Lawyers Wake Up to the Difficulties of Second Life

It is good to see lawyers starting to become aware of the legal aspects in Second Life and the difficulties that may be waiting. In Computing (7 August 2008, p 13) lawyer Charlotte Walker-Osborn identifies infringements of IP rights as common such as:

copying people’s in-game creations, using brand names without permission, and distributing pirated media that may be loaded on businesses’ legitimately-sold goods

In common with all lawyers Charlotte assumes that the law will apply to such issues and uses but that difficulties exist. As always the borderless nature of the Internet is mentioned as an ever-present, increasingly-complex and apparently-unsolvable legal obstacle. The second problem takes the biscuit for me:

the difficulty of taking action against the perpetrators – users often exist in the guise of a character that conceals their real identity, which can impede legal action

Welcome to the real word of virtual worlds.


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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