What Should I Do With My Hair?

by Jessica Holyoke on 24/08/09 at 7:56 am

by Jessica Holyoke

JessicaOne of the things I love about Second Life is the ability to substantially change my appearance by going hair shopping.  In fact, an article by Jimbo Quality addressed how different people look when all they use is the standard issue avatar hair. 

But with the emergence of the new grids, I haven't seen all of the hair designers that I've come to know and love.  Which means I have to discover new hair designers, but have to settle for whatever is out there, not my own particular style. 

After all, if you look at my editorial head shot, it has a pretty specific hair style.  Aimee Weber trademarked her avatar appearance but she might not have made her hair herself.  Any other hairstyle would change her look and possibly change the mark she registered. 

The problem though is what do I buy when I buy a hair style. 

Linden Lab a few weeks back published their wish list for industry standards for copying tools.  One of those standards is that no one may copy an item if they aren't themselves the creator.  But I purchased a hair style.  I didn't steal it, I didn't make it myself, but I paid for something. 

I paid for something – but what exactly?  The World of Warcraft Glider case, MDW v. Blizzard, might provide some guidance as well as the current Scion chicken issue.  Both Blizzard and Scion state that what their customers purchase is a license.  The end user has a license to use the items so long as they conform with the license agreement.  If you don't conform, then the license is revoked and the user is infringing the copyright.  In Blizzard's case, its even more touchy because this applies even if you buy a physical CD-ROM of the program.  If you use the Glider program, you are breaking the license agreement and therefore infringing on their copyright. 

So far, I have not seen too many license agreements regarding something like hair and its transportability to other grids.  Textures R Us does limit the transportability of their products to other grids by license.  However, that means you bought a picture and they are determining the use of that picture after the point of sale. 

On the other hand, I am buying an item that I can edit to adjust to my head size and that I can alter.  More specifically, if I wanted to, I could alter the hair style to reflect poorly on the creator if I wanted to.  Even if the hair is not transferable itself, my account is.   So whatever I bought, an item or a license, is transferable to someone else.  

So when things like builderbot and cryolife are criticized for facilitating unreasonable copyright infringement, they also facilitate fair use.  Why should I build an identity that includes my visual appearance with items that I purchased, but am unable to migrate that identity because someone is worried about copyright infringement?

21 Responses to “What Should I Do With My Hair?”

  1. Senban Babii

    Aug 24th, 2009

    I’m no expert on this. But let’s say I buy a CD of an album by my favourite band. Doesn’t fair use allow me to rip the music tracks from one format and play them on my iPod? Certainly the music companies would like me to buy multiple copies in multiple formats of the same product but we all know how that turned out, with the customer standing firm and saying it wasn’t acceptable fair use for something they’d paid for. Perhaps the hair manufacturers could follow suit because utimately it’s similar. I buy a new set of hair but wish to make a copy for personal use on another grid. Okay, I can understand why people don’t want you to be able to make unlimited copies and give them away but why not allow us to make fair use copies and transfer them for personal use on other grids? Or for that matter, be allowed to make legitimate backups of items we’ve legitimately purchased?

    The market is changing I think, just like in music and software. Sooner or later, producers are going to have to catch up or get left behind by the changes that their customers want. If they don’t supply the product and provide for fair usage of that product by legitimate customers, the customers will go to suppliers that do.

  2. Darien Caldwell

    Aug 24th, 2009

    If you didn’t create the hair, you do not have the right to move it to another grid. Plain and Simple. The creator of the hair doesn’t have to explicitly give you a license, because their creations already fall under Copyright Law and the Berne Convention.

    There is also the matter of the Second Life Terms of Service. (http://secondlife.com/corporate/tos.php)

    The TOS expressly states that “You acknowledge that Linden Lab and other Content Providers have rights in their respective Content under copyright and other applicable laws and treaty provisions, and that except as described in this Agreement, such rights are not licensed or otherwise transferred by mere use of the Service.” Or in short, using content doesn’t give you rights over it.

    Just buy some new hair. Nobody will know the difference. It’s not like you’re Aimee Weber.

