Evans et al vs. Linden Lab: Judge Ryu OKs revised settlement

secondlifeUpdate, November 26th 2013: The amount payable for virtual land held by claimants meeting the revised criteria of the settlement agreement is L$2 per square metre of land held held. The amount payable for inventory held by claimants meeting the revised criteria of the settlement agreement is $15 USD per account. Claimants may additionally be able to forego the payment if they wish, and attempt to sell their items via the SL Marketplace.

In June I reported on an out-of-court settlement reached between Linden Lab and a number of SL residents in the matter of a dispute over virtual Lab ownership.

At the time it broke, the Evans et al lawsuit against Linden Lab has strong echoes of the infamous Bragg vs. Linden Lab situation of 2007. The action was brought by the plaintiffs after having their accounts terminated and their assets (land, content, Linden dollars) seized, as was the case with Bragg. What’s more, the plaintiffs were represented by Jason Archinaco, who had represented Marc Bragg back in 2007. In a final twist of fate, the matter was initially set to be heard by Judge Eduardo Robreno, who presided over the Bragg case.

As it turned out, the matter eventually came before Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu. In November 2012, she published findings on the case, which granted Subclass A of the motion filed by Archinaco on behalf of the plaintiffs whilst also denying the Main Class of the action.

Judge Donna M. Ryu
Judge Donna M. Ryu

As a result of this, an initial settlement agreement was executed by the two parties in May 2013. At the time, it appeared as if a settlement amounting to some $172,000 had been agreed, which would potentially be paid out to some 57,000 users who met the criteria of Subclass A, and that the payout would be made in Linden dollars.

However, according to a report published by Top Class Actions on Sunday November 3rd, following a request by Judge Ryu, the initial settlement agreement between Linden Lab and the plaintiffs passed through a series of revisions prior to the Judge granting preliminary approval to it on October 25th, 2013. Under this revised settlement agreement, the Class Members include:

All persons whose assets, including virtual items, virtual land, and/or currency in lindens and/or U.S. dollars, have been deliberately and intentionally converted by Defendant Linden’s suspension or closure of their Second Life accounts on or after April 16th, 2008.

This is slightly different to Judge Ryu’s original findings on the Subclass, which carried no limiting date when published.

Under the revised terms, Linden Lab has agreed to return up to 100 percent of the U.S. dollar balances in the Class Members’ accounts to their PayPal accounts within 10 days of establishing the validity of the claim, and to also return up to 100 percent of the balance of linden dollars by converting them to U.S. dollars and will waive all commissions on the currency exchange. Finally, Linden Lab has also agreed to pay for virtual property and virtual items once the validity of each claim is determined.

Precisely what this means in terms of overall payout is unclear. The next step in the process is for the Class Administrator to notify Class Members of settlement by email.  A hearing on the final approval of the settlement has been scheduled for February 27th, 2014.

Related Links

With thanks to Danko Whitfield

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Black Dragon viewer: progressing nicely

Blackdragon logoTuesday November 5th saw the release of Black Dragon 2.3.7 Maintenance 2, the second release for the viewer in as many weeks, the previous being (wait for it) 2.3.6 Maintenance 1. Since it’s been another two months since I last looked at Black Dragon, which is still officially in its Alpha phase of development, I decided the arrival of 2.3.7 was as good a reason as any to take another peek at what Niran has been up to.

And it is actually rather a lot, with each of the iterations of Black Dragon appearing since 2.3.1 both building on the basic LL v3.x look and feel while adding-in both more TPV features and Niran’s own unique take on the viewer’s appearance and layout.

  • Version 2.3.2 saw the inclusion of a host of CHUI, NORSPEC (materials), Cocoa updates, bug fixes and maintenance updates from Linden Lab, together with the return of Tofu Buzzard’s screen space reflections and a lot of general clean-up
  • Version 2.3.3 was to include further LL code updates and fixes, some updates to Niran’s Machinima Sidebar, and further rendering / graphics tweaks
  • Version 2.3.5 saw the re-introduction of RLVa, complete with a dedicated Preferences tab.

As noted above, both release 2.3.6 and 2.3.7 are classified as “maintenance” releases, planned by Niran to further enhance the work started in version 2.3.4, which introduced the first phase of overhauling the Preferences floater.  Given this, what follows is intended to be an overview of the most recent updates to Black Dragon, with a particular focus on the Preferences work, rather than an in-depth review.

