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eBay Virtual World Delisting Skips Second Life 42

Posted by Zonk
from the selective-process dept.
As a follow-up to last week's eBay delisting story, CNET has the word that Second Life content is exempt from this decision. Mr. Durzy, speaking with CNET, specifically cited Second Life content as exempt because of the uncertain role of the virtual world. As the company (and the rest of us) are uncertain whether to label Second Life as a game in the first place, player-created content is still sellable via eBay auction. A perfectly fine explanation, but GigaGamez takes things a step further, pointing out that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar became a major investor in Linden Labs in 2004. It's uncertain if this constitutes a conflict of interest, because confusion about what exactly Second Life is persists pretty much everywhere. Just the same, it's interesting to note. Their article on the subject also has a few words of commentary from Edward Castronova, the well-known commentator on all things RMT.
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eBay Virtual World Delisting Skips Second Life

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  • It's not a game.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lordfly (590616) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @10:11AM (#17812984) Homepage Journal
    ...it's a thingie.

    In all seriousness, I'm kinda glad they skipped SL. Yes, it's a program where many, many (many) people derive a ton of entertainment from, but it's also being used by an increasing amount of huge companies to do business and advertise their products. So it's not so much of a game as it's a platform, I guess.

    Kinda like how some people derive tons of pleasure from compiling C++ programs. Doesn't make it a game to be placed next to Doom and WoW...

    Disclaimer: I make a living designing spaces for those companies, so sure, I'm a smidge biased.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Short Circuit (52384) *
      I'm reading Snow Crash for the first time, and I'm only through the first four chapters. Second Life sounds remarkably like the Street.
    • There is actually a good case for leaving second life on EBay, regardless of confusion. IIRC, Second life allows you to buy and sell ingame currency with real money, so the "virtual" property of second life has an actual "real life" value.

      Also, since users of second life also hold copyright on their own content, said content should be able to be sold like any computer program. This is different from gold for other MMORPG, since the developers officially "own" your characters and their gold and there is no
    • But the point of the de-listing was surely not to exclude game items, so much as to exclude items that are not real.
      This itself is a grey area anyway, because there are plenty of people selling data without even burning to a CD.
      I would have thought that a decent rule (from their perspective) is no data that doesn't exist on a device which the seller controls can be sold. This would also exclude Second Life, I would think, so it leads me towards believing that this has been done specifically to promote Se
      • Actually, I disagree with myself.
        I think the copyright ownership is the biggest issue, and as the players in SL own the copyright and are allowed to sell the stuff, according to the terms of use, then eBay has done the right thing by not making it a blanket ban.
        My opinion is subject to change again, however, if eBay bans another "game's" items from being sold if the same terms of use are used.
    • by brkello (642429) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:50PM (#17816260)
      No, it is just a scam. All this thing does is generate press allowing a few people to make some money while taking advantage of suckers. I am really tired of all the articles about it (it seems there are at least 3 a week minimum...far more than any other game). I've had enough of Slashdot advertizing this boring, poorly written "thingie".

      Please, just make it stop.
  • by CerebusUS (21051) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @10:17AM (#17813058)
    WoW and the other mmorpgs discourage (and even prohibit through EULAs) the resale of ingame assets.

    Second Life encourages the sale of ingame assets and the secondary market that has sprung up around it.

    If Blizzard said it was OK to sell the Sword of a Thousand Truths on ebay for real cash dollars, I'm sure Ebay would allow it to be sold.
    • Doesn't UO allow real-money trading? It looks like eBay was barring UO sales: http://www.brokentoys.org/2007/01/25/ebay-yanking- rmt-auctions/ [brokentoys.org]
    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @10:42AM (#17813318) Homepage
      Another thing to note is that Linden Labs (Second Life producers) explicitly stated the users own copyright of their own in-game creations.

      As for a description of Second Life; I think it's more of an operating system then anything else. A very limited and specialized OS perhaps, but in essence it provides the same basic functions. Technically, Second Life is probably closer to a game engine than an actual game.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by brunascle (994197)

        Another thing to note is that Linden Labs (Second Life producers) explicitly stated the users own copyright of their own in-game creations.
        bingo. IIRC, eBay justified the delisting by pointing to the already-existing section in their terms of use that said something to the effect of "If it's not clear you own the copyright of the item you're selling, you cant sell it."
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        As for a description of Second Life; I think it's more of an operating system then anything else.
        Finally! An operating system crappier than Windows!
  • Pretty Simple (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bieeanda (961632) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @10:18AM (#17813070)
    Unlike the average MMO, where all assets virtual and physical belong to the company and not the end user, stuff that players create within Second Life is their own intellectual property. It's not a matter of SL being a game or not at all, but rather a function of licence agreements and design philosophy.
    • Let's assume that I'm Joe Schmoe. Let's presume that I build something in Second Life for profit. Now, let's also say that Joe Schmoe violates the rules of Second Life and is banned. What happens to his intellectual property now?
      • by Bieeanda (961632)
        That's the part that they'd rather not have you think about, because under the banner of copyright and intellectual property that they wave, things become rather... murky. Murkier still than LL data-mining in-game instant messages and conversations, and somehow even murkier than them handing out summary bans for suspicion of L$ laundering or anything else that puts a bug up a Linden's ass.

        In a word? Joe Schmoe is fucked. If he has the script code, the textures and the other components of whatever he made

      • If you've licensed your IP to someone else (ie, you sold a virtual item to them), it persists.

