SL Content Creators & Legal Questions

Sorry for the weird disclaimers, but it’s necessary: THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICES AND I AM NOT A LAWYER. Seriously. Read the whole thing.

Hey, SL Designers, Creators, Builders, Photographers, Machinimists, and Bloggers,

What legal issues are you curious about? Are there any laws that affect Second Life that you would like to know more about? Do you have questions about how the DMCA applies? Do you want to know about trademarked logos or copyrighted images and their use in creation? What are your legal concerns?

The SL Bar Association, an in-world association of attorneys, legal professionals, and affiliated avatars with an interest in virtual law, is considering putting on an in-world symposium on the legal issues of Second Life content creators. We would like to know from content creators (bloggers, you count too) what your biggest questions, concerns, and issues are. What would you like to know more about? What topics would you like a lawyer to explain to you? Also, would you be interested in attending a symposium like this?

You may respond either by commenting to this post, plurking at me, or by dropping me (Vaki Zenovka) a notecard in-world. I can’t promise that we can address every question, but we’ll certainly do what we can to cover major issues.

Please note: THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICES. I am NOT a lawyer (yet). I am not offering to answer your questions directly and I cannot give you legal advice. If you have specific questions about specific incidents, I can’t answer them or tell you what to do. I’m only researching what sorts of legal issues SL creators are concerned about, in order to help put together this upcoming event. Got it? Good!

Wearing:
Hair: Dura — 22 by chiaki Xue
Shirt: Schadenfreude — Oxford Shirt by Allegory Malaprop
Trousers: CoCo — Grey Pinstripe Pants by Cocoro Lemon
Shoes: Gos — Desert Boots by Gospel Voom
Glasses: Muism — Galliano Glasses by icemocolo Voom

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About Vaki

Seriously, Mega Shark v. Giant Octopus is a masterpiece of modern cinema. What? It has Deborah Gibson in it. And there's this one scene where...what? Oh, like there's something better than a mega shark leaping out of the ocean and biting a plane in half. Whatever.
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7 Responses to SL Content Creators & Legal Questions

  1. Sileny says:

    I have a question! What can I do if someone in SL is using the same business name as I am when I was the one using it first? Also, do certain punctuation marks make a difference in situation, for example “Store Name” vs. “:Store Name:” and the like?

    • Vaki says:

      Good question, Sileny…I will absolutely add this to my list. Unfortunately, I know your situation, and we’re not going to pull our event together in time to get you an answer that’ll be useful to you…but we’ll definitely discuss this, because it really does happen a lot.

  2. Noirran Marx says:

    I’d like to know about copyrighted images. If you alter them, can you use them. Can you say, make a tshirt with your favorite band on it and give it away for free? If you sell it, does it then become an issue? What is this derivative thing? If you use a photoshop font you download off of deviant art in your store logo, is that commercial use?

    • Vaki says:

      /Great/ questions…and you don’t realize it, but you’ve actually raised more issues than you know. Thank you, Noirran — added to my list of things to talk about.

  3. Seph says:

    I have a pair…..I don’t do morphs, but they use pictures of rl people…is this supposed to be allowed?, does the right over ones image stop belonging to the person in the photograph because it’s replaced with an avatar’s face? and, what about the photographer’s copyright? The same with backgrounds that aren’t supposed to be free stock to use.

    and a second concern, maybe I misunderstood it, but in sl TOS machinima and photographs at any location are allowed, and thus, the content (video, photograph) would belong to the one shooting it and not the one creating the picture. What happens if said picture, is, for example a photograph of a texture? (floor, wall, etc) that could be well reused by the one taking the picture (would that not be considered stealing despite of that rule?)

    • Vaki says:

      Seph: good comment, regarding morphs. I’ll mention that.

      As for your second concern — let me just make sure I have your question right. Are you talking about, for instance, going up to a texture in-world (like a wall), taking an in-world photograph, and then using the photograph to re-create the texture for resale? That’s a fantastic question, and a really difficult one. I’ll add that to my list!

      • Seph says:

        Yes, that is what i meant, I wonder if the freedom that rule gives to record or photograph anyone couldn’t be protecting that from happening at the same time.

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