Linden Lab’s New ToS: Some Things Improve While Taking Something Away

by Jessica Holyoke on 01/04/10 at 3:48 am

Linden Lab has unveiled today its new Terms of Service, the backbone of the interaction between the user and the Lab when it comes to using Second Life.  While some of the new ToS is very much welcome, there are hidden aspects that put a damper on things that have happened in the past. 

First the good news.  By agreeing to the Terms of Service, users are giving a license to other users to take pictures and videos of publicly accessible places.  In the past, it could be argued that the snapshots of hair, buildings and tree were all copyright protected in such a way that a picture infringed on all of those items and you needed the permission of each creator to have a properly licensed snapshot or video.  So now a resident can freely take a picture of a street or building, sort of.

Of course, that does mean that the Tiny issue of a few months back, where instead of using illustrations for a book, the author used photographs of someone else’s avatar designs as the illustrations would be licensed by the creator simply by uploading the content to a public space.  According to the Snapshot and Machima policy, in order to take either, you need to check the land status in order to see if its permitted.  If its not, you need special permission from the landowner.  Additionally, in order to take machima, you need the permission of the avatars involved unless its a crowd or fleeting scene.  This apparently does not affect the Copyright fair use doctrine.  

Now some bad news, and the biggest one to be swept under the rug. Starting with section 3.1 of the new ToS,  You may not transfer or assign your Account and its contractual rights, licenses and obligations, to any third party without the prior written consent of Linden Lab.  Before you could transfer your account as part of your will.   And looking at the new, "the Linden dollar is a virtual token" section, Except as expressly permitted by this Agreement or otherwise expressly permitted by Linden Lab, the Linden Dollar License may not be sublicensed, encumbered, conveyed or made subject to any right of survivorship or other disposition by operation of law or otherwise, and you agree that any attempted disposition in violation of these Terms of Service is null and void. 

The same sort of language is under the "virtual space is a license" section. It sounds as if Linden Lab is trying to change some of the previous interpretations of the ToS by saying you can’t convey an account and its associated licenses with a will, unless you get prior written from Linden Lab.  Considering that copyright extends for 70 years beyond the death of the creator, the ToS seems to require estate planning for the virtual world to go through their legal department. 

All of the adjunct policies, with Age Play, Gambling, Banking, and the Community standards named twice, are now expressly part of the ToS.   Infringement actions are now able to be sanctioned so that infringers may lose all of their content from the service, not just the infringing ones.  

And most importantly, if you are delinquent in paying Linden Lab, none of the above license rights, snapshots and machima, virtual land transfers or accepting Linden dollars is allowed.  

35 Responses to “Linden Lab’s New ToS: Some Things Improve While Taking Something Away”

  1. Kate

    Apr 1st, 2010


    Care to address the new text in section 11?

  2. LOL

    Apr 1st, 2010

    I could not have written it better myself ;-)

  3. Bubblesort Triskaidekaphobia

    Apr 1st, 2010

    One part that bothers me is 7.6 where it says, “Use of the Linden Marks in whole or in part, including without limitation “Second Life,” “SL,” “Linden,” and the Eye-in-Hand logo, is subject to the guidelines and terms of any applicable license provided in our Second Life Brand Center and Trademark Guidelines.”

    It’s the Eye-in-Hand logo thing that bothers me most. LL is trying to say that they have IP rights on a native American religious symbol. They might as well be trying to say they have IP on the crucifix or something.

    Check it out:

    Also, it looks like they are trying to trademark the word “linden”. Again, I don’t think that’s ownable. I’ve had Linden trees in my neighborhood since forever

    That’s only a few problems I have with it, but they are the most glaring, ridiculous mistakes I see.

    I’m not a lawyer, though.

  4. DarkAngel

    Apr 1st, 2010

    I like the new SecondLife terms of service, it helps better protect Linden Lab fom people like stroker serpentine who sue them when it is not their faults, rather than taking actions against the thieves.

