3rd Rock Grid Policies

Section: Property and Liabilities

Definitions

  • Content Theft: the unlawful or unethical appropriation of a copy of any protected digital content. Unlike theft in the physical world, digital content theft may not deprive the lawful owner or creator of use of the original work, but of potential theoretical future control or earnings.
  • Copyright: a legal protection in most countries of works such as writing, painting, photography, video, and music recording. In the US, copyright is automatically assigned to the creator of any copyrightable work, whether it is actually registered with the government or not.
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): A US federal law that attempts to control ownership rights of copyrighted digital assets, including, among other things, music and other sounds, images and textures. Many other countries have or are considering similar laws.
  • Intellectual Property (IP): a catch-all term often used to discuss items such as copyright and trademark. IP is not a legal term, and ignores the large differences between such things as patents and copyrights.
  • Patent: a legal protection in most countries of specific implementations of ideas. In come countries, this is restricted to specific physical machines or techniques, while in others, such as the US, it also includes computer algorithms and business processes (though this later area is still being analyzed by the courts).
  • Piracy: a inflammatory term used by some for the purpose of lobbying and litigation, but that is actually not helpful to rational discussion.
  • Plagiarism: the unattributed copying of substantial amounts of text or other works. Using a substantial portion of a book or song, for instance, is plagiarism. What amounts to substantial is a matter of judgement, and depends on the size of the work involved.

Social Contract

Having a similar style, even copying a style, is not the same thing as content theft. In fact, human society as we know it would not exist without it. However, a creator should have a right to control the use of her/his specific creations for some period of time, as an encouragement to create useful items for the betterment of the community. The creation of goods in 3RG is for the benefit of the entire community, and so we want to provide an environment that provides both the incentive to create and the encouragement to share, either freely or in trade. Misappropriation and content theft work counter to this goal, as well as causing ill-will in the community.

Legal Requirements

Direct copying of prims, textures, and scripts without permission of the creator is a copyright violation. This is true whether or not the creator has registered a copyright. 3RG operates in the United States, and as such, is subject to US law, including the DMCA. It is not enough to assume that the creator intended free copying just because a given copy has no specific property restrictions.

If a creator discovers that her or his creation is being used contrary to legal wishes, she or he may use a DMCA “take down” notice to 3RG to request its immediate removal. The notice must include both the copyright that is allegedly being violated, and the in-world item(s) which are violating the copyright, including the object’s name and location, and an explanation of the violation. The notice must also include contact information, must be signed, and must be delivered by Post or Courier to 3rdrockgrid.com. (email is not acceptable in this case; please request physical address from support@3rdrockgrid.com, and indicate that it is needed for a DCMA takedown).

Please note that an intentionally false DMCA take down notice is considered to be perjury, and is also a violation of 3RG Policy.

In the case of receiving a valid take down notice via post, 3RG will notify the the citizen in question, who then has to opportunity to dispute the notice by filing a response, detailing the reasons that the original take down request was invalid.

The text of the DMCA is at http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf. For more background information on the DMCA, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act.

Technical Limitations

OpenSim software and viewers, as they currently exist, do make an effort to control copying items to the intention of the creators. However, it is not difficult for a determined user to subvert those intentions. While it is likely that future development of OpenSim will improve these tools, there is not now, and likely will never be, a completely reliable technical solution to prevent theft of property. For this reason, the creator’s intent should be respected, regardless of the permission settings, and regardless of what the user may wish the creator’s intentions were. If in doubt, ask the creator.

3RG Resident Expectations and Responsibilities

We expect that all citizens will take into account both social and legal requirements in the use and copying of digital properties. If a 3RG citizen discovers a potential problem in this area, she or he should first of all discuss the problem with those directly involved both factually and calmly. The use of drama to deal with this is both inappropriate and likely to escalate rather than solve the problem. Nor is it helpful to escalate matters to a legal dispute prematurely, as this is likely to cost all parties concerned a great deal of time, money, and aggravation, without any guarantee of an amicable solution.

