May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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The Sex Is Not Real, But The Lawsuit Is: Copyright Infringement For Allegedly Copying Code

Hold on to your figurative hat here, this post is going virtual.  If you're new to either the Web or Web 2.0, you may be surprised that there's a Second Life out there.  Or rather in there.  In your computer.

Second Life is a virtual fantasy game where some 8 million people spend real money to do fake things. 

Like I said, if you're new to the Internet, read that line again.  Forget everything you know about video games, PlayStation and for that matter, even Atari's Pong or even PacMan if you're that old.  People pay money to participate in a virtual game.  In the last 24 hours, Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, noted that more than $1,500,000 US was spent in the program.

Perhaps not surprising, there's sex in this virtual world called Second Life.  According to this Court TV article by Mallory Simon, "SexGen, a virtual animation program [...] allows the avatars, or digital characters, of two users to simulate engaging in different sexual positions and using sex toys on each other. The product includes 100 different sex acts, facial expressions and sounds."

You read that right.  Sounds.  From your computer.  No wonder you have to pay for it.  And the person who "invented" (wrote the computer code) for SexGen is claiming that someone else downloaded his code, made slight changes to it and is reselling it at a discount.  Not to be outdone, Inventor Kevin Alderman filed a lawsuit and obtained an order from the Court in First Life (real life) hearing the matter forcing Linden Labs and PayPal to give up the identity information for the person "pimping" the SexGen software. 

Alderman is likely one of the first real people to sue an online persona for copyright infringement.  But in the world of computers and the courtroom, virtually anything is possible.  I just wonder whether the judgment will be paid in dollars or LindeX (the moniker for money in Second Life).

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 23:28 Comments (0)


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