level of competition against existing asset stores which may not be in their best interest. Also, it shouldn't be underestimated how much work would be involved in translating SL assets into a format for Unreal or Unity.

Guess I'm still sitting on the fence on this. I was cautiously optimistic, but now I'm just cautious :)

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IvanBenjammin wrote:

...I was cautiously optimistic, but now I'm just cautious
:)

Yep, that's me in a nutshell.

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I did just have a new thought for why the changes to the TOS agreements.  What if the changes were to make SL a more attractive asset to potential buyers or to make it easier to sell it's assets after LL closes the doors on SL.

It would also make sense why LL has not released the Mesh Deformer.  Why add a new feature that would take six months or more to mature if you were planning to either sell SL or close the grid down soon.

I hope I am way off.  I really do.  I hope the new TOS is just another way LL is trying to cover its butt from possible lawsuits if they unintentionally use content created by residents.

It has happened in the past with free avatars they had in the Inventory Library.  Some of the skins on the avatars LL didn't have the right to use in that way.  Not completely LL fault.  The avatars submitted were submitted by a content creator who didn't make the skins. 

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Well thanks all. At least if I sounded stupid some good came of it.

Honestly? I think he is very close to the money on this (not our money actually as SL is taking that  - LOL). And while I am still going to stick around, blog, support the content creators that ARE working etc. I haven't uploaded here sense C G Textures opened our eyes to the problem.

Actually it was a calm day for me. I am going to except the Burns scenario and go with that. That releases me from the 'what the H is going on?' questions and it is really a pretty good place to be. I am enjoying that grid that shall now remain nameless in fear of deletion. I have a couple of builds up and when I finish one more "sim" ( I am going to make a hunt with a modular house and many accessories as prizes) I am going to take a look at another new grid I haven't visited.

It is a little like making yourself a safe haven I guess *wink*. Anyway, working for me.

Take care all.

And to Rahkis - I can get with you in the "it may all be for the best" boat. We are living in patched up old technology. That is very clear when you visit other places based on NEW technology. It's just hard saying goodbye.

 

 

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The question of whether or not they store .dae files is completely irrelevant.  The file format doesn't matter.  What's important is that they've got the data.  They can take anything in SL, and spit it out to whatever format they want.  That's just system management, 101.

While we're on the subject, so can anyone else.  Any asset that can be displayed on a monitor, played through a speaker, etc., can be captured.  I don't want to get into a detailed discussion about that, for obvious reasons, of course.  The point is simply that if you're worried about the technicals involved with LL or anyone else stealing your content, you're focusing on the wrong things.  That ship sailed the moment you decided to upload your very first piece of content to any environment other than your own computer.

What is worth all of our attention is the new legal rights LL has granted themselves.  That's what has changed, and that's what matters.  As the author of your linked post well put it, they've performed a bait and switch.  Whether it was deliberate or simply a stupid mistake is still up for debate.

 

As for the post itself, I have to say I disagree with that author on almost everything he said.  His reasoning in many areas is deeply flawed. 

First, he seems to think LL somehow would need the new IP rights in order to sell the company.  That's completely false.  There's absolutely no reason LL couldn't be sold, while still remaining the same service provider that it always had been.  The old TOS made it clear that LL owns all the data on its own servers, and that's all that would matter for such a sale.  They wouldn't need all these new IP rights just to transfer ownership of that data if another entity were to take over the service.  They could simply need to amend the TOS to name the new owner, and that would be that.

Consider YouTube's TOS, for a comparison.  It limits the company's rights to those needed for running and promoting the service, just as SL's TOS used to do.  It even further limits the company's rights by stating that their license to your content will end within a reasonable amount of time after you delete your content.  Yet YouTube was able to get itself bought by Google, no problem. 

The same can be said of countless other services and service providers that have been sold to other companies, both online and offline, since the dawn of the service industry in modern society.  So, that whole section of the post is utter hogwash.

And that's before we even get to the question of whether or not LL actually is intending to sell itself.  There's absolutely no direct evidence that this is the case.  I strongly suspect it's not. 

For some reason that I don't think I'll ever understand, it seems to be a popular notion among certain bloggers that the measure of success for a small company is to one day get bought by a bigger one, and that goal alone is what drives each and every small company's existence.  It never seems to occur to these guys that most people who start businesses do so with the intent of actually running them.  In reality, the number who want to just make something cool in the short term so they can cash in and get out is relatively small.

