Friday, October 25, 2013

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Linden Lab Developing SL for Mobile, Company Confirms

Second Life on mobile

Linden Lab is developing an official version of Second Life for mobile, the company just confirmed: "At the moment," company spokesman Peter Gray tells me, validating an earlier report by SL blogger Daniel Voyager, "we're sending out emails to invite some users to apply to participate in a limited beta program; as we move ahead with that and are able to share more details, we will." Gray declined to share a specific timeline, but my guess is we probably won't see a public version until 2014.

Frankly, one wishes this announcement had hit roughly five years ago, but better late than etc. Coupled to a launch of Second Life integrated with the Oculus Rift, another feature that was announced by Linden Lab a few months ago (but is running late), this could bring renewed interest in SL beyond its core userbase. In any event, we do know there's an existing market for Second Life on mobile:

As I noted in September, the third party Lumiya Second Life viewer for Android devices (depicted above) has over 25,000 active users. (Full disclosure: Lumiya is now a sponsoring partner of NWN.) It'll be interesting to see how Linden deploys SL on mobile -- whether it's a mobile version of the SL viewer fully connected to the official grid (similar to Lumiya), or a new, separate version optimized for mobile. Or perhaps a combination of the two approaches.

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JoJa Dhara

I hope they keep the respect for Lumiya.. really a great tool!

Metacam Oh

I bet they end up shutting Lumiya down. Hope not for their sake, but the Lab follows the money.

UCMO

I would like to see both available on iOS devices.

Mondy

Why would they shut down Lumiya ? It's listed in the TPV directory. No regular clients get shut down so I can't see any reason Lumiya would.

Hamlet Au

Yeah. And notably, TPVs are more popular than the official viewer. In any case, without more details, we're not still sure if SL mobile is a direct competitor with Lumiya or not.

Metacam Oh

Clause 4.2 in TPV Agreement

"We may at any time for any reason limit your access to data or our servers and systems through Third-Party Viewers."

Also various other terms that allow them to shut you down for no reason.

Oink

Now assume you run a Barber Shop, where you provide creative Haircuts to people, that's your Use Case - once that happens you put those people on a Barber Chair, the Tool...

The Barber Chair does not run your creative Barber Shop, and the Barber Chair does not pirate the intellectual property of your creative Haircuts on top of things.

So it doesnt matter if your Barber Chair is mobile or not...

Linden Lab could make a rock'n roll star out of your digital data using a 3d holographic platform!

3D Holographic Avatar in Live Concert
http://ht.ly/nOMe4

And even sell 3D print-outs
http://www.stemulate.org/?p=337&preview=true

Now you know why you can't permit SL Intellectual Property Piracy... mobile or not...

Darien Caldwell

People keep asking why LL removed the part about the rights being for "the running of the service", and if you think about how Onlive works, that should suddenly be clear.

Onlive runs virtualized instances of a modified client and captures video of the rendered output, and streams that to your mobile device, or Computer.

Whereas when you connect to SL with a normal client, content is sent from LL to you and rendered, when connecting with Onlive, content is sent from LL to *Onlive* where it's *converted* to video. and then that video is sent to you.

So you see, if LL's TOS limited them to only using the content for *their* service, they would not legally be able to grant a usage license to Onlive, for the purpose of rendering the content to the mobile user.

With the new TOS, they can allow Onlive to receive and convert the content for this purpose. Not quite so sinister as many try to make it out, is it?

leliel

I think you're suffering form a bad case of hyperbole considering the original iPhone was released 5 years ago. Expecting LL to have developed a mobile client before the mobile hype even started let alone mobile devices fast enough to even run a graphical client is a bit much don't you think.

furtherthanyournose

Maybe they are acquiring Lumiya, surprised no one thought of that.

As for iphone, there are more Android powered consumer devices in use/purchased than iOs. IF they acquired Lumiya, judging by it's success, it would make sense.

Shockwave yareach

Darian: funny how other games are able to be used on on live without such things as performance rights and copyrights to everything said. If it is a choice between sl with user rights and one without, I'll pick the one with. Because I won't spend much money or time in sl for LLs sake and not mine.

