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Nine-Tenths of the Law

Posted May 14, 2010 by Jon Wood

Nine-Tenths of the Law's Jaime Skelton takes a look at the recent lawsuit filed against Linden Labs, the makers of the virtual world Second Life.

Earlier this week, CNN reported about a new lawsuit against Linden Research, Inc. (aka “Linden Lab”) in regards to Linden's virtual world Second Life. The suit asserts that Linden promised players ownership of their virtual property (virtual land and assets they contain and create), but has not actively protected or asserted those rights. The suit actually claims Linden acts like a dictatorship, in that they have promised virtual property ownership for several years, but do not uphold the ownership of an individual's property in their virtual world and, in fact, seek to “reclaim” the virtual assets as their own.

The Second Life virtual property ownership dispute has a long and interesting history, one that begins not with the 2006 Bragg v. Linden Research, Inc. case, but one that begins with the company's shift to the first “virtual property” MMOG. In reading through the history, the detailed media campaigns that Second Life launched, and commentaries from legal experts, I actually found myself lost in hours worth of research that left me puzzling over the fate of the virtual world and its laws.

Read Nine-Tenths of the Law.