Linden Lab Official:Terms of Service FAQ

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Official Linden Lab® Information: You may access and link to this page, but you may not copy, distribute, modify, adapt, or translate any content on this page. This content is subject to the Terms of Service and is not available under the Creative Commons or any other license.

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KBnote.png Note: This FAQ was issued with the March 2010 update to the Second Life Terms of Service. For the most current Terms of Service, see http://secondlife.com/corporate/tos.php.


What’s new in the Terms of Service?

We updated the Second Life Terms of Service to consolidate our policies and more appropriately and specifically reflect the nature of Second Life and our relationships. As our community and Second Life itself changes and evolves, so must the basic rules that govern Second Life.

Some of the changes to the Terms of Service are the:

  • Snapshot and Machinima Policy
  • Service and Content Licenses, including:
    • Linden Dollar License
    • Virtual Land License
    • Service Content License
    • User Content License
  • Additional Terms and Policies

For more on these changes, see M Linden’s blog post.

When does the updated Terms of Service go into effect?

The update goes into effect for existing Residents a month from now, on April 30, 2010. For new Residents who create their accounts beginning today, the update goes into effect immediately.

Do I retain intellectual property rights in content I create in Second Life?

Yes, you retain the intellectual property rights you already have in content you submit to Second Life. This is in Section 7.1 of the Terms of Service.

What is Linden Lab allowed to do with the content that I submit to Second Life?

To enable us to provide the Second Life experience to you, we need to be allowed to “use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform” content in Second Life, and you grant us a license to do so. We refer to that as the Service Content License and it is “solely for the purposes of providing and promoting” Second Life. You remain the intellectual property owner of any content you submit to Second Life – it is your content, not Linden Lab’s.

What is the content license that I grant to other Residents?

When you submit content to publicly accessible areas of Second Life, you allow other Residents to access that content and grant them a license to do so. That’s because other Residents can see it and display it. We refer to that as the User Content License, and it allows them to “use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform” your content “solely as permitted by you through your interactions with” Second Life. Your interactions include your use of the Second Life permissions system. The User Content License reflects how our content creators are using the permissions system.

Does the User Content License mean that I must grant other Residents the right to copy my content?

No, the User Content License does not require you to allow other Residents to copy your content. You may allow them to do so by setting the permissions settings for each in-world item you create to indicate your intent regarding its copy, transfer or modification.

When I delete copies of my content from Second Life, what happens to the content licenses for this content?

When you delete your content that you have displayed in Second Life or that is in your inventory, the content licenses terminate - but only for the particular copies that you delete (with certain limitations). If you have transferred copies to other users, the license you grant them continues, as well as for any snapshots or machinima that was captured while your content was displayed in-world. Finally, Linden Lab may retain any server copies it has of the content, including copies stored for its back-up, debugging, and testing procedures.

What is the Snapshot and Machinima Content License?

This policy promotes the amazing creativity of our community’s artists who are taking snapshots and making machinima in Second Life. This policy gives artists copyright permissions from Linden Lab and the Second Life community to make the incredible works that we all enjoy.

See Snapshot and machinima policy for details.

Why did Linden Lab add the Snapshot and Machinima Policy?

When asked for our written permission to use snapshots and capture machinima, we always gladly provided it. This policy conveys the support we’ve had all along for Second Life snapshots and machinima.

Whose permission do I need to get in order to take a snapshot?

If you wish to take a snapshot of content on another Resident’s land, check whether the covenant for the land prohibits snapshots. If it does, then you need special permission from the land owner to take the snapshot. If it allows snapshots or doesn’t address them, then you do not need special permission from the land owner as long as you comply with any terms that may be in the covenant.

You may also need other permissions if the snapshot uses intellectual property other than the 3D content of Residents or Linden Lab that is displayed in-world. For example, if the snapshot uses a trademark, then you may need permission from the trademark owner.

Whose permission do I need to get in order to make machinima?

If you wish to make machinima on another Resident’s land, check whether the covenant for the land allows machinima. If it does not or doesn’t address machinima, then you need special permission from the land owner to capture machinima. If it allows machinima, then you do not need special permission from the land owner as long as you comply with any terms that may be in the covenant. For machinima, you must also have the consent of all Residents whose avatars or Second Life names are featured or recognizable in the machinima.