It is also always of highest importance that creators not confuse copying of ideas and styles, which is legal, with copying of actual content without permission, which is not ethical or legal.

3RG Community Expectations and Responsibilities

If the parties involved cannot come to resolution directly, they should bring the dispute before the community council for rational discussion.

3RG Management Expectations and Responsibilities

If all other means of resolution fail, or if a DMCA complaint is filed, the 3RG management will take action, as required by appropriate US federal and state law. Please note that both repetitive digital property violations, and the repetitive abuse of DMCA complaints to remove property inappropriately in an effort to suppress speech, commerce, or otherwise “grief” another resident will be considered by 3RG management as grounds for suspension or removal of a resident’s account.

3RG will follow all US federal and applicable state laws, and provide full disclosure to all legal authorities and parties involved, as required by subpoena or other legal writ.

Section: Maturity Ratings and Restriction

Definitions

  • Adult: this rating specifies a region or parcel in which violence, full nudity, and sexual expression are acceptable in public areas. Note that depictions and activities that are considered illegal are still strictly forbidden, and that the 3RG management may enact further restrictions as they deem necessary. Additionally, landowners may specify further restrictions. Child avatars may not enter areas rated Adult.
  • Child Avatar: a child avatar is an avatar that in size and general form represents a minor humanoid child. Note that an avatar account may use an adult shape to enter areas rated as Mature or Adult, but any account using a child shape must remain only in General (G or PG) areas while using that shape.
  • General: this rating specifies a region or parcel in which depictions and activities are considered appropriate for all sensibilities at all times, and is roughly equivalent to a “G” motion picture rating, though it is often referred to wrongly as “PG” due to decisions made by other grids. Areas rated general should have no overt depictions, activities, or advertisements for significant violence, nudity, sexual expression, or rough language. All humanoid avatars, both female and male, should remain fully clothed in all areas where the rating is General. Child avatars are restricted to regions rated General (or G, or PG).
  • Humanoid avatar: for the purpose of this document, a humanoid avatar is one that is sufficiently humanlike, or that has genitalia and/or nipples that are sufficiently humanlike, to cause social outrage or embarrassment if exposed in a general public situation. For instance, a satyr or mermaid would be humanoid, while a horse would not, and a furry might or might not be.
  • Mature: a rating that is displayed by some viewers and other software, and that should be considered equivalent to “Moderate” for the purposes of 3RG.
  • Moderate: this rating specifies a region or parcel in which a moderate amount of violence, nudity, sexual expression, or rough language is acceptable. Note that a landowner may specify additional restrictions. In areas rated Moderate, avatars of both sexes may be top-free unless the landowner specifies otherwise. Full nudity, graphic sexual activity, or graphic violence are not appropriate in public areas. Child avatars may not enter areas rated Moderate.
  • PG: see General. PG is actually a motion picture rating that means Parental Guidance, and is therefore inappropriate in 3RG, where the minimum age for residents is 18 years. However, some viewers and other software use PG for this category; it should be considered for the purposes of 3RG as equivalent to “General”.

Social Contract

“Rating” is a term that is used in the context of 3RG to define a complex set of preferences about such things as depictions of violence, nudity, sexuality, language, and other things. In the grid environment, ratings have been reduced to three catch-all levels: General (or PG), Moderate (or Mature), and Adult. These are sometimes abbreviated G, M, and A respectively. These provide a means for allowing region and parcel owners to specify the potential range of content in their specific areas, as well as request a general level of behaviour in the absence of any other restrictions.

Legal Requirements

Because 3RG is restricted to residents 18 years old and above, there are not age specific restrictions on ratings; selection of ratings is informational and preferential. However, depictions and activities that are considered illegal under US federal or applicable state law are strictly forbidden, and will be considered grounds for action by 3RG management up to and including immediate banning. This includes using avatars that specifically appear to be under 18 in a sexual way.

Additionally, some depictions or activities that are otherwise acceptable in 3RG may be considered illegal in jurisdictions in which a resident lives, in which case that resident is responsible for avoiding such.

