Second Life Residents To Own Digital Creations
Linden Lab Preserves Real World Intellectual Property Rights of Users of its Second Life Online Service
NEW YORK CITY (November 14, 2003):
Linden Lab, creator of online world Second
Life , today announced a significant breakthrough in digital property rights for
its customers and for users of online worlds. Changes to Second Life's Terms of
Service now recognize the ownership of in-world content by the subscribers who make
it. The revised TOS allows subscribers to retain full intellectual property
protection for the digital content they create, including characters, clothing,
scripts, textures, objects and designs.
In addition, Second Life has committed to exploring technologies to make it easy
for creators to license their content under Creative Commons licenses.
Speaking to an audience of digital rights specialists and virtual world enthusiasts
at the NYLS "State of Play" conference, Founder and CEO Philip Rosedale described
the new policy as a major breakthrough for users of online worlds.
"Until now, any content created by users for persistent state worlds, such as EverQuest®
or Star Wars Galaxies™, has essentially become the property of the company developing
and hosting the world," said Rosedale. "We believe our new policy recognizes the fact
that persistent world users are making significant contributions to building these
worlds and should be able to both own the content they create and share in the value
that is created. The preservation of users' property rights is a necessary step toward
the emergence of genuinely real online worlds."
Unlike traditional online game environments where anything created in-world is owned
by the service provider, Second Life has responded to its residents' desire to own their
work just as they would any other original creations. Under these terms they can create,
and sell derivative works based on content they've made, or license the work to others.
Second Life residents began creating their world in October, 2002 as beta testers, and
continued through commercial launch of the service in June 2003. In just over a year,
more than 10,000 users have created a richly diverse world, filled with more than 200,000
objects, complex characters, a range of living situations from whimsical hobbit-style
homes to urban apartments, to sprawling mansions, and special recreational areas including
a 40-ride amusement park and an island retreat. Everything in the world, from the antique
carousel to the hot race cars to the resident-abducting alien spaceship was designed and
built by the residents.
The economy supporting this activity includes over 12,000 objects for sale. Each month,
nearly 100,000 user-to-user transactions for goods and services take place, with more than
Linden$19million in in-world currency changing hands.
"Linden Lab has taken an important step toward recognizing the rights of content generators
in Second Life," said Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University Professor of Law, and Founder
of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. "As history has continually proven, when
people share in the value they create, greater value is derived for all. Linden Lab is
poised for significant growth as a result of this decision."
About Linden Lab
Based in San Francisco, Linden Lab was founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale to create a
revolutionary new form of shared 3D entertainment. The former CTO of RealNetworks, Rosedale
pioneered the development of many of today's streaming media technologies, including RealVideo.
In April 2003, noted software pioneer Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation,
was named Chairman.
Second Life launched in June 2003 after being named a Time Magazine "Coolest Invention of
2002" during its beta test. Currently available to all PC users via a download at
, the world of Second Life, which
grows with the size of the community, is now close to 1000 virtual acres and by the end
of 2004 should be as large as Manhattan. A Macintosh version is expected early in 2004.
About Creative Commons
A nonprofit corporation, Creative Commons promotes the creative re-use of intellectual
works, whether owned or public domain. It is sustained by the generous support of The Center
for the Public Domain, the Hewlett Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation. Creative Commons is based at Stanford Law School, where it shares staff, space,
and inspiration with the school's Center for Internet and Society. For general information,
Note to editors: Second Life and Linden Lab are trademarks or registered trademarks of
Linden Research, Inc. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.