[MUD-Dev] Second Life's customers own the IP of their creations
shaver at off.net
Sun Nov 16 15:42:43 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003
The Creative Commons element is interesting too, but the key issue is
clearly that they're leaving (giving?) the players' IP with them.
NEW YORK CITY (November 14, 2003): Linden Lab, creator of online world
Second Life , today announced a significant breakthrough in digital
property rights for its customers and for users of online worlds.
Changes to Second Life's Terms of Service now recognize the ownership
of in-world content by the subscribers who make it. The revised TOS
allows subscribers to retain full intellectual property protection for
the digital content they create, including characters, clothing,
scripts, textures, objects and designs.
In addition, Second Life has committed to exploring technologies to
make it easy for creators to license their content under Creative
Speaking to an audience of digital rights specialists and virtual
world enthusiasts at the NYLS "State of Play" conference, Founder and
CEO Philip Rosedale described the new policy as a major breakthrough
for users of online worlds.
"Until now, any content created by users for persistent state worlds,
such as EverQuest® or Star Wars Galaxies™, has essentially become
the property of the company developing and hosting the world," said
Rosedale. "We believe our new policy recognizes the fact that
persistent world users are making significant contributions to
building these worlds and should be able to both own the content they
create and share in the value that is created. The preservation of
users' property rights is a necessary step toward the emergence of
genuinely real online worlds."
Unlike traditional online game environments where anything created
in-world is owned by the service provider, Second Life has responded
to its residents' desire to own their work just as they would any
other original creations. Under these terms they can create, and sell
derivative works based on content they've made, or license the work to
Second Life residents began creating their world in October, 2002 as
beta testers, and continued through commercial launch of the service
in June 2003. In just over a year, more than 10,000 users have created
a richly diverse world, filled with more than 200,000 objects, complex
characters, a range of living situations from whimsical hobbit-style
homes to urban apartments, to sprawling mansions, and special
recreational areas including a 40-ride amusement park and an island
retreat. Everything in the world, from the antique carousel to the hot
race cars to the resident-abducting alien spaceship was designed and
built by the residents.
The economy supporting this activity includes over 12,000 objects for
sale. Each month, nearly 100,000 user-to-user transactions for goods
and services take place, with more than Linden$19million in in-world
currency changing hands.
"Linden Lab has taken an important step toward recognizing the rights
of content generators in Second Life," said Lawrence Lessig, Stanford
University Professor of Law, and Founder of the Stanford Center for
Internet and Society. "As history has continually proven, when people
share in the value they create, greater value is derived for all.
Linden Lab is poised for significant growth as a result of this
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