In a discussion with a fellow gallery owner yesterday, he used the phrase, 'personal integrity'.
It seems that in today's word many are giving that up in favour of speculating on 'how much harm could this really do?' "Others will probably do the same, so we might as well accept it." "I don't think LL wants to steal our content, and anyway how much could it possibly be worth to them?" "I have too much invested here to leave, so I will just accept it and live with it.", "Other TOS are just as bad." "I've tried other virtual worlds. They are not as nice as SL and I don't want to move to them, so I'm staying."
There is the matter of 'personal integrity' and I would ask each person who thinks along the lines of the statements I listed above to consider how their personal integrity fits into that picture and that attitude.
I am astonished that so few artists and gallery owners have considered the very deep and significant matter of what is right and wrong here, and of the need to draw a line in the sand and say NO to people and entities who try to impose their bullying corporate will upon those 'smaller' than themselves, hoping to sweep up the 'underlings' into whatever their plans might be.
I, for one, have seen what bullying does to people. I will not give away the rights to my future creations that LL has decided I must give them if I want to create and exhibit my work in the world that has been my home for nearly 6 years.
I am one of MANY disabled and bedbound artists and creators for whom SL has been our community, our social outlet, our creative passion and our world after our RL spheres of movement and influence have shrunk. SL has kept people in such situations from committing suicide. At least 5 or 6 have told this to me privately. A few more have said it publicly.
Nevertheless, I have taken stock of the situation and come to the conclusion that although it is a very great loss, I am prepared to leave SL with my art gallery, my guest artist gallery (in which I have felt pride and joy to invite my fellow artists to exhibit, and like Armany, can no longer do so in good conscience except to show their old works.) and all that I have done to create an avatar as I wanted to represent myself, a home, etc. Leaving will cause great grief to me as I know it has to other long-time residents.
I will wait to see the outcome of attempts to discuss the TOS with LL. I will keep the gallery open and post the notices about this TOS change prominently at the front of my galleries. I will continue to exhibit my older art in SL. But I do so with a sense of sadness and loss. I cannot feel happy and proud to be in this world anymore. The sense of betrayal is very strong. We made a Second Life here because of our trust in the owners and their intentions. Our trust has been broken.
I will not upload any new content. I have already told the two gifted artists I had invited to open SL accounts and exhibit in my gallery, that doing so now would compromise their IP rights, and that I think it best for them to wait.
I have begun to establish a presence in another virtual world, where I will move my gallery and home if LL chooses not to respond with decency to our protests and requests.
What is past remains past. LL now wishes to take rights to all we brought into this world in a retroactive way as well as a perpetual way. We did not agree to let them take those liberties when we uploaded and built content here, and now it seems that because our content is in the servers and we have logged in since the TOS changed, we have consented to give them rights to it.. I will not give them rights to take and profit from my future work. It doesn't matter why, how, or whether they meant the TOS to read as it does. This is a choice we need to make. I do not live my life by default, allowing others to push me into things I would not choose.
I will join others in working for a change. But I am already grieving the loss of faith. No matter what LL does, that will remain painful to remember. With several hundred people on my SL friends list I can't help thinking of the conversations I have had with each, the ways in which they have enriched my life with their words, their kindness and their creativity. I just want to thank all who are passionate about this world and who are passionate about what is happening here.