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I'm breaking the law?

Musicteacher Rampal
Registered User
Join date: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 824
09-16-2005 10:06
I find it extrememly amusing how $L have RL $$ value when it suits the argument and are fake money when it doesn't. So along the lines of $L isn't U.S. currency, can we safely say that those refund laws do not apply to purchases made with canadian currency? (not that many places let you pay with canadian currency in the U.S., but if they did...)

From: Dianne Mechanique
What kind of Fascist dictatorship would even *have* a law like that anyway? Forced to implement a 30 day refund policy? Talk about government intruding into your life, sheesh!


You regularly make very strong anti-american statements, just an observation. You really should try to keep your strong opinions about other nationalities to yourself. If you don't like the govt. you don't have to live there. Not sure where you are from, but these kinds of laws are meant to protect the american consumer, and these kinds of guarantees are what keep the economy going. People would make a lot less purchases if they had to worry about not being able to return items that didn't meet their needs once they got them home. As it is I think people are more conservative with their music and software purchases because of not being able to get a refund if it doesn't work like they thought it would or if they don't like the music. As stated before, items that are perishable, unable to be returned in their origional condition, or unable to prove removal of the product are protected. So....

Sensual, it sounds like to protect yourself all you have to do is put up signs saying all purchases final and then make them no-transfer and you'll be fine.
Mike Westerburg
Who, What, Where?
Join date: 2 May 2004
Posts: 317
09-16-2005 10:12
I would also like to add that the "items" purchased here are non tangible and no way exists to protect your investment. So with this in mind, wouldn't the ability for RL laws to hit here actually cause further implications?

Example: For the refund policy law, how can you prove it? How can you verify that a customer has in fact rempoved the item from inventory? How can you gurantee that your product that gets produced on the first of the month, a version update hits and breaks our item near the end of the 30 day time lapse, who is to blame, is it LL or the creator/seller? Who is to issue the refund?

It is obviouse that other laws from RL hit here such as the DRM laws, child protective laws and such, so it only makes sense that all applicable laws apply to SL then. We must remember that Local,State and Federal laws all trump any corporate TOS or other intenal policies. So with this in mind I must ask this fearful question:
Is the age of Lawsuites generated from inworld but take place in RL coming? :eek:
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Csven Concord
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Join date: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,015
09-16-2005 10:13
From: musicteacher Rampal
I find it extrememly amusing how $L have RL $$ value when it suits the argument and are fake money when it doesn't.


I find it amusing that people seem to think knowing where the line is drawn - and for what reasons - constitutes giving the impression that they are changing their position to suit an argument. The position can be constant and the argument can, and often does, shift around it.
Fushichou Mfume
Registered User
Join date: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 182
09-16-2005 10:32
From: musicteacher Rampal
You regularly make very strong anti-american statements, just an observation. You really should try to keep your strong opinions about other nationalities to yourself.


Just pointing out, objectively, that one of the core American values revolves around the First Amendment right to free speech. It could be construed as "anti-American" to tell someone else they should not exercise their right to free speech.
Barrister Kennedy
Registered User
Join date: 27 Jan 2005
Posts: 58
09-16-2005 10:35
From: Fushichou Mfume
Just pointing out, objectively, that one of the core American values revolves around the First Amendment right to free speech. It could be construed as "anti-American" to tell someone else they should not exercise their right to free speech.


Or Pro-Politeness if you're not into that whole negative labelling thing.
Zonax Delorean
Registered User
Join date: 5 Jun 2004
Posts: 767
09-16-2005 10:56
Well, first of all, what does this mean to Europeans? I think we're not really bound by US laws :-))

Second, this topic raises hard questions (again and again).

What is an "item" in SL? Is it pure information for displaying and describing an object?

What is an "item sale" in SL?
You won't actually "own" the item after the sale, though you pretend to do... But if Linden Labs pulls the plug, can you retain your item? No, it'll be gone.
You aren't even purchasing the information, since if the item's no modify, you can't extract the parameters (like shapes, size, parts, etc.) to reproduce it any time later, or in another space (3D studio, etc.). It almost seems like you're paying an agent (SL servers) to make an accessible instance of the object, which you have full control upon. Is it a service? Is it like being permitted to browse online books related to a topic for a fee (for a login/password).
Dianne Mechanique
Back from the Dead
Join date: 28 Mar 2005
Posts: 2,648
09-16-2005 11:01
From: Taco Rubio
This is America! The whole point of this system of government is to protect people*, and the refund law is an example.



*mainly people who nature would weed out, such as those not smart enough to wear a helmet on a motorcycle, look both ways before crossing a street, etc.
Yeah, that's like breeding for stupidity in farm animals.

Myself, I have always been a firm believer in the stupid burning, electrocuting or otherwise wiping themselves out.

It's a good thing!

:)
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Seth Kanahoe
political fugue artist
Join date: 30 Jan 2005
Posts: 1,220
09-16-2005 11:03
Here's the bottom line. And it's simple to understand, and apparently hard to accept.

