Linden Lab Official:Third Party Policy and Viewer Directory FAQ

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What is the Policy on Third-Party Viewers?

The Policy on Third-Party Viewers is our policy that governs access by third-party viewers to Second Life and our technical platform that supports Second Life.  By "third-party viewer," we mean any software client, regardless of its source code, that is not developed by Linden Lab and that logs into our servers.  This includes software for viewing Second Life, any chat clients, utilities, bots, and proxies, any software based on our viewer source code under the GPL and any which is not, and applications that may or may not be listed in our Viewer Directory.

Does the policy limit use of the viewer source code that Linden Lab makes available?

No, the policy is not intended to and does not place any restriction on modification or use of the viewer source code that we make available under the LGPL, or the code that we formerly made available under the GPL. Rather, the policy sets out requirements for connecting to our Second Life service using a third-party viewer, regardless of the viewer source code used.

Does the policy apply to users of third-party viewers as well as developers?

Yes, the policy applies to those using third-party viewers to connect to Second Life as well as those who develop and distribute the third-party viewers.  However, there are some provisions of the policy that apply only to developers and not to users.  To determine whether a provision may apply to you, look for a bolded sentence at the start of the provision.

I develop a third-party viewer only for my personal use.  Does the policy apply to me?

Yes, the policy applies to developers of all third-party viewers used to connect to Second Life, including those that are only for personal use.  However, some policy provisions apply only to developers who distribute their viewers to others and not to all developers generally.  To determine whether a provision may apply to you, look for a bolded sentence at the start of the provision.

I develop a third-party viewer for connecting to Second Life.  Must I participate in the Viewer Directory?

No, you do not presently need to participate in the Viewer Directory in order to connect to Second Life.  However, we may at some point require all developers to register their third-party viewers with Linden Lab in some manner to help ensure that each third-party viewer has a unique viewer identifier.

Does the policy say that third-party developers are responsible for anything that a user does while using the developer's viewer to connect to Second Life?

No, third-party developers are not responsible for all actions by their viewer's users.  However, developers are responsible for the features, functionality, content, and code that they develop or distribute for a third-party viewer that connects to Second Life.  We expect developers who are a part of the Second Life community to comply with this policy and not to distribute viewers that include prohibited functionality or features.


Does the policy say that users of third-party viewers are responsible for how the viewer was developed or distributed?

No, users are not responsible for how a viewer was developed or distributed by a third-party developer.  However, users are responsible for all uses that they make of third-party viewers.

I develop a third-party viewer based on Linden Lab's source code.  My viewer is only for my personal use.  I do not distribute it to others.  Am I required to make my source code available to others?

No, if your third-party viewer is based on our source code and is only for your personal use and not distributed to others, you do not need to make your source code available to others. Of course, if you've made improvements or fixes, we would very much appreciate it if you chose to contribute them. We will be updating our Policy on Third-Party Viewers to clarify this point.

I want to include in the Viewer Directory a third-party viewer that is not based on Linden Lab's source code.  Must I provide in my Viewer Directory application a link to my source code?

We are encouraging all Viewer Directory applicants to provide links to their source code.  By allowing users to review your source code, you help create trust with users.  However, if your third-party viewer is not based on Linden Lab's source code, you are not required to provide a link to your source code, although we do strongly encourage it (the fact that there is no publicly available source is displayed in the directory detail information).

I do not want a publicly available listing in the Viewer Directory to disclose my own name or contact information.  Is it possible for the public listing page to show just the brand name of my third-party viewer?

Yes, although you must provide your name and contact information to Linden Lab to be included in the Viewer Directory, you do not need to make that information publicly available in your listing page.  You may elect to display only your third-party viewer's brand name, your Second Life identity, or the name of a Second Life Group in the Viewer Directory.  If you provide customer service for your third-party viewer, your listing must also provide users with a link to a page with information about contacting you for customer support.

For the disclosures required under section 1.c of the policy, must they be on the download page itself, or may they be linked to from the download page?

The disclosures may be linked to from the download page.  The goal of this section is to make these disclosures available to the user before the user installs and interacts with the software.  We will be updating the Policy on Third-Party Viewers to clarify this point.

I develop for a Linux distribution where there is no opportunity to present users with the disclosures required under section 1.c before the user downloads and installs the software.  How can I comply with section 1.c of the policy?

For Linux distributions where there is no opportunity to provide the section 1.c disclosures before installation of the software, you can comply with the requirement by having your software client present the required disclosures or a link to them in a dialogue box that the user must close before logging into Second Life for the first time through your software.  

What is the meaning of section 1.h on the principle of shared experience?  Does it restrict viewers that are very different from Linden Lab's, such as a text-only viewer?

No, we encourage experimentation and welcome a diversity of viewers.  Because of the confusion created by this section, we have decided to eliminate it.  We will be updating the Policy on Third-Party Viewers to reflect this. 

How can third-party viewers provide content export functionality in compliance with section 2.b if they cannot determine the Second Life creator name of a texture?

If your third-party viewer has any functionality that our viewers do not have for exporting content from Second Life, it must not export content without verifying that the Second Life creator name for each and every content component to be exported is the same as the Second Life name of the third-party viewer user.   In the absence of creator name information about textures, you may not export textures except as allowed by Linden Lab's viewers and in compliance with applicable law.  

Do the limitations of section 2.b on content export apply to content that is full permissions?

Yes, they do.  Residents retain intellectual property rights in the content they create in Second Life and it is important for you to respect those rights.  By setting content to "full permissions" using the Second Life permissions system, a content creator merely indicates that the content may be copied, modified, and transferred within Second Life.  Setting content to "full permissions" does not provide any permission to use the content outside of Second Life.

Because the programming environment (LIBOMV + mono) I used does not provide access to hardware information, my third-party viewer is unable to report an accurate MAC address.  Does this violate section 2.c.i of the policy?

No, if your third-party viewer is simply unable to report an accurate MAC address, this does not violate section 2.c.i, which prohibits "masking" of MAC addresses.  By "masking," we mean disguising or concealing the MAC address when inclusion was possible.  We will update the Policy on Third-Party Viewers to include this clarification. 

What is the meaning of the Viewer Directory eligibility requirement that "your Second Life accounts must be in good standing, must not be suspended, and must never have been permanently banned or terminated"?

This requirement means that if on or after the policy's publication date, on February 23, 2010, any of your Second Life accounts are not in good standing, are suspended, or are permanently banned or terminated, then you and your viewers are ineligible for the Viewer Directory.

I need to make some changes to my third-party viewer to bring it into compliance with the policy.  By when must I make these changes?

Please make the changes as soon as possible.  However, we are providing a two-month grace period for developers to bring their third-party viewers into compliance with certain provisions of the policy -- sections 1, 2, 4.b, and 5.  These sections of the Policy on Third-Party Viewers shall be effective starting April 30, 2010.