A Change to the Terms of Service

We wanted to make you aware of a change to our Terms of Service (TOS) regarding the way that disputes are resolved between Linden Lab and Residents. You will be asked to agree to these Terms of Service the next time you log into Second Life.

In the past, we’ve received some constructive feedback that our process could be improved, and with the aim of reducing the burden on Residents, we’ve acted on this feedback. We’ve made some changes that we hope will provide Residents with a cost-effective means of resolving small disputes that they may have with Linden Lab. Of course, we hope that disputes are few and far between, and our aim is and always has been to communicate with Residents to address their concerns as best we can. However, we recognize that disputes occasionally arise, and we’d like to provide Residents with the option of resolving small claims quickly and inexpensively.

Our new updated TOS, which are the terms and conditions on which Linden Lab provides access to the Second Life environment, give Residents the option of resolving claims for amounts less than $10,000.00 USD through a proceeding conducted by telephone, online, or based on written submissions. With this proceeding—called “binding, non-appearance-based arbitration”—we aim to save Residents both time and money by eliminating the need to appear in person at the arbitration hearing to resolve small claims.

The Q&As after this post go into greater detail about the updated TOS. We hope that this change provides a neutral and cost-effective means of resolving small disputes quickly and effectively, and as always, we welcome feedback.

Questions and Answers

1. Why is Linden Lab doing this?
We know that the amount of money that may be at issue in a Resident dispute with Linden Lab may be small. So we updated the TOS with the goal of allowing Residents to resolve small claims quickly and inexpensively. The updated TOS gives Residents the option of resolving small claims through an arbitration proceeding that doesn’t involve a personal appearance by the Resident or Linden Lab.

2. What kinds of disputes does the TOS cover?
The TOS governs disputes between a Resident and Linden Lab. The new dispute resolution procedure does not apply to Resident-to-Resident disputes.

3. What is the arbitration option?
For claims where the total amount of damages sought is less than $10,000.00 USD, a Resident may choose to resolve the claims through a proceeding called “binding non-appearance-based arbitration.”

4. What is “binding non-appearance-based arbitration”?
It is a legally binding procedure administered by a private organization. This means that the arbitrator’s opinion on liability and damages may be entered as a final, binding judgment in a court of law. The arbitrator will conduct the arbitration by telephone, online, or based on written submissions, and the Resident and Linden Lab will not make any in-person appearance at the arbitration hearing.

5. How do I elect arbitration?
If a dispute arises with Linden Lab, we strongly encourage Residents to contact us so that we can learn about and try to address their concerns. However, if a Resident seeks to have a dispute resolved in arbitration, the Resident should send Linden Lab a written notice that contains the following:

(1) A brief statement of the claims alleged and the relief sought;

(2) Any preference regarding the “established ADR provider” that will conduct the arbitration (for what is an “established ADR provider,” see the next question below);

(3) Any preference regarding whether the arbitration is conducted by telephone, online, or based on written submissions to the arbitrator; and

(4) Contact information (including mailing address, telephone number, and email address) for the Resident and, if the Resident is represented by counsel, for the Resident’s attorney.

Written notices should be sent by mail or fax to:

Linden Lab Legal Department
Attn: Dispute Resolution
945 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
Fax: 415-243-9045

6. What is an “established ADR provider”?
The Resident and Linden Lab must agree on an established alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) provider to conduct the arbitration. Examples of established ADR providers are the American Arbitration Association (AAA) (http://www.adr.org/), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services/Endispute (JAMS) (http://www.jamsadr.com/), and the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) (http://www.arb-forum.com/). Linden Lab will consider reasonable requests to use an established ADR provider. However, please be aware that Linden Lab will not consider any ADR provider that does not have published rules and procedures governing arbitration. Linden Lab also requires that the arbitrator be a retired judge or attorney with legal expertise in the subject matter of the dispute.

7. How much will arbitration cost me?
The exact cost depends on the ADR provider selected. An ADR provider’s rules and fee schedule are often available on the provider’s website. For example, the National Arbitration Forum’s rules currently provide that consumers will pay at most $185.00 in disputes between consumers and businesses where the total amount of damages sought is less than $10,000.00 USD. Businesses pay the remainder of the fees charged by the NAF.

8. What kinds of claims are not subject to arbitration under the TOS?
Arbitration is not an option if the total amount of damages sought is $10,000.00 USD or more, or if injunctive or other equitable relief is sought. Equitable remedies are discretionary and include injunctions, which are court orders that compel or proscribe certain conduct. For information about equitable relief, please see the Wikipedia entry titled “Equitable Remedy” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equitable_remedies) and consult a lawyer.

9. Does the TOS allow me to file claims in a court of law?
Yes, Residents may file claims in a court in San Francisco, California.

10. Can I file claims in a court outside of San Francisco, California?
No, if a Resident seeks resolution in a court of law, the claim must be filed in a court in San Francisco, California.

11. What happens if I file a claim in a manner that is not allowed by the TOS?
Linden Lab will notify Residents in writing of claims filed contrary to the TOS. Residents who do not promptly withdraw the claims may be liable for the attorneys’ fees and costs, up to $1,000.00 USD, that Linden Lab incurs as the result of the improper filing.

12. What law applies to a legal dispute that I may have with Linden Lab?
California law governs Residents’ relationship with Linden Lab.

13. What if I do not agree to the updated TOS?
Residents who do not agree should decline the updated TOS and are prohibited from using Second Life.

About Robin Linden

Be the Change. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ---Mahatma Gandhi
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121 Responses to A Change to the Terms of Service

  1. Cat Gisel says:

    Thanks. If I ever make more than $10,000.00USD in SL you folks will get a visit anyway 🙂 hehe (and lunch, my treat)

    (Note to Iskar: the proper use of commas and decimal places :P)

  2. pantaiputih korobase says:

    will take a while for my legal department to check this TOS…

  3. Deltango Vale says:

    It’s your game LL. You own it. You can do whatever you like. I don’t see why you need to introduce lawyers into SL. Your success is based on reputation, not law. My advice is avoid law and politics at all costs. Once you allow lawyers and politicians into SL, well, it will all go to hell – just like RL. Please move the servers offshore and get this game back to what it should be: virtual, voluntary and adult.

