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Question: In your opinion, what have been the greatest controversies in the 15-year history of Second Life?

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Reading through the timeline, it's fascinating to see the period when SL was taken seriously as a system comparable to the World Wide Web.

It was a huge change when Linden Labs changed their terms from customers "owning" land to merely having some ownership-like rights to use it. For a business, that's a big accounting change. You can no longer list virtual land as an asset on your balance sheet. You can't show a balance sheet to a bank with that as an asset when you're looking for a loan. If you're a commercial landlord, that's a big deal.

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That seriousness is part of what fueled the early evangelism.

SL was decidedly not a game. It was a platform. A metaverse. A true 3D internet.

 

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21 minutes ago, animats said:

It was a huge change when Linden Labs changed their terms from customers "owning" land to merely having some ownership-like rights to use it. For a business, that's a big accounting change. You can no longer list virtual land as an asset on your balance sheet. You can't show a balance sheet to a bank with that as an asset when you're looking for a loan. If you're a commercial landlord, that's a big deal.

Wait? Was there ever Land without tier fees?

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1 minute ago, Solar Legion said:

Tier has been a thing since before I joined in 2006.

then what is animats talking about?

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21 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

then what is animats talking about?

The phrasing surrounding land in SL was originally ownership, rather than occupancy.

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This:
Virtual Property Rights Are No Game. Lawsuit against Second Life owner Linden Lab seeks to clarify ownership of real estate in the virtual world

"A lawsuit filed last May in Pennsylvania aims to clarify the legal status of virtual land. Second Life resident Marc Bragg is suing Linden Lab and Rosedale for breach of a virtual land auction contract, fraud, and violations of Pennsylvania trade practice and consumer protection laws.

Bragg claims that Linden Lab froze about $8,000 worth of virtual assets and refused to reimburse him. Linden Lab claims that Bragg acquired his Second Life property in an unsanctioned manner by taking advantage of a loophole in its code. At issue is whether virtual property owners have the same rights as those with real property.

"Rosedale has been telling everyone that when you buy property in Second Life, you own the land," says Jason Archinaco, an attorney in the commercial litigation department of White and Williams, who represents Bragg. "But what has happened now is they're trying to say that the Terms of Service agreement somehow modifies the statements that Rosedale is making."

Linden Labs made a big thing of owning land in SL being real ownership. See the judge's opinion in Bragg vs. Linden Labs.

It's the difference between virtual land being a real business asset, one you can borrow against, and this whole thing just being a toy.

The key issue in Bragg was whether LL could unilaterally take away an asset for a terms of service violation. Bragg took the position that, as with real world property, only a judge could order that. Linden Labs settled with Bragg on Bragg's terms before this was formally decided.

Edited by animats
typo
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7 minutes ago, animats said:

This:
Virtual Property Rights Are No GameLawsuit against Second Life owner Linden Lab seeks to clarify ownership of real estate in the virtual world

"A lawsuit filed last May in Pennsylvania aims to clarify the legal status of virtual land. Second Life resident Marc Bragg is suing Linden Lab and Rosedale for breach of a virtual land auction contract, fraud, and violations of Pennsylvania trade practice and consumer protection laws.

Bragg claims that Linden Lab froze about $8,000 worth of virtual assets and refused to reimburse him. Linden Lab claims that Bragg acquired his Second Life property in an unsanctioned manner by taking advantage of a loophole in its code. At issue is whether virtual property owners have the same rights as those with real property.

"Rosedale has been telling everyone that when you buy property in Second Life, you own the land," says Jason Archinaco, an attorney in the commercial litigation department of White and Williams, who represents Bragg. "But what has happened now is they're trying to say that the Terms of Service agreement somehow modifies the statements that Rosedale is making."

Linden Labs made a big thing of owning land in SL being real ownership. See the judge's opinion Bragg vs. Linden Labs.

It's the difference between virtual land being a real business asset, one you can borrow against, and this whole thing just being a toy.

this reads a bit differrent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bragg_v._Linden_Lab

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Oh, that old chestnut case that honestly should have been thrown out of the system before ever even making it to a docket, let alone gone far enough to be settled anywhere.

