AvaCon Grid Terms of Service, Code of Conduct, & Building Code

AVACON GRID TERMS OF SERVICE

By creating a user account, logging into, hypergridding to, or accessing the AvaCon Grid, you agree to the following Terms of Service:

AvaCon’s primary mission is to promote the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces, and AvaCon’s primary purpose for operating the AvaCon Grid is to facilitate AvaCon’s own mission and non-profit business purposes;

All users of the AvaCon Grid acknowledge that the OpenSimulator platform on which the AvaCon Grid is based is alpha level software; that the platform is in an ongoing state of change and evolution; that the platform may undergo minor or substantive changes to the interface, software, services, or other components; and that the platform can be unstable, can cause crashes, data loss, or other unforeseen consequences beyond the control of AvaCon;

1. DEFINITIONS

Account” means an individual user Account, associated with a specific username, that provides the user with access to the AvaCon Grid and all of the associated data, files, user preferences, Inworld inventory, services, and other information related to that Account.

AvaCon Grid” or “Service” means the 3D virtual world simulated by the OpenSimulator platform software which is provided by AvaCon and/or AvaCon’s suppliers, including but not limited to the simulation and server software, communication software, or other application program interfaces (“APIs”) provided for use with the AvaCon Grid services.

Content” means any works of authorship, creative works, graphics, images, textures, photos, logos, video, audio, text, and interactive features, scripts, or programs that are contained in or imported into the AvaCon Grid.

Intellectual Property Rights” means copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade dress, publicity rights, patent rights, or any other intellectual property rights recognized by law.

Inworld” means within the 3D virtual environment of the AvaCon Grid.

“Reasonable Effort” means a good faith attempt to resolve a request, technical support issue, or system downtime issue, that can be achieved in an amount of time, effort, and cost that would be considered reasonable within the context of AvaCon’s limited resources and the alpha level technology and platform limitations of the OpenSimulator software.

Servers” are the online computers or virtual machines that support the AvaCon Grid Hosting Service, including without limitation, the server hardware, electronic data storage and databases, networking components, messaging, and protocols that simulate the AvaCon Grid.

“Users” are persons with Accounts on the AvaCon Grid, or who access the AvaCon Grid through a hypergrid account.

Websites” are the websites and services available from the avacon.org domain, subdomains, or any related domains from which AvaCon may offer web services.

2.  AVACON GRID LIMITATIONS

A. THE AVACON GRID HOSTING SERVICE MAY BE CHANGED OR TERMINATED

AvaCon has the right to add, change, limit access to, or eliminate any aspects, features, or functionality of the AvaCon Grid at any time without notice.  AvaCon also has the right to cease providing the AvaCon Grid.   Users acknowledge and agree that use of the AvaCon Grid is subject to this risk and that the user knowingly assumes this risk by participating in the AvaCon Grid.

B. SCHEDULED & UNSCHEDULED DOWNTIME

The AvaCon Grid is subject to Scheduled Downtime and Unscheduled Downtime, service interruptions, and/or data loss, for which Users will not hold AvaCon liable.  AvaCon may need to interrupt the AvaCon Grid, with or without prior notice.  Under no circumstances will users be entitled to any to any refunds of fees or other compensation for interruptions in service.

C. RISK OF DATA LOSS

Additionally, Users agree that the OpenSimulator platform can be unstable, and can cause crashes, data loss, or other unforeseen consequences beyond the control of AvaCon.  AvaCon will make a Reasonable Effort to recover lost data, however, in the event of unrecoverable lost data, AvaCon will not be liable for any purported damage or harm arising from the deletion, corruption, or loss of data that occurs in connection with the Service, nor will AvaCon have any obligation to reproduce, extract, recreate, transfer, or provide any data from its Servers.

D. AVACON IS NOT RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR THIRD PARTY CONDUCT OR USER CONTENT

Users understand and agree that AvaCon does not control or endorse the conduct of other Users, nor control or endorse the interactions or communications between users, on the AvaCon Grid.  AvaCon is not responsible or liable for the accuracy, truthfulness, quality, safety, or legality of any information provided by other users on the AvaCon Grid, and any interactions or communications between other users of the Service and a User are entirely at User’s own risk.

