Second Life Copyright Infringement Claim Heads To Court

secondlifeA case of alleged copyright infringement in Second Life is heading to court.

According to Reuters, Second Life entrepreneur Kevin Alderman, the owner of Eros LLC, a company that makes virtual sex beds, filed the “Eros LLC vs John Doe” lawsuit on Tuesday.

Second Life user Volkov Catteneo is alleged to have copied and distributed the “SexGen Bed”, an item that sells for L$12,000 ($45.11). The lawsuit seeks to force Linden Lab to disclose Catteneo’s real-world identity, as well as asking Catteneo for damages.

The case, the first of its kind for Second Life, will be interesting from a legal perspective. There is no legal precedent for the case, and as Stanford University’s Lauren Gelman said in a Four Corners report earlier this year, the concept of virtual property ownership is vexed:

“All of this is virtual bits and bytes, ones and zeros that are sitting on the servers at Second Life’s headquarters and the server farms they have around the world…how much can you own something that’s really under the control and domain of another party, this is really where the law is being tested to see how they’re going to figure that out.”

On the surface it also seems a little strange that Linden Lab has not already dealt with it; Second Life has strict rules in relation to copyright infringement and has previously acted in favor of in-world copyright owners.