    Secondly, I do not support any In world copyrights, To me anything you can see and take a snapshot, or video of in any video game is fair use, I dont really care what Linden Lab says is legal or not, outside of the game is not their jurisdiction.

    As far as your creations, Dont want it stolen, dont upload it, or you have a 1% chance of getting thefted by many people there are over a dozen ways to commit texture theft using just LSL.

    As Far as Privacy, and LL enforcing new TOS, they will never fully be able to, I have witnessed a bunch of people breaking the TOS in SecondLife, and Estate Owners allowing thefts on their estates, and Too many uncaring people about content theft, it wont stop, and people can always just bypass it using proxy/Fake viewer without hardware info.

    So Yeah I really like the New TOS a lot, and I wish people would follow it correctly, as well as some creators who currently Designed anti Theft systems, Those Violate the tos Under Slander/Defame and need to be restricted from SecondLife. My Friend got unbanned from SecondLife after being unfairly Judged by CDS for using emerald, but Got their name slandered a lot because of their system, as Far as casino’s I do not really care I mean I can make a private casino if I wish Inside, and outside of secondlife without LL doing shit easily. Use IRC Chat in SecondLife, get 5 casino players together, Login to Free to play game, and Play a outside of sl casino game betting L$ with eachothers concent, they cant trace or prove anything so. There are ways to get past with money laundering I am quite sure.

  5. Jessica Holyoke

    Apr 1st, 2010


    I was the one who wrote this piece, and I completely missed the Section 11 provisions about terminating an account when someone is deemed an unacceptable risk to the community or if they are a registered sex offender. However, it does state that there are certain conditions to termination or suspension of an account, not just their discretion.

    Also fun, is that the licenses that you might have purchased, Linden dollars and Linden land, are terminated if they suspend the account. The only thing owed is any credit balance on the account after cashing out on the LindeX

  6. Darien Caldwell

    Apr 1st, 2010

    Basically the changes to the TOS clarify existing policy. The old verbage was not clear and open to interpretation, which has caused no shortage of debate and arguing over the years. But now, I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever seen a TOS anywhere expressed with such crystal clarity. Hopefully this will end much of the constant bickering over what the TOS does and does not say, and more importantly what the intent of the clauses are.

  7. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Apr 1st, 2010

    People who read the ToS are cute.

  8. Ciaran Laval

    Apr 1st, 2010

    Agree with Darien that the new TOS is more clear and has less grey areas, there are still some grey areas but they have definitely made some key areas more understandable.

    Interesting point though about wills Jessica, very few people would ever have considered that, but it’s a fair point to raise.

  9. Coke

    Apr 1st, 2010

    Hey I just realised something – the new viewer rules say that you can’t download anything unless you are the creator, right?

    In that case, the official viewer is in violation of LL’s ToS. We have 30 days to download our fullperm textures before we lose the right to do so :(

  10. Mako Mabellon

    Apr 1st, 2010

    Jessica Holyoke: bear in mind that in the US, you can be forced to register as a sex offender for such offences as taking a piss against a wall at the end of a night out, sending dirty photos to your boyfriend or girlfriend while underage, and all sorts of fun other stuff. (I think there may be people who are forced to register because they were convicted of having consenting gay sex with another adult back when it was illegal.) The US sex offender laws have got rather out of hand…

  11. Jumpman Lane

    Apr 1st, 2010

    8.2 The Stroker Serpentine Clause
    is this new lol
    Round Two lol

  12. Jessica Holyoke

    Apr 2nd, 2010

    I believe it was publicly brought up once before when a creator died at a young age and his creations were still being sold. I believe his name was Jesse but I cannot remember his last name.

  13. HUH?

    Apr 2nd, 2010

    If you have had your private information stolen by skills Abuse report her. If you know where you ran into the cds device, have all of your friends stop by there and abuse report her too. Keep in mind, up until recently, it was not against the TOS to use a viewer with copy abilities. You were just not allowed to use that function. I find it ironic that now emerald has TOS breaking functions prohibited by the Third Party Viewer Policy. (2 b.

