Monday Meme: Being ToSsed Out

Stop. Before going any further, go read Strawberry Singh’s blog challenge for the week (here) and then come back or my ramblings might make far less sense then they usually do, i.e., not bloody much. I’ll wait here.

Waiting …

Back already? That was quick. And you understand everything? Bah, I don’t either, but that has never stopped me so onward and upward!!

Do you usually read the TOS thoroughly before you hit accept?
Yes and No. For the most part, I initially accept an application’s or service’s ToS with little interest other than its privacy elements but afterward I invest some time in following the changes made in each iteration. Again, I mostly focus on privacy rights, but if I read that something allegedly onerous has happened, then I try to learn more. When Facebook bought Instagram I stopped using the latter, all due to the glaring issues privacy issues that riddle the former’s service (and to think that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg just bought up the houses surrounding his because he wanted more privacy). When the blogosphere went ape over the new Second Life ToS, I read everything I could find.

How do you feel about the new LL TOS changes, specially from August 15th and section 2.3.
It smells a bit desperate. The on-going talk about lost revenues, declining membership, decreasing number of private estates, &c., makes this clause look like an attempt at increasing revenue. Perhaps its the legal-speak, but it really does sound like those corporations that claim anything you invent while employed by them belongs to them because you might have used something you learned at the company or may have thought about the idea during working hours.

After lots of reading and long periods of reflection, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that The Lab is merely inept, not evil. Once again The Lab has whipped up something quickly and without much thought about long-term maintenance or planning. Likely someone pointed out that another area of the company had an issue or someone noticed that two different factions (and I intend the connotation there) conflicted over company-wide content and the ToS change is a band-aid to distract some from the obvious need for a clear and lasting solution.

Ahhh … this is the life. Can’t do this iRL, huh?

Do the changes affect you directly?
As I’m not a serious content creator at this time, I was tempted to say “No, this does not affect me directly.” As a content consumer I have to say “Yes, this may have consequences for me.” Here’s my thinking: Jo Baghadonutz (not her real name) makes the most beautiful elbow piercings on the market, painstakingly crafted with love and original mesh/textures. Jo, however, read the ToS and thinks that The Lab can thus appropriate her designs, textures, and compiled talent despite her wisely having claimed copyright and trademark before upload to The Lab’s servers so she stops creating the elbow piercings which so fulfill my Second Life. I’m devastated. And if you’ve looked, you know there are no comparable elbow piercings available (until the illegal CopyBots find out, of course).

The ToS change threatens all the creators I’ve come to enjoy and rely upon in my possibly interminable sabbatical from creating things myself. And as I see more creators cease creating, the less likely I am to finally buckle down and learn the tools required for making quality things in Our World.

What do you think people should do about this new change?
Read. Read lots. Read lots and often. Talk to others. Talk to others that can make a difference. But for deus’s sake, don’t whine and moan and generally go troll on this issue. If you don’t have something substantive to contribute, don’t cloud the debate with vitriol. Let the The Lab and others know your reasoned opinion, but skip the rhetoric. Ultimately, the ToS question won’t be solved by Jane Q. Resident, but by creators with the resources to pursue legal challenges and by a Lab that is willing to listen and work with its subscribers.

Pretty sure there’s nothing outside Second Life that interests me. Not.

Are you or have you ever thought about leaving Second Life?
I sometimes think about leaving Second Life but I would greatly miss many of the people I know in Our World. The Inventory I hoard for no particular reason does not keep me living a Second Life but rather it is the idea that I have an actual interactive social experience that I can enhance with the things in my Inventory. I know some that enjoy Cloud Party and OpenSim and even WoW but none are quite like what I have in Second Life.

What would you do with your time/blogs/career if you ever did?
There’s this wooden structure attached to the back of our dwelling and it faces some lovely, tall plant-like growths that appear to have various forms of animal life in them. Likely I could rig some sort of comfortable sitting device and investigate while a mysterious, warm light from above shines down upon me. I suspect this sort of activity could lead to a Third Life, perhaps, but I’m not done with my second one yet.

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