User further acknowledges that AvaCon is not responsible for any actions, behaviors, conduct, statements and/or omissions of users of the AvaCon Grid. If there is a dispute between a User and any organization and/or individual User interacts with on the AvaCon Grid, User understands and agrees that AvaCon is under no obligation to become involved, except where required by law.

Additionally, AvaCon disclaims any and all liability for the claims, acts, omissions, and conduct of users of the AvaCon Grid. Without limiting the foregoing, a User may report the misconduct of users on the AvaCon Grid to AvaCon, where AvaCon may, at its sole discretion, investigate the claim and take appropriate action.

E. COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS AND CONTENT ARE EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED ON THE AVACON GRID

Users acknowledges and understands that AvaCon must meet IRS regulations and guidelines regarding the allowable activities of a 501(c)(3) public charity, and as such, commercial transactions and Content are expressly prohibited on the AvaCon Grid.  AvaCon will not and does not provide the capacity or interface for any real or virtual currency transactions on the AvaCon Grid.  In addition, any User Content hosted on the AvaCon Grid, including User Content uploaded, transferred, imported, or provided on the AvaCon Grid by Users, must meet the following guidelines:

  1. No products or services may be sold for a fee in real or virtual currency on the AvaCon Grid – no exceptions!
  1. Product samples, free items, or other giveaway items may be distributed on the AvaCon Grid, so long as the transaction does not involve any real or virtual currency.
  1. Products and services provided by a User for a fee through some other service, website, other system, or other means outside of the AvaCon Grid may be listed by photograph, name, or description, so long as a price is not included on any signage, language, or text hosted on the AvaCon Grid.
  1. Under no circumstances may any User Content, signage, text, or other language provided by a User indicate or imply that User’s products, services, activities, or events are endorsed by AvaCon, unless such endorsement has been agreed in writing by some other instrument than this Terms of Service.

 F. MINOR CHILDREN UNDER THIRTEEN (13) YEARS OF AGE ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ACCESS THE AVACON GRID

Under no circumstances are children under the age of thirteen (13) years of age permitted to access the AvaCon Grid.

3.  CONTENT ON THE AVACON GRID

Users may develop, build, import, transfer, or upload Content on licensed Regions of the AvaCon Grid only if the Content is in compliance with the AvaCon Grid Terms of Service, Code of Conduct & Community Standards, and Building Code Policy, located online at https://www.avacon.org/blog/avacon-grid/terms-of-service/, and hereby incorporated within.

In addition, User agrees that he or she will not post or transmit prohibited Content or computer code, including any Content or computer code that is illegal, harassing, violates any person’s rights, that may be harmful to other users or systems, impede other users’ functionality, invade other users’ privacy, or negatively impact the AvaCon Grid or any other system or network.

User retains any and all Intellectual Property Rights it already holds under applicable law in Content developed, built, imported, transferred, or uploaded to the AvaCon Grid.  User affirms, represents, and warrants that User owns or has all necessary Intellectual Property Rights, licenses, consents, and permission to use and to authorize AvaCon and users of the AvaCon Grid to use the Content in a manner consistent with this Terms of Service.

By developing, building, importing, transferring, or uploading Content on the licensed Regions of the AvaCon Grid, User hereby grants to AvaCon a non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, modify, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, and otherwise communicate or display the Content that can be accessed by user Accounts with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same. User agrees that the license includes the right to copy, analyze and use any Content as AvaCon may deem necessary or desirable for purposes of debugging, testing, or providing support or development services in connection with and to make future improvements to the AvaCon Grid.  Except for the purpose of operating the AvaCon Grid and permitting the licensed use of the Content to perform all the normal operations of an OpenSimulator grid, or as may be agreed under the terms of a separate written Agreement, AvaCon will not sell, re-sell, or sublicense Content owned by User or otherwise exploit such Content for other commercial purposes.