    1.You must not use or provide any functionality that Linden Lab’s viewers do not have for exporting content from Second Life unless the functionality verifies that the content to be exported was created by the Second Life user who is using the Third-Party Viewer. Specifically, before allowing the user to export the content, the Third-Party Viewer must verify that the Second Life creator name for each and every content component to be exported, including each and every primitive or other content type, is the same as the Second Life name of the Third-Party Viewer user. This must be done for all content in Second Life, including content that may be set to “full permissions.”

    This tells me Linden Labs feelings about the emerald viewer. Especially when a new TOS update(8.3

    (i) Post or transmit viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware, time bombs, cancelbots, or other computer programming routines that may harm the Service or interests or rights of other users, or that may harvest or collect any data or personal information about other users without their consent;)
    prohibits the harvesting of private information on other residents. So Abuse report and abuse report. When Linden Labs gets tired of their in boxes being filled with reports about the CDS taking personal information, including your IP Addy.( remember the quick time exploit that LL was worried about that they warned us that it re veiled your IP Addy to people a few years back?) they will enforce their TOS and hopefully delete CDS and throw that little freak out of Second Life.

  14. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Apr 2nd, 2010


    >If you have had your private information stolen by skills Abuse report her.

    >private information

    >client tag and ip address

    HAHA, OH WOW. You’re fucking stupid!

  15. Sarah TV

    Apr 2nd, 2010


    This kind of thing happens all the time, though. For example, TSR back in the day when it released Indiana Jones, the RPG, copyrighted and Trademarked Nazi. I don’t think it ever was challenged, either.

  16. Jumpman Lane

    Apr 2nd, 2010


  17. Senban Babii

    Apr 2nd, 2010

    TSR used to copyright and trademark everything they could in their publications.

    It™ Became™ A™ Running™ Joke™ In™ The™ Gaming™ World™

  18. Jumpman Lane

    Apr 2nd, 2010

    they had to senban lol when the got liscening from like marvel . they got lists of things to add ™ to. THOUGH the process of registering a trademark (getting the R) requires you to trademark through use (add tm for a few years) trademarking Nazi is what they were gonna sneak and try to do

  19. NIcholaz Beresford

    Apr 3rd, 2010

    You seem to have missed the whole topic of usage of third party viewers (they’re hidden in a new policy).

    After long discussions among developers it’s not yet clear what it means, but a few have pulled the plug already because they don’t want to be held liable based on obscure and unclear terms.

    Start reading here (discussion started somewhere in March), TPV is the key word:

  20. Inniatzo

    Apr 3rd, 2010


    the trademark provisions for the eye-in-hand logo mean using that exact logo (or something very close) it has nothing to do with any other depiction of an eye on a hand. likewise the trademark on the word ‘linden’ is in the context of a virtual world or mmorg or things of that sort.

    windows is a registered trademark of microsoft, but that only means in the context of the software operating systems. obviously they don’t have a trademark on the word ‘windows’ in any other context.

  21. HUH?

    Apr 3rd, 2010

    HUH?: TPV? The Prefered Viewer? Will jiggle my fat rolls. So neilife and other viewers are still ok to use. That…

  22. Jumpman Lane

    Apr 3rd, 2010

    def support the new tos particulary 10.2
    1. that’s a broadside at Stroker
    2. it is LL’s exit from the viewer wars

    CAN Stroker agree in a legaly binding instrument NOT to hold LL legally responsible for the actions of other users of their services when that is the essence of his suit against LL? DID he sign the agreement? his alts? is he using the service?

    my take on ll”s view of third party viewrs: they hate them. most 3rd party viewers are simply better. LL knows that hence viewer 2.0

    no support for 3rd party viwers and no liability for what anyone can do with them. just LL washing their hands of other’s viewts all together. so much for the spirit of openscource

  23. Judge Joker

    Apr 3rd, 2010

    I have not read the whole of the new TOS, and not been able to log in to accept it yet but by just going on this post and it’s comments.

