Object Permissions Explained

puppyEvery object in Second Life is set with what is called “permissions” by the creator. These permissions determine what you can and cannot do with that item.

To see what an object’s permissions are, right click it and choose “edit” on the pie menu. At the bottom of the window there is Modify, Copy, and Transfer, each with check boxes beside them. The checks in these boxes tell you what the permissions are.

To explain it further, if Joe Resident creates a puppy, he can make that puppy available to others in the following ways:


Modify / Copy / No Transfer = You can change the size, shape, or texture of Joe’s puppy and make as many as you like.  You can’t, however, give the puppy to others.

Modify / No Copy / Transfer = You can edit the puppy, but if you mess it up that’s unfortunate because you only have the one. You can give the puppy to a friend, but you will no longer have one if you do.

No Modify / Copy / No Transfer = You can’t change the puppy. You can’t give it to anyone else either, but you can rez as many as you like.

No Modify / No Copy / Transfer = You can’t change the puppy, and you only have one. You can give it to a friend, but if you do you will lose it.


You won’t usually find these on things you buy, but here’s what they mean.

No Modify / Copy / Transfer: You can’t change Joe’s puppy, but you can make as many as you like. You can give the puppy to everyone and still keep one for yourself. Joe Resident would probably not use this setting unless he didn’t mind his puppy passed around Second Life for free.

Modify / Copy / Transfer: If you have an object with all three check boxes ticked, congratulations. This is a full permissions object! Note: Builders do not use these settings unless they make items for other content creators who incorporate them into their own builds and agree to certain terms (the terms being mainly to not to pass the object to others using full permissions).

If you just happened to get hold of a full perm item, it is most likely by someone like Arcadia Asylum who made things specifically to pass around Second Life for free and for people to edit at whim.

No Modify / No Copy / No Transfer: Guess what? You can’t edit this, you can’t copy this, and you can’t give it away! All you can do is rez it. Careful not to lose it, because you only own the one.


When “No Modify” Can Be Modified: Sometimes items say “no modify” when it is actually only the script inside that you can’t mess with. You can still change the object’s exterior, however.

When a Permission is Greyed Out: On occasion, you may see a permission looking greyed out when you check it. This happens when there’s something inside the object with a different set of permissions. For instance, you may have a full perm puppy but if you put a “no transfer” script inside of it, the “transfer” box is going to look greyed out. You can’t give that puppy to anyone while that script is still inside of it.

I have my own preferences for permissions as I’m sure you do. For buildings I prefer to be able to modify and copy, whereas I like most other things transferable so I can swap them or give as gifts.

I hope this helps those curious about object permissions. If you intend to create your own items, it’s especially important to know what these mean.

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  1. Anyone new to creating or building inworld needs to completely understand how permissions work! You’ve already mentioned the effect of having scripts with restricted permissions contained in an object; equally important is to ensure that the textures you employ have appropriate permissions too… For example, you may have purchased items boxed up, and when you move the contents into inventory the box texture disappears and you’re left with plywood, this happens because the box had a ‘no copy’ texture. Similarly, watch out when boxing things together for distribution – if you have a ‘no copy’ or ‘no transfer’ item in there, it’ll cause problems.

    It’s extremely important to understand that SL does not check permissions until an item is rezzed. So, if you set permissions whilst an object is still in inventory, (using right click), those permissions are not verified until you rez the object inworld. ‘So what?’ you may say… Simply this:

    Imagine you create a giftbox to pack your new ‘no copy’ creation into. When you take it back into inventory, everything has become ‘no copy’ – but, of course you want to make copies to sell, so whilst in inventory, you change your giftbox back to ‘copy’, (the contents remain ‘no copy’, of course). You then sell your life’s work to another resident who – provided they don’t rez the item inworld – can make as many copies of your ‘no copy’ creation they want to and sell them on themselves at half the price, taking all the cash and credit, and doing you out of business!

    Sounds complicated? It can be, but as long as you follow the simple rule: Always rez inworld then take back into inventory after setting permissions, you can avoid this trap.

    s. x

  2. That’s one of the first things I learned when I started making stuff, Seren… rez the object then take it back into inventory. I had to learn that one by experience since I hadn’t read about it anywhere and no one told me … thanks for bringing that up!

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