4. TECHNICAL SUPPORT

User understands and agrees that AvaCon does not provide technical support or Help Desk services for the OpenSimulator software.  While AvaCon endeavors to use Reasonable Efforts to assist users with technical issues related to the functioning of the AvaCon Grid software, as described in this Terms of Service, AvaCon does not guarantee, nor does this Terms of Service provide for, technical support services for questions related to general knowledge about the OpenSimulator platform, viewers that are compatible with OpenSimulator, viewer interface questions, or questions about related technologies such as audio and video streaming, 3D modeling and content creation, scripting, or other unsupported systems or software.  Users of the AvaCon Grid are encouraged to explore the OpenSimulator wiki and the wide variety of internet forums, videos, tutorials, and other help sites for assistance with general knowledge about the OpenSimulator platform and related technologies and software.

AvaCon will provide Reasonable Efforts to respond to requests for assistance related to the technical functioning of the AvaCon Grid in a timely manner, based on the following guidelines:

  1. Priority 1 – In the event that a request for assistance reports a grid-wide failure, a region that has crashed, critical failure of major grid systems, or that otherwise report issues that make the AvaCon Grid non-functioning for all users, AvaCon technicians will work to resolve the issue with Reasonable Efforts as quickly as possible to minimize Unscheduled Downtime.
  2. Priority 2 – Requests for assistance that report non- critical technical issues, issues that affect fewer than five (5) users, or that otherwise affect users but do not affect connectivity to the AvaCon Grid will have a target response time of five (5) business days. AvaCon technicians will work to resolve the problem with Reasonable Efforts within seven (7) to ten (10) business days.
  3. Priority 3 – Requests for assistance that report issues that are unsupported, have minimal or no interruptions to normal operations of the AvaCon Grid, or are individual requests for technical support when all major AvaCon Grid systems are functioning normally will be addressed as time allows.

5. GOVERNING LAW & JURISDICTION

This Terms of Service shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the federal laws of the United States and the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, without regard to the conflicts of law provisions thereof.  All disputes arising in connection with the Terms of Service shall be determined exclusively by the courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and all courts competent to hear appeals therefrom.

6. COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS & REGULATIONS

Each party shall, in the performance of all of its rights and obligations under this Terms of Service, comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, rules, regulations and by-laws and with all orders, decrees, policies and directives issued by applicable governmental authorities.

Nothing in this Terms of Service shall be construed as requiring either party to perform its obligations hereunder, where such performance shall constitute an infringement, contravention, breach or interference with any government law or regulation.

7. FORCE MAJEURE

Except for the obligation to pay for services rendered, no liability will attach to either party from delay in performance or nonperformance caused by circumstances beyond the control of the party affected, including but not limited to events outside human control, fire, flood, explosion, lightning, windstorm, earthquake, subsidence of soil, failure or destruction, in whole or in part, of machinery or equipment or failure of supply of materials, discontinuity in the supply of power or internet service, governmental interference, civil commotion, riot, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, labor disturbance, transportation difficulties, labor shortage, or any cause beyond the reasonable control of the affected party.

8. LIMITATIONS OF REMEDY

NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS TERMS OF SERVICE, IN NO EVENT SHALL THE LIABILITY OF AVACON, INC., ITS OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, VOLUNTEERS, AFFILIATES, SUCCESSORS, ASSIGNS, SUBSIDIARIES, AND/OR ITS THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDER(S) EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID FOR SERVICES RENDERED.  OUR THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS SHALL BE THIRD-PARTY BENIFICIARIES TO THESE LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS OF REMEDY.

9. LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY

NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS TERMS OF SERVICE, IN NO EVENT SHALL AVACON, INC., ITS OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, VOLUNTEERS, AFFILIATES, SUCCESSORS, ASSIGNS, SUBSIDIARIES, AND/OR ITS THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDER(S) BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, EXPENSES, COSTS, PROFITS, LOST SAVINGS OR EARNINGS, LOST OR CORRUPTED DATA, OR OTHER LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF, OR RELATED TO, THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY AVACON, INC. AND/OR ITS THIRD PARTY SERVICE PROVIDER(S).  OUR THIRD-PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS SHALL BE THIRD-PARTY BENIFICIARIES TO THESE LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS OF LIABILITY.

