A sex program for virtual world Second Life
has forced its owner to hire real-world lawyers to hunt down
the identity of a person who has been allegedly reselling his work. Kevin Alderman, who created the sex program and owns Eros LLC, makes realistic genitalia and creates sexual moves for Second Life
citizens. He's been doing it for about four years now. An avatar named "Volkov Catteneo" stole the code Alderman created and has been reselling it. When Alderman confronted the avatar, the person behind it said, "What are you going to do? Sue me?" And that's exactly what Alderman is trying to do.
Linden Labs, who owns Second Life
, says they are unaware of any other real-world litigation going on between customers of the game. The key to this suit is that items created by users in the game are "owned" by them, along with the copyright. Although this suit involves the titillating concept of sex, it's your run-of-the-mill copyright infringement and theft story. Alderman's suit does not specify damages but his lawyers are currently subpoenaing PayPal records and putting together the virtual paper trail of theft. Fred von Lohman, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, locks it up saying, "This seems like a relatively straightforward case. It sounds like there is a real copyright issue."