  4. RobbyRacoon says:

    It’s interesting to see that the TOS is finally being updated, as there’s been quite a bit of speculation lately as to why it hasn’t been already in light of ongoing cases.

    I’m very curious and anxious to see the analysis to come from Legally Blind and others who specialize in law relating to virtual worlds.

  5. Chance Unknown says:

    Is there a pending press release related to LL vs Bragg?

  6. pantaiputih korobase says:

    ‘Linden Lab is a service provider, which means, among other things, ‘that Linden Lab does not control various aspects of the Service…’

    I definitely love this statement as I really do not feel controlled by LL
    caution: irony!

    ‘Second Life currency is a limeted licence ….’
    even better!

    ‘Second Life is subject to scheduled and unscheduled service interruptions’
    WE KNOW!

    ‘you must be 13 of age’ 13?????????

    ‘Linden Lab may suspend or terminate your account at any time, without refund or obligation to you’

    ‘Linden Lab retains ownership of the account and RELATED DATA’
    are you crazy LL?

    and it goes on and on and on what I could cry about what LL does to us with a completely wrong strategy!

    and: you may delete this posting or my account, cause you are soooooooo powerful, LL

    kind regards,

  7. em debevec says:

    no offence intended, but applying US laws is stupid when your residents are worldwide.

    like Deltango said, it’s time you moved offshore, i’d prefer to be governed by international laws (even those of my own country, England) rather than small local area laws (for some reason yokel springs to my mind)
    SL is a big idea, it;s time to start acting that way !

  8. Mike1 Shepherd says:

    It is disappointing that we are told we must sign this before ever logging in again. IF anything has been broken since my last login I have no option other than to agree to the new TOS, which would limit my ability to react to what I may find. This is no longer a game it is a legal contract in which I may only “play” with the advice of a lawyer. It now means that those people using no real identification have more “rights” than I do because they can do what they please while I must follow the rules. It may be time for me to go elsewhere for fun. I thought this was Second Life not Law and Order. First we have to be careful not to be off topic, then careful not to be abusive (by the abusers terms) now we have to sign away our legal rights based on California law – before we can enter our place of business or quasi-legally purchased domiciles. Who is protecting us? What is my tier really buying me?

  9. Taft Worsley says:

    This is nothing more the LL trying to limit the amount of possible lawsuits against them in other jurisdictions.

    (“With this proceeding—called “binding, non-appearance-based arbitration”—we aim to save Residents both time and money by eliminating the need to appear in person at the arbitration hearing to resolve small claims.”)

    If you have dispute with them and file a civil lawsuit suit with regards to that dispute – you would appear in court where you filed the lawsuit, hence like bragg the suit was files in Pennsylvania, so he didn’t go to them – they had to come to him.

    And in effect when they went to PA, the Judge there found the TOS to be a contract that is disputable – so this is nothing more then another CYA for LL to avoid having to go to multiple other jursidictions to answer suits, because they realize people are starting to look for legal remedy for all the money lost and product instabilities along with broken promises and the fact that this company does nothing but spit on its customers – I for one feel I haven’t got my money’s worth in about 4 months from this company.

  10. pantaiputih korobase says:

    mike1, it’s not a game neither democracy, it’s dictatorship in some way…. – LL you may delete this post also

  11. pantaiputih korobase says:

    …we value free expression, bla bla bla

  12. Darien Caldwell says:

    I’m not sure what people are complaining about. Where as before you had no recourse, now LL has agreed to abide by a non-partisan organization’s rulings related to claims less than $10k. I would think people would see that for a good thing. *shrugs*

  13. Duffy Otoole says:

    So I get the popup for the new TOS and just see “loading…” and the new TOS never loads. This is a bit frustrating.

  14. This immediately spurred hoaxes of “L$ is worthless” X)

  15. GoogleMama says:

    Just one comment, and this time not even at LL (amazing, I know). I am sick of hearing people bitching about LL applying “US Law” for whatever reason. They are IN the US, US law APPLIES to them and if you are USING their service it therefor APPLIES to YOU while using it.

    Do you think for one MINUTE if LL was based in Saudi Arabia that anything but Saudi law would apply?

    If they were based in China, would the laws of other countries be honored over thier own?

    NO. The very thing you are bitching about is what has allowed so much to go on up to this point. US law is some of the MOST tolerant in terms of allowing non-nationals their “rights”, despite the fact that they have none “under the law”, so stop all the bitching about “US Law” as it is applied by LL or any other company you deal with based in the US.

    Despite your pentchant for US bashing, it is EXACTLY the same in every other country. The country of origin applies their law to the commodity or service.

    At least it looks like LL is finally waking up and paying SOME attention to their product. It’s not the kind that will keep it alive and functioning for much longer. In fact, this new TOS smacks of preparation for shutting things down without having to refund anything to any sucker still pumping money into this collapsing black hole known as Second Life… but at least they are recognizing that SOMETHING is going on, which is a nice change…

    Too little, too late, but a nice change…

  16. @em debevec:
    “no offence intended, but applying US laws is stupid when your residents are worldwide.”

    That’s something you may want to contact the US government about, they say US based servers are to abide US laws, regardless of where the visitors are from.

  17. Zephy Toshihiko says:

    Well people like to moan but sounds good to me, although I find it quite amusing that $10,000 is considered a small amount 🙂

  18. My initial take is that this looks like a smart move for Linden Lab, and a pretty good deal for users too. Before, it was basically impossible to bring a claim in the 5-10k range because the cost of the arbitration proceedings that were required was so high. Now, there’s a way to do it. This is certainly a result of Judge Robreno finding the old arbitration clause unconscionable in the Bragg v. Linden Lab case, but credit Linden Lab for getting it right on the second pass. The fact that they refer users to $185 arbitration where they’d have to pick up the rest of the tab is a nice touch, and goes well beyond any other clause like this that I’ve read.