Preferences

With Niran’s Viewer, Niran opted to go for a fairly radical overhaul of the Preferences options, presenting them as an overlay, rather than within a floating panel. It was a novel approach, and one which, while making better use of screen space, could also be disconcerting to users coming to it the first time, particularly when trying to find settings, etc. In the re-working of Black Dragon, he’s gone for something less radical and potentially less unsettling to users familiar with the “traditional” approach to the Preferences floater, but which still offers an interesting take on how Preferences can be presented.

The first noticeable change is that Niran has used headings to split the various Preferences tabs into definable sections. The result is a layout which tends to be more logically ordered and which the eye tends to follow more easily.

The RLVa Preferences panel introduced in version 2.3.5 of Black Dragon and showing the use of section headings to help logically arrange the tab's content
The RLVa Preferences panel introduced in version 2.3.5 of Black Dragon and showing the use of section headings to help logically arrange the tab’s content

The other obvious change is that rather than using additional sub-tabs within a given section of Preferences, Niran has opted to use a slider on the right of the given tab, allowing users to scroll up and down through options in order to display them. It’s an interesting approach to take, and one that is certainly as valid as the use of sub-tabs; however, having to scroll through an extensive list of options such as with the Display tab perhaps isn’t quite as efficient as being able to see tabbed headings at-a-glance in order to switch between them.

There are other touches as well which set Black Dragon apart in terms of Preferences presentation. Within the Display tab (Graphics), for example, Niran opts to use drop-down option lists rather than sliders for various settings. This is again a carry-over from Niran’s Viewer, and whether one likes it or not is liable to be a matter of personal taste. To me, being able to set the rendering quality for something like in-world objects to a value between Low and Ultra feels more intuitively user-friendly than adjusting a slider to an arbitrary point somewhere between 1 and 4, or 0 and 1, or 16 through 120.

The Display (Graphics) tab in Black Dragon's Preferences. Note the use of the slider (far right) rather than sub-tabs, the use of drop-down lists in place of sliders and the [default] option for quickly resetting those sliders which are still used
The Display (Graphics) tab in Black Dragon’s Preferences. Note the use of the slider (far right) rather than sub-tabs, the use of drop-down lists in place of sliders and the [default] option for quickly resetting those sliders which are still used
Continue reading “Black Dragon viewer: progressing nicely”

SL projects update week 45 (1): Server and viewer sundry news

Server Deployments week 44

As always, please refer to the week’s forum deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

Main channel: Tuesday November 5th

The Main channel was updated with the same maintenance package previously deployed to the three release candidate channels, and which comprised bug fixes and crash modes.

Release Candidate Channels, Wednesday November 6th Currently Cancelled

The RC restarts have been cancelled, see the Grid Status report.

All three release candidate channels should receive the same maintenance package, comprising further infrastructure changes for the yet-to-be-announced Experience Keys (experience tools) project.

SL Viewer

There have been no release updates so far this week. However, a bug has been reported within the former “Sharestorm” viewer (the current release viewer, 3.6.9.282535), wherein fps rates are severely impacted when the CHUI conversation floater is open. If you’re using the current release viewer, and find frame rates are being impacted when conversing, try switching to CHUI’s Compact View.

If you find your FPS reates are being hit when you have the CHUI floater open in the current SL viewer release (or a viewer with the ShareStorm code), try switching CHUI to the Compact Viewer (above)
If you find your FPS reates are being hit when you have the CHUI floater open in the current SL viewer release (or a viewer with the ShareStorm code), try switching CHUI to the Compact Viewer (above)

A further bug that has been reported sees FPS impacted if the Build floater is opened after having About Land open in a region with a long covenant.

Region Restart Sound

A new JIRA has been put forward (STORM-1980) to have a default region restart sound added to Second Life. This would be played automatically by the viewer on receipt of a region restart message, adding an additional warning of an approaching restart for those who may miss the pop-up notices, be working on another screen / window or who are otherwise distracted while logged-in to Second Life, allowing them to take appropriate action prior to the region starting and them being logged-out. Work on this is in progress, and is generally seen as a good idea.

Other Items

Scripted Sound Improvements?

Requests have been raised at several meetings recently about the possibility of improving scripted sound functions (such as being able to use a single sound loop for a vehicle’s engine and using LSL to change the pitch of the loops when the vehicle is accelerating or slowing down, for example) and to possibly make the prim collision sound being a property of the prim instead of the script.

Commenting on the former request at the simulator user group meeting on Tuesday November 5th, Simon Linden said, ” there have been some JIRA feature requests about llLink-something with sounds  [“llLinkPlaySound”, “llLinkStopSound” and “llLinkLoopSound”].  We’ve discussed it internally and it seems like a good idea, but needs some work to see if we can cover as much functionality as possible with a reasonable API.” Expect more details as the work progresses.