 

Second, and far more importantly, the notion that indie game developers would want SL content, or that they could even make practical use of it if they did, is preposterous.  Most content in SL, including mesh content, is woefully unoptimized for game environments, not to mention just not very good looking.  No game developer in his or her right mind would or should touch it with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. 

As others have mentioned, there are plenty of existing warehouses that have lots and lots of good looking, well optimized content available.  Indie game developers can and do make use of those resources all the time.

I'm not aware of any content warehouse whose TOS grants it the unlimited IP rights that SL's TOS now grants LL.  That's simply not necessary, just to run a warehouse service.  So, the idea that LL claimed these rights in order to pave the way for Desura is also pretty unlikley. 

 

My gut still tells me this is all just a lazy mistake.  Most likely, they were looking to have a uniform TOS that could apply across all LL's various services, and somebody said, "To hell with it, let's just say we have unlimited rights to everything, and call it a day," and they didn't think it through.

 

But whatever the real reason is, the reality on the ground is it puts me, and others like me, in quite a bind.  Legally, I'm not sure I'm actually allowed to agree to the new TOS at all (which is why I haven't so much as logged into SL since before the change).  In my career, I've created thousands of items in SL for third parties.  Those third parties are the IP owners in those cases, not me.   I can't very well grant LL rights to content that are not mine to grant.  I can't even log in to remove that content from my inventory, without first agreeing to the new terms, which I can't agree to.

Over the years, my clients in SL have included all the major TV networks, several major motion picture studios, large corporations, advertising agencies, universities, small business, and individuals.  My contract in every case states that I don't retain any IP rights to my clients' content, other than my own very limited portfolio rights.  Under the strictest letter of the law, I'd need to get written OK's from every single one of them before I could safely log into SL again.  Needless to say, that could take many months, and if a single one of them were to fail to say yes, I'd be stuck in the same boat I'm in now.

And that's just on the civil side of it.  I've also done work in SL for the US Government, including the CIA.  I'm sworn to secrecy on that stuff.  In those cases, it's a matter of public recrod that I was contracted to do SOMETHING, which is why I can say as much as I have, but I can't tell a soul what the work actually was.  I can't show that content to anyone, ever.  I certainly can't give Linden Lab unlimited rights to it.  With regard to that stuff, if I were to agree to the new TOS, I could potentially be committing a federal crime.

At this point, sad is it is to have to say, I'd really just like to sell my L$, and get out, until this has all been sorted.  But I can't even do that without agreeing to the new TOS.  It's beyond ridiculous.

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Somehow, I feel like this is too dumb to be a dumb mistake, to incorrectly paraphrase you.

Surely, I opened my mouth too soon -- I think I can be forgiven as impassioned as everyone is over this. Granted, my opinion is unchanged, but my opinion is speculation echoing fear. Clearly, the issues of what can and cannot be uploaded (even if it already has been) is far worse than any future "competition" on LL's part.

It sounds like your hands are more tied than most, and after all I've seen of your helpfulness here on the forums and what business you must have brought to LL in this time, I can only find your situation ironic.

The ones actually helping SL be a lucrative and content rich platform with great user-based support are punished while those who couldn't care less keep on keeping on.

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Thanks so much for writing all this Chosen.

The waters are indeed very murky. Hopefully, for better or worse, they won't stay that way for terribly long.

I know several writers who, legally, cannot sell their about to be published work -- in a similar canoe as you.

Big Kudos to you for being smart enough and discerning enough to cover yourself by not logging in.

I am going to post this on the Merchant board as I think it is really something they should see; many are not mesh makers and do not come here.

The one thing that keeps echoing in my mind here and I am going to have to go back and look that up ---

We have no intention of abandoning our deep-rooted dedication to facilitating residents’ ability to create and commercialize such content in Second Life. In fact, we strive to provide Second Life’s residents with evermore opportunities to do so.


That is from the PR spin that went out a few days after the C G Textures announcement. 

It is truly a waiting game.

 

PS. You know I read a book by a famous author with the premise that there is really no global warming. Now I am a firm beliver that there is, but for a moment -- after I finished the book -- I was convinced there was not.  Just a thought. :D

 

 Edited for grammar.