  19. Brett Finsbury says:

    It is no differant that what most of the credit card companies and cell phone providers are doing.
    I am all for it as long as the person making the judgements is non-biased.
    Besides reading the TOS. It saves wasting you a trip and day spent in court just to hear that you agreed to the TOS it when you joined second life.

  20. Jessica Hultcrantz says:

    Personally, my attorney thinks you need to be clearer on what things has been changed since the last version of the TOS.

    And it would be rather nice if you could explain it in a plain english too and not the lawyer gibberish, thank you 😦
    After all this is INTERNATIONAL and not a simple US thing anymore.

    Besides that, it is good that claims can be solved without personal visits, that is one step in international handling of the matters.

    Can the next be to start thinking more about all users outside the US, please?
    It doesn’t have to continue being splitting in a dual division life, US or non-US.

    Besides that, you US guys are allways so into totally unbeliavable licenses, TOS or what ever. Try to get down to earth someday, helloooo?
    (Allright, i knew that signing the TOS made me becoming the unpaid uncared slave of LL, when shall i come to you and start cleaning the bathrooms?)

    OK, time to get into the grid … SORRY get the life again…

    /me puts the TOS in the recycle bin and logs on happily clicking on any ok buttons, then claiming lack of language knowledge or menthal insanity when anyone refers to the TOS by any means *giggles*

  21. Jazzman Jibilla says:

    The $10k figure is a bit rich for all but maybe a couple thousand residents.
    I am just figuring off the top of my head based on the stats of monthly USD flow.
    Hey, they probably could have sent them a personal contract. 😉
    Got to go to the other blogs from some analysis of this.

  22. Galexy Oh says:

    Does this mean LL, that your Abuse Team’s ignorance of my abuse report about deception, intimidation of me and theft of my money by another resident will need to be taken through this new arbitration process and likely cost me more than I lost, before I can get any action from you? After all, I am paying regularly and dearly for a service I apparently don’t get.

  23. GoogleMama says:

    @19 Yet another idiot with a limited ability to type chimes in… your lawyer indeed… if you have a lawyer, it’s only to manage your probation…

    LL is NOT “International”. Nor, for that matter, is SL… not anymore than any other website. LL is a US COMPANY… learn it, remember it and get over your “Unified Europe” idea of how things work…

    Personally, I think LL would be smart to block all non-US IPs and just eliminate a lot of the problems that have to be addressed in the first place…

  24. Justa Koba says:

    ROFL that is so full of nonsense that I’m not even going to begin to really tear it apart.

    DON’T enter into arbitration in this manner until you have carefully reviewed your local and state laws OK. This is simply an attempt to sweep what they consider to be small claims under the carpet by using scare tactics.

    Ask anyone living in a condo or Co-op about “binding non-appearance-based arbitration” Know your rights, know the law, this is nonsense.

    Just add enough in “undue stress” to total 10,000.01 and do your thing, the undue stress will be thrown out, but you get your day in court.

    So much for justa fun game. Turning into something like “ACTION PARK” in New Jersey, “not our fault all these people keep dying in our amusement park”

    @3 Umm, they are trying to avoid the players from bringing in lawyers…. and doing so because of their own reputation you see.

  25. Amara Parmelee says:

    nice LL. I think it’s good they are being more specific. Now greedy attorneys who con the system and get caught can’t blame you hahaha

    It’s a bit late for this add on to the TOS, but i really hope people use their common sense from now on with dealings like these disputes. Yes, the TOS says you own what you make in SL, but the server it’s on….nope. If you own 30 sims, they aren’t yours…not the hardware supporting them anyway. People, LL must have SOME control in order to MAINTAIN control.

    And stop bitching about the US laws…please….a US- BASED company must abide by US LAWS. there is no way around it…

  26. Malachi Petunia says:

    @6 but generally, if you are looking at the ToS for the first time, the claimed rights of LL have long been this way. To my first gloss this blog entry addresses the substantive changes in the ToS. Everything else you see there you’d already agreed to if you’d played SL.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer; this is one layman’s quick read. Just because a contract says something doesn’t necessarily mean that it is enforceable. Please do not interpret this paragraph as inducement to file lawsuits (indeed, the world could probably use fewer suits).

  27. notagambler says:

    the tos is irrelevant or is it in any language that can connect avaiable?

    my front-end isnt in english…..

  28. notagambler says:

    and btw u need to explain the changes in the tos before i click ok…..

  29. GoogleMama says:

    @25 If you can’t read English, hire a translator at your own expense. You are dealing with a business based in an English speaking country, and despite some of our OWN residents wanting to make it otherwise, ENGLISH is still the language of law and business.

    If you can’t or don’t want to understand what you are making agreement to, then don’t sign it and don’t use the service. Neither LL nor any other US based company is obligated to provide information in your language of choice anymore than is China, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, etc. etc. etc…. Many DO provide other languages, many do not, but NONE is obligated to do so…

    I do not expect to go to Germany and get away with not obeying their laws because I don’t speak German, nor do I expect the German people to make accomodation because I am in THEIR environment and unable to speak their language. That burden falls on ME…

    Learn the concept and get over yourself…

  30. Bad Bobbysocks says:

    any chance you could make the new terms of service actually load?

  31. mimi says:

    well now add some legal rights to stop all the newbies selling stolen skin/textures and we’ll all be happy

  32. knitemarco0731 Tripsa says:

    Hello Everyone…
    I too am tired of hearing about all the internationals whining about US law. It seems to me that Linden Labs has finally looked at and is trying to protect itself, but sure, what company wouldn’t?
    In the USA, you have CHOICES. If you don’t like the channel change it… if you don’t like the way Second Life is played or handled, go elsewhere and save all the whining bitching for people who share that same need.
    Since joining Sl, they have been expedient in resolving any problem that I have ticketed, or sent an abuse report for.
    I am not much on gambling so I could care less about the casino’s losses. Better to not be hanging in a game that emulates Vegas anyway.
    my point being, if you don’t like it, leave.
    If you do, stay, and offer constructive advice, over whining bashing cause they don’t do things the way you do.
    want to make a difference, then join their team or another and make it your own.

