Copy this copyright policy for your grid

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

10 Responses

  1.' Mircea Kitsune says:

    I don’t encourage something that can be qualified as theft or that griefs content creators. But personally, I’m more interested in a grid that’s free and where people care less about copyright, than for a grid where everyone keeps having a funeral about their stuff being copybotted and so on. I’d rather use the space I’d put this policy in to encourage creation of freely licensed content, that everyone can share without feeling like they’re wronging someone. That’s just me of course, and I don’t wish to talk for everyone… I don’t aim to be ignorant toward artists who suffer from this problem either.

    • Again, the two aren’t contradictory. You can encourage creators to distribute content freely — or even mandate it as part of the Terms of Service of your grid. (Why not? It’s your grid. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to come!)

      But you do have to make it as easy as possible for folks to take down infringing content if it does show up on your grid.

      Otherwise, if they can’t figure out how to get it taken down, they’ll have to go to your hosting provider and your domain registrar and take down the whole grid, or — if they’re a major content creator and have a lawyer on staff trying to justify her salary — you might get sued. In fact, even a small creator can sue you (if you’re not registered as a safe harbor under the DMCA) if they are really really mad about their stuff being ripped off and decide to start suing everyone.

      Having an IPR policy in place protects you, the grid owner, even more than in protects copyright holders.

      •' Mircea Kitsune says:

        Theoretically that is true. Even if at least for the main grid, I never heard of Linden having to take down assets from the server due to copyright… although I imagine they received thousands of complaints over the years. I also can’t imagine any large corporation (unrelated to SL) being that desperate to go on Opensim and look for IP infringements there… like CocaCola to see if anyone placed their logo on a sim. Of course, “better safe than sorry” is a good rule to follow here… so again I can’t contradict this either.

  2.' hack13 says:

    You do know there is another international law that protects people like me as service providers called the Internet Privacy Act, which states I cannot look at my user’s data and I am not responsible for my users data, unless it is brought to my attention by another party such as legal action.

    • I’m not sure how that would apply here… On a small grid, where the owners are doing almost everything manually, they see everyone’s payment information, for example, and their email addresses. Plus, you have to look at user data to do support requests, etc…

      I think the best thing you can do is promise not to violate your users’ privacy rights without asking their permission first, up front, on a case-by-case basis.

      •' hack13 says:

        Customer data, such as billing and email, etc stuff is legal but the moment you start sifting through there data if they are in a country that is part of the united nations, and I catch you going through my inventory without telling me you can in your Terms of Service at signup I can sue you, for violating my rights.

        • Even if I ask you to, in a support request?

          •' hack13 says:

            If you ask me to in a support request, I must make clear your granting me permission. Thus when I have to login to a clients account, I first tell them the following:

            “You are requesting me to login with your account, during this time I may need to interact with your inventory, and other account features such as friends list, appearance, etc. You grant me this right, by you resetting your password and giving me the reset password.”

            Instead of me resetting their password, I have them reset it as kinda like them signing a waiver.

          • Thanks, I just added that to the policy.

            I think one reason that people are afraid to put up these kinds of documents is they think that unless they’re perfect, iron-clad legalese-type documents, they’ll get sued right and left, and that no policy at all is better.

            But by not having anything in place, you’re not avoiding the issue. Just like if you don’t go to the doctor, it doesn’t mean that you’re not sick. Or if that if you die without a will, that you get to take your stuff with you. Instead, there are laws in place that govern what happens. Like, without a will, you stuff automatically is given to whoever the law sees as your default inheritors.

            Or if you hire someone to develop content without a contract then, by law, you’re only buying one-time rights.

            And by not having a Terms of Service in place, you are taking full responsibility for every single thing that happens on your grid — content, behaviors, everything. Including stuff you have no practical control over.

            A policy created by an attorney who’s knowledgeable about virtual worlds is best. (Don’t use the Second Life guys!) But even a simple, crowd-sourced policy like this one posted here is better than nothing in that it will reduce your exposure and liability. But, again, like you pointed out, I am not a lawyer.

            Finally, no agreement will protect you 100 from lawsuits. If your bad behavior is egregious, people will still sue you. And if people are really really mad, they’ll sue you, regardless of whether they have a case or not. And some folks out there just enjoy suing people. The best you can do is lower the risks of lawsuits, and having a clear and understandable terms of service is, I think, a good start.

  3.' hack13 says:

    I suggest for some good follow up, Just posted a story on Understanding Copyright Law over on Grid-Press, I think you might be surprised as what you can do with content created in world that is copyright, and not CC.