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Do 'Second Life' users have a right to free external speech?

Did Second Life publisher Linden Lab demand that a blogger remove SL chatlogs from an external site, and if so, did the company overstep its bounds?

An employee of Second Life publisher Linden Lab has apparently backed off demands that a blogger was told she'd be banned from SL if she didn't remove from her site chatlogs copied from conversations in the virtual world.

That's what Second Life Herald blogger Prokofy Neva told me late Monday night after Neva earlier that evening had posted an entry on the Herald claiming that Linden Lab had made the demand of Second Life blogger Honey Wendt (warning: this links to a blog entry containing nonexplicit banter that suggests sexual behavior involving people claiming to be minors).

This charge is concerning to some because the employee--who seemed to be demanding that discussions she deemed offensive be removed from Second Life--was claiming the company has control over how users express themselves outside of the virtual world.

Linden Lab has long maintained the general policy that users control nearly anything they create in Second Life, though the terms of service reserve some rights to the company.

Now, Neva says that in response to the Herald post, the Linden Lab employee has backed off. However, Neva did not post a new blog entry about the employee's apology, and an e-mail I sent to Linden Lab was not immediately returned.

Thus, there will be more about this on Tuesday.