The Lindens have announced a 90 day amnesty for third party sites and individual users which incorporate the company's eye-in-hand logo or the Second Life/Linden Lab name into its material. Extensive FAQ here. An SL bloggers group has an extended conversation here, and offhand, I tend to agree with Kanomi Pikajuna, who says, "A company as dependent as Linden is on the goodwill and contributions of their community cannot possibly be stupid enough as to harass their fans for failing to put a TM after their company name. My guess is these guidelines are there to give them protection and cause to go after bogus currency exchange web sites and other profiteers."
Unsurprisingly, the new policy has caused some ripples of anxiety, particularly among longtime Residents who've enjoyed five years without this being much of an issue. (Especially as it'll apparently impact sites that have long included variations of "second life" in its URL.) Jennyfur Peregrine, for example, who co-launched the annual Second Life Community Convention with the Lindens' blessing in 2005, says, "I know that we are not alone in our contempt for this new decision."
Cubey Terra, who opened his metaverse aerospace business in 2003, calls it strange "that the company would seek to limit references to their product in the media, or try to enforce seemingly arbitrary rules, especially at a time where the popularity of Second Life(tm) appears to be waning." He quotes Snapzilla founder Cristiano Midnight, who says the move "seems completely arbitrary, and impacts sites that have been in existence for years and fully in compliance of naming rules, which have now suddenly changed."
Emanating irony with strikethroughs, Rheta Shan has gone through her blog, replacing all mention of Second Life with You-Know-Where. Inevitably, the move will bolster the opinion of those who believe the Lindens are heading for an IPO announcement soon. When a company is preparing for that, as Entrepreneur magazine tells us, "Patents and trademarks, rather than simply being discussed, are applied for and vigorously protected."
There's a lot of vinegar flying, though if past history is a guide, most of the grousing will be cathartic, and the new rules will gradually get absorbed with relative ease. Then again, with so much tumult at the top, maybe past history is no longer the best guide.