Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"Second Life 'land' dispute moves offline to federal courtroom":
A virtual land dispute in Second Life will be resolved in federal court after a judge's ruling. A lawsuit filed in May of 2006 by Pennsylvania attorney Marc Bragg accused Linden Lab and its CEO Philip Rosedale of wrongfully seizing his virtual land and unilaterally shutting down his Second Life account—intellectual property that Bragg says is worth thousands of (real-life) dollars. Linden Lab filed two motions to dismiss the suit, arguing that Bragg came into possession of his land wrongfully, but the Pennsylvania judge denied those motions.

...[I]t appears as if this will be the first case over virtual land to make it all the way to court. Some believe that the outcome of the case could affect how the ownership of virtual property is treated in relation to games like Second Life and World of Warcraft, where users often buy and sell items with both virtual and real money. However, the case may never address the topic of virtual property, as the dispute centers mostly around Second Life's terms of service and how the company's insecure auction result should be handled. Linden Lab made a mistake, and a player managed to take advantage of it.