DigiWorldz posts model guarantee for residents

DigiWorldz’ Welcome region is decked out for the holidays.

At a time when grid outages and scandals are in the news (okay, just the one grid, but they do create a lot of news) it’s nice to see a grid do something positive.

On Tuesday, I saw this post from DigiWorldz show up in my social media, which leads to a kind of resident bill of rights for their grid.

A few items immediately jumped to my attention:

  • The money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers
  • Free region backups, uploads, name changes and moves

The grid also pointed out that it is legally registered as a company in the state of Ohio, and has a registered agent on file with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The DMCA registration — which costs $105 — protects grid owners from copyright-related lawsuits in the U.S. Foreign grids benefit from this as well, if they have U.S. customers. Registration is basically low-cost insurance against copyright trolls and also against over-zealous content creators. But registration also benefits creators as well — if a grid fails to take down infringing content, it could lose its protected status.

Although only the U.S. has a formal registration process, the underlying principles are the same everywhere. If you allow people to upload content on your platform, and someone uploads infringing content, you’re safe from lawsuits as long as you take the content down when you find out about it.

Copyright protection was a hotly debated issue in the early days of OpenSim. Some people thought it was unfair that creators were making money off of their work, and that everything should be free. Others — a larger group — thought it was unfair that they couldn’t take content they had already paid for and use it on another grid. And a few just wanted to steal stuff for the fun of it.

Today, no grid is on the record as supporting copyright infringement. The availability of fully-licensed Linda Kellie content and work by other public-spirited creators has led to the widespread removal of freebie stores populated with donated, “don’t ask, don’t tell” types of content. And the growth of the Kitely Market has created a new class of content that buyers can legally take with them to other grids.

However, only a handful of grids have registered agents on file with the U.S. Copyright Office.

I agree with DigiWorldz on this — content creators and residents should both consider this when deciding which grid to invest time and money in. It’s a sign that the grid is investing in its future, and is taking things seriously.

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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.

33 Responses

  1. da.tonyhayward@gmail.com' Da Hayward says:

    I totally agree Maria, our own experience with DigiWorldz definitely leans to Terry and his team having a well thought out and professional operation. To date we have found DigiWorldz to be a good example on how Open sim grid’s should be operated.
    We are planning on having a very long term commitment to them.

  2. butch.arnold@digiworldz.com' Butch Arnold says:

    Thanks for the kudos Maria, but there’s a spelling error I’d like to point out… The Title says ”
    DiviWorldz posts model guarantee for residents”… Should be “DigiWorldz”.

  3. jsimmons@johnsimmonshypertext.com' John Simmons says:

    This is on par with the excellent customer service and operation that I have come to expect and appreciate at Digiworldz, since moving my grid there. Actually, it has exceeded my expectations. If Opensim is to ever leave the perception of experimental alpha software, and be considered a mission-critical production service, it will be due to conscientious grid owners like Terry!

  4. ilan@kitely.com' Ilan Tochner says:

    Hi Maria,

    It may be worth noting that Kitely has had a Registered DMCA Agent for quite a few years now.

    Kitely has also offered free uploads, free region renaming and free region exports to OAR files as part of its service for many years as well.

    • and we care why? Please stop spamertising Kitely and let another grid have the spotlight for once for frill sake

      • ilan@kitely.com' Ilan Tochner says:

        This article specifically mentions one of Kitely’s services by name, and discusses differences between various grids (“only a handful of grids have registered agents on file with the U.S. Copyright Office”) so comments about Kitely that relate to the issues discussed in the article are quite relevant IMO.

        As for your blaming me for “spamertising Kitely” you can click my name to see which comments I’ve written, on which
        articles I’ve commented, and how often I’ve done so. I think you’ll see your labeling my comments as “spam” is a misrepresentation of the truth.

    • ilan why you always gotta try to steal the spotlight from other grids?
      (Lawrence thnx for deleting my POST again even though i didnt say any swear words)

    • suzandekoning@icloud.com' Suz Blessed says:

      Yes right and so does ZanGrid:)

    • jsimmons@johnsimmonshypertext.com' John Simmons says:

      Hi Ilan,

      I also love Kitely, but the currency (aside from paypal) is problematic. Is there any chance you would consider making Kitely credits exchangeable on Podex as many other already are? I believe that the legal issues you would be concerned about are handled for most jurisdictions (not sure about .il).

