Property Rights in a Virtual World

I.               Introduction

Once upon a time, Rex Ruby decided that he wanted to make a little extra money. Using his skills as a designer, he carefully designed, crafted, and built a furniture collection that he decided to sell in a little boutique shop. Rex decided that he would expand his sales demographic by going online and making his furniture available for purchase. One day, Rex was browsing through several stores and noticed that the store was selling the exact same furniture he had designed and made, right down to the fabric choice and the architectural structure of the arms and legs of several pieces of furniture. Even further, those pieces of furniture offered the same menu of animations that the users who bought them could act out. Yes, animations. Rex Ruby built his furniture in a virtual world, complete with an animation menu so that avatars, or animated “people”, could interact with the furniture and each other in a more lifelike manner. Rex’s furniture had been copied and resold by another individual. Had this occurred in “real life,” the furniture design theft would be subject to penalties involving copyright and perhaps patent law, but what remedies are available to Rex now? Is the furniture Rex created property and what rights does Rex have since his items exist in a virtual world?

II.             What is Property?

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “property” is both the right of ownership and “any external thing over which the rights of possession, uses, and enjoyment are exercised.” [1]Per John Salmond in Jurisprudence:
“In its widest sense, property includes all a person’s legal rights, of whatever description. A man’s property is all that is his in law. This usage, however, is obsolete at the present day, though it is common enough in the older books…. In a second and narrower sense, property includes not all a person’s rights, but only his proprietary as opposed to his personal rights. The former constitute his estate or property, while the latter constitute his status or personal condition. In this sense a man’s land, chattels, shares, and the debts due to him are his property; but not his life or liberty or reputation…. In a third application, which is that adopted [here], the term includes not even all proprietary rights, but only those which are both proprietary and in rem. The law of property is the law of proprietary rights in rem, the law of proprietary rights in personam being distinguished from it as the law of obligations. According to this usage a freehold or leasehold estate in land, or a patent or copyright, is property; but a debt or the benefit of a contract is not…. Finally, in the narrowest use of the term, it includes nothing more than corporeal property — that is to say, the right of ownership in a material object, or that object itself.”  [2]

If Rex built and designed his furniture in the real world, the ownership interest in his creation would be protected under copyright and possible patent law, both of which are forms of property.

A)   Copyright Law

Copyright law protects any original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression and extends to those items able to be perceived or reproduced either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.[3] The copyright work created on or after January 1, 1978 vests at the time of creation and lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years.[4] In order to meet copyright requirements, the original work needs only a modicum of creativity, in fact the “vast majority of works make the grade quite easily, as they possess some creative spark, “no matter how crude, humble or obvious” it might be.”[5] Copyright infringement exists where there is “ownership of a valid copyright by the party complaining of infringement and … copying of the complaining party’s work by the infringing party.”[6] Whenever an author registers his copyright, the certificate constitutes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright.[7] Copyright law extends to the design elements which can be separated from the utilitarian portion of works including clothing, furniture, and architecture.[8] [9] [10]In Galiano, the court stated that protected works include “artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; …and only to the extent that, such design incorporates … features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.” [11]

Under federal copyright law, a copyright owner can seek several remedies including an injunction, grant temporary and final injunctions on such terms as it may deem reasonable to prevent or restrain infringement of a copyright; impounding records documenting the manufacture, sale, or receipt of things involved in any such violation, provided that any records seized and taken under the custody of the court; and actual damages or profits of the infringer which can be attributable to the infringement or statutory damages which can reach as much as $150,000, as well as full costs and reasonable attorney fees. [12]

B)   Patent Law

In addition to the copyrightable elements, there is a certain aspect of patent law that can be applied to the furniture Rex created. Patents are endowed by statute with the attributes of personal property.[13] Patents are available to “whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement.”[14] Patentability also requires that in addition to usefulness, an invention be novel, and nonobvious.[15] Additionally, “whoever invents any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture may obtain a patent.”[16] In a design patent, validity requires that it is “(1) new, (2) original, (3) ornamental, (4) nonobvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art, and (5) not primarily for the purpose of serving a functional or utilitarian purpose.”[17] Similar to that of a copyright, a patent certificate also provides “prima facie evidence of the execution of an assignment, grant or conveyance of a patent or application for patent.”[18]  A design patent expires fourteen years from the granting of the patent. http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/index.html#design . A patent is infringed whenever someone without “authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent.” [19]

