Update to “How Much Credit Do You Have To Give?”

At the end of last year, I published a post exploring copyright issues titled “How Much Credit Do You Have to Give?” Recently Bay Sweetwater contacted me to let me know some important information related to copyright and the Terms of Use for Second Life. She also shared a link to a very informative, copyright-related post published on her blog, Second Living. In her article Bay points out “Linden-granted rights are far from sufficient to monetize an SL video. And the Linden Snapshot & Machinima policy can lull you into thinking it’s all very easy. It sounds as if you can check a few land covenants, shoot your video, go post your Youtube video, receive a Youtube invitation to monetize, and you’ll be rolling in the dough. Don’t. Do not pass Go. Stop first. Make sure, for ALL content, you truly either own the copyright or have a license for commercial use.”

In the “How Much Credit Do You Have to Give?” post I had mentioned the Linden Lab Terms of Use and took them to mean users were allowed to take photos and machinima of content as long as the person owning that content placed it in a publicly accessible space. Here is the actual language from those terms:

You agree that by uploading, publishing, or submitting any Content to any publicly accessible areas of the Service, you hereby grant each user of Second Life a non-exclusive license to access the User Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content In-World or otherwise on the Service solely as permitted by you through your interactions with the Service under these Terms of Service. This license is referred to as the “User Content License,” and the Content being licensed is referred to as “User Content.”excerpt from Second Life Terms of Use

One of the issues Bay picked up on in the Terms of Use that I missed is the fact that the word “commercial” is absent from this language. So while you might be able to take photos and produce machinima if you meet all the requirements, you still might not have permission to use it commercially. Bay also questions the permission to film avatars. Because her site offers so much more detail and more fully explores copyright issues and the use of Second Life material, I highly encourage anyone with an interest in copyright to visit Bay’s blog and read through her entire article.

However, as a final disclaimer, both Bay and I are not lawyers – only a couple Second Life users interested in highlighting and sharing the incredible content we find there. But there probably are attorneys out there with knowledge and experience in this topic. It seems like it would be very useful if we could find a few willing to attend a series of talks in Second Life related to copyright issues.


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