      Cheers – strannik zipper


      • cinder.roxley@phoenixviewer.com' Cinder Biscuits says:

        Just my opinion, but I think Kitely strikes a good balance when it comes to in world virtual currency and allowing people to make money via PayPal payments without opening the grid up to chargebacks and money laundering.

    • cinder.roxley@phoenixviewer.com' Cinder Biscuits says:

      She already noted it when she said a handful of grids have done it.

      • ilan@kitely.com' Ilan Tochner says:

        Hi Cinder,

        A big part of this article is about DMCA compliance and it specifically names a relatively new grid as an example of one that has it. I thought it relevant to mention Kitely’s DMCA compliance in my own comment as this article also mentioned Kitely Market without explicitly mentioning that Kitely is one of the first OpenSim grids still in existence to have had a registered DMCA Agent (since 2011).

        • cinder.roxley@phoenixviewer.com' Cinder Biscuits says:

          It specifically names “a relatively new grid” because that grid, DigiWorldz, is what the article is about. Maybe she didn’t write Kitely because she already did in three or four other articles about DMCA compliance, or maybe she knew you’d be along to ‘me too’ in the comment section anyway and wanted to keep focus on DigiWorldz in the article about DigiWorldz.

          • ilan@kitely.com' Ilan Tochner says:

            Just as there are articles about Kitely where other grids are mentioned and discussed in the comments section, there are articles about other grids where Kitely is mentioned and discussed in the comments section. Personally I don’t have a problem with either one of these scenarios and I wonder why you do.

          • cinder.roxley@phoenixviewer.com' Cinder Biscuits says:

            I wonder why you’d wonder about my motives instead of wondering why it might be in poor taste to advertise in the comment section of a blog like a common Aviworlds.

          • ilan@kitely.com' Ilan Tochner says:

            It’s an open forum and I don’t think it’s in poor taste to comment on an article our company is explicitly mentioned in. It is in line with accepted comment section etiquette and complies with the posting rules of this website.

          • cinder.roxley@phoenixviewer.com' Cinder Biscuits says:

            That’s nice. You still look like Alex Pompossi when you do it, so shine on you crazy diamond.

          • you do this ALL the time ilan when Kitely is NEVER mentioned. You shamelessly go on and on about Kitely then argue with those who tell you to knock it off. That to me is poor professionalism.

  5. fonsecaloffpt@yahoo.com' Carlos Loff says:

    I knew I had to stick it them, will never regret it, way to gooooo – The money back warranty is something I never saw on any grid – ANY, and it is the strongest assurance we are in the very best hands

    • suzandekoning@icloud.com' Suz Blessed says:

      This is a law not something that a grid should offer as something special. It is written in the law and all registered grids have to follow this law. So when you buy something in a shop ( virtual or non virtual ) you as a costumer has the right to return this within 14 days after buying and the seller should refund you the full amount of money. The fees at are paid by PayPal.

      • geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

        When you purchase grid hosting, you purchase a service and you cannot return a service for a refund. There are, however, requirements to how a service can be terminated that needs to be followed.

        If the hosting provider offered something like a paid-for OAR on top of the service, you could most likely argue this would be a product that would be subject to the return policy.

        • leighton@lighthousepoint.co.uk' Leighton Marjoram says:

          In the EU both goods and services are covered by the Distant seller regulations which gives a 7-14 day cooling off period. So refunds are part of that. The refund is automatic if you change your mind and not up to the provider to offer it or not.

          In person services and goods don’t have that stipulation so the offer a refund is based on problems with the service. Different jurisdictions use different legislation and the EU and the US are completely different. So applying local knowledge to international boundaries and jurisdictions is complicated and really legal advice is reqired. Offering options as extras when they are legal requirements is misleading.

          Couldn’t get Twitter to authenticate to sign in as me (Leighton Marjoram).

  6. suzandekoning@icloud.com' Suz Blessed says:

    We (ZanGrid) also have a ‘Return-money back’ guarantee. This is a law in Europe. All costumers have the right to return the bought goods (virtual or non virtual) within the first 14 days after buying the goods without giving any reason. So what Digiworldz is offering is not unique in fact in Europe it is a right of all costumers.

