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GingerM
09-15-2012, 10:53 PM
I'm genuinely hesitant to raise this subject because I have seen the, um, vigorous debate it sparks on other sites. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so here goes...

Section II, subsections C and D and their sub-sub bits deals with 3D modelling and screen captures.

For 3D modelling (i.e., Poser, DAZ Studio, Bryce, Carrerra, Blender, Rhino, etc.) everything rendered in the image is under the control of the person assembling the scene. Whether it's their own created content, or sufficiently modified or re-textured or whatever is beside the point; if it's in the image, it's because it was put there by the person making the image.

However... (I know, I just know everyone is waiting for it...) Second Life.

By the very nature of Second Life, not everything in the screen capture is necessarily under the control of the person taking the screen capture; and in fact, some elements of any SL scene cannot be substituted by the user; for instance, the basic avatar mesh. It can be concealed, adjusted, re-textured, etc., but it's there, one way or another, unlike Poser or DAZ where you can choose which figure model file to load up. In one sense, one can view that as part of the charm; it's analogous to photograpy - wait too long and there's a city bus, or someone in the background gives the camera the finger; things that are out of the the photographer's control.

I don't know if the Weasyl staff even want to get into this, and if they don't I understand perfectly. I also don't know if they've already examined the Linden Lab's TOS on the subject, but if they haven't, I have the links as follows:

Part 7, dealing with creative licenses (http://secondlife.com/corporate/tos.php?lang=en-US#tos7); specifically 7.4, dealing with screen captures and machinima.

7.4 You also grant Linden Lab and other users of Second Life a license to use in snapshots and machinima your Content that is displayed In-World in publicly accessible areas of the Service.

You agree that by uploading, publishing, or submitting any Content to or through the Servers for display In-World in any publicly accessible area of the Service, you hereby grant each user of Second Life and Linden Lab a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to photograph, capture an image of, film, and record a video of the Content, and to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the resulting photograph, image, film, or video in any current or future media as provided in and subject to the restrictions and requirements of our Snapshot and Machinima Policy. The foregoing license is referred to as the "Snapshot and Machinima Content License."

If you do not wish to grant users of Second Life a Snapshot and Machinima Content License, you agree that it is your obligation to avoid displaying or making available your Content to other users. For example, you may use Virtual Land tools to limit or restrict other users' access to your Virtual Land and thus the Content on your Virtual Land.

The second link is for the policy referred to in the quote, the Snapshot and Machinima Content License (http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Snapshot_and_machinima_policy) : It's rather longer, since it expands on the portion of the TOS quoted above:

Copyright Licenses

This is the legal permission that you can show the festival organizers or anyone else who’s interested:
As long as you comply with the terms and conditions (http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Snapshot_and_machinima_policy# 2._License_Conditions.) below, both Linden Lab and the Residents of Second Life (collectively, “we”) grant you the following copyright licenses:


A License To Capture. You may take snapshots and capture machinima of the 3D content we created that is displayed in-world, and
A License To Use. You may use the resulting snapshot or machinima within or outside of Second Life in any current or future media.

“Use” means “use, reproduce, distribute, modify, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform.” For other definitions, see Definitions (http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Snapshot_and_machinima_policy# Definitions).
Both the License To Capture and the License To Use (collectively, the “Licenses”) are non-exclusive and royalty-free. In addition, the License To Use is worldwide, sublicenseable, and transferable.

License Conditions

The Licenses are subject to the following conditions:

(a) Land Owner Consent for Snapshots and Machinima

If you wish to take a snapshot or capture machinima of content on another Resident’s land, then:


For Snapshots, check whether the covenant for the land prohibits snapshots. If it does, then you need special permission from the land owner to take the snapshot. If it allows snapshots or doesn’t address them, then you do not need special permission from the land owner as long as you comply with any terms that may be in the covenant.
For Machinima, check whether the covenant for the land allows machinima. If it does not or doesn’t address machinima, then you need special permission from the land owner to capture machinima. If it allows machinima, then you do not need special permission from the land owner as long as you comply with any terms that may be in the covenant.

For Mainland or Linden Homes parcels where Linden Lab is the estate owner, you do not need land owner consent to take snapshots, but you do need special permission from the land owner to capture machinima. The “land owner” is not the estate owner, but the Resident identified as the land owner in the “General” tab under “About Land.” For private islands where Residents are estate owners, you must check the covenant for the private island as provided above.

