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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

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Aleister Kronos

So...
Does that mean that all the books out there, like those shown on this page, will need to be recalled and pulped?

Assuming that inserting a word - as in "Second Cretinous Life" - is also a no-no... how many words between the pair are deemed acceptable?

Laetizia Coronet

And who is to say I am not discussing SL, a trademark of Sherrill-Lubinski Corporation, Corte Madera (CA), USA? Visit www.sl.com today! :D

GoSpeed Racer

So is my Wordpress hosted blog OK?

http://secondlifeimagery.wordpress.com

Dale Innis

Kit Meredith hit it dead on in the comments on the official weblog: saying that we're allowed to say "Second Life world" suggests that we *aren't* allowed to say "Second Life", and by implication that that's a TOS violation. Does LL really think that my saying "this weblog is about Second Life" is a TOS violation, and if so do they intend to enforce it? Because that would be just flippin' moronic! And yet that's what they seem to be saying. So what gives? "Our lawyers won't let us give a common-sense answer" is really no excuse...

Ian Betteridge

How do the new branding guidelines apply to non-Linden clients, like the Nicholaz client? Will these still be allowed to use the SL logo, or "Second Life" as a description?

Ian Betteridge

Oh, and an extra one for luck: Didn't the Bragg case teach you that including onerous and one-sided elements in terms of service is likely to end with them getting thrown out of court?

theshadow

I wonder if they will be crazy enough to go after my blog and email account? I mean I do have 'sl' in the name of both... Because the account was for me in SL... & I'm not changing the name of the blog or the email account name because LL throws a hissy fit over a blog I don't even update regularly...

Oh well, they can feel free to sue me for the grand lump sum of nothing... As I have a non-positive cash flow...

Metaforum

Topic digest: http://yolto.com/FeedTopic.aspx?Id=652#86868

Kit Meredith

Thanks Dale, I'm glad you agreed with my point. (Which I apparently made thrice, because the SL blog was borked at the time - eep!)

Hamlet, what LL needs to do is clarify how exactly the Terms of Service mesh with trademark law. The requirement of adding "world" after "Second Life" is just one example - turning something that is permissible under fair use into an arguable ToS violation. Maybe the simple question is, does LL intend for the ToS to be coextensive with trademark law? If not, how does LL justify restricting our speech and activities through the ToS in a way that isn't required to protect its trademark?

There's also an overriding question of whether LL plans to enforce the ToS for actions outside Second Life. There's precedent in their past statements that they won't, as a matter of policy. We need to know if that has changed.

Cyn Vandeverre

Why aren't blogs and other names eligible for grandfathering, since they were set up before the restrictive policy? And, as domain names are *owned,* is restricting use now something that should be paid for by LL?

As for Second Life Insider, could they change to Second Life In Sider (two additional words?) Except of course they are Massively.com now.

Crap Mariner

The disparagement clause has me concerned... what will be considered disparagement? What will be considered fair criticism? Who decides? What appeal is there?

I don't think they'll use the threat of the TOS against their critics, but then, they've done a few silly and seemingly impulsive things in the past without warning.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

I totally second Kit on this. The issue is not really abusing/misusing Linden Lab's trademarks — they have a right to it, and even more right to enforce their proper use, according to their guidelines.

The issue is that this enforcement has to be legally done in RL courts.

However, Linden Lab can — and will — ban your avatar if they wish, just because you mention "Second Life" outside their guidelines. So the question is not if they'll ban avatars if they comment negatively on Second Life; they can ban avatars, if they wish, if people start enthusiastic, pro-SL sites named http://ijustlovesecondlife.com and post zillions of positive, engaging, enthusiastic messages about SL.

This is, IMHO, my issue. Specially when they have, for four years, been very encouraging of the use of their rightfully registered trademarks for all kinds of "fansites" that existed with the whole purpose of showing how cool and exciting Second Life is!

Now we can be banned for (co-)promoting Second Life.

No, I don't think this is fair.

Adz Childs

My main question is why did this require a TOS change? TOS applies to restrictions and behavior inside SL. It means, "comply with this agreement, or else stop using SL, or else we'll terminate your account." Is my account somehow at risk due to the domain names I have registered outside of SL, before the sudden change in policy, if I refuse to comply?

If not, is LL honestly claiming the exclusive rights to any and all domain names starting with slx.com, where x merely one common noun, or a any phrase with fewer than two nouns, plus any domain name containing the words second and life next to each other? That must affect hundreds of domains created over the past five years (25 years if you consider sl.com). Do they honestly intend to pursue this claim?

I imagine not. The absurdity of it is overwhelming.

Corcosman Voom

Sherrill-Lubinski has been in business since 1983 and they apparently have also trademarked SL:

SL, SL-GMS, GMS, SL Corporation, Enterprise RTView, and the SL logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sherrill-Lubinski Corporation in the United States and other countries. © 2005 Sherrill-Lubinski Corporation. All rights reserved.

Hope nobody gets in trouble for infringing on, well, you know, those two letters which everyone is tiptoeing around.

Jacek Antonelli

My chief concerns at the moment are:

1. That Linden Lab went to special measures to establish the fact that they can ban you for not following their extra-special branding policy.

