[opensource-dev] FAQ posted for Third Party Viewer Policy

Carlo Wood carlo at alinoe.com
Sat Feb 27 07:40:59 PST 2010

Imho, one major source of confusion is still there.

There is a huge difference between Legal Ramifications (ie, being sued
and brought before court etc), and just having ones Second Life account
banned. The difference between these two is completely lacking in the
TPVP as well as in the FAQ.

While it is clear that Linden Lab can terminate anyones account (at
least, that's what I think-- maybe this TPVP is needed in order to
allow that?), before you can *sue* a developer is whole different
ball game.

It is this major difference that needs to be clarified:
* You cannot legally stop anyone from making modifications,
  and distributing viewer code (based on LL's GPL-ed source tree).
* You cannot hold anyone, with the law in hand, responsible for
  what others do with that source code; EVEN if the source code
  in question is breaking every TPV rule.

The way the TPV Policy is formulated now, it's extremely unclear
if Linden Lab intents to (try to) bring developers for court if
their distributed viewer does not comply with the demands in the
TPV. The FAQ does not clearify this.

Actually, I'm not even sure if it is possible to sue users that
use a viewer to break a rule of the TPV (mostly 'content theft'
I'd imagine, but also griefing), much less a user that uses a
viewer that allows users to do so, without that they actually
do it.

Basically this question needs to be added to the FAQ:

* Will Linden Lab ever take legal actions against any of it's
  users, or even developers of Third-Party viewers, with regard
  to the rules in the TPV Policy document?

The answer should be: No, because breaking any of the rules
isn't really illegal in the sense of the Law. The only action
LL will take is reserve the right to terminate accounts and
withhold people from using the Second Life service anymore.

Carlo Wood <carlo at alinoe.com>

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