In the academic settings, it has been taught to students that one should not plagiarize, or copy someone else’s thoughts or ideas. Using ideas that were taken from other sources without any reference to them does not give the inventor their credit for their originality. With the ever so popular technology constantly evolving in order to become easier for user friendly access, it makes the urge to take an idea or a paragraph from the Web that much stronger. Not only are there copyrights associated with books movies and research, but they are found within online content such as Second Life.
The Laws of the Virtual Worlds is an article that inquires further thought regarding virtual world property. Anything Second Life users can create is their personal property. For example, their avatar-whether it is an online replica of it’s creator or a side of them who they wish to express in an online setting- is created for one person’s use only- the user! The article continues to discuss if avatars should have moral and ethical rights as humans do in the real world.
In order to protect a portion of their content in Second Life, there are terms that the users must agree to. However, the program itself is able to modify some of the rules and regulations from time to time and in turn, could change how the user works, socializes or more generally, ‘uses’ Second Life. Shenlei comments on her original post (that I have linked below), and basically stated that once the Linden Lab has changed conditions pertaining to Second Life, that if the loyal users don’t appreciate how it has changed, then they do not have to continue using the platform.
In the long run, I understand why companies change their policies over time- to help ensure efficiency and protect virtual rules created for users to abide by, but the idea is disappointing. I feel for Second Life users who have loyally used the program for years and then one day, essentially, everything could change for them. Again, it is critical to give credit to the people that have designed programs for the public to utilize by ensuring creations must be copyrighted. However, it would be nice for the people who utilize programs such as Second Life to not be as strongly affected once the updated terms and conditions have been put into action.