(b) Avatar Consent for Machinima

For machinima, you must have the consent of all Residents whose avatars or Second Life names are featured or recognizable in the machinima. This includes avatars who are featured in a shot, avatars whose names are legible, and avatars whose appearance is sufficiently distinctive that they are recognizable by members of the Second Life community. Consent is not required if an avatar is not recognizable and is merely part of a crowd scene or shown in a fleeting background. Consent is not required for any snapshots.


I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet, but my laywoman's understanding of these is that Linden Labs requires all Residents (i.e., people with SL accounts, of any kind), to allow photography of themselves and their stuff unless they actively take steps to prevent it - leave the sim when someone's taking snapshots, if they own land, use the land tools to restrict access, put up warning signs saying "NO SNAPSHOTS ALLOWED", etc. Essentially, as I understand it, LL gives very broad permission and if the other parties who may be present in the snapshot don't say "NO", users are free to assume "YES".

I do think that if someone takes a Second Life snapshot, they are obligated to identify content in it that's not theirs as best as possible - the name of the sim, the name of the club and who owns it, etc. If they're showing off their avatar, they are obligated to credit any bits of it they didn't make, i.e., "Ears from Animo-People Creations, Jacket from Bad In Leather, jeans by Emily Clothesmaker", etc.

On the other hand, I know many people are worried about the possibility of SL image spam - badly composed, rife with aliasing errors, in other words, the VR equivalent of really bad holiday snaps (wink wink nudge nudge say no more). For myself, I have used SL images of my avatar as a way to make a temporary reference sheet - several images of my avatar against a neutral background, then composited together. I've also taken some snaps to use as the basis for further postworking - surface effects, lighting, correcting clipping errors and so on. I guess where I'm going with this is that I think SL snapshots, like RL photography, can be a valid medium of artistic expression. Also, just like RL photography, it's possible to snap a lot of dreck.

I know this has gotten awfully TLDR but I hope it will spark some thoughtful discussion and debate. Thank you.

Ginger

Juste
09-15-2012, 11:50 PM
I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet, but my laywoman's understanding of these is that Linden Labs requires all Residents (i.e., people with SL accounts, of any kind), to allow photography of themselves and their stuff unless they actively take steps to prevent it - leave the sim when someone's taking snapshots, if they own land, use the land tools to restrict access, put up warning signs saying "NO SNAPSHOTS ALLOWED", etc. Essentially, as I understand it, LL gives very broad permission and if the other parties who may be present in the snapshot don't say "NO", users are free to assume "YES".

That is in fact what their ToS is stating. Unless actively guarded against or explicitly stated otherwise, all content is effectively "free" (in the grossest of terms) to be shown "In-World" and through crossover mediums (i.e., photos, videos, etc...). This would be somewhat the reverse of the copyright laws in the U.S., which (again, grossly speaking) basically state that permission must be explicitly given, not denied.

Now, if this has the ability to override the ToS here at Weasyl, I do not believe that is true. Specifically, this would relate to what we allow and not what we deny through copyright. That is the say, it could be permissible for us to deny someone to upload SL screenshots, so long as it is not on the basis of copyright infringement as there would exist no infringement.



I do think that if someone takes a Second Life snapshot, they are obligated to identify content in it that's not theirs as best as possible - the name of the sim, the name of the club and who owns it, etc. If they're showing off their avatar, they are obligated to credit any bits of it they didn't make, i.e., "Ears from Animo-People Creations, Jacket from Bad In Leather, jeans by Emily Clothesmaker", etc.

I won't speak for Weasyl on this matter, but in my personal opinion I believe that everyone should always to the best of their ability provide the proper citations for works they feature/incorporate in their own (as well as acquiring the proper permissions where applicable). Since distributing, displaying, and derivative works are protected by LL's policy, any such failures to identify or annotate a submission with the proper credits would have to be far lesser in extent than those that are also infringing on another. At least, this is how I would handle such concerns.