    ‘Widerruf des Kaufvertrags. Der Käufer gibt dem Verkäufer die Ware zurück und bekommt

    den Kaufpreis erstattet. Ohne Angabe von Gründen

    Frist: 14 Tage laut Gesetz. Die Frist kann vom Händler auch verlängert werden. ‘

    Of course people cannot return a 13 days old steak:)

    Also to run a commercial grid (people pay for their region to the grid owner) you have to be registered as a business, so this is also not new, but a thing that all grids should do when they do not run on volunteer and ‘donation’ base. The registration number should be visible on the grids website to people before they create an account.
    ‘In order for a commercial business to be considered legal, it must have a business license from the city in which it is operating. The business might also have to be approved by the city’s Community Planning Department. Before being issued a business license, business owners generally require zoning approval. For any special conditions or restrictions, business owners can receive a conditional-use permit.’

    It is great to see finally it gets mentioned that registration is important when you run a commercial grid.

    DMCA is an American thing, in Europe we have EULA. Items are only protected when the original creator did register his or her creation: ‘To fully protect your work, you must create it and then register it with the U.S. Copyright Office.’

    • geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

      You have to be careful making blanket statements about how things work in Europe, being there are 50 sovereign nations in it where only 28 of them are EU member states, and of these only 19 are in the Euro zone.

      The rules you cite for creating a business is very far from what it is here, so it must be something special to Germany.

      You are right that the consumer protection legislation in the EU is very different from the US, where there are, as you say, rights given to the consumers on reimbursement for purchases of physical and virtual goods. Here, in this European country, the rule is 30 days full reimbursement, no questions asked. In addition there are significant restrictions on what you can put in an EULA, and if this EULA does not meet the minimum requirements of the law, it will be found null and void in a court. Also here local variations apply depending on European country.

      What is important is the EU definition of what is a consumer. “A consumer is a natural person, who is acting for purposes outside his or her trade, business or profession”. This definition is important because it means that personal transactions between individuals who don’t operate a business or don’t do this as their full time occupation are strictly private and outside the scope of the consumer protection legislation, which only covers business to consumer transactions.

      This means that two accounts on a grid selling stuff to each other in most cases are private transactions, so there is no legal requirements for guarantees, reimbursements and so on. If, however, the seller lived full time off, or was a registered business selling stuff on a grid, the consumer legislation most likely would apply.

      But then comes the subject of currency, because European law does not recognize virtual currencies, where they, if recognized at all, usually would be regarded game tokens or symbolic tokens without any financial value. So transactions done in such tokens are not protected by the legislation. If the transaction is done in real currency such as a via a PayPal transaction you can find on some grids, the legislation would apply.

      The entity selling the game tokens (virtual currency) would however be subject to the consumer legislation.
      Note that some European countries, such as Germany and the UK, have special provisions in their legislation applicable to BitCoin. Otherwise virtual currencies are completely unregulated.

      What business form a grid use is highly dependent on the purpose of the grid and what gives the most favorable operating conditions in the country it originates. It can be set up as a non-profit (like OSGrid), a private club, as a single person company, as a limited company (Aktiengesellschaft), and any local variation thereof that is locally viable. I would not make a general recommendation to set up the grid as a business.

      Your statement “Also to run a commercial grid (people pay for their region to the grid owner) you have to be registered as a business.” is not true across Europe and probably not even true in Germany.

      • suzandekoning@icloud.com' Suz Blessed says:

        Maybe you are right about certain things, Thanks:) I do not know how things work in Norway or Italy or so.
        ZanGrid is registered in Switzerland and has German accountant for the yearly ‘Tax-Keeping’ I had to register as a business the moment i started asking ‘real’money for leasing out a region to others. I just followed the advise of a Swiss lawyer and a German accountant , because rl money is involved. This to protect myself and also the grid members.
        Personally i would not create an account or give my assets to a not registered grid.

        • geir.noklebye@dayturn.com' XMIR Grid says:

          Sorry for making the assumption you were in Germany. We often tend to forget there are other German speaking countries in Europe.

          You shall be extremely hard pressed to find a payment processor who does not link to a known person identified by SSN or national ID, or a registered business, so from that standpoint you should be equally safe regardless of how the grid is organized. You will pay to a legal, known entity.

          – Which I think is important when dealing with a grid, marketplace or virtual currency; that you can easily identify the real person or company behind, and not just an avatar name.

  7. could all you grid owners PLEASE stop trying to steal the spotlight from other grids, its very unprofessional and Digiworldz never comments how awesome they are in articles about other grids so please stop doing it to them and other grids.