  3. blingbling

    Aug 24th, 2009

    no one cares

  4. Amanda

    Aug 24th, 2009

    Your account is transferable only with the permission of Linden Lab (TOS section 2.4).
    Also under TOS section 4.1 you agree that you won’t do anything LL deems “harmful”. So if they deem it harmful for you to make a copy of something to take to another grid then it violates the TOS to do so.

  5. BamBam

    Aug 24th, 2009

    I really think that some of this stems from Lindens wanting to control all grids. If a lot of content goes out from SL onto other grids those grids become a better product. If Lindens can stop people from taking their stuff to other grids they hold the upper hand on virtual worlds. I maybe completely misinformed here but I thought that Xstreet was going to work toward supporting other grids before they were scooped up by Lindens.

    With any product the consumer is going to look for the best product and the best deal. I have yet to see any product that can’t be beat on SL by price or quality. So bottom line product developer need to be a bit humble. There are some very good product artists. But for every 1 good product artist there are 10 more that can replace him and 5 of them would give their right leg to take down the 1. SL is not going to be a cash cow forever.

  6. Ajax

    Aug 24th, 2009

    Generally, by copying they mean duplicating and then offering to a third party. You have to have intent to distribute or disseminate in order to violate a copyright. Copying for your own personal and private use has always been upheld. Its ok to Xerox that page out of the encyclopedia for study, you can even copy US currency and use it when you play monopoly — as long as it never leaves your house. Yes, its even ok to tear that tag off your mattress!

  7. Ari Blackthorneā„¢

    Aug 24th, 2009

    Seems to me that if you make a purchase of a digital [whatever] in Second Life on the Second Life grid as owned and operated by Linden Lab – if that product comes with a license, that license extend to the borders of the grid upon which you purchased it: Second Life.

    Since the license doesn’t extend beyond the Second Life grid, how can they (the so-called lincense-owner) restrict you from using the product on another grid – when the license won’t apply by default?

    The only way a license can extend to another grid outside Second Life to explicitly forbid use on the grid. Cannot put a blanket cause to not use it on another grid.

    That’s like the music companies saying “You can buy this cassette tape, but you are forbidden from using an adapter to play it through the CD player in your car”.

    Just doesn’t fly.

    As for the WOW physical CD scenario? Not true what you said. The license has mostly (95%) to do with ACCESS to the online system and the right to use it as long as you don’t go DMCA on it.

    So as for those creators who find their stuff on other grids that they sold on the SL grid – well, work it into your contract that if found you have a right to royalties or something.

    As far as that goes: there is a distinct difference between a ‘license’ and a ‘contractual agreement’.

    OH – and as for licenses (like the story about those total-waste-of-money chikens a while back) – EULA’s are null and void unless they are presented before purchase or use.

    Oh and wasn’t Linden Lab’s EULA (TOS) legally thrown out by a judge because (I forget what they all it) – it was an “all or nothibg” proposition? (When bonehead lawyer sued Linden lab in 2006 because he hacked into their land store and bought sims for $1 or whatever and LL slapped his ass with a ban from the entire grid.)

    Same smell.
    Sometimes the truth hurts.
    Don’t it?

  8. Jessica Holyoke

    Aug 24th, 2009

    As to rights; you can’t simply say U.S. copyright law and the Berne convention. Nor can you simply say Linden Lab gets to decide what is harmful or not. Which is why the question of “what did I buy?” becomes an issue.

    Here’s an example of how these licensing rights come into play;
    A day care center decides to entertain the kids by playing them a DVD. Unfortunately, its a Disney DVD and its only “licensed for home-private use.” When the Disney lawyers find out about it, they send a cease and desist letter to the day care centers to violating their license in the DVD.

    On the other hand, saying I can use the hair style I bought from an SL designer only on the SL grid sounds similar to saying if I buy a Columbia records CD, I can only play it on a Sony CD player.

    And if the grids become truly interoperable, then by the logic we are applying now, even if the asset servers were reachable from across grids, it would be a case of infringement if an avatar crossed servers and the creator wanted it limited to Linden controlled servers.

  9. Darien Caldwell

    Aug 24th, 2009

    That’s true. Nobody can stop you from doing it. But if you get caught, you’ll be liable should the creator decide to press charges. Just like in RL.

