Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Life Imitating Life: Class Action Filed Against Second Life for Trademark Infringement; Motion to Change Venue Certain to Follow

Time to dust off my avatar (Matt Ballyhoo), there is a legal storm brewing in the land of Linden. On September 15, 2009, a class action complaint was filed in the Northern District of California against Second Life operator, Linden Laboratories, for trademark infringement. The suit alleges that Linden was an active participant in Second Life users' misappropriation of virtual goods (in the case of the named plaintiff, virtual beds) that netted real-life creators hundreds of thousands in actual revenue (that is U.S. dollars, as opposed to the Linden dollar).

The potential for real lifers to make a living in Second Life is no joke.  At one time I actually contemplated hanging out a shingle in SL, and apparently, I was not alone.  As reported by the ABA, some attorneys have set up office within second life.  Indeed, Second Life has its own Bar (Second Life Bar Association), and a burgeoning court system.  I anticipate some serious venue and jurisdictional challenges on the horizon.

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