    I would like to ask does this new TOS mean Kalel Venkman (aka Gene Turnbow) is now further protected by Linden Labs?

    And will he and the JLU be able to continue with their actions?

    Due to the fact Linden Labs are now explicitly not responsible, and further more won’t respond to any accusations of corporate negligence in not protecting it’s resident base from stalkers and residents who wear a pair of superhero jackboots?

    I should note at this point I had filed in an IC3 The Internet Crime Complaint on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 and saved off the official PDF and emailed it to his local police Chief Mike Lewis in simivalley.

    I encourage anyone who’s willing to stand up, to put their name to one and send it to him at

    And can we still pursue the JLU for actions they committed before this TOS update?

    And why was a TOS update necessary? was it a planned progression or was it based on Linden Labs being forced to protect their asses?

    I’m starting to see Kalel Venkman as someone who wears a superhero costume and is baiting young and often vulnerable youths into second life, to attack him so he has a valid reason to collect information on them.

    Then harass their ISP’s or anyone who he sees might have moral authority over them, using the “evidence” he collected as proof they should either not be on the Internet or should be arrested for what ever crime.

    We have only seen the wiki with information that is twisted and obsessively bias against certain residents and ex-residents.

    We don’t know what else is stored on his home server, he could be a complete pervert for all we know.

    And that’s why it’s important to ask his local police force to investigate his actions, he can cry that I am harassing him all he wants, I have never spoken to him in Second Life at all and asking a police force to investigate a possible crime in their jurisdiction is a just reason to stand up.

  24. Serendipity Seraph

    Apr 5th, 2010

    Do I read this correctly that I can’t even export textures that I bought full perms to??? That is ridiculous. And why can’t I use Meerkat or Second Inventory to backup full perm items that I did not create? Is SL claiming that all content versus what I create completely from scratch belongs somehow explicitly to them regardless of any contract I have with its creator or their wishes? If so this is imho pointed directly at their users who also explore OpenSim. Not nice.

  25. Cavin

    Apr 5th, 2010

    Snapshot and machinama policy seems to be fair and good. I was expecting this for a long time.

  26. Ajax Manatiso

    Apr 5th, 2010

    DarkAngel’s argument is totally flawed. You might as well say, “if you don’t want your car stolen, don’t own one” or “if you don’t want to be raped, don’t be female”.
    Having property does not make it fair game for thieves. Thievery is always, always wrong no matter how you try to rationalize it.

  27. IntLibber Brautigan

    Apr 6th, 2010

    Linden Lab continues to illegally and unconstitutionally violate Marsh vs. Alabama. You don’t surrender your rights at the login, no matter how much Jack Linden would wish it. Jack’s a fascist and we’ve known that for years. He knows he’s a dick, hence why he’s the longest serving Linden employee of whom we don’t know their real life identity.

    This situation is screaming for a nice ACLU suit.

  28. Charlie

    Apr 6th, 2010

    and so now they are not ripping peoples content. Instead rippining licenses from Linden Lab.
    Who files the DMCA since Lindens own it all now? The content builder or Lindens if they feel like it?

  29. Darien Caldwell

    Apr 6th, 2010

    Heh, obviously you didn’t read the TOS. LL doesn’t own it, they are granted a license from the item’s creator, just as customers are. So nothing changed in that regard, People stealing items are still stealing from the item’s creator.

  30. Strayn Janus

    Apr 8th, 2010

    @IntLibber: Marsh v Alabama would only apply if a case could be made that by open sourcing the client, LL have opened access sufficiently to make it effectively public. I am not aware of any cases where that’s been successfully used as precedent though.

