Berry’s Meme: The Toes…I mean, ToS.

berry_tos

There was also a misunderstanding, when I said “I don’t agree with ToS” and she might have thought I meant “I don’t agree with TOES”. And she went all drama on me. Poor Berry, now, now, have a mango. 😀

There is this prevalent myth that us bloggers are just sunshine, dolphins and fairies just because some of us shy away from negativity or controversy in our blog. This is an unfair statement, and so untrue…because, you know, we unicorns and rainbows too.

 It’s not that I don’t wish to be more ‘substantial’ in this blog. Ok, perhaps I do wish to stay away from being substantial here. It’s because I deal with it in RL, so why should my recreation, my SL time, have to replicate my RL? Right? Being a blog bimbo can sometimes be therapeutic after 8-10 hours of headdesking and palmfacing at work. Where I can get out of my work clothes every evening, log in and  go “Hello! My name is like, Zee, and I’m like TOTES loving this outfit cos it’s like TOTES AWESOME Y’ALL and check out my TOTES CUTE ROOMS AMAIGAH Y’AAAALLLLL!!” Yes, believe it or not, this can be very therapeutic. And that is not sarcasm!

If you don’t want to deal with a thinking Zee and refuse to smash the fantasy that I’m a bimbo, please look away right now and go look at this photo stream. I’m a big fan of his work and slightly jealous that he gets to do this in real life. I’m looking forward to the Open Apartment next week!

Berry’s question this week has been a controversial subject. It’s about LL’s ToS. So, here’s my two lindens.

My Thoughts on LL’s ToS

Disclaimer: Not an IP expert, this is personal opinion only and spoken as a regular user of SL. Read the whole ToS yourself and seek opinion from those in the field, not from second-hand sources!!! Would you operate on your own hernia from a YouTube tutorial? Same reasoning apply here! (I am STRONGLY hoping your answer to that question is “NO”).

MY UPDATE 21 Oct, 10.42PM SLT: “On Saturday October 19th, a panel of legal experts  – real-life attorneys – sat down at the Rose Theatre, Angel Manor in Second Life to discuss the August 15th changes to the Second Life Terms of Service, address questions on the matter and remove some of the FUD which has built-up around the subject.” (Quote taken directly from Inara Pey‘s blog. Here’s the audio recording and notes from that legal panel discussion.)

Do you usually read the TOS thoroughly before you hit accept?

Yes. It’s partly life training and partly due to work habits. My huge extended family is litigious, and sometimes not necessarily litigious against other people, if you get my drift. Also, I work in Industrial Relation and more often than not, reading legalese is part of that package. I’m paranoid about putting my signature on anything that I have not read thoroughly, and on anything that I cannot live with.

I’m not active in social media in RL because I don’t favour the ToS-ses. My RL Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter contains mostly non-committal and possibly not-commercially useful materials. It contains stuff that I would give to other people for free, and that other people would beg other people to take away from their possession. LOL. I have complete confidence that no one will be able to make money of my RL stuff. LOL.

When LL changed their ToS and made us all accept under duress, I only agreed to it after determining that it has little effect on my direct SL use. So I spent a long time on the login screen going through it and deciding how I should react to it.

How do you feel about the new LL TOS changes, specially from August 15th and section 2.3.
Ambivalent. Inconclusive. Equivocal. I neither fully agree nor fully disagree to it, mainly because I don’t find myself in the position where the changes affect me adversely. Nor does it affect me positively, if you think about it. It hasn’t changed how I enjoy my SL.

I would like to say this though. In regards to the ToS wording. At work, whenever a new contract have to be revised, we put on a whole bunch of stuff that we predict could happen and how to counteract it. Sometimes, this can be borderline nonsensical. However, this legalese is intended to protect butts just in case. Anything can happen. You never know when, where or what. So, to be fair, I may be desensitized a wee little bit.

The wording of the ToS itself, in my very personal opinion and as a regular user, is not unique. One part of section 2.3 of LL ToS is constantly being pedaled around (see red box), and people who read only half the story may not make the best judgement for themselves.

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Section 2.3 of LL’s ToS (click on pic to embiggen!)

The red box is an important section, yes, but a lot of panic were created because it was the only part read by the masses. Panic created by second-hand sources without reading the whole part where at the very top, we are supposedly still the owner of our IP. To compare, these are ToS of several other services that we use regularly:

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Facebook ToS (click on pic to embiggen!)

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Twitter ToS (click on pic to embiggen!)

If you are using this services, you have agreed to these terms. I didn’t find these ToS a problem, but because I was aware of it, I also don’t actively use these services in RL beyond necessary.