  33. Athena Whizenhunt says:

    generally I am not inclined towards lawsuits but I do understand that many people consider them like winning a lottery-I certainly hope that Linden does not have to spend a lot of money on lawyers, I find civil lawyers to be a low life form in any world.
    More and more of Linden Labs seems to be run by lawyers though, that is certainly sad to see, I enjoyed the time when it was simpler to run around in SL-personally I would like to see the lawyers go home or to their own sims but I understand a lot of people are incapable of taking care of themselves-as for me I prefer swift justice with a gun, it saves everyone time and money here and I would like to see more expenses spent on the “geeks” that do a hard job on running this place, I trust them much more than the legal system, besides , I consider California to ba a socialist state-I hope the guys that make SL work are getting paid a lot more than the lawyers, it always worries me when the TOS changes-it implies the slick language of lawyers are at work.Don’t they have enough whiskey?

  34. Broccoli Curry says:

    It would be much appreciated if, when presented with these “you must agree or not log in” sessions, the particular section you have changed was highlighted so we didnt have to plough through pages and pages of legal gobbledegook trying to find what you’ve changed, assuming we can remember or kept a copy of the last one.

    It’s bad enough dealing with legal language to play a game … please, at least, make it easy on us?

  35. Deltango Vale says:

    I have no problem with LL ‘tyranny’. It’s their game, all theirs, 100 percent, they own it, lock stock and barrel. We are free to play it or not. That means LL NEEDS us to make money. LL (unlike the government) does not have an army or police force that can put people into jail for not playing.

    If LL is stupid, they will go out of business. Fair enough. It’s called free-market justice. In a free market, intelligence is rewarded and stupidity is punished – and so it should be.

    In my opinion, LL is making a mistake by keeping the servers in US legal space. Move them to Dubai or the British Virgin Islands or the Bahamas or a bunker in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and tell the swarming horde of hungry lawyers and politicians to take a hike.

    I would far prefer an SL under the dictatorial power of a company that can go bust to a government that takes taxes at the point of a gun to hire people to point those very guns at private companies.

  36. Bad Bobbysocks says:

    I’d just appreciate it actually working so I could read it…….is it supposed to take 20 minutes?

  37. notagambler says:

    and btw u need to explain the changes in the tos before i click ok….. this is the most important point, Googlemama.

    seems, LL need to close accounts from ppl from outside the usa… almost countries with a law to the users…. ask microsoft… rotfl

  38. notagambler says:

    #28″well now add some legal rights to stop all the newbies selling stolen skin/textures and we’ll all be happy”

    Stolen from whom?

    u didnt owned anything in SL……

  39. GoogleMama says:

    @34 Type that out in your native tongue and I’ll run it through a translator… it’s bound to make more sense than what you’ve typed here…

    How much MORE explanation do you need? The new TOS is there for you to read. You already read and understood the ORIGINAL TOS… Didn’t you?? Didn’t you click on the “I AGREE” before, under the old TOS, which says that you have read and understood it? Or, did you LIE when you said you had read it before…

    Oh, now that might just be a problem, might it not…

  40. On first glance it looks good, though the real issue remains disputes between residents which Linden Lab only too casually dismisses.

  41. Well, this part is new and not a great deal for users:

    7.2 Forum for Disputes. You and Linden Lab agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts located in the City and County of San Francisco, California, except as provided in Subsection 7.3 below regarding optional arbitration. Notwithstanding this, you agree that Linden Lab shall still be allowed to apply for injunctive or other equitable relief in any court of competent jurisdiction.

  42. richard says:

    wait…wait can i still have sex in second life?

  43. Gerard Laasonen says:

    There are a number of good ADR providers in the Netherlands. Could I use those?

    And if I decide to file suite in The Netherlands? The judge might consider it the right place because Dutch law takes the location of the customer into account. And he will not always decide on the customer having to pay the companies legal fees.

  44. Hanumi Takakura says:

    I do wonder how will residents that have stuff in-world and do not agree with this TOS change get their in-world stuff back or sold or whatever. After all, they are prohibited to use SL. Just a thought.

  45. Maite McMahon says:

    Well… in my humble opinion one should try to look at the financial aspects in SL the same way as to trade in stocks. Whatever money you invest shouldn’t harm you more than throwing it out of the window when you loose it. Finally it is our very own decision if and how much we invest, as we know about all the damages and losses that we might suffer from. As far as I know SL was created to have fun and enjoy, one sometimes seems to forget about this possible opportunity.

  46. Aya Pelous says:

    LL is nothing more than covering their butts when someone decides to sue them in Small Claims. LL is trying to make it difficult for them to get sued and actually it’s a smart move. It may be a d*ckish move but well played LL.

    I guess no one on the internet is safe anymore. Everyone is trying to make money and when transactions don’t go well in a WELL known FLAWED system all hell breaks loose, and no one is happy.

    I guess the only thing for LL to fix is the viewer it self.

    This all may be USA law-but we have the most laxed systems in the world. If LL were in another country (ie China, Cuba) we would see a totally different viewer, and more and more strict rules.

    Out of country users: Deal with the TOS and just try to make your stay on SL as comfortable as possible.

    The more the residents wine about how much LL is similar to a regime , the more SL will become strict. And then you know it; SL will not be the fanatasy you have come to be apart of.

    Bugs in the the viewer are like real life…nothing is perfect.

  47. Colin Kiernan says:

    The ToS dialog gets stuck at “Loading…” It won’t let me select “agree” and continue, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to load the ToS. I have tried logging into 2 different accounts, restarting the SL program, and rebooting my computer.

  48. Milo Bellow says:

    I Am SICK Of People Who Are SICK Of People Who Are SICK Of People Who Bitch…I Think… 😦

  49. les says:

    SL front page…

    “Second Life is a 3D online digital world imagined and created by it’s residents.”