It is not the tech problems or lack of computing power out in the field that has made newcomers quit after one login. And being able to stream sl on postage stamps and car radios will not make people stay. Reasonable prices and properly running the world is the only thing that will bring more paying customers. And not driving away existing customers who then fill the world with nasty stories about LL which make others think twice about visiting would help immeasurably as well.

Desmond Shang

There's no way I'm participating in any more betas for Linden after the latest service terms came out.

* * * * *

OnLive is just a mechanism to deliver content, regardless if it's streamed to Onlive or if it's streamed from a server to hardware just one rack slot away.

When voice was added with Vivox years ago, no overreaching rights over our voice content were required, and none are needed now for video streaming. Certainly nothing where the words " exploit in any manner whatsoever" could possibly be a realistic requirement.

Kim Anubis

I would have been happy about this news before the recent overreaching change to the TOS.

Darien Caldwell

"Darian: funny how other games are able to be used on on live without such things as performance rights and copyrights to everything said."

Because usually, the company placing the game on Onlive, developed it completely themselves; They already own the full rights to everything.

For instance, if Ubisoft wanted to put Assassin's Creed on Onlive, they have no problem doing so, they developed all of the code, the textures, the meshes, the animations, all game assets themselves, in house. And any proprietary parts, they already have distribution licenses on; if they didn't they couldn't sell the game to consumers!

SL is unique in that LL didn't actually develop any of the content. So it's necessary they take extra care from a legal standpoint when providing that data to third parties.

Darien Caldwell

"When voice was added with Vivox years ago, no overreaching rights over our voice content were required"

Voice isn't content. It's not stored, or distributed to third parties, nor sold, nor given away. It falls into the same area as text chat, it's communication between parties on the service. Good luck trying to file a copyright claim on something you typed in chat or said in a voice chat. A judge would laugh you out of the courtroom.

Additionally, Voice isn't even touching LL's servers at all. All that goes directly through Vivox's servers. Even if voice was copyrightable, it falls outside of LL's TOS, and instead is under Vivox's TOS, whatever that may be. I've never used Voice, so I don't know if there's a separate TOS for that part of the service, but if not, that's quite interesting, and definitely another subject for another time.

Desmond Shang

If voice doesn't apply because it's not stored, or distributed to third parties, sold, or given away... then neither is streamed video of the experience. Both can potentially be used unlawfully though: DJ's and anyone showing videos face these issues on any service. Regardless of the technology particulars.

And if Onlive is a third party, then so is Vivox.

There's /still/ utterly no reason for "exploit in any manner whatsoever" no matter how much legalese is wrapped around it. Package it any way you want, but there's still a huge cockroach in the soup.

Ezra

@Darien

Assuming Linden Lab actually uses OnLive, that theory still doesn't make sense. Linden Lab already had the right to transmit content to any number of viewers. It doesn't matter if it's 40,000 viewers distributed individually around the world, or 40,000 viewers located in an OnLive datacenter.

Your theory would make sense if Linden Lab was doing something like handing over their asset servers to OnLive. As you explain it though: "With the new TOS, they can allow Onlive to receive and convert the content for this purpose." How is that any different from what any of us has ever done with our clients? TreetTV for example receives data to their clients as we all do and then streams video. Would TreetTV suddenly violate any of our rights without a TOS change if their video streams somehow became personalized and interactive, which is all OnLive adds to the equation and has nothing to do with content?

Nevermind there's already existing precedence of Linden Lab officially recognizing and allowing our accounts to be logged in by clients herded together on some server via bots/scripted agents. Why didn't Linden Lab change the TOS ahead of the Scripted Agent account section and bot policy knowing most bot businesses, like OnLive, run groups of modified clients that Linden Lab sends our textures, meshes, sounds, etc. to?

Darien Caldwell

LL has the right to transmit and display to people using it's service. But if you're using the Mobile client, effectively now being proxied and converted by Onlive. It's not the same thing. The Old TOS explicitly limited the license to LL's services. Removing that part in effect opens an umbrella that allows a broader interpretation of what the license covers.