Finally, you may also need other permissions if the machinima uses intellectual property other than the 3D content of Residents or Linden Lab that is displayed in-world. For example, if the machinima uses a trademark or music streamed in-world, then you may need permission from those intellectual property owners.

Are the rules the same for Zindra as they are on the Mainland?

Yes, the same requirements apply to snapshots and machinima captured on the Mainland and the Zindra continent.

I do not want content on my land to be filmed. What can I do?

If you are the estate owner, you may prohibit filming on your land in the covenant to you land. If you are a parcel or region owner, check the covenant to your land. Unless the covenant allows machinima, your permission is required for any filming on your land.

When does the Snapshot and Machinima Policy go into effect?

The Snapshot and Machinima Policy goes into effect on April 30, 2010.

Can I use a third-party viewer to export textures on a prim

Can I use a third-party viewer to export textures on a prim from Second Life if the viewer is not able to determine whether I am listed as the “creator” of the textures on the prim?

No, you may not. If you are using a third-party viewer that has any functionality that our viewers do not have for exporting content from Second Life, you must not export content without verifying that the Second Life creator name for each and every content component – including each and every texture – to be exported is the same as the Second Life name of the third-party viewer user. This applies to all content in Second Life, including content that may be set to "full permissions". 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. That means that if your third-party viewer can't verify the creator name of textures on a prim, any export of those prim textures is prohibited.

I want to issue licenses for scripts...

I want to issue licenses for scripts I have created to allow others to redistribute them subject to certain conditions. In order to do so, I must provide them with copies of the scripts set to “copy” and “transfer” using the Second Life permissions settings. I want my licenses to say that the copies they sell to others must be non-transferable. May I do so consistent with the new Terms of Service? If they are not complying with my license conditions that prohibit transfer, can I file a takedown notice or take other actions for non-compliance?

Yes, you may. Under Section 7.3 of the Terms of Service, when you submit content to publicly accessible areas of Second Life, you grant other Residents a license “to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the content . . . solely as permitted by you through your interactions with” Second Life. Your interactions with Second Life may include licenses that you issue as well as use of Second Life permissions settings, and you may use licenses to set limits on permissions settings. If you believe in good faith that a licensee is not complying with your license and infringing your copyrighted material, you may consider a takedown notice or other action subject to applicable law. You may wish to consult a lawyer about your rights in a specific situation.

Backgrounds in snapshots

I want to take snapshots on land with a covenant that allows it. If I can see another plot or sim in the background, do I need to check the covenant for that land as well?

Yes, we suggest that you do so. If your snapshot includes content on another Resident’s land, including any land that may be in the background, we suggest that you check the covenant for that land and obtain any permission that may be necessary under Section 2(a) of the Snapshot and Machinima Policy.

If the background land is extremely minimal, you may wish to consult a lawyer about whether its inclusion may be considered fair use. The Snapshot and Machinima Policy does not limit fair use; however, the law may or may not recognize fair use in different situations, and so we suggest that the best practice is to check the covenant for the background land and obtain any necessary permission.

Do I need copyright permission for snapshots of 3D content?

I wish to take a snapshot or make machinima on land with a covenant that allows it. That land includes 3D content that was not created by the landowner. Do I need to get a specific copyright permission from the content creator?

No, you do not need to obtain a copyright permission so as long as the content is 3D content (as defined in the Snapshot and machinima policy) that is displayed in-world and was created by a Resident or Linden Lab. The permissions that you need to get are listed in Section 2 of the Policy. However, it’s important to remember that the permission given in the Snapshot and Machinima Policy is only a copyright license for 3D content created by Residents or Linden Lab that is displayed in-world. The Policy does not include any permission to use the trademarks of Linden Lab or Residents, and it does not give any copyright permission to use music or sound recordings that may be performed in-world. It also does not give any copyright permission to use any website or video content that may be streamed from outside the Second Life virtual world environment. If any of this content is included, then you may need permission from those intellectual property owners.