SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Vendors of virtual erotic products claim the developer of the Second Life online game sells knockoff versions of their goods to players for real money, and provides other intellectual property infringers with the tools to do likewise. Apparently, not all virtual beds are programmed to let avatars have sex, but the Eros SexGen bed is.
In the federal class action, Eros LLC and Shannon Grei dba Nomine claim that Linden Lab derives substantial revenue from using Eros’ trademark to sell counterfeit products such as SexGen virtual beds. They say Linden refuses to stop “because it makes too much money from all the infringement.”
Second Life is an Internet-based world in which users create avatars that can “live a second life separate and distinct from the users’ real-world lives.”
“Within Second Life, users – known as ‘Residents’ – can obtain employment, purchase land, commit crimes, build homes and careers, make friends, fall in love, have sex, visit museums, and most important, make and spend money,” the complaint states.
Real-world companies have set up shop in Second Life to sell virtual versions of real products, such Adidas shoes and Eros beds. Players exchange real money for a form of cyber currency called Linden Dollars.
Eros and Grei claim Linden violated trademark and copyright by reproducing and displaying their protected creations in Second Life, using their trademarks to sell “infringing virtual goods” and “materially contributing to and supervising the infringing conduct of others within Second Life.”
“Linden Lab has made trademark and copyright infringement free and easy, turning the Second Life community into a vast virtual flea-market,” the complaint states.
Eros CEO Kevin Alderman, of Lutz, Fla., is “known in Second Life as ‘Stroker Serpentine,'” the complaint states. He says Eros owns the SexGen trademark for virtual products – about 40 of them. He complains of third-party infringers using the SexGen trademark to sell cheap, virtual knockoffs, and says he’s had to offer “genuine replacement products” to “unsuspecting purchasers” of the virtual knockoffs. The products are sold for real money.
Grei, of Oregon, says she holds “copyrighted works for use within Second Life.”
Linden Research dba Linden Lab and Second Life is based in San Francisco.
The class demands injunctive relief, damages and restitution. They are represented by Alan Himmelfarb with Kamberedelson of Vernon, Calif.