Remedies for patent infringement include an injunction, damages up to three times the amount found or assessed, and reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party. [20] 

C)   The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WIPO Treaty) gave birth to the DMCA, enacted in 1998, which

“requires contracting parties to provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law. Even before the treaty, Congress had been devoting attention to the problems faced by copyright enforcement in the digital age. Hearings on the topic have spanned several years…. This legislative effort resulted in the DMCA.”[21]

The DMCA prohibits circumvention using a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected by copyright law.[22] The DMCA creates a new cause of action based on that circumvention, which is distinguished and separate from the violation of property rights via copyright or patent law.[23]

To prove infringement under the DMCA, there must be:

“(1) ownership of a valid copyright on a work, (2) effectively controlled by a technological measure, which has been circumvented, (3) that third parties can now access (4) without authorization, in a manner that (5) infringes or facilitates infringing a right protected by the Copyright Act, because of a product that (6) the defendant either (i) designed or produced primarily for circumvention; (ii) made available despite only limited commercial significance other than circumvention; or (iii) marketed for use in circumvention of the controlling technological measure. A plaintiff incapable of establishing any one of elements (1) through (5) will have failed to prove a prima facie case. A plaintiff capable of proving elements (1) through (5) need prove only one of (6)(i), (ii), or (iii) to shift the burden back to the defendant.” [24]


 III.           What is a Virtual World?

Virtual worlds, such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, are a “combination of social networking technology and video game graphics, used to create a shared, persistent environment in which users can interact.”[25] Most virtual worlds are run using “shared platforms, which allow multiple users to access the same game, and same space, at any given time.”[26]  Even though the technology of a virtual world looks like a game, and the most famous are, the technology can be utilized for many different functions including “military simulations, education, police training, medical diagnosis and treatment, sex, gambling, banking, architecture, e-commerce, high fashion, social interaction, creative development, programming, and good old-fashioned entertainment.”[27] Graphical interfaces utilized in the more popular online virtual worlds continue to “exist and change whether the user is present or not, and almost all allow users to interact and communicate with each other.”[28] In games like Second Life, users create avatars to represent themselves… (and) “interactions with one another are limited only by the human imagination.”[29] According to the plaintiff in Bragg, many people “are now living large portions of their lives, forming friendships with others, building and acquiring virtual property, forming contracts, substantial business relationships and forming social organizations” in virtual worlds such as Second Life.[30]

Virtual worlds such as Second Life are unique in that they aren’t scripted and “participants design the content and dictate the progression of life in the world.”[31] This type of game came about through early “role-playing” video games modeled after board games like Dungeons & Dragons.[32]  Players were in control of their own fates, adventures, and challenges and when the internet came about, it opened up an endless supply of possibilities to software developers working on those games.[33] Users were able to connect through the internet via the three-dimensional environment where the game took place, ultimately leading to the basic concept allowing players to develop the “character for themselves, choose clothing, talents, and any number of relevant characteristics to form what is called an “avatar,” and interact with other avatars in this online virtual gaming space created and maintained by the software company.”[34]

Second Life has implemented a currency system and created tools for users to develop virtual content.[35] Instead of charging a subscription to play in SecondLife, users can earn or exchange their real world currency for the in-game currency known as “lindens.”[36] In order to conduct any type of business, users must first have lindens.  Second Life also provides users the tools to create content in-world, as nothing exists in-world that hasn’t been created by users using a scripting program, importing 3D objects from other modeling programs into the game, and theoretically allowing a user to build anything he ever wanted to use without accessing or needing the market at all.[37] Users do have the option of allowing the objects they create to enter the marketplace.[38]

Second Life is economically unlike any other virtual world. It boasts a self-made millionaire through transactions completed wholly in Second Life and is the only virtual world whose properties are permitted for auction on eBay, after it banned all other virtual items.[39] Additionally, Second Life has the only online virtual currency regularly exchanged for real world currency and is able to support a market where companies exist merely to serve as a currency exchange.[40]

IV.           Rights Recognized by  a Virtual World

In November 2003, Linden Labs, the creator of Second Life, announced that it would “recognize participants’ full intellectual property protection for the digital content they created or otherwise owned in Second Life.”[41] By recognizing “virtual property rights,” Linden Labs distinguished itself from other virtual worlds and increased participation. Id. In 2003, Philip Rosedale, the creator of Second Life,  stated in a press release made available on Second Life’s website that:

“Until now, any content created by users for persistent state worlds, such as Everquest® or Star Wars Galaxies TM, has essentially become the property of the company developing and hosting the world…. We believe our new policy recognizes the fact that persistent world users are making significant contributions to building these worlds and should be able to both own the content they create and share in the value that is created. The preservation of users’ property rights is a necessary step toward the emergence of genuinely real online worlds.”[42]

Like most virtual worlds, this information is set out in the game’s EULA, or End User License Agreement. End User License Agreements are any contract that a virtual world resident is required to agree to in order to gain access to that virtual world.[43] The agreement takes place at some point in the installation process of the game and is accomplished by clicking on an “Accept” or “I Agree” button or link.[44] If the user doesn’t agree, then installation doesn’t complete and the user is not permitted access into the Virtual World.[45] EULAs act as gatekeepers, noting what activity is permissible and what is not, and are non-negotiable, since it would be impractical to do otherwise.[46] Further, EULAs provide for the enforcement of those conditions should the user choose not to follow them, typically language involving suspension or termination of the user’s account.[47]

The Official Second Life Wiki Article on Intellectual Property, subject to the terms of service, state:

“In Second Life, we hope creators will use their imagination to make original content. Some create things that are inspired by real-world objects, like cars or jewelry. When you do that, please make sure you’re not improperly using another’s intellectual property – for example, a trademarked logo or brand name, a distinctive product appearance (known as “trade dress”), characters or material from a movie, book, or other copyrighted work, or a celebrity image or name (protected as a “right of publicity”). As Second Life gets larger, we receive more questions about intellectual property and Second Life.

You should not use copyrighted, trademarked, or celebrity material in Second Life, unless of course you are the intellectual property owner or have permission from the intellectual property owner. Your use of Second Life is subject to applicable copyright, trademark, and right-of-publicity laws. These are complicated laws, and understanding our Terms of Service and DMCA Policy is only a very small start to understanding applicable laws. [R]eal-world laws apply to intellectual property infringement, and nothing about your use of Second Life will shield you if you are infringing on someone else’s intellectual property — the rightful owner of the intellectual property can take direct legal action against you in real-world courts of law.” [48]

Linden Labs makes it clear that they follow the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, and that users are subject to copyright laws and the legal action available under those laws and sets out penalties through its terms of Service:

4.4 If properly notified, Linden Lab responds to complaints that User Content infringes another’s intellectual property.

Intellectual property infringement on the Service is a violation of this Terms of Service, and you agree not to engage in such infringement. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances. We operate an intellectual property complaint process for complaints that User Content infringes another’s intellectual property, the details of which are available in our Intellectual Property Policy. Linden Lab reserves the right to disable, delete or terminate, without notice, any user’s Content or access to the Service if that user is determined by Linden Lab to infringe or repeatedly infringe.[49]

Like many other EULAs, Linden Labs sets out in its service agreement that intellectual property infringement will result in the disabling, deletion, or termination of a users’ content or access to the service.

V.             Court Recognition of “Property” in a Virtual World

Few cases have been brought to the court system to challenge and address exactly what property is in a virtual world. One of the more famous recent cases, Bragg v. Linden Research, Inc., began when the defendant allegedly unlawfully confiscated Bragg’s virtual property and denied him access to their virtual world.[50] The dispute ultimately at issue in this case arose on April 30, 2006, when Bragg purchased a parcel of virtual land named “Taessot” for $300.[51] Linden Labs emailed Bragg informing him that Taessot had been improperly purchased through an “exploit” and took Taesot away.[52] Linden Labs proceeded to freeze Bragg’s account, effectively confiscating all of the virtual property and linden currency that he maintained on his account with Second Life.[53] The case ultimately settled out of court and the judicial system never truly received an opportunity to address what property rights a user has within a virtual world.