The fact LL has to provide the data to Onlive in order to do the conversion means they must transfer a license to Onlive to do that. And to do that, they must have the rights to re-assign the license that they, and *only* they have, via your granting in the TOS. Or they must give the semblance that your agreement allows that.

The license is between you and LL, not between you and Onlive. But under the new TOS, LL has a better standing in the eyes of the law with regard to sublicensing your content to Onlive. They could probably argue they did before, (after you can argue anything in court). But they are definitely on more stable ground now, than they were with the old TOS.

It's pretty simple to understand, at least from my POV.

Darien Caldwell


"With the new TOS, they can allow Onlive to receive and convert the content for this purpose." How is that any different from what any of us has ever done with our clients?"

Because creators have granted LL a license to do this. But with the old TOS, this Data was restricted for use by LL for LL's services. With the new TOS, this restriction is lifted. They can now legally allow a 3rd party to also use the data for this function.

The difference is, who's using the data. LL and Onlive, are not the same company. They are two distinct and separate legal entities.

Darien Caldwell

Here's a really, really simple analogy. Lets say LL is your buddy. And he has no car. So you make a deal with your bud (old TOS):

"I have a car, I'm going to give you a set of keys. You can use it whenever you want, how you want, as long as you're the only one driving."

Now,If LL then gave the keys to Onlive to go drive the car around, they would technically be in breach of the agreement. Sure it says "use it how you want, and when you want", but it did have a stipulation that only LL drives.

Now, if the agreement is slightly different (new tos):

"I have a car, I'm going to give you a set of keys. YOu can use it whenever you want, how you want."

Now LL can give the keys to Onlive to go run around town in it, and technically, they are no longer breaching your agreement.

Ezra

@Darien "LL has the right to transmit and display to people using it's service. But if you're using the Mobile client, effectively now being proxied and converted by Onlive. It's not the same thing."

But it is exactly the same thing in every way that matters.

Linden Lab servers -> Desktop client
Linden Lab servers -> OnLive datacenter clients -> mobile phone

Linden Lab has always had the right to send our content to viewers so that viewers could operate and display in-world content. It doesn't matter if a viewer is on my PC caching assets other creators have made, or if the viewer is in some OnLive datacenter. The TOS before and now doesn't limit their ability to transmit content to any specific kind of entity, of any specific kind of hardware, of any specific viewer, of any specific form of business.

If before this TOS change I used Second Life via remote desktop, would I have been violating any TOS? Has Linden Lab warned against using Second Life via remote desktop up until now? If I sold access to my viewer via remote desktop, would I have violated anything with Linden Lab? No, because that doesn't matter. They can stream data to any client, regardless who owns it; OnLive, a bot service, Treet.TV or me.


"The fact LL has to provide the data to Onlive in order to do the conversion means they must transfer a license to Onlive to do that."

What's "the data"? If it's the same data our viewers receive; compressed and protected assets and the like, again, the TOS before and now covers that for any client.

What's "conversion"? If it's capturing the frames and streaming them as video, obviously that's always been fine. If OnLive somehow falls out of the existing Snapshot and Machinima policy, why wouldn't they simply provide a separate Cloud Rendering policy? If you'd say the overreach now is an umbralla covering everything, then why does a separate Snapshot and Machinima policy still exist? Why prudence in one place but insanity in another?

Linden Lab has always granted users of any viewer a license to access in-world content, capture it and distribute that capture, be it still frame or sequence, streamed lived or recorded for replay. They've demonstrated this in a form closer to OnLive as well years ago via their Gaikai beta.


"The license is between you and LL, not between you and Onlive. But under the new TOS, LL has a better standing in the eyes of the law with regard to sublicensing your content to Onlive."

Here's where you're splitting hairs though. The TOS doesn't define a "you" or "me" that's separate from a company like OnLive. Some Terms of Service do distinguish their corporate customers from their individual customers, but Linden Lab's TOS doesn't do that. So you can't create a difference between "you" and "OnLive". If Linden Lab has the right to transmit assets to a viewer "you" are using, and "you" are free to capture video or use the viewer via remote desktop, then OnLive also could be given those same abilities to do everything similar without a TOS change.