10. WARRANTY DISCLAIMER

TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, NEITHER AVACON, INC., ITS OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, AGENTS, EMPLOYEES, VOLUNTEERS, AFFILIATES, SUCCESSORS, ASSIGNS, OR SUBSIDIARIES, EITHER EXPRESSLY OR IMPLICITLY, WARRANTS ANY ASPECT OF THIS SERVICE, INCLUDING THAT USE OF THE SERVICE WILL BE SECURE, TIMELY, UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, OR THAT THE SERVICE WILL MEET USERS’ REQUIREMENTS, OR THAT ANY ERRORS IN THE SERVICE WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE INTERNET, OTHER TRANSMISSION NETWORKS, AND USERS’ LOCAL NETWORK AND EQUIPMENT WILL BE FREE OF MALWARE VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS, OR WARRANTIES AS TO ANY OUTPUT OR RESULTS OF THIS SERVICE UNLESS AGREED TO IN WRITING. THIS SERVICE IS BEING PROVIDED “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE”, WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY OF ANY TYPE OR NATURE, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND ANY WARRANTY THAT THE SERVICE OR ASSOCIATED SOFTWARE IS FREE FROM DEFECTS.

11. INDEMNIFICATION

User agrees to indemnify, defend and hold AvaCon, Inc., and their officers, directors, agents, employees, volunteers, affiliates, successors, assigns, and subsidiaries harmless from any claim, expense or demand, including without limitation reasonable attorneys’ fees, made by any third party due to or arising out of User’s breach of this Terms of Service, or User’s violation of any law or the rights of a third party. Additionally, User agrees that AvaCon, Inc. will not be liable in any way for the accuracy, reliability, or quality of any claim User makes while using the AvaCon Grid.

CODE OF CONDUCT & COMMUNITY STANDARDS

Access to the AvaCon Grid is conditional upon your acceptance to the Community Program and/or the information you provided when you created an account. By joining the AvaCon Grid, you agree to abide by all applicable policies while using or visiting this virtual space.

You must agree and comply with the following Code of Conduct and Community Standards:

RESPECT YOUR FELLOW USERS

The AvaCon Grid is a great place to exchange best practices, share ideas, and be creative, but it is expected that you will be respectful of differing opinions and backgrounds.  Celebrate the uniqueness of each individual by respecting individual differences and promoting common interests.  Practice civility by extending to those we meet the same respect, cooperation, and caring that you expect from others.  Embrace freedom and openness by working to create an environment that is safe and affirming, one that nurtures independent thinking and the free and open expression of ideas.

NO GRIEFING OR HARASSMENT OF OTHER USERS

Griefing is the act of causing “grief” to other members of an online community, or intentionally disrupting their enjoyment of the environment. Harassment can be any physical, virtual, or verbal abuse of a person because of her race, religion, age, gender, disability or any other legally protected status. Other forms of harassment may include behaviors such as using the “push” function to shoot, trap, eject, or otherwise assault another user’s avatar without their consent,creating self-replicating objects that degrade performance of the virtual community, wearing obscene or threatening objects etc. Failure to abide by this policy may result in your avatar being banned from the AvaCon Grid.

DO NOT DISTURB MEETINGS OR EVENTS IN SESSION

In general, the expectation is that you would behave in the virtual environment much as you would at a gathering or workplace in real life. Disrupting scheduled events, repeated spamming or undesired advertising, playing sounds over and over, or otherwise disturbing others and events in session will be considered a form of “griefing”.

RESPECT PEOPLE’S PRIVACY

Though OpenSimulator itself is not a secure or private environment, users have a reasonable expectation that others will not intentionally violate their privacy. Remotely monitoring conversations, using scripts which spy on others without their knowledge, posting/sharing chat logs, extracts from email messages or ‘Personal Messages’ without consent are all prohibited.

ONLY BUILD IN DESIGNATED OR ASSIGNED SPACES

The AvaCon Grid has a large sandbox available for users to experiment with building and rezzing objects. Feel free to use the sandbox, but be sure to clean up your items when you are done. Items left in the sandbox for more than 48 hours may be returned to your inventory to free up prims for other users.

Unless you have been assigned a designated space for your use, building and rezzing items elsewhere on the virtual community is prohibited except for temporary use (i.e. rezzing a vehicle or opening a box). All items that you rez outside of your designated space or the sandbox should be picked up before you leave the community.