In another case, Eros v. Thomas Simon, a complaint was filed initially against John Does for the infringement some of the “best selling adult-themed virtual objects within Second Life” or “sex-gen” beds.[54]  Eros had filed applications for copyright registrations for the items that the defendant, later identified as Thomas Simon, infringed.[55]  Eros, LLC, specializes in the creation and sale of adult-themed items, most notably a “Sex-Gen” bed that permits purchasers to have virtual sexual experiences through the 150 animations programmed into it.[56]The beds were virtual objects made to replicate and exist as furniture in a users’ virtual home.[57]  In addition to the furniture element, the bed was encoded with scripts that animated two users allowing them to interact with the bed and simulate sexual acts between the users’ avatars.[58]  The beds contained menus which allowed the users to select different positions and animations when the avatars got on the SexGen bed.[59] Eros’ business model was to create adult content for users, sell the content for profit, and when it found the infringing items, it filed a suit that those parties created copies of their copyrighted SexGen beds and proceeded to sell them without permission or license.[60] Again in this virtual property dispute, the parties settled outside of court for $525.00, or the profits made and attributable to the SexGen bed replicas.

Since the items exist in a virtual world, they cannot leave that world and are represented only through programming and pixels. It begs the question of whether or not those items are actually property and if they can be protected. The few cases that have been brought to the court system so far have settled outside of court, leaving no precedent. However, to determine whether courts will extend protection to those items, it’s important to see how they extend protection to items in the real world.

The court in Gay Toys, Inc. v. Buddy L Corp. extended copyright protection to a toy airplane, stating that it was merely a model that portrayed a real airplane.[61] In addition to the value gained through playing and enjoying the toy plane, it is also similar to a painting of an airplane which is to be looked at, enjoyed, and has no intrinsic utilitarian function.[62]  Since many see these virtual worlds as “games,” it is arguable that the application of the concept of what a utilitarian function is as applied in cases like Gay Toys, would be the logical route to follow. While the works created in virtual worlds appear similar to real world items, they are arguably mere models of the items that exist in the real world and because they cannot leave that space. They have no utilitarian function but are to be looked at and enjoyed.

In Stern Electronics, Inc. v. Kaufman, the court held that a player’s participation does not withdraw the audiovisual work from copyright eligibility.[63] In Stern, Stern obtained a sub-license to distribute a video game called “Scramble.”[64] “Scramble” is roughly described as a game programmed onto a computer which creates television screen cartoons where some of the action is controlled by the player.[65] In this particular game, the player faces several scenes with increasing difficulty, and controls the “altitude and speed of the spaceship, decides when to release the ship’s supply of bombs, and fires lasers that can destroy attacking missiles and aircraft.”[66] The court found that despite the player participation, “the repetitive sequence of a substantial portion of the sights and sounds of the game qualifies for copyright protection as an audiovisual work.”[67] The distinguishing point is that this would only apply were Linden Labs the plaintiff and not the users who create objects within Second Life. Additionally, the issue could arise in that Linden Labs has created a common source code language for scripting and a common tool used by end users to generate objects within Second Life. Although Linden Labs recognizes the individuals’ interest in those objects, they are generally game created using those functions. If courts apply Stern, this may be a challenge with the virtual worlds like Second Life, in that the content is primarily created through user, or player, participation and not through repetitive sequences of sights and sounds of the “game.”

There is a strong argument in giving a person who takes the time and effort into creating something rights within that object. The Locke concept of property provides perhaps the strongest support for the idea that virtual-world users should have a substantial property interest in their virtual goods.[68]  Locke reaffirmed the common sense idea that individuals should be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and when an individual creates something from the common, the property right extends to what the individual created.[69] A lot of time and skill goes into making quality items, objects, even the version of virtual photography where the photographer takes a screen shot in world, exports it, and using the tools available through software programs such as Adobe Photoshop, can transform the image into pieces of digital art. Garments, such as a virtual corset, can take up to eight hours to manufacture using those tools because of the level of detail that goes into making something of quality. Because the user is making something, creating something that doesn’t exist, the Locke theory would have that user enjoy a possessory interest in the object of their creation.

VI.           Conclusion

Companies, corporations, and individuals have flocked to Second Life, utilizing its unique platform to conduct business, build architectural models, and interact with the market that now exists. By the existence of the Second Life EULA and its recognition of copyrights on user created content, the virtual world is inviting real world law into its domain. So, what does this mean for individual users like Rex Ruby?

As long as the terms of service agreements put forth by the EULAs in virtual worlds like Second Life exist, there is a hope that users who invest their time, labor, creativity and energy will be able to find that a property right vests in their creations. It would follow that the federal laws involving copyright and patent would serve to protect those property rights as they exist providing that the courts are able to make a real world link and analogy to the creations that exist in a virtual world. Courts have begun to take note of the potential issues regarding property rights with the filings of cases like Bragg and Eros. Although both of those cases settled outside of the court system, neither case was dismissed at summary judgment for failure to state a legally recognized cause of action.

