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

Ann Otoole missannotoole at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 27 12:43:14 PST 2010

So basically I cannot grant export for use in other grids licenses and must instead use some sort of a tool to export the assemblies myself and market them outside of SL as import packages. That seems to be problematic but more so it appears LL is attempting to deny the right to export any of your own work, licensed for intergrid use, for use elsewhere.

We need the authorized viewer exports to include the texture binaries for textures and sculpties, that we uploaded ourselves, in the exports so the import packages will be complete and not dependent upon the LL asset system via UUID.

And I expect the textures sold in SL intended for download and modification to be made in world use only and texture sellers will have to begin distribution of textures for derivative use outside SL. The question arises why should texture artists sell in SL or on xstreet at all at this point. LL is going to cut off revenue sources.

From: Morgaine <morgaine.dinova at googlemail.com>
To: Soft Linden <soft at lindenlab.com>
Cc: opensource-dev at lists.secondlife.com
Sent: Sat, February 27, 2010 1:47:04 AM
Subject: Re: [opensource-dev] FAQ posted for Third Party Viewer Policy

Soft, this is quite a good FAQ (particularly compared to TPV #1:P) as it clears up a large number of points.  I thought it might resolve the earlier problems re GPL compliance, particularly since it addresses the GPL directly.  But when I examined it more closely it still has holes and confusion on the key points.

Take FAQ.2 for example:

Q2: Does the policy limit use of the viewer source code that Linden Lab makes available under the GPL? A2: No, the policy is not intended to and does not place any restriction on
modification or use of our viewer source code that we make available
under the GPL.  Rather, the policy sets out requirements for connecting to our Second Life service using a third-party viewer, regardless of
the viewer source code used.

This looks great at first glance as it appears to make the separation between developers and users that caused so much confusion in TPV v1.

But notice that the answer says "does not place any restriction on
modification or use", and then goes on to say "Rather, the policy sets out requirements for connecting".  Well connecting IS use, it couldn't be anything else, so the answer contradicts itself in one and the same paragraph. Such ambiguities need to be removed.

The sentence was probably intended to say "does not place any restriction on
modification or distribution", in order to clear the hurdle of GPLv2 clause 6.  That clause explicitly requires freedom of modification and distribution.  Nothing else will do, so if you want to be clear about GPL compliance, those words had better be there in A2. :-)

Unfortunately, the question itself is confusing because it refers to use of the source code, and the GPL is completely unconcerned about use.  Really the question should ask:

	* Q2: Does the policy limit modification and distribution of the viewer source code that Linden Lab makes available under the GPL?
If that were the question then it would make sense in the context of addressing GPLv2 clause 6 directly, and it would match the corrected answer I gave above.

Next, FAQ.12:

	* Q12:  I
develop for a Linux distribution where there is no opportunity to
present users with the disclosures required under section 1.c before
the user downloads and installs the software.  How can I comply with
section 1.c of the policy?
	* A12: For Linux distributions where there is no opportunity to provide the
section 1.c disclosures before installation of the software, you can
comply with the requirement by having your software client present the
required disclosures or a link to them in a dialogue box that the user
must close before logging into Second Life for the first time through
your software.  

You can't require that of developers of GPL software.  It's a restriction on a GPL developer's "freedom to modify and distribute", and is explicitly prohibited in GPLv2 clause 6.  Please check the GPLv2 FAQ for the example of the original BSD advertising clause, which was incompatible with the GPL.  That advertising clause had to be removed from GPL programs before they could be licensed using GPL, because it was an additional restriction on the freedom to modify and distribute.

Your requirement is similar but much more onerous.  It is a very clear additional restriction on the freedom to modify and distribute:  for example, it restricts removal of the disclosure or dialogue box.  Such an additional restriction is not permitted under GPL.  Indeed, no additional restrictions on the freedom to modify and distribute are permitted at all.

And finally, FAQ.15 (in the context of licenses permitting free distribution):

	* Q15: Do the limitations of section 2.b on content export apply to content that is full permissions?
	* A15: Yes, they do.  Residents retain intellectual property rights in the
content they create in Second Life and it is important for you to
respect those rights.  By setting content to "full permissions" using
the Second Life permissions system, a content creator merely indicates
that the content may be copied, modified, and transferred within Second Life.  Setting content to "full permissions" does not provide any permission to use the content outside of Second Life. 
This is fine (surprise, surprise :P), but incomplete.  It doesn't address the quite common scenario of full-perm content created by Open Source or Creative Commons developers using 100% personal textures, and accompanied by a GPL, BSD, CC or other open source license which declares that the content may be freely copied, modified, and transferred anywhere, not only within Second Life.

As is written in the answer A15, "Residents retain intellectual property rights in the
content they create in Second Life and it is important for you to
respect those rights."  Respecting their rights in this case requires you to to allow that content to be exported as its creator desires.  Therefore you either need to extend A15 with this additional case, or add another FAQ Q+A (preferably immediately after #15) to address it.

I'm limiting my interest to the open source / licensing aspects of TPV and FAQ so some of the Q+As I've skimmed only superficially, but they seem fairly reasonable.  There are also some entries that refer to the forthcoming TPV document, so substantive comment now would not make sense.  FAQ.3 is worrying though --- it hints that  the TPV may list further restrictions on the GPL developer's freedom to modify and distribute, again in direct contravention of GPLv2 clause 6.



On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 3:14 AM, Soft Linden <soft at lindenlab.com> wrote:

There's now a FAQ for the Linden Lab Policy on Third Party Viewers:
>>This addresses many of the questions and concerns made in
>>opensource-dev and elsewhere. An updated version of the TPV doc itself
>>is also coming, but expect this within a couple weeks. Go visit the
>>FAQ, or read on for the TPV doc update details...
>>I know that the member of the legal team who owns the policy doc is
>>still working over the final version. Linden Lab has approached
>>outside legal experts with your feedback, and one of these experts is
>>a lawyer who specializes in open source license compliance issues.
>>Based on these experts' feedback and further internal review, our
>>legal department will incorporate any required changes.
>>In the meantime, while it helps to start making changes now, parts of
>>the policy are not yet in effect. See the tail of the FAQ for dates
>>and the portions affected.
>>Policies and (un)subscribe information available here:
>>Please read the policies before posting to keep unmoderated posting privileges

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