    Remember when it also used to say OWNED?

    With out us you are left with the beach ball.

  50. Amanda Ascot says:

    A few salient points here:

    1) It’s already been said, but bears repeating. Linden Lab is in the U.S. and is therefore under U.S. Law. That’s why gambling is now illegal in Second Life. Linden Lab has no choice in this matter.

    2) Put Linden Lab anywhere else in the world and the laws of that location will apply to Second Life.

    Please get those two facts through your heads. We have fewer restrictions on us with the servers based in the United States than we would almost anywhere else in the world.

    3) Unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple. Linden Lab will be imposing content / behavior restrictions on all of Second Life based upon the laws of any country in which it places servers, which means that restrictions will, eventually, be piled on top of restrictions. Brace yourselves for it.

    4) In Linden Lab’s defense, the changes to the TOS are a Good Thing. The fact that the old TOS required you to go to California to file a grievance was, in fact, one of the legal issues which many attorneys judged to make the TOS un-enforceable with regards to settlements. You now have an option you did not have, before.

  51. Blinders Off says:

    Initial take on this: primary purpose is for LL to keep legal cases out of the headlines. Call me paranoid.

    But… arbitration is an age-old and proper way to settle problems. Many companies use such methods to solve problems than going through lengthy and faulty court procedure. This solves the problem of logistics and jurisdiction and makes dispute resolution available nationwide.

    So whatever the underlying cause for this change… at first glance it appears to be a move in the right direction. Now if LL would just set up binding arbitrator services (run by volunteers) for in-world disputes. Because right now, we got zip.

  52. I have found other changes in the Terms of Service… which means that as I have time I shall be looking for more things that snuck in here.

  53. Do we still have the option of getting a legal arbitrator and an appearance in person? I find that far more likely to hold up in court.

  54. Anya Daligdig says:

    @ 37. Yes, I definitely agree. Everyone is getting hung up on the arbitration stuff, while in fact we are also giving up our right to file suit in other courts that may have jurisdiction, are physically closer to us and may have a history of being more open to a point of view other than LL’s on occasion.

  55. Isandro Willungo says:

    Dear Linden Lab… how about fixing the Game instead of trying to keep your Butt at the Wall? 😉

  56. Blinders Off says:

    BTW, as a thought on the TOS thing, TOS is fine, but is LL aware that legally, forcing existing users to accept the new TOS or lose all their assets might, in a court of law, be considered COERSION, thus invalidating the entire TOS system from day one?

    Hmmmm… now isn’t that speshul… ; )

  57. Anya Daligdig says:

    Question for Benjamin Duranske: Are you familiar with the arbitration groups SL is electing? Can you tell us anything about their track records in corporate vs. the little man arbitrations? Or about where their arbitrators come from, more specifically than “retired judges or attorney with legal expertise”?

    A Virtually Blind fan

  58. FallinMy Webb says:

    @ Tyrian
    “This immediately spurred hoaxes of “L$ is worthless” X)”

    Everyones all about the doomsday and conspiracy theories in SL it seems:/ I havent seen the economy budge a bit through the last few months, not after Ginko not after the gambleing ban not after land prices dropped…none of that has made the L$ value drop in the least. But peoples dillusional thoughts always bleed through I suppose.

    @ Jessica

    “Personally, my attorney thinks you need to be clearer on what things has been changed since the last version of the TOS.

    And it would be rather nice if you could explain it in a plain english too and not the lawyer gibberish, thank you
    After all this is INTERNATIONAL and not a simple US thing anymore.”

    Did your lawyer REALLY read over this, if so, couldnt he explain it for you?

  59. Cocomo Munro says:

    wow… lawyers… XD

  60. les says:

    FallinMy Webb…you still don’t understand how this “economy” works.

    you said “none of that has made the L$ value drop in the least.”

    Try to understand the L$ Value on lindex is an arbitrary number that LL adjust by varying the amount of game tokens they sell on lindex. It is in no way a reflection of the “economy”.

    Perhaps looking at the amount of L they dump each month might lead you to wisdom. Perhaps notice that the amount exchanged in USD has been dropping since Q1 of this year.

    8 million inactive accounts tell no lies.

  61. Taco Rubio says:

    Wouldn’t a change of the TOS requiring acceptance or prohibition to a service already containing RL cash investments be users be a contract of adhesion?

  62. Checho Masukami says:

    Sheesh. I hate SL everyday a little more thanks to the lindens…
    Im almost prefering griefers, scammers and police wannabes…

  63. Neb says:

    The TOS are getting longer and more complex. If I decide enough is enough, and I am not prepared to agree, how do I “cash out”?

  64. Ben Deregotti says:

    OK, Amanda (46) pretty much settled it but I would like to add a few things…

    1) Since Linden Lab was incorporated in the United States, United States law applies to them.
    2) If you file suit in another country, depending on the laws of the country, the TOS could be declared null and void due to local law conflictions, but, when you play on Second Life, it is essentially like “visiting” the U.S. and you must abide by its laws (Second Life’s).
    3) You signed their Terms of Service, you are legally bound by them, even if you didn’t read them, by saying that you agree you say that you read the terms and agree with them in full (even if you don’t).
    4) Linden Lab also has the right to modify their Terms of Service, but you are not legally bound to them until you agree to them, which Linden Lab makes sure you do by requiring you to agree before you log on.

    Also, keep in mind that the Terms of Service are, for the most part, designed to protect Linden Lab legally, not to be a convenience to you. If there were no TOS, Linden Lab would not exist because of so many law suits filed against them and lost, because they were not protected. Also the TOS, imposes certain “In-World” regulations, that with ought them, Second Life would be in complete chaos. Think of what your country would be like with ought any laws.

  65. Pingback: Ciaran Laval » Privacy or free for all

  66. Darien Caldwell says:

    If you are going to cash out, does it really matter if you go ahead and agree to it? I don’t think the TOS will hold any sway over your life one you leave SL and never return. So Click agree and Cash out. It’s really that simple. 🙂

  67. Ben Deregotti says:

    1) Do you consider it coercion, when you buy a new piece of software and are required to accept a liscence agreement?

