We mentoned last week that Linden Lab had launched a brand centre designed to clarify what’s acceptable use of trademarks like the Second Life logo. The response since has been forceful and arguably negative in the majority as the reality of needing to change domain names becomes apparent for some business people.
Today, Linden Lab have further clarified their policy and there’s certainly so sign of them resiling from their initial stance. One aspect that interests me revolves around what is appropriate use of the term ‘SL’:
3. Can I use SL with my product, domain or organization name?
Yes, under our special license to use “SL.” You can use “SL” with your own trademark. So, if you own the “Dell” trademark, you could call your presence in the Second Life world “Dell SL.”Or, you can use two common nouns with “SL.” For instance, SL Ballet is not ok (only one common noun) but SL Ballet Troup works. And SL China Portal is not ok (”China” is a proper noun), but SL Chinese Residents Association works. You need at least two common nouns so others don’t think you’re an “official” Second Life organization or website.”
Is it just me or is this taking things a little too far? Take our own original domain name: creativeshed.com – if we were still running this site under that domain it’d need to be changed within 90 days. It seems farcical to me. Say there was a blog called Sleaze that covered virtual sex (there’s an idea!) – would this meet the guidelines? I’m not certain – Linden Lab have certainly provided clarification of some aspects but i don’t believe clarity is anywhere near achieved.
Australian Second Life resident Shai Khalifa makes a pertinent comment on the Linden blog announcement: “So transitioning a web domain name – does that mean LL will compensate those who have to fork out real money for registration of a new name – and paying web developers and graphic designers to re-do work?? This after-the-horse-has-bolted approach is going to have a detrimental effect on a number of active and useful sites I’m sure.”
The whole issue isn’t a show-stopper but it’s certainly going to cause some friction in part of the Second Life community. What are your thoughts – are Linden Lab cutting off their nose to spite their face?
Update: New World Notes are running a poll on the issue.