Linden Lab Reforms Intellectual Property Protection Standards

Dmca As the heat from Eros LLC's lawsuit against Linden Lab ratchets up, the Lindens may be laying the groundwork for a possible negotiated settlement by giving Eros one of its main asks.

Will Linden Lab's tougher stand on intellectual property protections and speedier IP infringement reporting solve its legal woes?

Pixels and Policy takes a look at what recent announcements by Linden Lab mean for the future of content creation in Second Life, and why residents will learn to live with slightly restricted creation regulations.

Sticky Licenses and Online Forms

Reading into an analysis of Linden Lab's recent announcements by the Canadian law firm McCarthy Tetrault, the Lab may be meeting Eros LLC halfway on its call for stronger protections on created content. This may go a long way in meeting the requests laid out by Eros in its filing documents.

Recall in both our breakdown of both sides' legal arguments and in the standout reporting by the Alphaville Herald that Eros LLC's big ask wasn't a huge payday, but sharply restricted creation tools to limit unlicensed duplication of Stroker Serpentine's empire of sex items. The lawsuit originally sought an injunction against content tools that enabled IP theft.

Linden Lab recently countered with an improved Digital Millennium Copyright Act reporting system, moving from the traditional method of mail and fax towards an online form. McCarthy Tetrault explains:

To reduce the time and effort required from
residents in submitting notifications, Linden Lab is developing an
online form that residents can submit electronically.

In addition,
this online form will allow IP owners to request that Linden Lab
search for and remove all copies of an identified item created by a
particular resident. Linden Lab admits that developing this
capability is one of the most complicated tasks they have ever
undertaken.

The most complicated task Linden Lab has ever undertaken? Isn't that a bit dramatic, even for a developer trying to shake a persistent and well-funded lawsuit? Major content sharing websites like YouTube and even the raunchy humor website eBaumsWorld have already integrated simple online forms for reporting IP theft, and use e-mail as a valid means for reporting DMCA violations. Is working in three dimensions so much more complicated?

Linden Lab also plans to integrate "sticky licensing" into its content creation programming in the near future. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, "sticky licensing" will take a creator's licensing information (now relegated to a notecard packed with a purchased virtual product) and integrate it into the product's code. This adds another layer of security – or at least liability protection – that will make cases like Eros less likely. 

Sticky Licensing will also come into play once Second Life Enterprise rolls out in full. By indicating through sticky licensing how user-created content can be used outside the main hosted Second Life grid, Linden Lab limits the likelihood of a copyright complaint stemming from unauthorized duplication of a product on the corporate grid. It's a smart move.

Do you agree with the recent announcement? Will Linden Lab's medicine be enough to prevent public relations disasters like Eros LLC's lawsuit against Second Life? What do you recommend Linden Lab pursue as a means of protecting the intellectual property of its residents?

5 thoughts on “Linden Lab Reforms Intellectual Property Protection Standards”

  1. Are you being willfully stupid?
    Filing the DCMA online – not hard. Adding the capability to remove all copies of an identified object amongst the PB or EB of storage that they’ve got spread across millions of different accounts and who knows how many servers, that will be a complicated thing to do.

  2. Linden Lab’s concept of responsibility to customers has long been inexcusable. They have created a virtual society with little or no government, legal avenues or advocacy. For years rampant theft of not only content but property has been a daily occurrence on their grid. They have been well aware of this fact yet have largely washed their hands of responsibility. The company has changed its TOS time and time again, resulting in a document that is likely legally unenforceable and would fail to protect them in a heavy legal case.
    That they have somehow avoided a major class-action lawsuit before now is amazing. Their total negligence in protecting property on their grid is legendary. It is way past time that someone took them to task over the matter.
    As to whether or not what Linden Lab does will be sufficient, we only need ask: Has Linden Lab ever sufficiently responded to a problem or provided more than a half-baked, knee-jerk, self-serving, arbitrary response to anything?
    Our blogsite is full of accounts of Linden Lab’s failure to respond to customer needs. I don’t expect this case to be any different.

  3. I think you don’t give LL enough credit. The interplaying technical, social, and legal issues involved in doing DMCA takedowns in SL really are complicated. More thoughts on my blog but your comment form doesn’t seem to like the link.

  4. Linden Lab’s plans, ideas, and ideals….
    and Linden Lab’s actual in-place practices and follow-through are in two different worlds.
    meanwhile, Philip Linden is riding on his love machine.

  5. As a recent victim of Linden Labs knee jerk reactions. I’m appalled by their lack of respect for my privacy as an individual. I spend hours developing the few items I sell. I do it for the pleasure fo doing it. I have never had any financial gain from SL.

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