    2) You can “cash out” by asking Linden Lab to give you all of your assets (give money for land you own, and your remaining Linden Dollar Balance) in U.S. Dollars or another currency.

  68. Gil Druart says:

    The conceptual trouble is the ToS is obviously NOT binding on LL otherwise they wouldn’t be able to make arbitrary changes and force Residents to eat them …..

  69. Harleen Gretzky says:

    @49 If you read 7.2 and 7.3, you still have the option of going to San Francisco and taking your case to court there or using the new 7.3 which has been described in the blog post.

  70. FallinMy Webb says:

    Les, please break this all down for me. I guess I’m too simple minded to do it myself

  71. FallinMy Webb says:

    Oh yeah…none of us have figured out how you flip 20+ sims a month while selling at cost and absorbing the tier fees. Thought you were going to enlighten us on that Les.

  72. Bradley Bracken says:

    To those of you complaining about the new TOS, it’s so obviously a step in the right direction. If you don’t like it, then don’t log in!!! It is after all…Dare I Say It!!!…..JUST A GAME!!!

    To those who want to complain about the horrible US and it trying to control you with its laws, well first of all there is the same response as before…don’t log in. It’s that easy. In addition please give me directions to this magical world with no laws or restrictions? I’ve never heard of this place but it’d be interesting to learn more.

  73. MEMO says:

    Wow…it’s worse then I thought (brainless droids take over the world !):)

  74. Martin Magpie says:

    Oh come on. Please tell me this is not real.

  75. Delicious Demar says:

    From what I can see, this is an opt-in process. So, I don’t really see the downside…

    In the past, if I wanted to resolve a claim of say $1,000 – a princely sum for most of us, I had no options – the cost of launching a lawsuit for this amount is prohibitive. Using this option, I can possibly recover $815 of the money, assuming a $185 fee for an arbitrator, and of course, that I win.

    Am I missing something here? Isn’t this all good?

  76. Malachi Petunia says:

    @54 Probably.

    Much of the ToS is designed to discourage people from contesting LL. This latest change is probably their counsel’s second attempt at establishing jurisdiction in the event of disputes. Until there is a judicial interpretation it is unclear that this is any less a contract of adhesion than the one challenged in Bragg v. Linden. But you can’t fault them for trying. 😉

  77. Gomez Bracken says:

    Why was a new agreement to the TOS not used when the “ban gambling” rule was added, rather than burying it in the little read (by most residents) blog? That, as far as I’m concerned was a far greater issue that this…

  78. Matisyahu Basevi says:

    Well I wish I could agree to the new TOS.. But I cannot even log on anymore for a week because of a Unable to Connect Login Packet Never Received by Login Server error and I have no response to my ticket and only other users saying they have the same problem in the forums but no solutions.

  79. Jeff B. says:

    Is it me, or does this open a door for larger companies to push smaller companies around, or ‘customers’ to push small SL companies around by threatening ‘arbitration’ which at most will cost the complainant $185US and the business on the defensive side the ‘remainder of the fees’. Sounds like an easy to for manipulation if you ask me.

  80. So one can take them to arbitration by mail or by phone instead of having to appear at the arbitration hearing in person?

    And this is a terrible, terrible thing for us . . . why, exactly?

    It saves time and expense for everybody involved. I don’t see a problem with it.

    I think some people are bitching for the sake of bitching. Dude, if SL sucks so bad, just LEAVE. Get some offshore servers and start your own version, if you think you can do it so much better.

    Read section 5.5 of the TOS. The one in nearly all capital letters. It’s a safe bet that particular part hasn’t changed a bit since you clicked “I Agree” when you signed up in the first place.

  81. SCARLIT Pink says:

    Who wouldnt leave SL for Utopia…..
    What…..doesnt exist……

  82. Damanios says:

    On the fact the TOS decides it LL can only be sued by californian law: First IANAL. But wasn’t it already decided in court the TOS (or parts of it), have no legal jurisdiction over itself? (e.g. legal court decisions can always supersede any TOS parts.) So how can a TOS decide which legal jurisdiction is valid and which is not? Seems the TOS is biting off more than it can chew, on this matter.

  83. Actually, just about all of Section 5 really needs to be read with feeling by people who are bitching about the money they’re losing when things don’t run perfectly.

  84. Damanios–

    Just about any TOS for any internet service has a similar clause determining jurisdiction. It’s not unusual in the slightest.

  85. “In the past, we’ve received some constructive feedback that our process could be improved.”

    Yes, feedback from the US Federal District Court that the previous arbitration arrangement was “unconscionable”. I guess all it takes to get Linden Research to address an issue is to haul them into US Federal Court.

  86. Nice move LL. I think this is a great step to help keep the lawyers out of Second Life, well at least in cases involving less than $10,000. You will have my full support if/when you extend this to resident vs resident actions. Nobody wants Second Life to turn into a litigative courtroom nightmare.

  87. Damanios says:

    #75 – Checked, and agreed. Jurisdiction clause seems to be common on almost all major internet services (according to google ;). It just seems weird a document can decide upon its own jurisdiction. It confuses my meta level concepts 😉

  88. Crim Mip says:

    I don’t foresee a dispute of that magnitude arising. If it did, I’d much rather try to work it out directly since all the Lindens I’ve met are pretty cool. If it went beyond that, then not having to fly to CA would be a big plus. I assume this is a lot more likely to be an issue with your larger buissinesses.

  89. Shiva Aabye says:

    Nice, that when a change to the TOS happens, the viewer automatically opens the TOS and one have to read and agree to it, but it would be better to highlight te changed parts.
    I’m not sure if everybody, who is wet on being back to the grid, reads the TOS again and tries to remember the old version to find the changed parts. Maybe a link to the blog would help at least.

    Or did I miss something?

