Copy this Terms of Service policy for your grid

(Image courtesy Sebastien Wiertz via Flickr.)
(Image courtesy Sebastien Wiertz via Flickr.)

In doing this month’s stats report, I updated the Terms of Service and Intellectual Property Rights policy links for a few grids. And I got to wondering about all the other grids that don’t have these policies posted. Out of 213 active grids this month, I only have links to 23 Terms of Service pages, and only 14 pages that explain how to get infringing content removed from a grid.

The lack of good content protection is keeping many creators away from OpenSim.

But I understand that creating a policy is hard work, and grid owners have a lot of other stuff they’re dealing with all the time. So here’s I’m offering a basic policy that any grid can use. I am not a lawyer, and this is not intended as legal advice, but is for informational purposes only.

Feel free to copy and paste, and adapt for your own needs.

In particular, if you have a redeemable currency on your grid, you’ll need to have a real lawyer draw up your policy because the laws on this are very strict. The policy below is for grids with no in-world economies or fictional currencies only.

I’m releasing this sample policy under a CC0 license, which is as close to putting it into the public domain as you can get. My goal in writing this is to have a common-sense policy that a human being will actually be able to read, instead of just blindly agreeing to them.

TERMS OF SERVICE
Our grid's goal is to have a safe, respectful virtual environment for our residents and visitors. By logging in, or teleporting in via hypergrid, you agree to abide by our rules.

We promise:
To protect your privacy as much as legally possible. (In other words, in all cases except a legal subpoena.) We will use your personal contact information only for billing, service announcements, and for other communications that you have previously agreed to. If we need to look at your personal data for any other reason, such as support, we will ask your permission first.
To respect intellectual property by promptly taking down infringing content, and by asking for permission before using users' content in marketing materials or in any other way other than what's required for normal grid operations.

To make sure to give adequate notice before we shut down the grid so that you can make backups of all exportable content and get a refund of any money owed to you by the grid.

To allow you to make backups of your own creations, and of content marked exportable by its creators.

You promise:

To not harass other users, or personally attack them based on race, gender, sexual preference, religion, or other affiliation.

To respect the intellectual property rights of others by uploading only appropriately licensed content, and by exporting only content that you yourself have created or have permission to export.

To respect maturity ratings by rezzing only appropriate content and engaging in appropriate behaviors.

To respect  the privacy of fellow users.

You agree:

That when you upload your content to our grid, or create new content on our platform, that we have your permission to distribute that content to other users per your specifications. This allows you to have other users see your content, and enables you to sell or transfer your content in-world.

That we also have the right to showcase your content in directories and destination guides.

That we can transfer these rights to new owners if we sell the entire grid, so that the new owners can continue to offer the same services without interruption.

That we are only asking for the rights to use your content as part of the virtual world -- you retain all the copyrights to the original content.

That we can shut down your account at any time.

That any in-world currency is fictional, to be used for entertainment purposes only.

That there might be outages, or content losses, or other disruptions, and that we're not liable for any damages that may result.

That the only exportable content is content that you yourself have created or content that is marked with the "export" permission. If the "export" permission is not yet enabled, exportable content is full-perm content.

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is a science fiction writer who covers cybersecurity, AI and extended reality as a tech journalist at her day job.
Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now.

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