2. That Linden Lab does not seem willing to differentiate between real abuses (i.e. suggesting that your product/service is affiliated with Linden Lab) and nominative fair use (i.e. discussing or referring to Second Life by name).

I have no problem with Linden Lab going after real abuses, but I think they have overstepped some bounds in their new policy.

Arcadian Vanalten

:P
Well, THIS oughta be interesting. Wonder if Sherill-Lubinski is aware of Second Life and how they'd weigh in on the issue. I can feel the headache already.

*reaches for Advi--err, wait-- reaches for a bottle of non-specified OTC analgesic*

Laetizia Coronet

Since 'that other SL' is based in Corte Madera in the Bay area, and since they are an IT firm, it is hard to imagine that they are not aware of Second Life®.
That's another issue - if they had been selling vacuum cleaners they wouldn't have a case against our friends from the Lab. But IT? Not sure...

Ann Otoole

Your the ground floor of something big.

So what to do? You need to protect your name. You don't want people registering domain names like Secondlife{insert something really bad here}. So you have to move to protect yourself. For years you were lax about it but then it becomes critical to protect yourself in an emerging market. You can't let all the existing stuff go because thats unfair to all the new businesses.

So you make whats called a hard decision.
There are more hard decisions likely to be made. Supported video cards, staff matters, priorities.

Thus the need for a real CEO that can handle making unpopular decisions.

Casius Masala

I support Linden Labs in protecting their brand, but not in tying compliance with the TOS.

Embedding restriction that are not related directly to individual behavior within the Second Life World within the TOS is an abuse of the TOS and I would expect it to be fought in court.

Even if I assume that Linden Labs may never enforce the restrictions, the restrictions are still a threat. Why have such a thing in your TOS with no intention of enforcement?.

A company that feels free to use their TOS to enforce restrictions instead of the due process that other firms must use will see a decline in investment and adoption. Who know what they will add to the TOS next year?

QueenKellee Kuu

What I desire is clarification for something very very basic: how this affects your average blogger. My blog isn't on a domain that uses SL or Second Life (or any other LL trademarked term) in the name, but I will from time to time (obviously) reference their trademarked names in my posts.

Will I be covered if I simply put in my blog header/sidebar all their names and TM's, R's and blah blah lawyer language so that it shows on every page, so I don't have to worry about TM'ing and R'ing every time I write the words in my posts?

CyFishy Traveler

I'm annoyed because the eye-in-hand logo that is on my little newbie site was one that I downloaded FROM their site and was encouraged to use as long as I properly disclaimered it. Which I did.

Now I have to come up with a new logo, and graphic design is not exactly my strong suit. I'm more of a words person.

I can't imagine how they can possibly enforce licensing for the letters "SL". That's REALLY pushing it.

I probably need to register a proper domain for the newbie site, since up until this point I've simply been using the /secondlife subdirectory in my little Tripod site. Don't want to get in trouble over THAT. Sheesh.

Anonymous

My question to LL (abbreviation, not trademarked) are:

1. How exactly do you justify the trademarking attempt of "SL" (which by the way is not yet approved as "Registered Trademark" by the USPTO) by Linden Research, Inc. when "SL" is being described as common abbreviation (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life) just as Alt, AO, AR, av, FL, IM, RL, LL. LM, RL.

2. How exactly do you try to enforce a policy on the word "SLurl" which is not registered at all USPTO. "SLurl" was used before you did?

3. And why are you also trying to get trademarks on the words Grid, Second and Hippo???? Such attempt to trademark a common word like "Grid" is really beyond belief, if you really think the USPTO will approve it as registered trademark, you really need to start looking for competent lawyers. How about your try to trademark "IM" while you are at it?

Please get a common sense policy will you?

T_S_Kimball

@ QueenKellee:

This is something I have an interest in, as I don't just post about this subject.

I suggest looking at Ben's overall comments on his site:

http://virtuallyblind.com/2008/03/26/sl-brand-center/

as well as the comments here in NWN sparked from Hamlet's second post:

http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2008/03/second-lifetm-t.html

Read through - it's quite interesting.

--Tim Kimball

T_S_Kimball

Bah, apologies for the second post.

Hamlet -> My last post in your earlier entry mentioned that LL needs to clean up and/or remove all other reference material, not just the TOS, in order to assist in clarifying their decision. The followup post does not touch on this, and it would be nice to know if they're at least working on it.

--Tim Kimball

anomouse

Hamlet you forgot the vote choice of " Youve got to be kidding" hehe

Alberik

I'd think the company that must be named added their trademark claims to the TOS because most of their claims about particular words would not run in any shape or form outside the US because US law is unique in allowing such claims. It's an open question how a court would treat the TOS in an issue that came before it and it's a really kludgy legal strategy. Even within the US, trademarks run against commercial competitors, not journalists and bloggers.

My main concern is the guidelines about how we use words. The company that must be named should:

(1) revoke the guideline on Proper Reference to Linden Lab's Brand Names in Text, which I suspect would be held invalid in a US court as well as elsewhere

(2) revoke the enforcement changes to the TOS

(3) state that the guidelines are directed at commercial competitors, not the (fast-dwindling) fanbase

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