Well, not really. But it’s amazing what a good hard slap in the face will do to shake you from your sleep. Even if there is an impending death.

If you have a Second Life Account, and if you’ve logged in lately, Linden Lab required you to click ‘Accept’ to give them permission to rip you off. The current Terms Of Service document, required of you to ‘accept’ before you can sign into the service contains a revised User Content section with many broad, poorly-worded changes, the most visibly upsetting being the change from ‘solely for the purposes of providing and promoting the Service’ to ‘ for any purpose whatsoever’ in their description of what they are entitled to do with the content you create and upload to Second Life.

Anyone who wondered why they asked us to ‘accept’ a new ToS and then asked us to ‘accept’ another one a few days after now knows why. The idea was to make sure everyone just said, “Yeah, okay, whatever” and clicked without reading.

The trouble started when someone actually read that childish idiocy. The only legal implication of that change is to allow LL to sell your creations elsewhere without paying for them (in fact after making you pay to upload them after the care and toil and countless time you put into making them) for which, according to the very precise (though pathetically awkward) wording of the document, they are required to neither compensate nor acknowledge you.

It’s such a complete reversal, such a wholesale about-face from the attitude which allowed Second Life to become the premier online social entertainment project–certainly one of the most successful interactive entertainment efforts in history–that I and many others were convinced that LL had been hacked. Nobody could be stupid enough to deliberately destroy a successful publicly traded company, in any market.

And yet, when people all over the planet asked for confirmation and clarification, LL delivered this nonsense:

http://modemworld.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/tos-change-and-content-rights-lab-provides-statement/

http://www.cgtextures.com/content.php?action=secondlife_licensechange

So apparently, yes, they do intend to burn their own company to the ground.

The danger is that even when they realize that no one is uploading useful models, and that now all textures sold inworld with ‘not to be used outside Second Life’ as a use stipulation, i.e. virtually all of them, are now illegal (in the sense of violation of the very copyright that LL promised to help us protect) to use, and that all textures available on the web–whether through paid sites or free–were at a stroke similarly out of reach, and that this will guarantee eliminating new sim setups and add fuel to the sim closing fire, and then decide to redress it and apologize and promise it will never happen again, it’s already way too late.

Confidence is long gone. Now that everyone has seen crystalline evidence that Linden Lab fully intends to rip off every single person who uploads content (and lets be clear: there is no other possible application of the wording change to the User Content section of the Linden Lab Terms of Service. It was re-written and presented in the current sec 2.3 to give them the sense that it was legal for them to steal content from Second Life creators, and everyone who reads it can see that that is the only possible purpose for the change. Had they hoped to sneak it in under the radar? It was obviously never going to work; that was almost certainly not the intention–nobody’s that stupid) the forest fire is just starting.

Only an idiot would upload content to a service knowing that the company offering that service fully intends to steal it, by their own open admission (even if they apparently tried to sneak it in under our noses, anyone on Earth with internet access, including the US Attorney’s office, can read it any time they want) and sell it outside that service. Period.

So nobody uploads anything; and even if they did, they’d have to make their own textures for it, more work, more time, all to make somebody else even richer who won’t even acknowledge them, as outlined clumsily in the ToS they ‘accepted.’

So LL folds, as is inevitable, and very obviously intentional. Is that not a violation of US trade law? Linden Lab is a publicly traded company, as far as I know.

But whatever happens to LL, Second Life has no future. It was so deemed by LL.

And it ticks me right off. There’s no need for any of this crap.

Congratulations, LL. After defending you and trying to show your side of things and supporting all your efforts to improve what I feel is the greatest online social environment possible for nearly two years, you made a complete fool of me. Enjoy your laugh. Mine’s coming.

We all knew it had to end some day; it was too good to be true.

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