ARTICLES | October 31st, 2007
Second Life Get It’s First Lawsuit!

The virtual reality is slowly taking over our real lifes. The first lawsuit between two Second Life users has been filed in New York, over the issue of someone stealing virtual items. It?s the case of Eros v. Simon. Linda Eros claims that Thomas Simon stole specific computer code to copy products she created and sells in the virtual Second Life world. It is not as absurd as it may seem at first. In Second Life, some people literally earn a living by creating items like avatar clothing and accessories and selling them in their own shops. These items are paid for with real money, as in US dollars.

Eros apparently specializes in creating adult-themed items. According to her lawsuit, her virtual products ?built a reputation within Second Life for performance, quality and value, and ? are among the best selling adult-themed virtual objects within Second Life.? The suit alleges that Simon stole Eros?s designs and made knockoff products, causing her sales to fall. It is a tricky gray area because the wording in US fair trade laws say nothing about cases in which no physical product or service is provided.

The facts of the case are also in question. According to Simon, Eros gained unauthorized access to his virtual house to gain ?evidence?, the equivalent of breaking and entering to take evidence from someone?s property. That evidence would not be admissible in court, but there is a question about the degree of illegality in trespassing on someone?s virtual estate. Those people have obviously forgotten about their First Life…

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