If you convert your L$ to more than a few hundred USD per year, check with your lawyer or professional financial adviser as to whether you're up-to-all-applicable-codes. Even if you do make a bit more than a few hundred USD a year off SL, it's probably not going to be an issue - unless you're noticed for some other reason. So - take the necessary RL precautions, and ignore all advice you get from well-meaning people on the internet - including this person, if you like. :)
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Dianne Mechanique
Back from the Dead
Join date: 28 Mar 2005
Posts: 2,648
09-16-2005 11:07
From: musicteacher Rampal
... Not sure where you are from, but these kinds of laws are meant to protect the american consumer, and these kinds of guarantees are what keep the economy going. People would make a lot less purchases if they had to worry about not being able to return items that didn't meet their needs once they got them home. ....
.
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black
art furniture & classic clothing
===================
Black in Neufreistadt
Black @ ONE
Black @ www.SLBoutique.com


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Magnum Serpentine
Registered User
Join date: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 1,811
09-16-2005 12:10
From: Sensual Casanova
This should explain it all... please post your comments and thoughts on this:

Law Breaker: hey just a FYI for you. The "no refund" policy you have, might violate a few RL laws in a few states, you should check into it. I know for players of SL in the state of CA, we have some laws that say internet sales (including in game ones) have the same
Law Breaker: inforced 30day return policy as RL brick and Morter sales, that might be something you want to check into before someone pitches a fit at you.
Sensual Casanova: lol well if I dont reside in CA then I am not breaking any law
Law Breaker: no no you missunderstand, you dont have to reside in CA, thats the problem im bringing up to you. See internet sales, are regulated by the state the purchacer, not the seller, is in.
Sensual Casanova: hehe
Law Breaker: just thought you might want to take a look at the leagality so it wont come back to haunt you later. I run a RL internet biz and have had issues with that
Sensual Casanova: well I am not worried about it
Law Breaker: hey, your thing, just gave ya a heads up



And yet another reason the Internet should be declared a separate nation under control of no government.
Forseti Svarog
ESC
Join date: 2 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,730
09-16-2005 12:27
From: Chosen Few
Now, you might say "Wait a minute. Linden Dollars are currency because I can trade them for US dollars." Well, someone traded a piece of toast that looked like Michael Jackson on Ebay for US dollars too, but that doesn't mean that that slice of freaky bread was inherently worth anything or that it somehow became currency. It's just that someone felt it was worth parting with some money in order to have it.

It's the same with Linden Dollars. Just because some people are willing to part with their US dollars in order to aquire them doesn't make them currency. Just because there are a few money market exchange style websites where you can buy them doesn't make them currency either. There are echanges for all kinds of things. It doesn't mean anything except that certain people want to buy whatever's being "exchanged".


slight tangent for theoretical discussion:

I hear and nod my head to a lot of what you say, but there's a little voice in the back of my head that says the expression "it's all for play" isn't going to hold water forever.

Why? Being able to convert L$ into dollars doesn't make it currency, but it does make it something of measurable value. Now that piece of toast doesn't have fair market value, but in the US, a used 2001 Ford does -- you can blue book it.

The IRS (talking from a US perspective) and ethics professors both look at assets as being more than just currency (i.e. a dollar bill in your hand) but non-currency things that have value as well like a house or a painting, etc.

One could reasonably argue that L$ does have fair-market value as set by the currency exchange market. One could also reasonably argue that there is a public perception that the L$ is interchangeable with the US$.


Back to the topic at hand: people should just make their refund policy clear -- including me (note to self). Good customer service anyway.
katykiwi Moonflower
Esquirette
Join date: 5 Dec 2003
Posts: 1,489
09-16-2005 12:31
From: Dianne Mechanique
What kind of Fascist dictatorship would even *have* a law like that anyway? Forced to implement a 30 day refund policy? Talk about government intruding into your life, sheesh! :)
There are commercial codes in countries scattered all over the globe. The commercial codes that exist in every state in the US, with the exception of Louisiana, are based on English Common law. You know that old fascist country the UK.

In addition most states in the US now have stringent consumer protection laws. Whether the items sold in SL are goods or services, (ie observation made about servers providing the service and not a tangible item,) is an interesting debate. Most commercial codes pertain to goods and not services, however consumer protection laws could pick up the slack. At this time it seems some courts are willing to reach out to the internet and others steer clear. It's merely a matter of time before it comes to a resolution.

I think the most fascinating legal debate lies in the issue of the legal value of linden dollars. Jurisdiction and legal presence in the stream of commerce for choice of law matters is more straightforward an issue and not nearly as interesting.

I wish I had more time to present some interesting law on both sides of this debate but I am tied up right now. Many of you are both right and wrong, and that illustrates the problem with the uncharted territory of the internet.

