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.
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
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?