  10. Antonius Misfit

    Aug 25th, 2009

    Jessica, the best option to go for here is to ask permission from the hair creator. Explain your situation as clearly as possible, stressing that you want to respect his/her copyright, but you don’t want to do anything possibly infringing. At best the creator may allow your use of the hair. If not, then either simply don’t use the hair, buy a hair product from a creator who will allow your use, or learn how to create your own prim hair and use that(and perhaps sell it too!).

  11. The SL Consumer's League

    Aug 25th, 2009


    Usually I’m in disagreement with you on most things SL. But on this issue, you’re spot on. Finally, someone who speaks up and speaks up for the consumers in SL. They are, contrary to the megalomaniacal delusional rantings of some content creators in-world, the main economic underpinning of the SL economy. Unless you’re a hobbyist and create things for entertainment value, who really pays for the rent or tier of your “business”?

    But when the asset servers decide to do some meth and forget about a chunk of your inventory, does LL care? No. Do you have any recourse? Not really. They can be nice and try to find it. Or usually, they’ll just wrap themselves in the TOS and tell you, suck it up. And good luck trying to talk to a SL merchant about a transaction that happened a few months ago. Now maybe he or she will relent to avoid losing a future sale or bad publicity, but in many cases silence will be the response.

    If something is on my hard drive and I didn’t back it up, that’s my problem. But if something that I bought for real money is on someone else’s server and they lose it and all I get in response is a shrug, you can be damned sure that I’m going to make it so that another loss isn’t going to happen again.

  12. Ari Blackthorne

    Aug 25th, 2009

    Copying content to another grid is not illegal via I. P. rights, unless -before- you purchase it there is a, license which explicitly exludes other grids -by name-

    I am speaking in terms of real world legality. If you buy it, you have fair use legal right to do with it as you please. If you take it to another grid and then start selling it – then it becomes plagiarism (not theft – no such thing as “theft” in SL or any virtual world unless you actually deprive the owner of that content) – plagiarism can be a legal quagmire.

    The only way to prevent someone from taking what they buy from you to another grid is a) make it known before purchase that they cannot (and you must specify by name where they cannot use it) and/or B) lock the shit down as tight as possible, because then you can get them with DMCA for “reverse engineering DRM”.

    On the other hand – even though “legal” in real world terms, if you take a product to another grid, the drama-eestas will blackball and basically tar and feather you in every blog and other outlet they can find.

    You know: like the SL Fashionista world.


    Of course the creators can make a prevemtive strike: go to the other grids first and take/recreate your stuff there. Then you have a real foot to stand on.

    As for the news of Rezzable and others: that is all contract work. Creators did not specify in the contract that it cannot be moved outside the Linden Lab grid – so it’s all legal.

  13. Pappy Enoch

    Aug 25th, 2009

    Miz Jessica, just sell ‘em all on “The Kaintucky Waterfall” Mullet. You kin do that one with the reg’lar helmet-hair.

    I been wearin’ it since 2007 and the gals just goes gah-gah to git a piece of me.

    BRING BACK THE MULLET for gals n’ boys. ‘Nuff said.

  14. Saffia Widdershins

    Aug 25th, 2009

    Creators are protected by international law, and can take legal action if they discover their products being used on another grid.

    “Permissions” are simply things that you can do within the Second Life environment. They don’t apply to anything that can be done on another grid.

    And one of the key things is that if you take an object to another grid, it is promptly stripped of all metadata. All permissions – even the creator’s name is stripped. And this is theft.

    We do need a grid interoperable system. I suspect it will come through a web buying system – when you buy from the website, you will tick which boxes to indicate which grids you want the goods to be available on. Choose several and you may pay a slightly higher price. Tick the ALL box and it will, like a Fatpack, save you money.

    But simply grabbing the gooods and running to the next grid where it will be stripped of the name of the creator who made it is, quite simply, wrong. Legally wrong and morally wrong.

    To hear some people on this discussion talking, you would think that content creators are greedy, money grasping bloodsuckers panting to remove your last Linden. Wrong. Content creators work like stink to create fantastic things – for which they earn rates that are, by and large, closer to third world than first world sums.