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I`m going to call you on a part of it :)

You can login and do everything you want within the personal part of SL, including cashing out money.
It was said that the new ToS would be from that moment and not on items/assets from befor that date, so you can login with no problem but be restricted of not taking on new jobs.

Unless I`m wrong...

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Chosen Few wrote:

 

 My gut still tells me this is all just a lazy mistake.  Most likely, they were looking to have a uniform TOS that could apply across all LL's various services, and somebody said, "To hell with it, let's just say we have unlimited rights to everything, and call it a day," and they didn't think it through.

 


Thank you for the well written post. 

I have stated elsewhere that because Second Life is so unique in many aspects that it needs its own TOS.  That lumping it in with the other properties is a mistake.

Simply stating in the current TOS that other specific rules may apply to the various properties does not cut it.

The new TOS states that LL's properties are available to any one age twelve and older.  Now you have to dig to find the rules that specifically apply to Second Life.  They are buried in the Wiki.  As it stands now, how am I supposed to know that there may be an additional age requirement for Second Life that I should even be looking for?

Google the term "Second Life Wiki Official."  It gave me 73,300,000 results!

Kind of crazy if you ask me.

 

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Alicia Sautereau wrote:

I`m going to call you on a part of it
:)

You can login and do everything you want within the personal part of SL, including cashing out money.

It was said that the new ToS would be from that moment and not on items/assets from befor that date, so you can login with no problem but be restricted of not taking on new jobs.

Unless I`m wrong...

I tried to open and view the Transaction History from the main dashboard for one of my Alts before agreeing to the ToS on that account. It stopped me and informed me that I had to agree to the ToS before I could view my account details. So yes, Chosen is correct .. you must log in with your Viewer and agree to the new ToS before having access to Account Functions from the website.

(Which detail being handled that correctly is out of character for LL .. further leading me to believe they MEAN IT with the new ToS!)

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Darrius Gothly wrote:


Alicia Sautereau wrote:

I`m going to call you on a part of it
:)

You can login and do everything you want within the personal part of SL, including cashing out money.

It was said that the new ToS would be from that moment and not on items/assets from befor that date, so you can login with no problem but be restricted of not taking on new jobs.

Unless I`m wrong...

I tried to open and view the Transaction History from the main dashboard for one of my Alts before agreeing to the ToS on that account. It stopped me and informed me that I had to agree to the ToS before I could view my account details. So yes, Chosen is correct .. you must log in with your Viewer and agree to the new ToS before having access to Account Functions from the website.

(Which detail being handled that correctly is out of character for LL .. further leading me to believe they MEAN IT with the new ToS!)

Confirmed.  I have an 'antique' account I have not used in years and just tried.

Silly thing though, he still had 14L in his account and could execute a purchase on the Marketplace!

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Darrius Gothly wrote:


Alicia Sautereau wrote:

I`m going to call you on a part of it
:)

You can login and do everything you want within the personal part of SL, including cashing out money.

It was said that the new ToS would be from that moment and not on items/assets from befor that date, so you can login with no problem but be restricted of not taking on new jobs.

Unless I`m wrong...

I tried to open and view the Transaction History from the main dashboard for one of my Alts before agreeing to the ToS on that account. It stopped me and informed me that I had to agree to the ToS before I could view my account details. So yes, Chosen is correct .. you must log in with your Viewer and agree to the new ToS before having access to Account Functions from the website.

(Which detail being handled that correctly is out of character for LL .. further leading me to believe they MEAN IT with the new ToS!)

Yes, but I was talking of the date that the new ToS would be in effect and only for items uploaded after that date.

Chosen would be able to login and cash out/do personal stuff as all previous items are still under the old ToS while newly contracted work would be an issue under the new ToS.

Still wrong?

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Alicia Sautereau wrote:

[...
.]

Still wrong?

My personal actions are designed to not give them (LL) anything new to claim rights to, however it will take an official legal decision to determine if that is a viable defense or not. If Chosen has a large catalog of very expensive (from a personal investment perspective) content then a good course of action might be to stay totally out of SL and never agree to the new ToS.

But, if Chosen DOES have a healthy investment in content and is possibly losing some serious meaningful income because of it then perhaps retaining an attorney would be the best course of action.

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Darrius Gothly wrote:


Alicia Sautereau wrote:

[...
.]

Still wrong?