Lets say the law that applies now for the most part is the law of the State of Flux.
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Wuvme Karuna
..:: Spicy Latina ::..
Join date: 6 Jun 2004
Posts: 1,669
09-16-2005 13:18
make them suckers no transfer.. so incase that person wants to bitch you give them the hand! ROFL :D
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Zonax Delorean
Registered User
Join date: 5 Jun 2004
Posts: 767
09-16-2005 15:47
From: wuvme Karuna
make them suckers no transfer.. so incase that person wants to bitch you give them the hand! ROFL :D


I don't think this policy would result in a good image, name and bright sales... I hope no seller took wuvme's advice seriously!
Shep Korvin
The Lucky Chair Guy
Join date: 30 Jun 2005
Posts: 305
09-17-2005 03:48
When you signed up to SL, the TOS document that you accepted states that you acknowledge that items _within_ the SL world are merely data constructs with NO real-world cash value. Therefore, from a legal point of view, you're playing with pretend money and pretend items. Real world consumer law will not protect you on pretend "fantasy world" purchases.

The only legally accountable transaction that occurs (from both a tax and/or consmer rights point of view) is the transaction where you convert lindens to/from real-world cash. However, there are also extenuating circumstances here. Lindens are "pretend" items - they don't exist outside the server, and you've already agreed that everything on the server has a zero cash value. Therefore, what you're _actually_ paying for, from a legal point of view, is for somebody in SL to perform you the _service_ of transferring some of their pretend money from their account to yours. You're not paying for the L$ - you're paying real money as recompense for somebody to push buttons to transfer the L$ to you. This _is_ a legally accountable (and taxable) service.

Notwithstanding the fact that escrow services like GOM completely anonymize this transfer (so it would be tricky to figure out just _who_ provided the service for you in the first place), refund laws on "services" are somewhat different to those concerning goods transfers. You'd have great difficulty arguing that the service wasn't performed as advertised... just so long as you get the L$ you expected to get. The refund laws you're being quoted would therefore not even apply to cash <-> linden$ sales.

So, in short, no, you're not breaking the law by failing to offer a refund option (or any other rl consumer protection) on your "fantasy world" transactions. And though many people in SL like to romaticise the idea that trade in virtual objects is completely analgous to trade in real objects... it's not. Certainly not under the current TOS :)
Catherine Cotton
Tis Elfin
Join date: 2 Apr 2003
Posts: 3,001
09-17-2005 03:54
LOL well if SL is now RL then the money it is also REAL. You cannot have it both ways. This is exactly what I mean. SL wants to be taken serously now yet they want to pretend that its not real money. GET REAL, it can be exchanged for RL money there for it is real money. How many articles have I read that say "one acre in sl is going for $129.oo US"

Pick a side LL I dare you. Just how Real you wanna get?
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Selador Cellardoor
Registered User
Join date: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 3,082
09-17-2005 05:34
From: Taco Rubio
This is America!


No it isn't! It's the UK!
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Aru Opel
Registered User
Join date: 5 Aug 2004
Posts: 36
09-17-2005 05:45
From: Lordfly Digeridoo
Furthermore, because it's not "real" currency (ie play money as defined in the ToS), you're fine.

This right here ends the discussion. The ToS says it has no value. Whether or not it 'really' does doesn't matter, yet.

If it had value, Linden Lab would be sending out quite a few W2 forms come tax time as well.

Edit: If the L$ was ruled to have value, for sales tax, etc. it would only apply to residents of CA. Currently, it's where the servers exist and the customer exist, AFAIK. California can tax it's own residents for online purchases from businesses in California. It cannot tax residents in other states. I'm guessing VAT would come into effect as well, for our European friends.
Insecta Backbite
Junior Member
Join date: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 6
09-17-2005 07:09
While lindens may have rl cash value, I believe that in game it's the same as monopoly money. If you don't like someones "No Return" policy don't buy from them. I believe it's his or her choice to do so.
Musicteacher Rampal
Registered User
Join date: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 824
09-17-2005 08:50
From: Catherine Cotton
LOL well if SL is now RL then the money it is also REAL. You cannot have it both ways. This is exactly what I mean. SL wants to be taken serously now yet they want to pretend that its not real money. GET REAL, it can be exchanged for RL money there for it is real money. How many articles have I read that say "one acre in sl is going for $129.oo US"

Pick a side LL I dare you. Just how Real you wanna get?


Thank You!!! this is what I tried to say earlier..and it's not just LL...How many people who are saying "it's just PLAY money" in this thread have argued that $L's should not be "given away as welfare" because they have $RL value. Ok...maybe it's not an official world currency, but if you're going to argue that $L has RL$ value then don't turn around and say it's not Real money later. Maybe for the people who purchase something with $L in SL bought the $L's to do it with from GOM or someplace similar. Return policy aside...Everytime I say "it's not real money to me because I don't purchase $L's" someone always feels the need to point out to me that because it can be exchanged for $US it is real. I suppose if the ToS says it's not real then LL should not concern itself with the value of the $L and should stop trying to stabilize the economy.

Sorry that's a way off topic rant...

I think the origional question in this topic has been answered already so I won't say it again.
Csven Concord
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Join date: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,015
09-17-2005 11:20
From: Aru Opel
The ToS says it has no value.


Incorrect. And believing it says specifically that is the source of the confusion imo. I believe if people want to understand why some of us don't see a conflict in how LL has straddled the issue (for now), they'll have to "nit pick" words - like people should with most any legal document.
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