On the other hand, I know many people are worried about the possibility of SL image spam - badly composed, rife with aliasing errors, in other words, the VR equivalent of really bad holiday snaps (wink wink nudge nudge say no more). For myself, I have used SL images of my avatar as a way to make a temporary reference sheet - several images of my avatar against a neutral background, then composited together. I've also taken some snaps to use as the basis for further postworking - surface effects, lighting, correcting clipping errors and so on. I guess where I'm going with this is that I think SL snapshots, like RL photography, can be a valid medium of artistic expression. Also, just like RL photography, it's possible to snap a lot of dreck.


Quality control in art is not something we will be able to do, nor do I believe we really wish to. We may enact polices in which to help reduce works "lacking in artistic/intellectual merit". Technical prowess and honed skills are not necessary for the creation of art, but more intangibly and obfuscated from measurement remain the soul, message, and purpose of the art. That is significantly more difficult to analyze and quantify (or qualify). It's a very touchy subject fraught with vague notions. Consequently, the most feasible of options for Weasyl would be an equally vague policy on the matter with some very open-minded enforcers. To do otherwise would grant Weasyl too much or too little power. Specificity is a very dangerous path, as to do so effectively would result in an incredibly longwinded, bewildering policy that may end up being entirely ineffective. Lack of a policy could end in a rushed, unfitting stopgap that leaves everyone with a sour aftertaste.

I don't really foresee SL screenshots being much of an issue here on Weasyl, which I say from my own personal perspective. It is certainly something for us to consider and work with the community in order to develop an effective and eloquent solution; however, that may be further down the road. Of course, if the community feels otherwise, we would be happy to listen.

GingerM
09-16-2012, 12:21 AM
That is in fact what their ToS is stating. Unless actively guarded against or explicitly stated otherwise, all content is effectively "free" (in the grossest of terms) to be shown "In-World" and through crossover mediums (i.e., photos, videos, etc...). This would be somewhat the reverse of the copyright laws in the U.S., which (again, grossly speaking) basically state that permission must be explicitly given, not denied.

Now, if this has the ability to override the ToS here at Weasyl, I do not believe that is true. Specifically, this would relate to what we allow and not what we deny through copyright. That is the say, it could be permissible for us to deny someone to upload SL screenshots, so long as it is not on the basis of copyright infringement as there would exist no infringement.

That's pretty much how I read it as well - basically, that there would be no copyright issue arising from the fact of images being captured from Second Life. I should also note, on re-reading, that this liberality applies to still images; their Snapshot and Machinima policy actively requires consent for machinima (i.e., recording a Second Life session), which is closer to how most of us generally understand copyright, fair use, etc. Fair use - their policy also addresses that, though I didn't quote that section in my OP, but reading it, it appears to me that incidental items in an image - background, etc. - are considered as fair use. Overall, it seems to me that so far as Linden Labs is concerned, they want to make it that virtual snapshots are effectively the same deal as RL photography. Afterall, you don't need permission from Macdonalds to take a picture of someone standing in front of a Macdonalds on the corner of the street, nor do you need permission from Ford just because there's a Fiesta going by in the background.


Quality control in art is not something we will be able to do, nor do I believe we really wish to. We may enact polices in which to help reduce works "lacking in artistic/intellectual merit". Technical prowess and honed skills are not necessary for the creation of art, but more intangibly and obfuscated from measurement remain the soul, message, and purpose of the art. That is significantly more difficult to analyze and quantify (or qualify). It's a very touchy subject fraught with vague notions. Consequently, the most feasible of options for Weasyl would be an equally vague policy on the matter with some very open-minded enforcers. To do otherwise would grant Weasyl too much or too little power. Specificity is a very dangerous path, as to do so effectively would result in an incredibly longwinded, bewildering policy that may end up being entirely ineffective. Lack of a policy could end in a rushed, unfitting stopgap that leaves everyone with a sour aftertaste.

May I say how incredibly glad I am to hear that? I realize you are speaking for yourself and not necessarily for Weasyl (at least, so I infer), but I find that incredibly refreshing. One of the great weaknesses of some other sites' policy regarding game screenshots, usually from the best of motives, is the incredibly fine parsing that's necessary when they write them, or else the admittedly-simpler approach of safeguarding their legal position by simply saying "No screenshots at all allowed". That Weasyl is willing to take an open-minded approach and modify as circumstances require is refreshing indeed!