User finds a way to directly access Auctions before they're actually listed, abuses method, gets caught, has account held/suspended while the Lab takes a look at things then terminated when what he did was discovered .... User pitches a fit, sues and settles out of court.

The only good thing to come of it? Challenging the arbitration clause in the Terms of Service at the time. Said user should have gotten nothing out of it outside of a bill for legal fees.

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It's LL backing away from the concept of ownership that was a big deal. Big companies once had their own islands in SL.

40 minutes ago, Solar Legion said:

 Said user should have gotten nothing out of it outside of a bill for legal fees.

LL backed down rather than lose that case.

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26 minutes ago, animats said:

LL backed down rather than lose that case.

because the case was held in the US, you never know what will happen at a court in the US... Especially back then when no judge or jury had any idea what a virtual asset might be...

Edited by Fionalein
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30 minutes ago, animats said:

It's LL backing away from the concept of ownership that was a big deal. Big companies once had their own islands in SL.

LL backed down rather than lose that case.

And for a time after that case - they still did.

Bragg abused a system that had somewhat inadequate security in place and pitched a fit when caught. A Judge took exception to the arbitration clause (rightly) and the entire case was settled out of court. Linden Lab could not take the risk that the Judge (or any Judge really) would not take one look at the rest of the case and (rightfully) throw it out of the court.

Bragg got away with cheating the existing system and getting to keep a good chunk of his assets - some of which were gained through said cheating.

Story. End of.

Have a pleasant existence.

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13 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

because the case was held in the US, you never know what will happen at a court in the US... Especially back then when no judge or jury had any idea what a virtual asset might be...

Read the judge's opinion. He understood the issues. Other legal commentators agree.

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5 minutes ago, animats said:

Read the judge's opinion. He understood the issues. Other legal commentators agree.

The documents is 46 pages long the case is about something completely else, so it must be in a side note...

I draw my conclusions on your understanding of legal matters from the fact you didn't provide us with an index to the passage ;) 

Edited by Fionalein
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The move away from ownership in virtual real estate by Linden Labs was a crucial one. That was when LL stopped taking its own dream seriously.

When Second Life started, the biggest social network was AOL. Facebook didn't exist yet. Smartphones were in the future. Second Life looked like the Next Big Thing. Major companies decided it was essential to have a presence in Second Life, just as on the World Wide Web. IBM had its own island. Major universities had a presence in-world. This wasn't a dream or projection, it all actually happened.

At the time, openness seemed to be the future. The open World Wide Web was starting to crush AOL. Linden Labs cooperated with OpenSim for years; at one time you could teleport from SL to OpenSim servers. Anyone could write a viewer, just as anyone can write a web browser. With that vision, Linden Labs couldn't be too heavy-handed - people had the option to pick up and move to a competitor.

Then Linden Labs changed the terms of service to make themselves a walled garden. No more real ownership. No more teleports to OpenSim. Business interest in Second Life decreased. Growth stopped. The dream slowly died.

It was the combination of Facebook and mobile which did this. Linden Labs never figured out how to compete with either. The best they could do was to emulate the closed worlds of Facebook and mobile. But Second Life wasn't big enough for that to help.

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13 minutes ago, Fionalein said:

The documents is 46 pages long the case is about something completely else, so it must be in a side note...

I draw my conclusions on your understanding of legal matters from the fact you didn't provide us with an index to the passage ;) 

Didn't get very far reading it? Page 3, "Recognition of Property Rights".

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As if it ever was real property, you are projecting something in there animats, correlation does not imply causation ...

Edited by Fionalein
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I've been around for a bit over 11 years now, and there have been LOTS of controversies!

