One ToS to rule them all: Linden Lab issue new Terms of Service

Update: I’ve been furnished witha link to a document comparing the current ToS with the “old” SL ToS, which has been posted to Google Docs by Sean Brady. See Related Links at the end of this piece.

LL logoA new Terms of Service was issues by Linden Lab on Thursday August 15th. Second Life users logging-in for the first time after around midday SLT, while those who had been previously logged-in found themselves being asked to accept the new ToS upon re-logging after midday.

The new ToS appears to be an attempt to provide a single, all-encompassing document which can be applied to all of the Lab’s properties and products. As such, it should not be taken as referring purely to Second Life.

To help with this distinction, the new ToS is presented on Linden Lab corporate web page, as distinct from the Second Life-branded web page, and is linked-to from other LL properties with the (current) exception of Desura, which continues to have its own ToS for the present.

The Updated Linden Lab Terms of Service

Where Second Life is concerned the differences in between the new ToS and the last release version, dated May 6th, 2013, are very clear from the opening paragraph on through the document, which has been completely reshuffled and should actually be read through as a result. There are some significant changes in both wording and content, including, but not limited to (from an SL perspective):

  • A major set of updates to the dispute resolution / arbitration section (Section 10)
  • A new section (Section 7) on Infringement Notifications, including notes on the DMCA process
  • The removal of any need for LL to provide a 30-day grace period following any Material Change to the ToS. All changes, Material or otherwise, will now come into immediate effect on publication of the updated ToS to the relevant services. The onus on keeping up with changes to the ToS is now with users.

One thing to keep in mind when reading the updated ToS is that it is no longer applicable to just Second Life – as noted above, the same ToS is linked-to from all of the Lab’s properties, therefore certain sections of the new Terms of Service may have greater applicability to other services than to Second Life. Those sections which are specific to SL do appear to be clearly indicated as such.

Related Links

29 thoughts on “One ToS to rule them all: Linden Lab issue new Terms of Service

  1. “The onus on keeping up with changes to the ToS is now with users.”
    I doubt that this is legal (although it may need to be tested in court.) Are they saying “you agree to any and all changes we may make in the future without telling you”?


    1. They are telling you – the ToS is displayed at log-in when changes occur, hence the comment “on publication of the updated ToS to the relevant services”.

      The onus is on you to read it rather than simply clicking by or expecting LL to blog about the changes (which they may well still do, although the ToS indicates they don’t see themselves as obliged to do so).


      1. While I object to the take or leave it’ attitude shown by the ‘you can’t log on until you accept the new TOS, this is a long accepted practise in England and Wales and, I suspect many other Common Law jurisdictions. It dates back to the 19th century when railway companies made your journey subject to their condition of carriage. The Courts held that provided the ticket purchased bore words ‘sold subject to the Company’s Conditions of Carriage blah blah’ then you were bound by said conditions. This really is little different to LL making us accept their TOS before using their services,So I would see little mileage and the possibility of loosing a lot of money in any attempt to challenge through the Courts (retired English lawyer)


        1. While I agree with your point (and underline the fact I’m not a lawyer, retired or otherwise (smiles)), I would make mention of the fact that there have been attempts to challenge LL through the courts which have met with a degree of success. Not to dispute your view, but simply to point it has happened.

          Most notably we’ve had the case of Bragg vs. Linden Lab, and more recently Evans et al vs. Linden Lab. In the first case, circumstances dictated an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed sum’ Also, holdings from Judge Eduardo Robreno appeared to weigh against the ToS at that time, although there have since been significant changes to both the ToS and the circumstances Robreno referred to in his holdings.

          In the latter case, holdings from Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu upheld subclase A of the class action against the Lab, although she also denied the main class of the suit. As a result, rather than proceed with the case, both parties agreed to settle out-of-court, a move which involved some 57,000 plantiffs to whom the subclass applied.

          This settlement resulted in a payout from the Lab equal to $172,000. However, given the payout was made in Linden Dollars amounting to L$754 per plaintiff, whhile some referred to the case as one the Lab “lost”, it would seem to be little more than a pyrrhic victory for those involved. Further, as with the Bragg case before it, it failed to establish any real precedent, be it in the matter of virtual land “ownership” or more particularly in how the courts might look upon the ToS.

          Whether judge Ryu’s holdings had any influence in the development of the new ToS is speculative (Judge Ryu issued her findings in November 2012, and we’ve no idea how long the two parties spent in reaching a settlement afterwards), but it is interesting to note the section of the ToS dealing with dispute resolution has been subject to a significant re-write. But yes, it would seem to my untutored eyes that presenting a challenge against the ToS isn’t the easiest of actions to contemplate, as you say.


    1. Well, technically 13-to-15 year olds who are affiliated with an educational / sponsoring organisation have been able to access SL regions operated by the organisation they’re affiliated with ever since the Teen Grid closed. So in that respect, nothing has changed that much – although the wording in the ToS is a little ambiguous on that score, and could / should be tightened.

      Also, again remember that this ToS applies to all of LL’s products and services – some of which (arguably Creatorverse and certainly Blocksworld) are aimed at children.


