Second Life witnesses first case of copyright action for virtual propertyBy: just1minute posted at Jul 04, 2007 7:19 pm
Aldermanowns the internet company Eros LLC, which specializes in Adultproducts, 90% of which are for the online virtual world, Second Life, where Alderman has his own avatar, Stroker Serpentine. He recently made news by selling the virtual property Amsterdam for US$ 50,000 on eBay.
Alderman was the virtual author of a bed (for Adults only, let's leave it at that,) that sold for US$ 45 in Second Life. For those who aren't familiar with Second Life,you should know that the virtual money they use in-game (called LindenDollars) has a corresponding value in real life. This bed has alreadysold an estimated 100,000 copies. That's a lot of cash for anon-existant piece of furniture.
Nowanother guy in Second Life, named Volkov Catteneo, made a copy of thebed, or at least a near copy, and sold his version for US$ 15. You canimagine how Alderman would feel with this guy cutting into his profitswith his own design.
The problem now is that no one knows thereal identity of Catteneo. Alderman wants to file a subpoena to acquirethe information on Catteneo's real identity but the developers behind Second Life, Linden Lab,has yet to give a solid reply to this legal action and are unavailablefor comment. Catteneo, on the other hand, has this to say about thesubpeona: “I’m not some kind of noob. My name isn’t on file.” Notknowing the real identity of Catteneo, the lawsuit refers to him asJohn Doe.
Another thing about the case is the actual nuances ofcopyright on virtual property. Anything virtual is in essence onlylines of code, so even though the bed may look the same when seen inthe virtual world, the code isn't necessarily the same. Therefore,pinpointing where the actual infringement was made may be a problem.
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