Strawberry Singh, a popular Second Life blogger with a large following, has written a blogpost where she describes a request from Linden Lab to take down a useful tutorial YouTube video where she walks the viewer through the Second Life user registration process. As Wagner James Au and Inara Pey and Nalates Urriah and Isabelle Cheren have blogged, this request and its wording (which Strawberry has shared with us) are causing consternation and controversy in the blogosphere.
Specifically, Linden Lab has told Strawberry:
More specifically, we do not allow images of our avatar building page, home pages or Second Life Eye In Hand Logo to be used in any capacity. Please do not use images of any Second Life web pages or logos ( with the exception of our inSL logo noted at http://secondlife.com/corporate/brand/insl/#) in your video or any other work.
What. The. F*ck?!??
I’m sorry but COUNTLESS bloggers and videomakers have displayed those very things, usually in tutorials for new users to Second Life. People Linden Lab wants to attract to SL! Hell, *I’ve* used them too. As Wagner has pointed out in his blog, I recently used an illustration from the SL avatar selection page to illustrate my popular blogpost about sex and gender issues in virtual worlds.
So are we supposed to yank all those pictures from all our blogs? Like Wagner and Inara, I am going to ask Linden Lab about this decision, and I will report back to you.
And if I get any such take-down requests from Linden Lab, you will certainly hear about it!
UPDATE 3:50 p.m. Yay! Sanity has prevailed. I just learned that Linden Lab has apologized to Strawberry Singh and the take-down request has been reversed. Here’s the original video, it’s really very well done and I have in the past used it on my Facebook page to try and entice my friends into Second Life:
As well, Linden Lab has posted this message to their Featured News section of their community pages:
Recently, the Linden Lab IP team sent a takedown request regarding a YouTube video created by the great Strawberry Singh. She and many others have pointed out that this seems like a mistake, and we agree. We have reversed that takedown request and have reached out directly to Strawberry, but would also like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to her.
Strawberry, we feel fortunate to have you as a member of our Second Life community (and Sansar as well!), and we are grateful for the public support that your blog, YouTube channel, and other social media activity provides. We’re fans of your work, we are sorry for this misstep, and we hope you will continue sharing your awesome videos.
Below is some more info on what happened and why, and what we’re going to do differently in the future.
Like most businesses, we have policies in place around permissible use of Linden Lab trademarks. These are intended to legally protect our trademarks and brand, and to avoid confusion that can arise about what’s actually from an official source vs. a third party (to help with this, we have the “inSL” program). This policy has prohibited showing portions of the SL join flow, and that’s what triggered the recent takedown request. We’re revisiting that portion of our policy now.
The support of the SL community is incredibly valuable. Resident-created videos, blogs, and other social media not only enrich our existing community, but also help it to grow by showing off incredible SL content to the outside world, helping new users to get started, and more. While we still need policies in place to protect our trademarks, we will apply them as permissively as we can with the goal of encouraging and supporting our community.
Many years ago, the illustrious SL legal team made news by sending an “un-cease and desist” notice to a parody blog – rather than asking for a takedown, it offered encouragement to the creator. In that same spirit, we would like to offer our encouragement to Strawberry Singh and other Residents helping to evangelize the virtual world on YouTube and other social media. We appreciate your enthusiasm for SL, we are grateful for your support, and we ask you to please proceed and persist.