      1. I’ve been training some new peacekeepers on the ToS, and it looks like the classes I held on Monday and Wednesday were much different from what I’m going to teach on Friday. I do recall that after the Teen Grid merged with the main grid, LL had a complicated set of rules that had those aged 13-15 only able to access specially approved areas sponsored by an organization. I updated my lesson plans in June and was happy to see that LL had simplified things (probably so they didn’t have to approve those special sims). Here’s what I recorded in the ToS lesson plan:
        2.1 Age Requirements for Second Life
        Users must be at least 16 years old. If at least 16 but under 18, parent or guardian must consent to having the account and providing personal information, and must accept the ToS on their behalf.
        2.2 Age Requirements for Use of Areas of the Service
        Users 16-18 may only access areas rated General, while those 18 and older may access General, Moderate and Adult areas.
        The minimum age was set at 16 for some time, but now it is back to 13. But I agree that the words are somewhat ambiguous, for example, can a 13 year old be a premium member? I also noticed by a quick check that the old “Additional Terms and Policies” almost all go to the same links at the new “Related Policies.” Here’s my ToS training page (I’m going to build a new page for the new ToS and leave this one as a archive):—the-rules-of-second-life


  2. Alot of people are worried about the wording change from “(ix) Post, display or transmit any Content or conduct or host any activity that is explicitly sexual, intensely violent or otherwise designated as Adult under our Maturity ratings, except as set forth in those ratings. ” in the May 2013 TOS to “(vi) Post, display or transmit any Content or conduct or host any activity that is sexually explicit, or intensely violent. ” in the new TOS. The wording is making alot of people think that adult sexual activity is now not allowed on Secondlife… why the wording change?


    1. One weird thing is that the new ToS has the old wording also, down in the SL section: “(iv) Post, display or transmit any Content that is explicitly sexual, intensely violent or otherwise designated as Adult under our Maturity ratings, except as set forth in those ratings.” I imagine this is just a rough edge from the mashing together of multiple ToSes (along with the amusing “you must be 18! If you are between 13 and 18… If you are under 13…” muddle).

      But anyway the ToS that Firestorm had me agree to tonight was completely blank, so I assume it’s just “do as thou wilt” for me now!


      1. The section the troll posted as applying to SL applies only to their teen rated content in Blocks or however they now call it. The SL TOS override that.


        1. The section the “Troll” posted? Lols if you’re calling me a troll for asking a legitimate question that alot of the community was asking, then really who here is the troll.


      2. I tend to look upon the change as you do; a rough edge to an attempt to present a “one size fits all” to all of LL’s properties while simultaneously trying to cater to the uniqueness inherent in SL.

        As to the ToS display issue – there is a webkit failure that can prevent the ToS from displaying, although usually the “Continue” button is also absent, I believe, & so it usually requires one to pull up another browser to see & accept. Perhaps the Continue key was mapped, but there was some kind of delay in trying to access and load the text?


    2. the TOS actually read “(iv) Post, display or transmit any Content that is explicitly sexual, intensely violent or otherwise designated as Adult under our Maturity ratings, except as set forth in those ratings.”

      which is exactly the same it always has. You’re obviously trying to put words into LL’s mouth, make people think they’re banning A rated content for some reason.


  3. I doubt LL will try to kill what makes it alive but if for some reason they do intend to end adult activities in SL, well then for me and it will be goodby, as sex is as much natural and important as breathing, even only virtual!


  4. I wonder if the change in the ToS can be an indication that LL will start cracking down on forum and feed trolling and harassment – personally, I’d consider people who revel in these activities to be rather bad for business.


  5. I have just deleted a long rant.
    In the USA, corporations are legally persons. They are also too often, exhibiting symptoms of insanity.
    I feel that I have just been coerced into an agreement by the threats of a psychopath. How can that be enforced, I ask, and I know the courts are just as insane.
    To me, the TOS is meaningless. You shall just have to trust in my conscience. I’m biased on that, but I shall venture to suggest it is the better bet to take.


      1. Not an idiot. It’s a legal persona. If it were not so, if you wished to sue the corporation, you would have to name each individual owner, i.e, each individual stock/share holder – and if such were corporations, each individual owner of those corporations as well.


        1. Unfortunately, we often see abuse of this definition in order to cut down on regulations against corporate wrongdoing – claims that the corporation’s “human rights” are violated.


  6. I am concerned about the age requirement issues. As currently written the new TOS does allow for thirteen year olds in “G” rated sections of SL. There is no language now anywhere that prohibits them. Completely removed from the old TOS is this section:

    “i) Users 13 to 15. If you are at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, you may only use the Service if you are affiliated with a Sponsoring Organization, and your Account in Second Life is referred to as an “Affiliated Account.” A “Sponsoring Organization” means a User Organization (as defined in Section 2.4 below) that (i) maintains on the Service a “Teen Estate,” which is Virtual Land and Content that is appropriate for users between 13 and 16 and complies with the General Maturity Rating; (ii) has been approved by Linden Lab, in our sole discretion, to register Affiliated Accounts using our “Registration API” tool; (iii) limits the access of all Affiliated Accounts of users between 13 and 16 to the Sponsoring Organization’s Teen Estate; and (iv) requires all visitors to the Teen Estate to comply with the General Maturity Rating and any other rules that the Sponsoring Organization may impose as long as they are consistent with this Agreement. By accepting this Agreement in connection with an Affiliated Account, you represent that in addition to the representations of section 2.1, you are at least 13 years of age and less than 16 years of age, you agree that you will at all times comply with your Sponsoring Organization’s rules for the Teen Estate, and you acknowledge that you are only permitted to access your Sponsoring Organization’s Teen Estate and no other areas of the Service.”

    Unless they run into a block when they register an account and enter their true age, no one I know has been able to find any language anywhere in any other official document that prohibits 13 to 15 year old from signing up for SL.

    Personally, I find this troubling.


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