        If you haven't, it will go away eventually or you can ask for it to be removed.
  • loophole? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by the dark hero (971268)
    its like the pachinko machines in japan. you're not actually gambling, but if you take the balls the pachinko machine gives you to the counter they give you a ticket which in turn gives you a voucher for more pachinko balls that the nice people conveniently located around the corner will "trade" for money.

    whos going to stop people from doing the same thing through second life?

    • The major difference is the fake currency from Second Life is openly exchangeable for cash, both through Linden's own site as well as third-party currency exchanges that have sprung up. There is nothing shady or underground about it.
      • Yes there is. [valleywag.com]

        * You can earn a lot of Linden dollars in SL, in fact fairly rapidly sometimes, but...

        * If you can actually collect your SLLs from your counterparty - which turns out to be an enormous problem - you can't cash them out for USD easily or profitably.

        It turns out that inside the game, counterparty risk is tremendous. In fact, entire banks will suddenly disappear. Or banks will simply renege on obligations without recourse. Worse yet, the very people who provide the source of nearly all dem

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Second Life is created by Linden Labs.

    Linden Labs is funded by Pierre Omidyar.

    Many years ago, Pierre Omidyar founded Ebay.
  • RMT?!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by biovoid (785377) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @11:27AM (#17813952)

    National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (UK)
    Radiomagnetotelluric (Method, Measurements)
    Random Matrix Theory
    Rasch Measurement Transaction (education)
    Rate My Teachers.com
    Raw Magnetic Tape
    Real Money Transfer (role playing games)
    Real-Money Trading
    Recognition Memory Test
    Records Management Taskforce (Australian Computer Society)
    Reed-Muller Transform
    Registered Massage Therapist
    Registered Music Therapist
    Registre Morphologique des Tumeurs au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
    Reiki Master Teacher (alternative health)
    Reliability, Maintainability, Testability
    Reliable Multicast Transport (IETF)
    Remedial Military Training
    Remote
    Remote Management Testing (Ciena)
    Required Monthly Test
    Resource Management Team
    Return Material Tag (authorization reference number used when returning goods to the manufacturer)
    Reverse Mold Technology (L.A. Spas)
    Rigid Muffin-Tin
    Ring Management (FDDI, IBM)
    Risk Management Team
    Risk Management Technologies
    Royal Milk Tea

    Ok, so after searching Google for acronyms matching RMT, I worked out that in this context it means "Real Money Transfer" or "Real Money Trading", but seriously... and I normally can't stand posts that bitch about the editors... but seriously... and I'm usually happy to look up any acronym that I SHOULD know about, unless it is really FUCKING obscure... but SERIOUSLY... WOULD IT FUCKING TAKE YOU SLASHDOT EDITORS TWO SECONDS TO EXPLAIN WHAT THE FUCK RMT MEANS?!?!?

    • Seriously, it's basic style-guide for pretty much all journalism everywhere to DAFU (define at first use). After you've gone to the trouble to DAFU, you can go ahead and use those acronyms all you like. C'mon, it's an acronym-heavy industry, and it ain't that hard to DAFU.

      In the case of slashdot, if the article you're linking to is a heavy user, then you could DAFU for the people who will (presumably!) click through and read the article.

      Even if they don't RTFA (read the funky article) then the DAFU will hel
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rrhal (88665)
      OK - you have a point that RMT is not in your current list of accronyms but if you read the article that this article is a follow up to you will see RMT defined for you in the first paragraph.

      They did link to an article that was posted 4 days ago here on slashdot that was all about RMT. Perhaps they gave us credit for being able to remember that far back.

    • by amosh (109566)
      Chill, dude. This is an incredibly common acronym when talking about this stuff... and it's explained half a paragraph into the article. I know it's /., and all y'all like being shrill... but rtfa.
  • I don't actually see any effect this is having on virtual auctions. Is this delisting actually being enforced or is it just a policy?
  • This is business (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nooglide (669468)
    And while this is a conspiracy theory, Ebay is losing in the order of probably hundreds of thousands if not millions in commissions every year from these auctions. They're getting paid something for proactively removing the auctions.
    • by Cylix (55374)
      I'll bite!

      Alright, if gold farmers have to resort to secondary channels to peddle their warez they might see a decrease in revenue. Seeking additional methods of revenue generation, they will flock to Second Life to make their stake in the virtual gold rush!

      Second Life will surge with life? Um, no wait!

      It's a trap... every gold farmer that logs onto Second Life will be trapped and slaughtered in the world's newest virtual roach motel!

      It's all I got..

  • Its very simple. If the founder of Ebay made a big investment towards Linden Labs and then rights up new policy that bars people from selling items from WoW, etc, except for Second Life, that is a conflict of interest. Period.
    • And we all know shallow bullshit arguments are made good by putting the fucking word "period" on the end of it. Period motherfucker!
    • by tsm_sf (545316)
      Find out when the term "conflict of interest" applies and when it doesn't, or you may embarrass yourself in front of a large audience some day.
  • ...confusion about what exactly Second Life is persists pretty much everywhere.

    Boring.

    Now that we've cleared that up...
  • Trading virtual goods for real money is against the TOS for most MMORPGs.

    It's not against the TOS for Second Life.

    Therefore eBay has no grounds for action against trading SL goods on eBay.
  • It's uncertain if this constitutes a conflict of interest, because confusion about what exactly Second Life is persists pretty much everywhere.

    This is no more of a "conflict of interest" than when your cafeteria decides to serve only Coca Cola company products. It may suck, but until they are a near-monopoly, they can favor each other in whatever way they want.

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