Even if the EULA doesn’t offer full and complete protection, there is a hidden statement of recognition of those rights by both other users and the virtual world provider, and is seen in other gaming industries.[70][71] Arguably, if the other users and provider didn’t recognize the right of the individual, there would be no settlement and there would be caselaw which would certainly address the specific rights of an individual user.

One of the bigger issues that face clients like Rex Ruby is that in Second Life, the avatars are merely ghosts. Accounts set up that are without limitation in number or availability to an individual user. Unless you know the avatar personally, there is an initial difficulty in identifying the proper defendant for the purposes of litigation. However, it does seem that with time and discovery, the identities can be determined. Additionally, Second Life is always growing, changing, new SIMS, or virtual lands, are created or changing hands every day. Much like copyright in the real world, it may be difficult to keep track of where your creations wind up, how often they are copied, and being able to locate those infringing items.

Another issue is the argument surrounding the objects made by users. While source code is copyrightable, there are certain elements and functions of the scripted code which are not.[72] For instance, if authors are utilizing the same language in their scripting and there is only one way to generate or script a function so that a specific action takes place, that piece of code is not copyrightable. The argument comes in against identifying the copyright because unless the users are utilizing an external program to generate the objects that are imported into the virtual world, all of the language and objects created are done using the Linden Lab provided tools and language. If the object created or the script written can only be made one way, there is no copyright protection available because of that singular path to creation.

However, it is unlikely that a corporate entity like IBM would invest its time, money and energy into developing virtual items and property without insuring that their rights are identified and protected by the platform and the law. Entrepreneurial users like Rex Ruby can find a safe haven in Second Life’s terms of service agreement, the EULA, and the funding behind the corporations who share the very same virtual world and interest in protecting their property like Rex does. The Federal laws of copyright and patent law are there in existence and can be construed to offer intellectual property right protection to the users. If a toy plane can be protected, a pixilated one that echoes its real world counterpart can be protected, too.


[1] 9th ed. 2009

[2] 423–24 (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947)

[3] 17 U.S.C.A. § 102 (a) (West)

[4] 17 U.S.C.A. § 302 (a) (West)

[5] Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 345 (1991)

[6] Collezione Europa U.S.A., Inc. v. Hillsdale H., Ltd., 243 F. Supp. 2d 444, 452 (M.D.N.C. 2003).

[7] 17 U.S.C. § 410(c) (West).

[8] Collezione Europa U.S.A., Inc. v. Hillsdale H., Ltd., 243 F. Supp. 2d 444, 452 (M.D.N.C. 2003). The court held that copyright protection did extend to a furniture seller’s sculptural leaf element in a furniture design collection which was an item that could be separated from the utilitarian function of the furniture.

[9] Express, LLC v. Fetish Group, Inc., 424 F. Supp. 2d 1211 (C.D. Cal. 2006). The court held that the embroidery design of a tunic was original enough to be copyrightable.

[10] Galiano v. Harrah’s Operating Co., Inc., 416 F.3d 411 (5th Cir. 2005).

[11] Id. at 416 (5th Cir. 2005) (Affirming the denial of summary judgment when no showing that casino uniforms were marketable independently of their utilitarian function).

[12] 17 U.S.C.A. § 502 (West); 17 U.S.C.A. § 503 (West); 17 U.S.C.A. § 504 (West); 17 U.S.C.A. § 505 (West).

[13] 35 U.S.C.A. § 261 (West).

[14] 35 U.S.C.A. § 101 (West).

[15] Steelcase, Inc. v. Delwood Furniture Co., Inc., 578 F.2d 74, 76 (5th Cir. 1978) (Court found that the design of office chair arms would have been obvious to people of ordinary skill and therefore not patentable.)

[16] 35 U.S.C.A. § 171 (West).

[17] Barofsky v. Gen. Elec. Corp., 396 F.2d 340, 342 (9th Cir. 1968) (Holding that cabinet with hinged doors intended to house loud speaker components, was invalid in that dominant features primarily served functional purpose and was not patentable.)

[18] 35 U.S.C.A. § 261 (West).

[19] 35 U.S.C.A. § 271 (West).