Under no circumstances should users edit, modify, deface, delete, or otherwise alter the buildings, infrastructure, objects, or other items on the virtual community that do not belong to them.

SELLING ITEMS

Selling items on the AvaCon Grid is strictly prohibited, though linking to websites where you might have items for sale or are taking donations is allowed. The AvaCon grid does not use real or virtual currency.

Users who witness violations of this policy should contact AvaCon Staff via email grid@avacon.org for assistance.

BUILDING CODE

Users who have been assigned a Parcel of land or who have licensed a Region(s) must abide by the Building Code set forth below. The purpose of this policy is to ensure good performance of the OpenSimulator server, enhance the overall aesthetic design of the virtual community, promote easy navigability for users, and provide for the overall enjoyment and utility of the AvaCon Grid.

CONTEXT APPROPRIATE

Please remember that the AvaCon Grid is an extension of AvaCon. Buildings, structures, objects, and items should be appropriate within that context. The “look” of the buildings is left to your discretion, but please try to avoid garish textures and designs. Neighbor complaints about encroaching prims, trees that cross parcel boundaries, and other issues will be handled on a case-by-case basis and could result in a directive for design changes if it is determined that objects on your parcel are negatively impacting sim performance or the enjoyment of the virtual community for others.

BAN LINES AND PAY-TO-ENTER ZONES

Under no circumstances will users create ban lines or pay-to-enter barriers upon their land, excepting that the user has licensed a Region(s) and wishes to control access to the sim through the Group access list. All parcels smaller than a Region must remain open to the public to allow for easy navigation of the virtual community.

MEDIA TEXTURES

Creating many subdivisions of land and setting independent media textures for each parcel of land can lead to reduced performance for the entire sim, which may adversely affect other users. Therefore, there should be only one (1) audio/video stream per 512 sq meter parcel of land.

BUILDING HEIGHT & SKYPODS/SKY PLATFORMS

It is important that visitors to the AvaCon Grid can easily navigate the community by flying through the air. To ensure that users can fly without the aid of flight devices, buildings and structures should be no more than 500 meters above ground level.  Users may build skypods or sky platforms above their parcel, so long as they are at least 500 meters above ground level and are built only within the boundaries of your parcel. Overlapping prims or items that cross parcel boundaries will be returned to the user.

USING ROOT PRIMS TO ANCHOR LINKSETS ACROSS PARCEL LINES

Under no circumstances can “Root” Prims be used to grief, harass, block, or otherwise disturb other users of the AvaCon Grid. Linksets may not extend beyond the parcel boundary lines, including by using “root” prims or other mechanisms to extend beyond the parcel boundaries.

TERRAFORMING LAND PARCELS

Users with land editing permissions may use the land editing/terraforming tools to create hills, valleys, lakes, or other land formations within the boundaries of their land parcel, however, all land parcels must “gracefully” transition into adjoining land parcels. Jarring height differences, chasms, or other unsightly differences in land levels between neighboring parcel boundaries will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and may result in a directive for design changes.

SOUND & PARTICLE EFFECTS

The use of particle generators, poofers, and other particle emission systems are permitted, so long as the particle emissions and effects stay within the parcel boundaries. This includes leaves, smoke, fires, and other particle effects.

Likewise, sound emitting scripts, objects, loops, animations, or other sound emitting devices must be limited to the parcel boundaries. This can be accomplished by checking the box in the land menu “Media” tab to “Restrict spatial sound to the parcel.”

GREETERS & AUTOMATED NOTICE DISTRIBUTORS

Scripted objects that greet visitors, distribute notecards or items, or otherwise interact with an avatar as it approaches must be scripted to only interact with avatars within the parcel boundaries. This can be set within the script itself based on the diameter range at which the script detects an avatar. Users walking on sidewalks or pathways outside the parcel boundary should not be solicited or spammed with unwanted greetings and object messages.

Exemptions to the above Building Code policies may be granted on a case-by-case basis to facilitate community or creative activities, but the exemption must be granted in writing prior to the event.  For questions or concerns related to these policies, please contact AvaCon Staff via email grid@avacon.org.