Somehow this well reported case got overlooked here at the Patent Arcade, and that appears to be because I thought I’d already written about it. In any event, it now gets its own post…
On October 24, 2007, six content owners in Second Life sued Thomas Simon, aka Rase Kenzo, for infringing their copyrights in various online goods. Also included in the complaint were counts for unfair competition and false description of origin, conspiracy, and counterfeiting. The goods included clothing and scripted furniture (aka, sex beds), among other things. After only two months it appears that Mr. Simon saw the light and the plaintiffs proved their point–the case settled in December, 2007, for about $525, and an agreement by Mr. Simon to cease his questionable activities.
At the very least this case is important because it demonstrates the seriousness that many Second Life content creators give to their businesses, treating their intellectual property just as any other business would. The stakes will only get higher as virtual worlds such as Second Life get bigger, and the players have even more money at stake.