Second Life gives its users the ability to create some amazing things, from islands and buildings to clothing and even complete characters! This is all a form of intellectual property and, like any intellectual property, there needs to be a way to protect it, particularly when many users create content to be sold on the Second Life Market Place for Linden Dollars.
This is where the permissions system comes in (which I cover more about in my Intelectual Property post) Second Life has various permissions that can be applied to content and there are various reasons to use them, the main ones are Move, Modify, Copy, Transfer, and Export.
This permission, as the name suggests, controls whether the movement of an object is allowed by other users or not. It is useful to disable movement on things like landscape objects (such as rocks and trees), buildings, and decorations.
This permission controls whether or not other users may modify an object by changing the size, shape, texture or any other parameters of the design. It also controls whether or not other users can delete an object. This applies particularly to the “Next Owner”, you would use this to prevent the modification of things you sell in the marketplace or to allow your group to modify a collaborative group object.
Copy applies either to “Anyone” or only to “Next Owner”, either way, the copied item always retains the permissions of the original.
When applied to “Anyone” it means if you place an item in-world with this permission, any user that see’s it can take as many copies of it as they like. You might use the copy permission like this for an in-world giveaway or something similar.
When applied to “Next Owner” it determines whether or not someone with the item in possession can make additional copies, this is important to use when selling items in the marketplace, enable this if you want the purchaser to be able to make multiple copies of the item, such as on a decoration item, or if they can only have one, such as an expensive clothing item.
This permission is again for the “Next Owner”. This permission controls whether or not a user can give the item to another user or sell the item on. This would be important to apply correctly (set to no transfer) to items that you are selling in the marketplace as you do not want the items that you are selling to be re-sold by another user. You would want transfer enabled on things like notecards that you want people to be sharing around or to group items that you want to be shared quickly with the entire group.
Export is a special permission, this is only available to the creator of an object, even if an object is copied with full permissions to another user, the other user will still not have permission to export the object. This permission allows the creator to export an object from Second Life for use elsewhere, such as in OpenSim or another virtual world. You might use this if you wanted to build a local sim on and use buildings or an avatar that you have created in Second Life.
If you attempt to export an object that you have only partially created, such as an object that uses someone elses scripts, or textures that someone else gave you, or prims that are not your own, these parts of the object will not be exported, leaving the object incomplete.