LL Ducks Responsibility

by Alphaville Herald on 16/09/07 at 4:37 am

Our world, your liability

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Will university faculty be held responsible for bringing students to the libertine free for all educational opportunity that is Second Life? How long until controversy spills over to real life for in-world harassment? Michael Bugeja, director of the school of journalism and communications at Iowa State University, asks these questions in his Second Thoughts about Second Life piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The article suggests that lawsuits can be brought against faculty and their institutions when participation in Second Life is required or recommended and harassing behaviors occurs in-world. Of course, it is hard to imagine harassment in-world. Not evah! There are almost no hard ass pipe hitting PNs in SL who indulge in greifing “for the lulz”. So – this is not a problem. What on earth was Bugeja worrying about? Perhaps he was listening to legal council? Sadly, it appears so.

Melissa Blevins – a lawyer who practices civil law – is quoted as saying “If you’re requiring participation, holding classes in Second Life, you and/or your institution also may be accepting liability for virtual events that happen there”.

This might not good news – and virtual world buzz-kill Bugeja goes on to say

“Controversy will occur, although many of us do not seem to be anticipating any in this realm. That perplexes me. We deal regularly with e-mail scams, viruses, online predators, and hackers thieving financial data. Most of us concede that controversy occurs often enough in the real world. Why do we doubt it would occur in a virtual world whose service terms bestow anonymity and disavow liability?”

Remaining true to it’s fiduciary duties while reassuring the few “residents” who are still listening, Linden Lab appears to be ducking whatever liability there is for behavior in the virtual realm, with a Terms of Service agreement stating residents release the game company 3D educational platform developer from

…damages (actual and consequential) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, arising out of or in any way connected with any dispute you have or claim to have with one or more users of the Service…

That would seem to cover nearly anything – I think. The Lab also reserves the right to take any action it feels is appropriate, saying it has the right but not the obligation to resolve disputes. It must be nice to be god – you can always confiscate virtual property if it seems convenient – or you are having a bad day.

Perhaps the most interesting section of the story is the revelation that Linden Lab has not answered any of Bugeja’s questions about in-world assault and harassment – and a link to his mail to the Lab on July 18th. The mail asks pointed questions such as

“How many incidents have you recorded in the first six months of this year that would constitute harassment? How many of these were sexual in nature? racist? homophobic? How many warnings were issued? suspensions? expulsions?”

The Lab has remained true to form and failed to acknowledge receipt of the message sent by e-mail, certified mail, and faxed. Perhaps the answers to these questions would be incriminating? Or did the asset server lose some inventory again?

54 Responses to “LL Ducks Responsibility”

  1. atxscubasteve22

    Sep 19th, 2007

    I do not approve of furfags pretending to have a crush on me in an attempt to make other trolls jealous.

  2. ^ban^

    Sep 19th, 2007

    A furry bystander: “Now, you fight among yourselves”

    Not really. Your spies are failing you. Bitches don’t know about my CHANGES

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