    Yes, there are exceptions – the few people who earn a decent living wage, and the very few who earn a fantastic wage. But by and large people are working ridiculously long hours in the hopes of covering tier.

    You want your hair in another grid? Heaven knows I do – I have to film a TV show in an Open Sim the end of September! But like the campaign – “I’d rather go bare than wear stolen hair” – I rather scuttle like a chicken without my pet AO and look like a cartoon cutout rather than see the content creators who have created our amazing world damaged further.

    One day doubtless grids will be interoperable and you will be able to take your goods from one grid to the next with metadata still intact. But until that happens – and until, concomitant to that, creators decide to sell in such an environment, transferring goods from one grid to another without the consent of the creator is, quite simply, wrong.

  15. All Seeing Eye

    Aug 25th, 2009

    Content in Second Life is by default licensed for use only in Second Life. Read the TOS. If you disagree then cancel your account. Here let me make it easy for you:

    “1.3 Content available in the Service may be provided by users of the Service, rather than by Linden Lab. Linden Lab and other parties have rights in their respective content, which you agree to respect. ”

    You agree to that each time you connect to Second Life whether you like it or not.

    Anytime you connect to Second Life you agreed to each and every license by any creator from whom you acquired content whether you read it or not. If your stuff on that other grid gets you in trouble then go ahead and file a lawsuit. See how far you get.

    Oh, and btw, L$ has no value. You are not consumers. Second Life is a video game and L$ are game tokens. You are not even remotely similar to consumers. If you were you could go file a complaint with the government. Go ahead and see how that goes. Most people active in SL are felony content thieves now anyway so all this is moot. SL isn’t going to make it to 2010 so your complaints are pointless. Better start making your internet addiction counseling appointments now.

  16. Ari Blackthorne

    Aug 25th, 2009


    Wow, all you toilet-room lawyers. I love it.

    Well, I’m not arguing the morality of it, but the legality? Tell you what, I’ll transfer some stuff I “legally” own, withis is modify/copy/no-transfer and take to another grid. As long as I don’t transfer it to another person – I’m within my rights.

    Sick yer lawyers on me. Wanna see it! (Entertainment of the most high).


    If you don’t want your creations to end up on another grid: either head to the other grid and beat your customer there or… don’t create anything at all.


    Oh and “international law”? LOL

    I suppose you’ll sick Interpol of those who make such infractions? I’d loce to see that news story:

    “International terrorist murderer’s apprehension into custody was postponed, even though Interpol were within seconds of nabbing him so they could serve subpenoa against a virtual-world resident who copied his legally-obtained virtual toy from one virtual island to another. Details at eleven!”

  17. Fookin "A"

    Aug 25th, 2009

    All Seeing Eye, fookin “A”! Nice entry. Nicer exit! All you basement dwelling, SL addicted mothafookers, pay attention to old A.S.E. here, he speaks volumes of TRUTH and loads of WIN!

    all you basement dwelling SL addicted mothafookers already have aids anyhow,
    so you were all doomed from the get go.

    POOLS CLOSED! (very soon)

    until then



  18. anon

    Aug 25th, 2009

    i too am distraught at the thought of fat people making internet penises instead of getting jobs being paid only a paltry sum

  19. Lord Montague

    Aug 26th, 2009

    That is indeed the sticky wicket that Linden Lab is in, A.S.E. They can’t figure out what a L$ is. If it is a game token and has no value, then all these SL addicts who threaten to sue are S.O.L. (That’s shit out of luck in the Queen’s English, mind you). Because no damages have occurred so what can you sue for? More L$? How simply entertaining! Now if it isn’t just a game token, I shudder to imagine how various governmental agencies may force Linden Lab to shut down for aiding and abetting multiple past and present indiscretions.

  20. JustMe

    Aug 26th, 2009

    All Seeing Eye said “Oh, and btw, L$ has no value. You are not consumers. Second Life is a video game and L$ are game tokens.”

    You just keep on believing that, and I’ll keep taking my monthly SL profits and converting the L$ to US$ which I send to PayPal to use in my Real Life.

  21. archie lukas

    Aug 26th, 2009

    What to do with your hair?

    Make it go WOOF

    - 1 litre of unleaded petrol
    - Pour it on hair
    - strike a match

    - WOOF


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