[MUD-Dev] Second Life's customers own the IP of their creatio ns

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Fri Nov 21 02:29:40 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


On Nov 20, 2003, at 11:00 AM, Crosbie Fitch wrote:

> I wonder if recognising a player's copyright (right to control
> reproduction) then grants them a right to a copy of their work?

> This would require that the player be able to install a suitable
> (partial replica) environment on their PC that would permit a copy
> of their work from the original environment to be conveyed to,
> with no loss of fidelity, such that they could then reproduce
> copies and distribute these to other players (licensed users of
> the original environment) such that those players could utilise
> the work as if they had created it (though they are restricted by
> the copyright, i.e. duplication or attribution, etc. except where
> licensed by the copyright holder).

I do not think this follows.

Writing a book, for example, doesn't mean the publisher has to give
you a printing press or a copy machine.  A right and an actual
ability are two different things.  Granting to a player the right to
reproduce their creation doesn't obligate Linden to provide some
means for them to do so, it just means that no one can legally
*prevent* them from doing so if they find a way to do it.

For example, there are now "3D Screenshot" utilities that will
record OpenGL calls and extract a 3D model of something shown on the
screen.  In most games, this would be looked on about as favorably
as stealing the family jewels.  In SL, I gather it will be more
along the lines of "extracting models of your own creations?  Knock
yourself out.  Extracting models of someone else's stuff?  You'll
have to get approval from them to do it legally."  Just like writing
a book.

> If the player doesn't have a right to a copy of their copyrighted
> work, I wonder if they have a right for at least one copy of their
> work to be maintained and protected against loss?

Sure.  They have the right to back it up.  Doesn't mean Linden has
an obligation to keep it backed up.

> It all boils down to whether the environment provider or host has
> a duty of care towards art created within that environment by its
> users?

That strikes me as a matter of contract, and I suspect that they do
not.  If you send a manuscript to a publisher, they don't have to
keep or preserve it (in fact, they won't).  It's up to you to make
your own copies and preserve them as you see fit.

Amanda Walker
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