The only way your explanation makes sense is if Linden Lab is giving OnLive our content in a way far different from their current server/client relationship. Like, they're handing over raw assets so OnLive can host their own asset servers. Of course then we're right back to "sinister" because how many of us want our unprotected files stored en masse with a company that filed bankruptcy last year?

insertnamehere

Desmond Shang your actions are heard, and I for one applaud you! Stay strong your fighting for what is right.

Darien Caldwell

You're trying to think of Onlive as just another user SL, but they aren't. They are a service provider contracted by LL to provide a service to LL, which is virtualizing the content SL contains and streaming that converted content to it's users.

Let me even put it another way. Once your viewer makes a request for data, and that data leaves LL's servers, it's out of LL's hands as to where it goes, and what happens to it. You could route it all over the world, convert it to video, do whatever YOU want to do. It's now under your jurisdiction as a "User" of the service. You can do whatever you like within the bounds of the agreement and what LL says users can do. (machinima policy, etc, etc)

Onlive is not a User. They are a 3rd party service provider, and until that data leaves *their* servers and starts on the way to you, anything that happens doesn't fall under the rights given to Users of the service. It's still being 'processed and converted'.

However it's being sent someplace other than within LL's datacenter none the less. LL has to be sure the license they were granted to user content convers it while it's still in this transitory state.

Before, the license covered all of the performing, conversion, etc, because everything happening was in-house. But now, part of that is being handled by an unrelated 3rd party, before it starts its travel to the user. If their license didn't grant them the right to make that data available to an unrelated 3rd party service, they could be sued for breaching the agreement.

The TOS does now give them the tacit permission to share with 3rd parties, by virtue of omission (it no longer says they can't).

Problem Solved. They are no longer limited to keeping the data in-house, for the purposes of preparing the data for transmission to the user.

Darien Caldwell

As to why is this different than a 'proxy' you set up youself, it all comes down to who's behalf the 'proxy' is operating on.

If you purchase or set up a proxy, that proxy is operating on your behalf, at your behest, and you bear any responsibility for any breaches of contract or legal ramifications that may come about by it's usage.

Onlive is operating on LL's behalf, at LL's behest, and LL bears any responsibility for any breaches of contract or legal ramifications that may come about by it's usage.

That is what makes it different.

Ezra

@Darien "Onlive is not a User."

Again, the TOS didn't before and didn't now distinguish between different types of users. It never limited itself to "Users that are individual persons not third party services" or other verbiage you're creating and attempting to give meaning to that'd support your idea.

I guess I can't buy your theory because I don't believe in the need for it. I've never seen a limitation in the old TOS that would disallow a service like OnLive and I've seen too many creative, commercial uses of clients involving mass-client hosting, or conversion to video to believe OnLive does anything exceptionally different to require a TOS change.

Your theory requires way too many assumptions about deficiencies in legal language that aren't at all apparent, the internals of how Second Life and OnLive would technically work, any contract between them, and whether this whole OnLive thing is even true or not (still no idea where this is coming from; if its cloud rendering at all are we sure its not OTOY appliances?)

Anyway, in a void of Linden Lab clarifying further the need for unlimited right to our content, it's useful to throw out theories, but even if you were 100% totally right it's still very sinister to ask for unlimited right to do anything with our content.

Adeon Writer

As far as I understand, this will be cloud rendering+ video streaming, not a native and lord viewer, that means a monthly subscription fee, and mentally getting filed in my "doesn't count" bin.

Hamlet Au

Wait, why are people talking about cloud streaming let alone OnLive? Was there a specific announcement?

Ezra

@Hamlet

No idea. I've been asking. Darien seems convinced about it.

Rex Cronon

@darien:
-actually the new tos also gives to "my buddy"(LL) the right to modify my car(even to blow it up) anyway he wants, use it how he wants(rent or sell), for how long he wants, without saying that is actually not his car, and without even giving me any credit for being such a nice guy for giving him all these rights to a car that he doesn't own. i would really like to have such a "buddy". can you please tell me where I can find such a person:)

pixxyfox

I received confirmation that Linden Lab is using OnLive for this. This makes me highly skeptical. I had hoped we would see a native Android or iOS implementation with a redesigned user interface.

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