This is something I’ve seen a fair amount of buzz over so I’d like to cover it for you guys even though it’s not directly avatar related. Second Life’s TOS (Terms of Service) has been updated and goes into effect July 31, 2017. As of this weekend you cannot log in without accepting the new agreement. So what does that mean for you? Probably not too much. I highly doubt this will change the way most of you use Second Life. Due to the nature of the content this is a very text heavy post.
Linden Lab stated in their announcement, “We’ve restructured the Terms of Service to contain terms and conditions that apply to all Linden Lab products, and we have separated out product-specific references (such as Linden Dollar and LindeX for SL) into product-specific policies. The new Second Life Terms and Conditions contains all the Second Life-specific references that were previously in the Terms of Service.”
Most of the changes appear to be tidying up the document and clarifying things. For example the content covered in the old Infringement Notifications section was split up throughout the document a bit differently. There are some changes, however, that are still likely to stick out when looking it over. Though they may look scary (as policy changes often do) they really aren’t anything to worry about.
Including Tilia Inc.
This agreement… describes the terms on which Linden Research, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, including Tilia Inc. and Tilia Branch UK Ltd. (collectively, “Linden Lab”) offer you access to its interactive entertainment products and services.
This section is just adding in Tilia Inc. and Tilia Branch UK Ltd. They will be handling payment services on Linden Lab’s behalf in some cases. This doesn’t appear to change how we use Second Life.
By accepting this Agreement, you represent that you are at least eighteen… If you are less than eighteen…then your parent or legal guardian must read and accept this Agreement, your use of the Service, participating in the Service, and providing any personal information in connection with the Service on your behalf.
In Section 3 Linden Lab appears to have gotten rid of the requirement that users must be 13 and up. Second 3.2 delves a little further explaining things specific to children under 13. This may be to cover their butts legally if somebody under 13 uses the program, however it may also signal the future welcoming of a younger playerbase. Time will tell.
Restoring Lost Accounts
If you lose access to your Account for any reason, Linden Lab may, but is not required to, attempt to restore access to your Account by verifying your Registration Data. In the event that you are unable to provide the Registration Data, Linden Lab reserves the right to suspend your Account(s).
Section 4.2 now includes this, which was likely already being practiced. Many sites may help you restore lost accounts, but aren’t required to. Remember that this doesn’t mean if you lose your account info you’ll be suspended. Putting it into the document simply gives them a place to refer to when needed.
You or we may terminate your Account(s) at any time.
The “or we” was added in to Section 5. This is another thing that may look freaky to some, but it’s really just clarification on standard practices. While it technically says they can, it doesn’t mean Linden Lab is going to delete your account for no reason. It’s just giving them a place to refer to if needed in extreme situations.
You agree that you will not…
Post, display, or transmit Content that is obscene, hateful, involves terrorism, or is racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;
The new portion here in Section 6.1 is “involves terrorism” which is a change we’re seeing in many sites. Youtube, Google, and Facebook have all updated their policies to help create an environment less welcoming to those supporting terrorist acts.
If the Dispute has a claimed value of not more than $10,000,000, then the arbitration will be heard and determined by a single, neutral arbitrator…
…If the Dispute has a claimed value of more than $10,000,000, then the arbitration will be heard and determined by a three (3) member panel
If the Dispute has a claimed value of not more than $250,000, an arbitration hearing will be conducted… either by telephone… or in… San Francisco, California. If the Dispute has a claimed value of more than $250,000, the arbitration will be conducted in… San Francisco, California.
Section 10 discusses any disputes between you and Linden Lab including those that require an arbitrator, aka a third party mediator. This will likely never apply to you! It’s important to note that while this is mostly legal speak that was already on the books, there are a few changes made here:
- The old dollar amount for 3 arbitrators instead of one was $250,000 and it’s now $10,000,000.
- Disputes under $250,000 can now be handled by phone which was not an option previously.
- Previously all disputes were handled in your area if an in-person arbitration hearing was required. Disputes over $250,000 must now be handled in person in San Francisco.
- There are exceptions to this handled in section 10.2, but that’s getting way in depth for something that most of you will never run into.
California Complaints Contact Info
(California residents) may contact the Complaint Assistance Unit of the Division of Consumer Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs by mail at 1625 North Market Boulevard, Suite N 112, Sacramento, California 95834, or by telephone at 1.800.952.5210.
Section 11.3 includes this bit which only applies to residents of California (due to Cali’s laws). The address and phone number have been updated.
Related Policy Links
Section 12 used to be four times as long! It’s has been consolidated very nicely. This is simply a little tidy up. You may find parts that used to be covered in the TOS are now covered instead in these links.
Researching For Yourself
Want to look more into this on your own? Here are some helpful links:
- Old TOS (archived 7-6-17)
- New TOS (archived 7-29-17)
- Live TOS
- Right now this is the same as the archived New TOS, however it may change in the future. The TOS that’s live on Linden Lab’s site is the one that will be in effect.
- Highlighted Changes (compared 7-29-17)
- I used diffchecker.com to compare the archived TOS to the new TOS and highlight all the changes between them.
- Linden Lab’s Announcement