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Linden Lab has announced a change in how brands will be treated in SL. New World Notes (NWN) writes about it and provides some links for more information in “Unbranded: Lindens To Ban Unauthorized Virtual Copies of Real World Brands on Ecommerce Site”. The Linden Lab announcement is here: Updates to XStreet SL Listing Guidelines.

There is a small conversation in the comments at NWN. There is a large conversation going on in the XStreetSL Forum. See: New Guidelines Forum Thread There is also another thread of conversations here: Chat About XStreet SL Listing Guidelines In the Chat there are several clarifications on subjects beyond just branding issues. Also, Pink Linden states there is a group of Lindens working on the same issues in-world. So, we will likely see this rule change coming into the SL world.

The actual …rules… are here: Second Life Branding Guidelines

At first one only sort of gets an idea what this means. Then people start to think about it. The impact could be huge. Think Tardis… There are literally thousands of Tardis sold in SL. Do they all have to go away now? Or is this just the end of Tardis sales?

What about this part of the rules? “Be careful not to make comparisons to a brand name or say that your item is “like,” “inspired by,” or “based on” a brand name because this can be misleading and can lead to intellectual property infringement.” Does this mean that if something in a movie is used it is an infringement? Is Gorean out now because it is an essential part and concept of a copyrighted written series of books? Are look-a-like places from games out (think Myst-Uru community)?

There is a whole gesture industry that uses sound clips from movies, radio, tv… Can I record an “I’ll be back.” Clip in a high squeaky voice or not? Where the heck do the limits fall?

Part of the problem with the Linden Lab change is that it goes well beyond RL life law. For instance making an Angelina Jolie or Pres. Obama T-shirt in RL is acceptable as is making a Halloween mask because of public figure status and other exceptions. Think of political protests that use pictures of public figures. Then there are the issues of things like various fan based imitations, Star-Trek… Dr. Who… Myst Uru…

For now these are issues for those selling on XStreetSL. Since XStreetSL is owned by Linden Lab now, we will likely see similar in-world selling and branding rules coming to SL in-world.

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