My personal actions are designed to not give them (LL) anything new to claim rights to, however it will take an official legal decision to determine if that is a viable defense or not. If Chosen has a large catalog of very expensive (from a personal investment perspective) content then a good course of action might be to stay totally out of SL and never agree to the new ToS.

But, if Chosen DOES have a healthy investment in content and is possibly losing some serious meaningful income because of it then perhaps retaining an attorney would be the best course of action.

That was not the question.

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Alicia Sautereau wrote:


Darrius Gothly wrote:


Alicia Sautereau wrote:

[...
.]

Still wrong?

My personal actions are designed to not give them (LL) anything new to claim rights to, however it will take an official legal decision to determine if that is a viable defense or not. If Chosen has a large catalog of very expensive (from a personal investment perspective) content then a good course of action might be to stay totally out of SL and never agree to the new ToS.

But, if Chosen DOES have a healthy investment in content and is possibly losing some serious meaningful income because of it then perhaps retaining an attorney would be the best course of action.

That was not the question.

Sorry. I don't know if it's wrong or not. I can only say what I'm doing based on my interpretation.

One interpretation says that after you accept the new ToS, anything you've ever uploaded is now covered by the new terms. Another interpretation says that only the new stuff is covered. I personally choose the latter, but I might be wrong.

I also have crap for building skills and really make my income from my scripting skills. I strongly suspect that if LL is going to make any money reselling/licensing or whatever any SL Content then it will be the many amazing builds that are available, not the scripts and automated systems. That means my "crap" is safe .. I hope.

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Alicia Sautereau wrote:

You can login and do everything you want within the personal part of SL, including cashing out money.

It was said that the new ToS would be from that moment and not on items/assets from befor that date, so you can login with no problem but be restricted of not taking on new jobs.

I could not find where in the TOS this limitation to only new content is mentioned.

However i found in the TOS (section2.6) that if you delete your content from your inventory and from all locations on the grid and if you never have given any copy to anybody else, or if everybody else who has a copy of your content will also delete it from their repository and from their locations, then the license agreement would also terminate for the deleted content...

well...

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No worries Darrius  :)

 


Gaia Clary wrote:


Alicia Sautereau wrote:

You can login and do everything you want within the personal part of SL, including cashing out money.

It was said that the new ToS would be from that moment and not on items/assets from befor that date, so you can login with no problem but be restricted of not taking on new jobs.

I could not find where in the TOS this limitation to only new content is mentioned.

However i found in the TOS (section2.6) that if you delete your content from your inventory and from all locations on the grid and if you never have given any copy to anybody else, or if everybody else who has a copy of your content will also delete it from their repository and from their locations, then the license agreement would also terminate for the deleted content...

well...

That can`t be legal, can it?

Crazy person can ask more questions then a professor can answer, so I`ll throw another one for Chosen`s case:
If he doesn`t accepts the new ToS but his clients do, does this include his work or not?

Simple reasoning: they own the IP rights to Chosen`s work as he is just the contractor so in essence, it`s their work in their inventory even if it`s not created by them.
Being a little bit more funny, Chosen had to sign real life contracts to be able to do the work, how will those hold against the ToS regarding the abouve IP holder conflict as he doesn`t have any rights to the work he has created yet LL demands the right to use it (throw in #1 into the mix abit aswell)

Must be getting into the real of the headache :)

 

Chosen, as you have done contracted work for some powerfull and big entities, wouldn`t it be funny to show them the new ToS and the conflict of interrest here? 
They have their own legal department and it is to defend their own products/IP, even if one is willing to let legal dig into it regarding the contracted work you will have an answer for all your work.

Doubt the CIA would be saying to LL "sure, do what you want, we don`t care!" with your project leader logging on and accepting the new ToS :P

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Gaia Clary wrote:

However i found in the TOS (section2.6) that if you delete your content from your inventory and from all locations on the grid and if you never have given any copy to anybody else, or if everybody else who has a copy of your content will also delete it from their repository and from their locations, then the license agreement would also terminate for the deleted content...

well...

That can`t be legal, can it?

I guess that "legal" and "reasonable" do not necessarily go hand in hand. Anyways section 2.6 doesn't sound like a practical option especially when thinking about creators who also sell (or have sold) their content within SL.

BTW i wonder if the following part of section 2.3 in the TOS is also applicable to LSL scripts:

...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...

Some very interesting scenarios could emerge. But i guess that was not meant in the TOS... no ?

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