Do you know, who was Pablo Picasso? He was a Spanish painter, who lived in 1881 – 1973, and is one of the most influential artist of the 20th century. Many consider him as a genius.
What if Picasso was born about hundred years later and would be starting his career in our times? What if he liked to share his works in one of the modern virtual worlds, like Second Life? He might have uploaded many of his works and had a galleries, where he has his works visible. Perhaps thousands of people had visited there and admired his creativity and talent.
Since he is an artist and not a lawyer, I guess, he would bypass the changed in Terms of Services by shrugging and rather concentrate on setting up his galleries in-world or continue painting in real life. However, one day he might realize, that his works are owned by an American Corporation, which silently had changed their Terms of Service (ToS), which he had accepted unwittingly. He would have permitted the corporation an unlimited power over his creations, that he had uploaded to the virtual world. I’m quite sure, he and many other would be enraged.
Picasso died before our digital age and never needed to face the hypotetical situation, described above. Still, many Second Life content creators were shocked, when New World Notes posted an article about the change in the ToS of Second Life. As a conseqence of the update, CGTextures forbade using their textures in Second Life and warned content creators about the related problems.
So, if you create textures, 3D objects, scripts, sounds, poems or whatever, Linden Lab will have the non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, re-sell, sublicense (through multiple levels), modify, display, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, 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… (From their Terms of Service) As someone said, it’s no longer Your world, your imagination but Their world, your imagination.
Linden Lab has regretted the reaction among the Second Life users. They try convince us, that they still respect our rights and encourage us to create new things. However, the only thing, that matters in a court (if you have to go there), is the contract between us and Linden Lab. That contract is called as Terms of Service. If they really respected our rights, wouldn’t they fix their ToS as soon as possible?!
Second Life succeeded only, because thousands of people have used their time and creativity to make it a more beautiful place to live. Now, many of us content creators have expressed their disappointment because of the change. Many feel, that Linden Lab has betrayed us. Maybe some of us will stop their career in SL, while others will concentrate on other virtual worlds, like Inworldz, Avination, OSGrid and Cloud Party. Still, there is a group of builders, who have never cared about copyrights or origin of their textures (or other building blocks) and won’t care in the future either. Linden Lab won’t lose them any soon.
I knew a skilled builder, who left Second Life, because he didn’t like, that you have to pay, if you want to express your creativity. Now you not only have to pay, but also give up your rights too. I’m not a famous content creator, but I have to say, that my motivation to upload any of my new creations to Second Life is very low currently.
Is it time for game over finally? If you have at least little of the spirit of Pablo Picasso, I would say, it is!
Update: Also Renderosity expressed, that their content can’t be used in Second Life.
Update 2: All content creators, please, join to the group United Content Creators of SL.
Update 3: Qarl Fizz (also knwon as Qarl Linden earlier) said goodbye to Second Life, because of the ToS changes and some lesser issues.