Technical Limitations

Grid viewers and server software make some effort to provide information about region and parcel ratings, as well as enforcement of viewer preferences. Current OpenSim software does not provide region and parcel covenants, which are informational in any case. Adherence to ratings ultimately depends on individual action.

3RG Resident Expectations and Responsibilities

It is expected that owners/renters will set ratings appropriate to their areas; additionally, owners are encouraged to provide additional guidelines as appropriate. It is also expected that residents and visitors of an area will adhere to both its rating and any covenants or other restrictions that owner provides.

It is expected that all human or humanoid residents will remain fully clothed in General (G or PG) rated areas. This means all humanoid avatars—both male and female—must wear clothing that fully covers the nipples and the pubic area while in General areas.

It is expected that residents using a child avatar will avoid going into any but General rated areas.

3RG Community Expectations and Responsibilities

The nine core community regions are all rated General, by decision of the community in 2009. The navigable water and sandbox regions are rated Moderate. Other core regions are also Moderate, but renters of individual parcels may specify a General rating for their parcels, if desired.

Private regions may be set to any rating, as desired by the owners. Possible examples of ratings might be, for General: educational areas, and physical world company regions; for Moderate: night clubs, beaches, and role play involving limited violence; for Adult: nude beaches, role play involving graphic violence.

The community may in the future choose to refine or change the ratings for community regions, and to encourage appropriate adherence to those ratings.

3RG Management Expectations and Responsibilities

3RG management cannot allow the company or the community to be put at risk by the actions of a few, and will put an immediate stop to any depictions or activities that are illegal under US federal or applicable state laws, and appropriate action will be taken against the residents responsible, possibly including immediate banning and reporting to appropriate authorities. Depiction of child pornography or sexual activity by child avatars is grounds for immediate and permanent banning, with reporting to appropriate authorities. Child avatars should remain fully clothed and in areas rated General (G or PG) at all times.

For lesser infractions, such as behaviour outside the ratings for an area, management may request change of behavior, or enforce a limited ban as deemed appropriate. 3RG management may also request landowners to adjust either the rating or the content of their areas.

Section: Imports and Exports

Definitions

  • IAR: (Inventory ARchive) is a file that represents all or part of an avatar’s inventory, and can be written and read by OpenSim server software.
  • OAR: (Opensimulator ARchive) is a file that typically represents the entirety of a sim, including its terrain, and all objects and textures, and can be written and read by OpenSim server software. There are variations, and some OARs may include only the terrain, or may include only some objects based on the estate owner’s permissions.
  • Stored Inventory: A utility—formerly known as Second Inventory—that supports exporting inventory objects from grids, for backup purposes, and for import into other grids.
  • XML: (eXtensible Markup Language) is a file format that can be used for many things. In this case, it is used by most viewers to offer export/import capability, allowing the user to write an XML file representing an object from one grid, and read it into another grid. Because formats vary between viewers, typically, a file of this type must be read with the same viewer and version that they it was written with. Depending on the grid and the viewer, some objects may not be exportable.

Social Contract

A creator should be able to move her/his creations to any grid she/he chooses, subject to that grid’s rules. At 3RG, we welcome creators bringing their own creations into the grid. A purchaser or legal recipient of those creations should be able to use those creations in all grids, subject to the constraints of the creator.

Legal Requirements

The legal arena is very unclear and unsettled here. Please see the section on Property and Liabilities for more information.

Technical Limitations

As with copying of objects within the grid, OpenSim software and viewers make an effort to control exporting and importing items to the intention of the creators. However, it is not difficult for a determined user to subvert those intentions, and it is sometimes difficult to maintain creator and ownership information when objects are transferred in this way.

3RG Resident Expectations and Responsibilities

As with in world copying, we expect that all citizens will take into account both social and legal requirements in the use of exports and imports of digital items. The same standards will be applied. As a general rule, citizens should only import objects which they created entirely, or objects for which all parts (prims, mesh, textures, sounds, etc.) are explicitly licensed for such use, or are in public domain. Remember, just because someone wishes strongly that something is free to use does not make it so.