Lab updates Terms of Service

LL logoUpdate, December 1st: Following my line to the Lab, the ToS was re-issued with Section 10.1 corrected to reference Section 11.5 instead of the incorrect Section 10.2, which had been removed with the original December 1st update. This article has been amended to reflect the update.

On Tuesday, December 1st, 2015, Linden Lab issued an updated Terms of Service (ToS) covering their Second Life and Blocksworld products – and for the first time, at least in recent updates, outline the specific changes which have occurred within the ToS, defining them as:

  • Removal of references to Desura (sold to Bad Juju Games in November 2014) and the Linden Dollar Authorised Reseller programme (discontinued as of August 2015)
  • Explicitly addressing the Lab’s intolerance of harassment of Linden Lab employees
  • Clarifying of the arbitration provision in accordance with applicable Californian law.

In addition, and in light of the formation of Tilia Inc., the Lab’s virtual currency subsidiary, the Terms of Service have been expressly expanded to define “the terms on which Linden Research, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries (“Linden Lab”) offer you access to its interactive entertainment products and services.”

The alterations to reflect the fact the at the Linden Dollar Authorised Reseller programme is no more can seen in the massively foreshortened Section 4.7 of the revised Terms of Service, which once again make it clear that the only point of reference for the exchange of Linden Dollars for physical world currency may not occur anywhere outside of the LindeX, nor may Linden dollars be purchased other than via the LindeX.

The update to reflect the Lab’s intolerance of staff harassment can be found in a revision to Section 6.1. iv, to whit:

(iv) Post, display, or transmit Content (including any communication(s) with employees of Linden Lab) that is harmful, threatening or harassing, defamatory, libelous, false, inaccurate, misleading, or invades another person’s privacy; [my emphasis]

There has been speculation this relates to certain personal attacks directed towards Ebbe Altberg through the likes of Twitter. However, it would seem more likely (I would hope) that this section is intended to address similar attacks which have been made through the Lab’s own forums, etc., over which they have full jurisdiction.

Section 10 contains the changes to the arbitration process, with section 10.1 being greatly streamlined in content and focused directly on the requirements of the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”).

While I am not a lawyer – and so the following statement is purely speculative on my part – it would appear that included in these changes is an attempt to prevent class action suits from being bought against Linden Lab as a part of the arbitration process:

Should either you or Linden Lab elect to resolve the Dispute by way of binding arbitration, the arbitration shall proceed in accordance with the then-current Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), except that in no event shall the arbitration proceed as a class or representative action. [my emphasis]

One error with these latter updates is that they still reference section 10.2, which has in fact been removed from the ToS as a part of the updates; something that has been raised with the Lab. Section 10.1 now correctly references Section 11.5.

A further change, not mentioned at the head of the ToS can be found in Section 4.1, where the final paragraph has been revised to read:

You may not sell, transfer or assign your Account or its contractual rights, licenses and obligations, to any third-party (including, for the avoidance of doubt, permitting another individual to access your Account) without the prior written consent of Linden Lab.
[my emphasis]

This raises an interesting question around the subject of shared accounts – often used by groups where an account might be used by more than one person for administrative purposes, etc. While the sharing of account passwords has always been frowned upon, the revision to section 4.1 tends to suggest that these accounts could now be deemed as a violation of the ToS unless the Lab’s written consent is granted. I’ve written to the Lab on this point and am awaiting a reply.

Those hoping this update might see a further improvement to the wording in Section 2.3 relating to IP rights will be disappointed. The section is untouched and remains as much a mess of a word salad now as it did following the “clarification” of July 2014.

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17 thoughts on “Lab updates Terms of Service

  1. I think I should let my lawyers look at this revision and see if they can make any more sense of it than the last one. The firm had six people looking at and they could not figure out what it meant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What’s most concerning about the change in section 4.1 is that it is the exact opposite of what was (and is still) said in “Linden Lab Official:Sharing or transferring Second Life accounts” on the Wiki:

    You may give another person access to your account, but you do so at your own risk; that is, if you share your account with someone else, you are responsible for what they do while using your account.

