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At a conference focused on video games and the law presented jointly by the law schools of NYU and Yale, the legal grey area of intellectual property and ownership of in-game items by participants has been examined by numerous presenters. The sale of credits and items between players in virtual worlds is fairly common, though standard property law doesn’t quite cover virtual property and companies running these games may also have rights to the contents inside their games.
Given those thorny issues, we were happy to hear the founder and CEO of Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale, announce that their multi-player online game Second Life has changed its Terms of Service (TOS) to transfer all copyright and intellectual property rights to users for any content they create within the game. Linden Lab also specifically allows for game content to be licensed by users under Creative Commons, so those items can be freely shared among players.No Comments »
Linden Lab Preserves Real World Intellectual Property Rights of Users of its Second Life Online Service
NEW YORK CITY: Linden Lab, creator of online world Second Life, today announced a significant breakthrough in digital property rights for its customers and for users of online worlds. Changes to Second Life’s Terms of Service now recognize the ownership of in-world content by the subscribers who make it. The revised TOS allows subscribers to retain full intellectual property protection for the digital content they create, including characters, clothing, scripts, textures, objects and designs.
In addition, Second Life has committed to exploring technologies to make it easy for creators to license their content under Creative Commons licenses.
Speaking to an audience of digital rights specialists and virtual world enthusiasts at the NYLS “State of Play” conference, Founder and CEO Philip Rosedale described the new policy as a major breakthrough for users of online worlds.
“Until now, any content created by users for persistent state worlds, such as EverQuest or Star Wars Galaxies, has essentially become the property of the company developing and hosting the world,” said Rosedale. “We believe our new policy recognizes the fact that persistent world users are making significant contributions to building these worlds and should be able to both own the content they create and share in the value that is created. The preservation of users’ property rights is a necessary step toward the emergence of genuinely real online worlds.”
Unlike traditional online game environments where anything created in-world is owned by the service provider, Second Life has responded to its residents’ desire to own their work just as they would any other original creations. Under these terms they can create, and sell derivative works based on content they’ve made, or license the work to others.
Second Life residents began creating their world in October, 2002 as beta testers, and continued through commercial launch of the service in June 2003. In just over a year, more than 10,000 users have created a richly diverse world, filled with more than 200,000 objects, complex characters, a range of living situations from whimsical hobbit-style homes to urban apartments, to sprawling mansions, and special recreational areas including a 40-ride amusement park and an island retreat. Everything in the world, from the antique carousel to the hot race cars to the resident-abducting alien spaceship was designed and built by the residents.
The economy supporting this activity includes over 12,000 objects for sale. Each month, nearly 100,000 user-to-user transactions for goods and services take place, with more than Linden$19million in in-world currency changing hands.
“Linden Lab has taken an important step toward recognizing the rights of content generators in Second Life,” said Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University Professor of Law, and Founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. “As history has continually proven, when people share in the value they create, greater value is derived for all. Linden Lab is poised for significant growth as a result of this decision.”
About Linden Lab
Based in San Francisco, Linden Lab was founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale to create a revolutionary new form of shared 3D entertainment. The former CTO of RealNetworks, Rosedale pioneered the development of many of today’s streaming media technologies, including RealVideo. In April 2003, noted software pioneer Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation, was named Chairman.
Second Life launched in June 2003 after being named a Time Magazine “Coolest Invention of 2002” during its beta test. Currently available to all PC users via a download at www.SecondLife.com, the world of Second Life, which grows with the size of the community, is now close to 1000 virtual acres and by the end of 2004 should be as large as Manhattan. A Macintosh version is expected early in 2004.
About Creative Commons
A nonprofit corporation, Creative Commons promotes the creative re-use of intellectual works, whether owned or public domain. It is sustained by the generous support of The Center for the Public Domain, the Hewlett Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Creative Commons is based at Stanford Law School, where it shares staff, space, and inspiration with the school’s Center for Internet and Society. For general information, visit http://creativecommons.org.No Comments »
Remember that this is Eyebeam week at Creative Commons. Eyebeam is the cutting-edge New York gallery hosting the Distributed Creativity email forum on intellectual property and art this month and next. Creative Commons is moderating the discussion this week. Join up if you haven’t already and spill your thoughts.No Comments »
This week’s featured content is Andrew “bunnie” Huang’s controversial book “Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering.” The book is available for order from his site, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and the text is Creative Commons licensed. The book has a colored history involving Microsoft, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), and potential lawsuits that forced him to self-publish it before finding a suitable publisher. The book site features sample sections from pages throughout the book.No Comments »
Today, Creative Commons begins to host a week-long online discussion entitled “Copyleft, Right & Center: Innovations in Law,” cosponsored by Eyebeam and the University of Maine. Read an article about Eyebeam recently published in the New York Times.
