I’ll first say, I don’t know when this changed. I had a quick look earlier this month and noticed something was different and have just read it properly now. It’s good news. There are much improved terms as a condition of joining the Official Second Life group on Flickr.
I had a full scale rant about the Official Second Life Flickr group’s terms and conditions earlier this year. As I said then, “photography is part of what I do to earn a living in real life, and this is why I always check what I might be signing away. The advice circulating on the internet to photographers is clear, and this is just one example from the National Union of Journalists London Freelance Branch which they offer for the purposes of ‘equitable negotiation’:
There are no uses to which a client might wish to put a photograph which cannot be covered by the appropriate licence for an appropriate fee… Even where the client actually needs exclusivity, either for commercial reasons or to protect individuals depicted, the photographer should retain the copyright itself, which can only be sold outright through an “assignment”, which requires the photographer’s agreement in writing.
At the time the Second Life Flickr group rules were as follows:
…I hereby grant a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free license to the Company to the images, snapshots, screenshots, photos and other materials I submit to the Program. Further, I understand that I have no right to any royalties or other compensation in connection with the rights granted above and waive any and all claims based on any such rights. (my emphasis)
The rules have now changed:
…you hereby grant to the Company a perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable, and cost-free right and license to use, distribute, or sublicense (through multiple levels), and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your Submissions, for the purposes of marketing, promotion, and/or outreach for and about the Second Life virtual world. (my emphasis)
This change is hugely significant. It restricts the use to a specific purpose and it doesn’t demand that all rights, for any use or all purposes, are signed over. In order to take snapshots in Second Life, Linden Labs give copyright permissions to photographers and machinima makers. It seems reasonable to me that posting images on the official Flickr group allows them free use of the image for publicity and marketing purposes.
It’s a good change Linden Lab. Good on you.