    This means that people who were very careful to follow an official policy are suddenly in violation of the terms of service.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the wiki reference, Antony. I’d missed that. I have contacted the Lab about 4.1 change, and am awaiting a reply. I’ll use the wiki reference as the discussion (hopefully) continues.

      Like

      1. …add some further confusion when I look at 4.2 and in my opinion it negates 4.1

        4.2 You agree to use an Account Name for the Service that is not misleading, offensive or infringing. You are responsible for activities related to your Account Name, and for keeping your password for your Account(s) secure.

        […SNIP…]

        You are solely responsible for all activities conducted through your Account whether or not you authorize the activity (except to the extent that activities occur because someone gains access to our system without using your identifiers and password). In the event that fraud, illegality or other conduct that violates this Agreement is discovered or reported (whether by you or someone else) that is connected with your Account, we may terminate your Account (or Accounts) as described in Section 5.

        […this IMO seems draconian…!! ]

        You are solely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your password and for restricting access to your Internet Device. You are solely responsible for any harm resulting from your disclosure, or authorization of the disclosure, of your password or from any person’s use of your password to gain access to your Account or Account Name. You will immediately notify us of any unauthorized use of your Account, password or username, or any other breach of security related to the Service. At no time should you respond to an online request for a password other than in connection with the log-on process to the Service. Your disclosure of your password to any other person is at your own risk.

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  3. I was somewhat disconcerted when logging in to be presented with the new Terms of Service – because the pop-up screen was totally blank. Apparently, I wasn’t the only person to experience this, either.

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    1. The ToS failing to load on some TPVs is a common issue. Sometimes it is just slow (but the check box and Accept Decline buttons come up OK), other times it simply doesn’t load. I’ve no idea if this is the case with the official viewer (if that is what you use), as I don’t think I’ve ever been using the official viewer (v2 / v3) when a ToS change has come through!

      As I’ve pointed out in the past – and should have again in this article just as a reminder – you can always see the Terms of Service ahead of logging into Second Life (or any of the Lab’s web properties such as secondlife.com) when a significant ToS change is made, by going to lindenlab.com/tos.

      Like

  4. Seems obvious now, they are getting ready for any that tries to suit them on courts by ditching Second Life!
    Well, Ebbe, try to suit me it i tell you that a few at least know your goal til the end of 2016 is to open Sansar, even if that means to bleed out Second Life all together with its user base.
    it is in your contract and you will only receive your fat bonus if so.
    If at least the Tos reflected the main concerns of Sl users and creators, but no, it adds again more and more doubts to Sl users base, still want us to trust you?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on getting that document corrected. So, how much did you charge them?
    Or do we need to start a rumor that LL can’t afford professional legal assistance in drafting their policy documents, and requires crowdsourcing? 😉

    -ls/cm

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      1. Assuming you’re referring to my mention of the “Linden Lab Official:Sharing or transferring Second Life accounts” page on the Wiki: that page, and others like it, aren’t in the “anyone can edit” category; the category they’re under even says “These pages contain official information provided by Linden Lab and may not be edited by the general public.” (this fact, and the fact that they exist, aren’t mentioned to suggest they trump ToS, only that ToS now contradicts previous official advice and policy).

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    1. Your comments are automatically marked as spam by Akisment, most likely as a result of the several times you have previously dropped comments with dozens of links to your flicker stream here, thus prompting the spam protection to kick-in. They are cleared as and when I check the spam list.

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  6. This is really getting out of hand, seriously it isnt censorship if one’s comments goes into the spam bucket, give a person time to moderate a site and blog and lets not keep up the sky is falling in SL mentality…all Inara is doing is reporting on something that LL published–thats it, she always maintains professionalism and has an open forum for people to comment.

    Like

    1. We both know that on three occasions you posted strings of Flickr links here. Akismet caught them on each occasion, and you wound up marked as spam. On one of those occasions, you even took to Plurk accusing me of banning you. And that’s all I have to say on the matter.

      Like

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