Saturday, August 11, 2007

Second Life intersects with Real Law

Click on the title of this post to read an article from the Boston Globe about an IP law suit over an avatar in Second Life stealing code for sexual acts from another avatar who ran a business selling the code to others.

(Kevin) Alderman, 46, filed a civil lawsuit last month in US District Court in Tampa, alleging an avatar named "Volkov Catteneo" broke the program's copy protection and sold unauthorized copies. Alderman, who runs his business from home in a Tampa suburb, allows users to transfer his products, but prohibits copying.

"We confronted him about it, and his basic response was, 'What are you going to do? Sue me?' " Alderman said. "I guess the mentality is that because you're an avatar . . . that you are untouchable. The purpose of this suit is not only to protect our income and our product, but also to show, yes, you can be prosecuted and brought to justice."

Catherine Smith, director of marketing for "Second Life" creator Linden Lab, said she knew of no other real-world legal fight between two avatars.
Linden Lab itself has been sued, by customers for seizure of property, according to the article. It will be interesting to watch how choice of law, jurisdiction and comity work in law suits that could involve citizens of different countries. Stay tuned!

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