  • Copybotting.
  • The Sale (and subsequent dwindling and downfall) of the Amsterdam Red Light District.
  • The Gambling Ban.
  • The Banking Ban.
  • The Age P**y Ban.  This, and the previous two, were primarily due to Real Life pressure on LL from governments.
  • The introduction of Voice.
  • The segregation of Adult Mainland onto the remote continent of Zindra, and the mass forced exodus of Adult activities.
  • The Age Verification scandal.
  • The creation of Bay City and Nautilus City themed Mainland areas (seen by many as LL competing with Private Estate owners).
  • Linden Homes, also seen by many as LL competing with resident-run rentals.
  • LL's about-face on Homestead regions, when they realized they'd cut into their own profits with an overly-generous offer.
  • LL's resale of Abandoned mainland at $L1 per square meter.
  • Landbots, and the eventual ban on same.  Landbots could "steal" land out from under a flesh and blood buyer; but the ban on them killed off the mainland tier rental industry.
  • The Camping Bot Invasion (camping bots supplanted most of the actual live campers, and effectively killed camping in SL).
  • The rise of the Traffic Bots, and their eventual ban (took darn near forever, but I think LL finally got concerned that the bots were threatening to crowd out the live ones).
  • The Ad Farm Ban.
  • The Red Zone Controversies, and the eventual ban of IP tracking "alt detectors".
  • The Emerald Viewer Scandal (and, to a lesser extent, the implementation of the Third Party Viewer policy).
  • Several intellectual property disputes that, one way or another, cost some MAJOR businesses a lot of money, and in some cases their existence.
  • LL's double about-face on the 50% discount for educational and nonprofit organizations.
  • LL's buyout of SLExchange and its transfiguration into the Marketplace.
  • The demise of third party $L exchanges.
  • The introduction of the Destination Guide ("Unfair!  My competition is getting free advertising!")
  • The introduction of this here Forum software and the demise of the old Forums.
  • Viewer 2.0.  Everyone bitched and moaned about it being delayed and delayed, and then bitched and moaned about it when it was released.
  • Display Names and the end of the old surname system.  (Of course, there was also bitching about the old system!)
  • Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC), an early version of Avatar Complexity.
  • Breedables.
  • The LL-sponsored Mentor program...and the cancellation of same.
  • The LL-endorsed resident-run Gateway program.
  • Gor.
  • Bloodlines.
  • Tiny Empires.
  • IP issues that killed off most Star Wars, Star Trek, "Avatar", Superhero, and Disney-themed in world locations and content.
  • The SL-based episodes of the popular CSI police TV show, and LL's creation of special entry sims for people who'd seen the shows and were curious.
  • Several attempts to link SL avatars with Facebook, or establish a Facebook-like social network for avatars, plus of course, FB's frequent purges of accounts made by SL avatars.
  • Sansar
  • High Fidelity
  • Blue Mars
  • OpenSim, InWorldz, and much discussion and ranting on both sides of whether SL should link itself to the hypergrid (a linked network of virtual worlds).
Edited by Lindal Kidd
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11 hours ago, animats said:

at one time you could teleport from SL to OpenSim servers.

Then Linden Labs changed the terms of service to make themselves a walled garden. No more real ownership. No more teleports to OpenSim.

You could never teleport to OpenSim servers.

LL and IBM experimented with it, the OpenSim server being IBM's. They succeeded in that, in one or more tests, an IBM employee, who was here working for IBM (her avatar name was Za something) teleported from SL to IBM's OpenSim grid, and back again. After that the idea quickly died. Not because there were problems, but because of taking SL inventory (clothing) into other grids, without the creator's permission, and where it could be stolen. In fact, it would be method of stealing creators' stuff.

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It would make content theft trivial. Theoretically script source could be copied as the that wouldn't have to leave LL servers, just the microcode ... which would make it vulnerable to attack .. that would be really bad. Nope, having pondered the problem there would be no content theft after the first day, wouldn't be any live servers to steal content from.

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13 hours ago, animats said:

Didn't get very far reading it? Page 3, "Recognition of Property Rights".

maybe are reading to much into this

all the Court decided was:

a) LL could not compel Bragg into arbitration because badly written arbitration clause in ToS
b) the Court did have jurisdiction to hear any case Bragg might bring before it because a)

everything else Bragg alleged at the hearing had nothing to do with anything really as far as the Court was concerned. The Court decision was to uphold Bragg's basic constitutional right to air his allegations in a fair and impartial way

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