You can still sign up to participate in the discussion by joining the list. The archived discussion will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license and will also be edited and published in a book. The inaugural message will be sent today from Eyebeam, to be followed-up with a message from Creative Commons. If you wish just to follow the discussion, you’ll be able to read the archives here.No Comments »
We’ve started work on porting our licenses to China and Taiwan thanks to volunteers at CNBlog.org and Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica. The full press release contains all the details of the new projects.No Comments »
The world-renowned music college encourages people to share music lessons
via file-sharing networks
Boston, Massachusetts USA – Berklee College of Music,
the world’s largest independent music college and the premier institution
for the study of contemporary music, announces the launch of Berklee
Shares. The groundbreaking new program provides free music lessons under
Creative Commons licenses and encourages musicians to share and
distribute the lessons online. The Berklee Shares lessons consist of a
growing catalog of MP3s, QuickTime movies, and PDF files derived from
curriculum developed at the college by its world-renowned faculty. The
lessons are available for download today at
http://www.berkleeshares.com/, affiliate partner sites, and
peer-to-peer networks, including Limewire.
“Berklee Shares was born out of Berklee College of Music’s commitment to
furthering music education through innovative means,” said Dave Kusek,
Associate Vice President. “Offering free education on the Internet and
through file sharing networks underscores the college’s core beliefs that
these channels are an effective way to openly distribute meaningful
educational content to a global audience, as well as serve as a powerful
promotional platform for artists to market, distribute, and sell their
The Berklee Shares program launches with over 80 music lessons spanning
instrument performance, music production and technology, songwriting and
arranging, music business and careers, music education and improvisation.
The number of lessons offered will expand over time.
“Berklee College of Music will prove to many the innovation and education
that can be supported through a more balanced system of rights,” said
Lawrence Lessig, chairman of Creative Commons and professor of law at
Stanford University. “We are honored to help Berklee College spread
educational content broadly.”
About Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that
the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the
study and practice of contemporary music. For over half a century, the
college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music
and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance
majors, a diverse and talented student body representing 70 plus
countries, and a music industry “who’s who” of alumni, Berklee is the
world’s premier learning lab for the music of today and tomorrow.
Berkleemusic.com is Berklee’s online music school, delivering online
access to world-renowned music faculty, educational concepts, and
time-tested curriculum previously available only to on-campus students.
Berkleemusic.com expands music-education opportunities beyond the campus
experience using the newest methods, media, and technology.
Berkleemusic.com is the first online music school seamlessly combining
education and career development to give musicians, educators and music
industry professionals a one-stop destination for all their learning,
career, and networking needs.
About Creative Commons
A nonprofit corporation, Creative Commons promotes the creative re-use of
intellectual works – whether owned or public domain. It is sustained by
generous support of The Center for the Public Domain, the John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. Creative
Commons is based at Stanford Law School, where it shares staff, space,
and inspiration with the school’s Center for Internet and Society.
For general information, visit http://creativecommons.org.
MPRm Public Relations/Berklee
Glenn Otis Brown
Executive Director, Creative Commons
CNBlog.org and the Institute of Information Science at Academia Sinica are spearheading efforts to translate Creative Commons licenses for China and Taiwan to expand international access to their cultures.
Palo Alto, USA; Shanghai, China; Taipei, Taiwan; – Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a body of creative works free for copying and re-use, announced today that formal discussions have begun for expanding its International Commons (iCommons) project to China and Taiwan. CNBlog.org (China) and the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica (Taiwan) will lead the efforts in these jurisdictions.
“We’re very excited to have CNBlog.org and the Institute of Information Science working with us to bring iCommons to China and Taiwan” said Lawrence Lessig, Chairman of Creative Commons and professor of law at Stanford. “As the project enables people around the world to access an expanding pool of ideas from these regions, the cultural commons we all share will become increasingly rich.”