  90. Renee Faulds says:


    First upfront when I logged in last night my “Library” Inventory was back. It was back also after logging in on my alt. I talked again to the people who ALSO lost Library Inventory and it was back. Lost at the same time – recovered at the same time. For Three days I asked for ANY Linden to tell us what was going on – no Linden EVER DID.


    It was restored – so if ANY LINDEN had a part in this you “should” step forward and say ” I found the problem and “fixed” it”. KUDOS…

    Would re-enforce the notion you actually respond to this blog.

    All we want is some personal contact – support as it is now – well…..

    NO MORE FORM EMAILS – actually respond – please. GET INVOLVED WITH THE BLOG – PLEASE. I know if I had a blog and people were tearing me a new one – I would respond!

    ON TOS CHANGE- Mixed feelings. First that comes to mind will this process be as much as a laugh as using “any” of the current support venues? If I make a claim do I get a form email and then six weeks later say it’s closed because we provided an answer with another FORM EMAIL. If you make this work you’ll be seen in better eyes with us residents. If it becomes just another dead end – well the end is closer. But for now KUDOS !!!



  91. Bobo Decosta says:

    @GoogleMama US law might have been once like you described! Now it ain’t like that anymore. If you want an example of what the US considers as a free country look at Iraq. You guys liberated it well look at that free country.
    Of people that bitch at non english speakers to hire a translator someone can’t even expect you know the meaning of being free. This attitude just show why the US have become the laughing stock of the free world. If you can’t even apply your rules to the countries you invade how the hell would you ever be able to apply US laws on international scale. It’s just because LL adapts to US laws that people get upset. Look at Microsoft, US laws left Microsoft do what they think they can do in the entire world. The EU had to intervene because US laws always protect those with the most cash, in this case it would be LL.

    If LL wants to sell his services outside the US they will have to take in account that a big part of their users lives in europe and other laws apply overhere. It doesn’t matter where LL is situated if it wants to do business internationally.

    Do you really belief that the US authorities wouldn’t interfere when LL was situated in saudi arabia? LL is about money so when LL would generate more money then the oil industry over there they even would bomb saudi arabia for more power over LL.

  92. Cooper Janus says:

    Well here we go again. A new TOS. And within a month you will be forced to give up your real Identity and Tax ID number so the Lindens and all their new ‘business clients’ can make sure you do what they say. Leveraging I think they called it? When the calls start pouring into your home and someone steals your identity… or better yet… Harley Davidson sues you for making ‘money’ off their logo because of that Tshirt you ‘created’ and sold in LL, don’t cry to those of us warning you!!!
    Have you folks even thought about the implications of them demanding your Tax ID number? Or WHY they want it? It’s not required to prove our age.
    We can’t trust them to not lie to us (sounds much like the current USA Administration, but I digress….) so HOW on earth can we trust them with our SSN4? You can ORDER WINE on the internet without that information. Proving I’m over 13 (13???? Wasn’t it 18 in the first TOS???) should be simple enough. Let one of the Lindens give me a call…. Politicians and anyone that wants to buy our information from Aristotle will be calling… so why not a Linden??? Has LL ONCE said that Aristotle won’t be selling our information to the highest bidder? No! Neither has Aristotle. They won’t even respond to questions.
    Make them explain WHY they are forcing us to do this for nothing more than a game where cartoons get it on.
    They’re going to take everyone’s money… no wonder the SL ‘investors’ are leaving in droves.
    Isn’t it interesting that they can steal your Lindens with no explanation, yet they demand your SSN4?
    Someone might want to tell the Lindens that TRUST REQUIRES HONESTY. And in my almost 6 months here, it’s been nothing but lie following lie.

  93. Minnie says:

    “BTW, as a thought on the TOS thing, TOS is fine, but is LL aware that legally, forcing existing users to accept the new TOS or lose all their assets might, in a court of law, be considered COERSION, thus invalidating the entire TOS system from day one?”

    Valid point! We aren’t new users coming in from out (as would be the case if you bought software and agreed to the license agreement, you didn’t already own the software). We are existing users with assets in game. The only way to retrieve assets is to accept the TOS as is and cash out (sounds like I’m playing the slot machine).
    Technically shouldn’t LL be offering existing residents a valid method of retrieving assets WITHOUT having to agree to the TOS? That would only make sense.
    Aside from that, its the TOS, I agreed when I started and I’ll agree now. I don’t have the money to, nor do I ever intend to, file suit against LL so it doesn’t matter much. I’d like to know how the “big guns” in SL feel about this.

  94. MEMO says:

    Bobo Decosta Says:

    Bobo the clown ? your very sadly mistaken

  95. Bobo Decosta says:

    MEMO the fish?

    Well if I am so wrong I’m sure you can enlighten us with why i am wrong.

  96. Ron Crimson says:

    I wonder how many residents Second Life would have left if the accounts that all you conspiracy theorists and doomsday prophets created were wiped out in one fell swoop.

    Not many, I bet. And gawd, it would be so good. Sigh.

  97. embusteros says:


  98. embusteros says:


  99. anylyn hax says:

    please publish translated offitial versions, or take it back

  100. Hawk K. says:

    WTF! Your TOS is not even loading! I can’t even log in!
    What are your tech guys doing these days?

  101. Analisa Mounier says:

    Was able to accept the new TOS for my alt (which I logged in first) but my main account is still “Loading…”. I cleared cache and rebooted but to no avail. I’ve been able to log back in since with my alt so it’s not a client or connectivity problem.

  102. Nacre Swindlehurst says:

    @92, just calm down. I am shocked … shocked … that you would think Aristotle would act in any kind of irrational or unethical manner. Other than to make a profit, why should they sell your information. And …

    Oh, yeah. Sorry, lost my head there.

  103. macs yue says:

    When will the TOS address issues of a small claims type between two opposing residents, not just resident and LL? hmmm?

  104. Montana Corleone says:

    Well, nice to see the response from the legal case lol. Good, so arbitration is an option, not an illegal mandatory route. Ome wonders what else isn’t legal in the ToS, that breaks US contract law lol.

