Second Life’s Sexy Lawsuit Heats Up

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

slThe virtual world Second Life might not be as newsworthy as it was a few years ago, but it’s still around, and it’s still running into some of the same old problems. When users can create practically anything, trademark and copyright issues were bound to crop up. But the current controversy doesn’t involve counterfeit designer bags – but rather, counterfeit sex toys. And in Second Life, these are of utmost importance – because without specially programmed objects and animations (including “poseballs,” animated scripts that attach to things like furniture), two avatars can’t get it on virtual style. So when someone started ripping off the SexGen product line (that even included a coffin for the more morbid randy avatars), it was a big deal. Especially since the proprietor claims $1 million in sales.

The lawsuit was already successful in 2007 against the counterfeiters themselves, but now it’s pulling Second Life’s creators, Linden Labs, into the fold. In theory, the DMCA should protect the company, but as we know from the pending litigation against YouTube, that may not be so clear-cut.

This isn’t the first time that the company itself has been involved in litigation. Bragg v. Linden Lab, which involved real estate transactions in the virtual world, may have eventually settled out of court, but the court still looked very unfavorably upon Linden’s terms of service. Oh, and by the way, those same terms of service include multiple provisions about how they’re not responsible for intellectual property infringement.

The moral of this story is, of course, if you’re going to have virtual sex, at least make sure it’s name brand.

[Via Threat Level]

[Image Source: ramona538 (CC)]

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