Steve’s Podcast

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  1. rebeccanesson

    November 16, 2006 @ 9:41 am

    1

    Good work on your podcast Steven. You make the podcast interesting and easy to listen to. Since I think your main audience is the Second Life residents, many of whom are mainly using SL for fun or personal pursuits and who don’t want to spend their SL time thinking about serious issues like contracts and Terms of Service, I like how you speak to them in a way that is clear and straightforward and still interesting. You let them know that you understand their situation by demonstrating how this is an issue that should be of concern to them.

    I think you make the case harder on yourself than you have to. In the Bragg case, Bragg appears to have violated the terms of service giving Linden Labs at least some legitimate reason for being able to seize his property. However, the ToS gives Linden Labs the right to take property or terminate accounts at any time and for any reason or no reason. That means that you don’t even have to violate the terms of service for Linden Labs to take your stuff.

    I also like how you highlight the comparison between living under a legal regime in which we get due process and living under the ToS where we don’t. Of course Linden Labs can offer us any contract they want and we can choose to accept it or choose to decline it. But I think many SL residents haven’t given it a lot of thought and may assume that the same kind of property protections we have in RL would also be available in SL. Perhaps when they consider what protections they don’t have, they will feel more concerned about how to get LL to change the ToS.

    Finally, I think LL has some other reasons for keeping the contract as it is. Primarily, I think they are concerned about their own liability if something goes wrong. What if, by some horrible accident, all of the LL servers and backups were destroyed (much like our Moodle installation), thereby losing everyone’s property. Linden Labs would be destroyed if they had to pay everyone the property damages for that loss. That’s obviously on a very large scale, but I think they are concerned about limiting their liability at least as much as they are about being able to maintain order in the world.

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