    Still nice and smart. Would have been nice of course if the viewer had allowed you to copy and paste the ToS text, like any standard text box, but hey, when have Linden ever liked programming standards lol.

    It should be interesting when the Brighton, UK office opens, and LL find themselves having to comply with UK and EU law, at least for UK citizens…

    Better get that ToS reworked…

  105. @79 : Please reread point #2 . They apply specifically between LL and residents, NOT residents vs residents. This would include companies vs. companies.

    “2. What kinds of disputes does the TOS cover?
    The TOS governs disputes between a Resident and Linden Lab. The new dispute resolution procedure does not apply to Resident-to-Resident disputes.”

  106. Thunderclap says:

    Last Time I checked, there are no servers in the brighton Office. So no they don’t. They only have to comply with laws where the servers are . And that is Texas and California. Inside The USA.

  107. Tycho says:

    The TOS box comes up, says “loading…”, and never loads! I’ve tried 3 times, waiting 5 minutes between each. It doesn’t let us agree until the TOS loads, but it doesn’t load! How are we supposed to get online???

  108. U M says:

    We have not had a major TOS change in a long time. A long time coming!

  109. Jahman Ochs says:

    Is anyone else having trouble with the ToSA dialog freezing in the “loading…” phase?

  110. The answer to Question #1 is incorrect.

    I’m not sure if this was done intentionally, or perhaps your Attorney’s merely forgot, but the reason for this NEW TOS Portion, is because a Federal Judge ruled the OLD TOS to be invalid.

    Remember when Linden Lab said, “Trust is the foundation of a Community”? Well, how do you expect us to TRUST Linden Lab when you can’t even provide an honest answer to a simple question?

  111. Claudius Foden says:

    Is there any chance that SL will ever move their servers to a country where gambling is allowed? I am still in shock trying to recover from the news that from day to night my income in SL had been totally banned. I had to close down my casino without any refund for the machines I’d bought, the land…blablabla…
    I’ve been struggling to continue in the game but I’m about to give up for I pay US$ 75,00 for land tier (quite an amount in the country I play from: Brazil). I’ve opened a mall but I have the feeling that SL is a planet where all its citizens have been opening malls but no one has jobs to give them an income so that they can buy stuff.
    Opening a bar? I’ve tried it as well, but a bar where people can not use sploders (also banned) or make any money doesn’t seem to attract many people.
    Can SL show us the numbers concerning their economy since the casinos and games were banned?
    Will it really survive? That’s why I am still insisting on it…I just wanna see how a country can survive without an economy that allows people to make money and keep it running.

  112. Dekka Raymaker says:

    @ 102 Thunderclap

    Actually our British laws states differently, any office of a foreign nationality based in Britain is an agent of that company and the company therefore is legally responsible wherever its HQ is based. However, not being a legal genius, I assume that the dispute would have to originate with the British office in the first place. I’m just saying your understanding isn’t necessarily correct.

  113. Able Forder says:

    The way Linden went about this is all WRONG and in a nutshell, it is tantamount to coercion! I will not stand for someone holding a gun to the back of my head when I have a considerable amount of assets that were obtained beforehand without a reasonable time frame to liquidate them. Whether I agree or disagree with the statutes of the TOS is not the issue; rather, denying me access to SL if I did not agree to the newly revised terms while holding my assets hostage. It is not only ignorant, it’s evil, and it completely destroys the trust by which members need in order to continue. Simply put: dumb move Linden!

    As such, I will be dumping what I have and going elsewhere. I do not care if I’m the only one. It’s the PRINCIPLE of the thing at stake here, and becoming Linden’s one-way-street “it’s our way or the highway” sucker negates the whole meaning behind honestly, integrity, and what it means to have fun.

  114. GoogleMama says:

    Well, it just gets better and better, doesn’t it?? Couple more blog posts and this one will vanish for good into the Scroll of Oblivion…

    Time to cash out, folks… I already got some fools to buy up all my worthless SL goods and land and am blissfully free of the mismanagement of LL…

    I’d suggest you do the same… quickly…

  115. Coventina Dalgleish says:

    TOS suggestion have the legal beagles withe it then give it to a college freshman class and see if they understand it, that I doubt. Take it back and re write it in normal non BS English so anyone can understand it. Oh and next time use a spell check program. Your composers would not last a day in the corporate world. I can see it now preparing the board minutes of a major corporation, back to the steno pool.

    Just one last comment one of these days you are going to P.O. some old retired broad who plays the futures market and is well healed and has the patience to drag your pathetic butts across the coals several times, perhaps that will force your eyes to open hmmm perhaps not since you are dead anyway as indicated in the latest Borborygmy you have been issuing. and update the damn spell checker.

  116. wakawaka says:

    Money, money, money

    Kinda crass don’t you think.

    My $.02

  117. Sierra says:

    You could just deliver the service in a correct fashion and you wouldn’t need to have such an elegant system of dispute management since there would be less disputes about incorrect billing and overall, poor service.

  118. anna says:

    #104..i have the same problem..the TOS dialog freezing in the “loading…” phase

  119. Mr President says:

    SL front page…

    “Second Life is a 3D online digital world imagined and created by it’s residents.”

    Remember when it also used to say OWNED?

    With out us you are left with the beach ball.


    Ok maybe now SL only for US ppls , well never be a international cuz first this system use a paypal and pp really bad for no USD countrys

    Why cant use a same system if Entropia Universe ???? get a CIRRUS flag and make this Grind international or will lose all for hixixix lol ur kaneva or others coming

    CIRRUS a best and international system , all countrys have a ATM CIRRUS CIRRUS now

  120. Korneilius says:


    What a terrible thing to say! Perhaps you should go and visit Europe and the rest of the world. You’d see what a wonderful place it is.

    No offense but you’re saying something that contradicts what the U.S. stands for. Equality for all? Wouldn’t blocking non-US IP’s be inequality?

    I think doing that just because you don’t want foreign customers is illegal in the U.S….

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