[20] 35 U.S.C.A. § 283 (West); 35 U.S.C.A. § 284 (West); 35 U.S.C.A. § 285 (West)

[21] Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Technologies, Inc., 381 F.3d 1178, 1194 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

[22] 17 U.S.C.A. § 1201 (West).

[23] Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Technologies, Inc., 381 F.3d 1178, 1192-93 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

[24] Id. at 1203 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

[25] Joshua A.T. Fairfield, The End of the (Virtual) World, 112 W. Va. L. Rev. 53, 58 (2009).

[26] Brandy Tricker, Taming the Wild West: Solving Virtual World Disputes Using Non-Virtual Law, 35 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 138, 141 (2008).

[27] Joshua A.T. Fairfield, The End of the (Virtual) World, 112 W. Va. L. Rev. 53, 58 (2009).

[28] Brandy Tricker, Taming the Wild West: Solving Virtual World Disputes Using Non-Virtual Law, 35 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 138, 141 (2008).

[29] Bragg v. Linden Research, Inc., 487 F. Supp. 2d 593, 595 (E.D. Pa. 2007); Avatars can exist in human form, animal form, robotic form, and can interact, create different objects from apples to skyscrapers.

[30] Id.

[31] Juliet M. Moringiello, What Virtual Worlds Can Do for Property Law, 62 Fla. L. Rev. 159, 170 (2010).

[32] 16 J. Intell. Prop. L. 165, 170

[33] Id.

[34] Id.

[35] Id. at 172.

[36] Id. ; Juliet M. Moringiello, What Virtual Worlds Can Do for Property Law, 62 Fla. L. Rev. 159, 164 (2010).

[37] Id.

[38] Id.

[39] Brandy Tricker, Taming the Wild West: Solving Virtual World Disputes Using Non-Virtual Law, 35 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 138, 155 (2008).  Items such as lindens, the in world currency,  can be purchased from eBay.

[40] Id.

[41] Bragg v. Linden Research, Inc., 487 F. Supp. 2d 593, 595-96 (E.D. Pa. 2007).

[42] Bragg v. Linden Research, Inc., 487 F. Supp. 2d 593, 596 (E.D. Pa. 2007) quoting Press Release, Linden Lab, Linden Lab Preserves Real World Intellectual Property Rights of Users of its Second Life Online Services (Nov. 14, 2003).

[43] Computer Games and Virtual Worlds: New Frontier in Intellectual Property Law Edited by Ross A. Dannenberg, Steve Mortinger, Roxanne Christ, Chrissie Scelsi, Farnaz Alemi. 2010 American Bar Association p. 9.

[44] Id.

[45] Id.

[46] Id. at 9-11.

[47] Id. at 11.

[50] 487 F. Supp. 2d 593, 595 (E.D. Pa. 2007).

[51] Id. at 597.

[52] Id.

[53] Id.

[54] EROS, LLC, Linda Baca d/b/a Rh Designs, Teasa Copprue d/b/a Le Cadre Network, Shannon Grei d/b/a Nomine, Kasi Lewis d/b/a Pixel Dolls, and De Designs, Inc., Plaintiffs, v. Thomas SIMON, a/k/a Rase Kenzo, and John Does 1-10, Defendants., 2007 WL 3194460 (E.D.N.Y.).

[55] Id.

[56] 16 J. Intell. Prop. L. 165, 174.

[57] Id.

[58] Id.

[59] Id.

[60] Id. 

[61] 703 F.2d 970, 973 (6th Cir. 1983).

[62] Id.

[63] 669 F.2d 852, 856 (2d Cir. 1982).

[64] Id. at 853-54.

[65] Id.

[66] Id.

[67] Id. at 856.

[68] David P. Sheldon, Claiming Ownership, but Getting Owned: Contractual Limitations on Asserting Property Interests in Virtual Goods, 54 UCLA L. Rev. 751, 760 (2007).

[69] Id.

[70] In Second Life, a user removed infringing hair items upon notice of their infringement and typically most users are willing to pay and negotiate for items created instead of utilizing a copy tool to infringe the creation.

[71] Sega v. Fox, Sega published Crazy Taxi, covered by USP 6,200,138, which claims a directional arrow. Fox published Simpson’s Road Rage, which uses a directional arrow. Sega filed suit for patent infringement against Fox and the case settled before trial.

[72] 17 U.S.C.A. § 102 (a) (West)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s