CNBlog.org’s Isaac Mao, the project lead for iCommons China, notes that “Creative Commons has a well-defined architecture for copyright that encompasses both law and computer code, offering a spectrum of options for licensing digital works. This model envisions a great future for knowledge-sharing in the 21st century. CNBlog.org espouses this vision and looks forward to introducing these revolutionary licenses to China, and to the whole Chinese world.”
Dr. Tyng-Ruey Chuang, the project lead of Taiwan states: “The Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, is glad to have this opportunity. We believe Creative Commons’ modular
design of licensing conditions is ideal for content creators
who like to freely distribute their works but at the same time
want to preserve certain rights. We have just completed a draft translation
of the licenses in traditional Chinese characters, and are working with local art, legal, and research communities to finalize the process of making the licenses workable in Taiwan.” His co-project lead, Shunling Chen, adds: “The sharing of knowledge is a noble act that has been practiced throughout all of human history. The Creative Commons license project provides a
convenient alternative for people who are not satisfied with the mindset of
the existing copyright system, which makes sharing “unnatural”. With the various indigenous and Chinese legal traditions in Taiwan,
the introduction of the CC licenses will induce a re-examination of the
culture of knowledge sharing.”
First announced in March 2003, iCommons is Creative Commons’ project to make its machine-readable copyright licenses useful worldwide.
As the lead institutions for their respective jurisdictions, CNBlog.org, the Institute of Information Science at Academia Sinica will coordinate public efforts literally and legally to translate the Creative Commons licenses for use in China and Taiwan. These areas will thus be joining Brazil, Japan and Finland in the iCommons effort.
More about Creative Commons
A nonprofit corporation, Creative Commons promotes the creative re-use of intellectual works, whether owned or public domain. It is sustained by the generous support of The Center for the Public Domain and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Creative Commons is based at Stanford Law School, where it shares staff, space, and inspiration with the school’s Center for Internet and Society.
For general information, visit http://creativecommons.org.
For more information about iCommons, see http://creativecommons.org/projects/international/.
More About CNBlog.org and the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica
CNBlog.org was founded in 2002 to deploy open collaborative research on the Internet, its technologies, and its impacts on society and business. Sponsored by several private funds, CNBlog.org is extending itself from grassroots publishing research to a multidisciplinary Internet research and education center. Since its foundation, CNBlog.org has devoted itself to creating a new kind of open community, and to following closely the emerging social and technological trends. Operating as a volunteering and visiting consortium, CNBlog.org seeks to catalyze new collaborative projects (Social Software, Emergent Democracy and Grassroots Culture, etc.) to spread its ideas and methodologies to other individuals/organizations and to encourage the practical applications of its findings. CNBlog.org also sponsors Open Education Project (oedu.org) in China.
For more information about CNBlog.org, visit http://www.cnblog.org.
Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica
Academia Sinica is the highest government-sponsored academic research institution in Taiwan. The institution supports research activities in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematical and physical sciences to humanities and social sciences. The Institute of Information Science (IIS) was formally established in September 1982, and is one of the nine institutes within the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. IIS presently has 33 full-time research fellows, 16 postdoctoral fellows and over 160 full-time information technology engineers supporting research and development of information science and engineering.
The mission of IIS is to conduct quality, fundamental research in information science, to develop cutting edge technologies applicable to advanced information systems, and to improve Taiwan’s competitiveness in information technology and its international visibility. Being a member of the most prominent research institution in Taiwan, IIS is obligated to assuming the leadership role in the area of information science, and aiming to establish itself as one of the world’s top research institutions.
Currently, IIS is conducting the Open Source Software Foundry (OSSF) project, with the aim of establishing a vital open source community. OSSF is to serve as a public, virtual common ground where local open source developers are invited to contribute their creativity in software development.
For more information about the Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, visit http://www.iis.sinica.edu.tw.
Christiane Asschenfeldt (Berlin)
iCommons Coordinator, Creative Commons
Isaac Mao (Mao Xianghui) (Shanghai)
Project Lead, iCommons China
Dr. Tyng-Ruey Chuang and Shunling Chen (Taipei)
Project Lead, iCommons Taiwan
Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica
Glenn Otis Brown (Palo Alto)
Executive Director, Creative Commons
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