Why, then, when we have agreed to this type of similar ToS, do we make such a big deal out of LL’s new ToS? Perhaps it is because SL is an organic environment. Users make this metaworld go round, because users are the content creators, not LL. LL provides the platform for this creation. Without creators, there are no contents. Without contents, there is no reason to be a Resident. Who wants to stare at Linden Water and Linden Sky and Linden Land all day long?

So, as someone who do not create content inworld, I am ambivalent about the new ToS. But I’m fully aware that I could easily sing a different tune if I was a creator in SL.

I do have a minor concern about the ‘derivative works’ issue, though, something which I am still poking around with.  

Do the changes affect you directly?
Not directly, no. But it could have a snowball effect. Similar to Berry’s reasoning…if more content creators are concerned about the ToS and leave/stop creating, then there will be less quality materials on the grid.

Bear with my economic hypothesis here. If this happens, supply of quality material goes down despite demand for it being high. When demand is far more than supply, prices will go up (you value it more). So the average prices of things in SL will go up, the higher the profit margin a content creator can rake from this. Less competition is BAD for consumers, it puts the power in content creators hand and not all creators are dolphins and fairies. Some are downright sharks.

Scarcity is a merchant’s weapon. We are aware of RARE gachas of highly demanded brand going for very high prices, right? Why? Because less people own this RARE when a lot of people value the RARE. Demand and supply in metaverse action. BUT not all RARES are made equal. There are some RARES out there that people don’t care much about, it sits on a yardsale table for weeks and weeks at grossly inflated prices…then it gets lowered…then lowered…then lowered…you get the drift.

Let’s not kid ourselves here, most of us are pretty tied to our metaverse and LL knows it. While a lot of us leads a busy RL and use SL recreationally, a majority of us is not going to leave, and therefore will accept a higher cost just to preserve our ‘virtual lifestyle’.

So, will it directly affect us in the future? Or am I just being a doomsayer?

What do you think people should do about this new change?
Hopefully, this will make us all more interested and aware of our rights and ToS of other services that we are using. I do wish there are less emotion and more reason. Less panic, more rational. I can appreciate the fact that what makes SL unique is the ability for content creators can make RL living out of it, and understandably, this unfriendly ToS is not very welcomed.

Are you or have you ever thought about leaving Second Life? What would you do with your time/blogs/career if you ever did?
SL have existed before most of us. SL will continue to exist after a whole lot of us. I have existed before SL. I will continue to exist after SL. What would I do with my time/blog/career? The same thing I’m doing now. Read, write, and wake up every morning to go to work. And then you guys will have to deal with me rambling full time. LOL

So. What do YOU think of the ToS? Has it affected you, as a regular user? I am interested to know as well, and maybe be educated on certain parts that I am ignorant in.

Yes. I just ended my sentence with a preposition. Totes awk?

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8 thoughts on “Berry’s Meme: The Toes…I mean, ToS.

    • You fire me every other day, and sometimes twice on high holidays, and yet you still keep me around, cos we know you can’t quit me, babeh! *insert the Plurk rooster flicking-bra-strap emote* ❤

  1. 100000000×10% agree with your answers ‘specially #2, as that first line is very common with other toes. You’re still glittery sunshiney rainbows! but with teeth! 😀 (and meat!)

    • So how many percent is that? I CAN’T MATH AFTER 5PM OK! Stop making me do it!

      Yeah, I guess I’m a ToS-nerd in my own way so the wording weren’t that different to me from any other services. Then again, most services don’t have an environment where prolific content creators are the one making their services go round. I guess as just a regular user, I consider my use of SL just like any other services I use. “I don’t *really* like your ToS but hey, I’m probably not gonna produce anything useful for you so ok, I’ll sign this” kind of thing. 🙂

  2. My footprint is pretty small in SL and I dont care much or even understand the tos blab; i figure if peeps are still signing in its ok ; same as sheep i guess. There are lots of peeps that enjoy beating up whatever when they dont know nothin.

    • You don’t mince words! 😀 I will have to agree with your sentiment. I get annoyed when people get so beat up about legalese BEFORE reading the whole thing, and WITHOUT being familiar with ToS-ses in general, just because it is the ‘in’ thing to gripe about at the moment. Content creators’ concern, I can understand in a way (BUT it is mentioned that they will still own their IP). Our role as an avatar blogger, at best, can only be described as ‘content appropriator’. Am I worried about this ToS as a content appropriator? Only if my content creators start dropping off the grid like flies.

      Still good to make people more aware though. It will be better if the majority would actually sit down and read the whole thing themselves and not just the little morsels naysayers choose you to see.

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