Copyright Infringement Hits Second Life

Copyright Infringement Hits Second Life

Volkov Catteneo is being sued for copyright infringement, which wouldn't be a newsworthy story if he existed. He's actually the name of a Second Life avatar, in what looks like the first case to test Linden Lab's policy of granting its users copyright in their in-game creations. If it doesn't get tossed out of court, and I doubt it will, this case stands to create some important precedent in the law of virtual worlds, notably in legal recognition of virtual property and users' rights vis-a-vis the private proprietors of such public-like spaces.

Second Life entrepreneur Kevin Alderman, known as Stroker Serpentine, runs a business called Eros LLC, which sells the sort of objects you'd expect from a Second Life store. Eros claims that Catteneo is selling unlicensed copies of its SexGen bed, which comes programmed with 150 sex animations, and sells for US$45. Because Eros doesn't know who Catteneo is in real life, however, it filed a John Doe suit (standard procedure for unknown defendants – it's what the RIAA does to sue filesharers based on their IP addresses) and is threatening to subpoena Linden Lab for Catteneo's real-world personal information.

For his part, Catteneo says he's no “noob,” and doesn't have any real info on file with Linden Lab, or even a permanent home address. If you want to read the complaint, you can get it from Reuters.

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kornation

So he doesnt hold any real information on the second life database, or even a permanent address?

Hes already lost the case

Second Life has the right to close your account for giving false information and/or not keeping contact details up-to-date, this means that the guy being sued should of already had his SL account closed until he corrects the details at the main site...

or...

Packed up his stuff, dropped all his stuff & L$ (Linden Dollers, second lifes currency) onto an alt and leave 'Volkov Catteneo' to rot in the archives of Linden Labs hard drives.

I know this, as ive been banned from second life for apparently being under age, i am confused by this as i used my credit card (at a time when you had to pay for an account) to open the account almost 4 years ago, when i was banned for being 'under 18' my real life age was 23 (im now 24), i sent as much stuff i could get my hands on to prove my age, including work statements going back 6 years and even a copy of my birth certificate (i as yet dont own a passport or drivers license, cant drive for medical reasons and havent been out the country since i was a kid).

I aint bothered, ive got an alt and flying around as normal, this time thou with all false info because they beleive my real info. Irony?.

Volkov Catteneo has won if hes jumped to an alt, lost if he hasnt.

Ex-Kornation Bommerang
Ex-Rockshop Owner

--------------------------
available @ s***** l*** (sshh!), conqour online (galaxy/jupiter server), C&C3, various halflife (mainly CS:S, viaclan.com server) and at home on 012..... wait thats to much

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MantaBase

I think you might have the parties reversed.

If SL promotes and allow folks to copyright material on their site - not sure what canceling an account would mean.

I mean, a mag might drop a free lancer (who they allowed to retain copyright on articles), but that doesn't mean that the agreement they made is no longer valid. Or that someone else can reprint their stuff under a new name and call it their own.

It should be interesting.

Manta

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Number Six

Erin,


I don't see this as being any different from a typical visual art copyright case; it shouldn't matter that the artwork exists only in digital form. What boggles my mind is why they haven't applied for the registration on an expedited basis (which gives about two weeks turnaroudn time). How detrimental is it to plaintiff's standing that they do not have a registered copyright at this time? I believe they cannot get statutory damages or attorneys' fees until the copyright is actually registered.

-[Ch]amsalot

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mushpuppy

Statutory damages and attorneys fees typically are relatively trivial except in large corporate copyright cases. Thus registration in all likelihood would mean little here.

Further, unlike the author of the story, I doubt the courts are ready to recognize virtual property rights, particularly given the effect such recognition would have on business interests as a whole.

Still, will be interesting to see how this turns out.

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