Sunday, September 20, 2009

Second Life: First Enters the Serpent, then the Serpent's Lawyers

Now I must admit that I have not been keeping track of Second Life. I wasn't really interested in having an avatar with a fox head or flying to virtual Obama rallies. And I thought it had really jumped the shark right about the time Dwight Shrute from The Office created a doppelganger avatar because "my life was so great that I literally wanted a second one."

So I thought I'd seen everything.

Until I saw the trademark infringement lawsuit by the Second Life sex toys vendor against Linden Labs (who runs Second Life) for allowing some other Second Life sex toys vendor to "infringe" its brand.

Eros LLC purveyor of the "SexGen" brand of virtual beds, rugs, sofas and, apparently even a coffin for avatars to have virtual sex in or on or under, claims that its customers are being confused by the proliferation of "knockoff" SexGen products which "do not function in the ways they expect SexGen products to function."

Whether or not this case is covered by the DCMA (most people think it is), the concept of trademark and copyright infringement totally within a virtual world is something truly innovative.

But letting lawyers into Second Life -- or any other virtual world, for that matter, is something that should bear a lot of thinking

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