  31. Serendipity Seraph

    Apr 8th, 2010

    Let us not forget that the DMCA is largely unmitigated evil. Yes, we don’t want ripoffs. But we also don’t want to lend much sanction to something as tainted as the DMCA.

    AFAIK. There is no good way for a creator to effectively mark their SL creations in such a way that someone that grant rights to can move it off the SL grid. At least that is what the TOS seems to say. If so that denies the rights of the creators and claims them for LL effectively.

  32. neil is dead

    Apr 8th, 2010

    look at that. Neillife creator just quit because someone found out he lived in russia.

  33. Serendipity Seraph

    Apr 8th, 2010

    I don’t get it. What does living in Russia have to do with anything? Whose BS policy objected because of this exactly and what is the objection clause?

  34. spyvspyaeon

    Apr 23rd, 2010

    “By agreeing to the Terms of Service, users are giving a license to other users to take pictures and videos of publicly accessible places.” that is great but why after that says that “If the content that you capture is subject to any trademark, service mark, trade dress, publicity rights, or other intellectual property or proprietary rights, you must obtain the necessary licenses and permissions to use the content, and you use it at your own risk.”

    Is this a joke? Or am I miss understanding the sparghetti words?

    The principle of contradiction was just talking about the latest announcement from LL about the promotion that make for machinima and effort they have made to meet the expectations of residents, but the TOS (although several interpretations because the TOS has been done so and not the fault of the residents in the gaps and contradictions by what is said and what is done “behind”). Although Linden Labs implement these regulations only to his world (of course you can control) and not even being able to tamper with the 3rd party, this seems contradictory with regard to the “big launch of LL” with its shared media. I am not knowledgeable of the laws in their entirety or have any training in legal rights, or rights to content IP, but in fact the new TOS has many doubts and few clarifications, overflows a little overzealous and impartiality, the TOS was not clear how a exclusive LL put his hand on you think its entirely, and in fact declares itself TOS. “Everything here is after all our pups are well understand.” Although leaving my reservations to criticize such a declaration, “perhaps totalitarian” who leaves behind even before trying hard to make a job fair in Media Content and respectful of others. If in fact LL is clearly clean hands and any possible conflict in the future, yes, “Changing the terms of service is the normal course of business, but I’m not sure That springing on Them people is the best approach, Particularly When there are at Easily accessible ways to Evaluate the scope and / or the nature of the changes and most es-When people are deriving tangible value (ie income) based on the previous agreement. “. Second Life Has Been previously defined as a service, and all it matter to economy, but its economy is not in agreement contemplates the possible movements of new media, in fact Machinima made in Second Life has never been so close to being a truly recognized ART, or expression of virtual reality (virtual attention, despite notions of intellectual property, it seems stupid to label us property is yours until I want “) and in fact to challenge the boundaries of what is already known to the metaverse to real life with the use of Machinima in commercial terms. I personally do not believe that Linden wants to throw the dirty dishes to the residents ate and where I hope the lack of clarity is a strategy to mask the true intentions of the LL. Like Phaylen says, let’s see what happens this. I just let a strong critic of LL and his blog that one day open a post for clarification on the following day is closed, in fact a rude way to say that we have not really vote on the matter, or to say so and there to give back. It is sad to see things well placed is depressing even thinking about what the future may hold more and more restrictions unfounded and clarified that the residents that we’ve created is crap anyway they can in order to tell whether it is in their interest . Is this sustainable or is this an attempt to approach the LL TOS WoW and other worlds with restricted content ….

    I think frankly this attitude completely unreasonable and disproportionate when we are talking about a world virtual, that as the word says it is all nothing more than a potentiality. I understand and accept the terms in relation to the Trademark, however completely escapes me why a Land (PUBLIC) requires permission from the owner .. …. or is public or not.

    Copying is one thing, now filming and taking pictures is quite different than copy content? Sorry but my notion of property is as dumb as the statements of LL or how they are put to us without infringing the intellectual property of the adversarial principle.

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    Jan 27th, 2011

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