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Kevin Alderman (inset, right), a virtual world entrepreneur whom Wired called 'Second Life's Porn Mogul,' filed a copyright and trademark infringement suit against Second Life's corporate owner, Linden Research, commonly known as Linden Labs. The suit charges that the company profits from the counterfeit sales by others of his company's products, and that it doesn't effectively monitor and police infringers from selling counterfeit virtual goods on the site. Shannon Grei (below), a real-world proprietor of virtual world clothing for Second Life characters, is a co-plaintiff in the suit
Eros, LLC, Alderman's company, makes millions selling virtual reality sex beds and other adult-themed products under the trademarked 'SexGen®' name on Second Life.
If you think sex only sells in the real world, think again. Second Life users apparently can't get enough virtual foreplay and action in their lives. The lawsuit claims that "Eros counts over 100,000 active Second Life users as customers." Co-plaintiff Grei claims to have "sold hundreds of thousands of her Nomine products within Second Life."
If the lawsuit's allegations are true, though, you might not want to quit your day job just yet. It seems that no matter how many times graphic designers and creators of virtual world products sell their copyright-right and trademark protected goods on Second Life, folks are inclined to illegally copy and resell them without legal permission.
Eros and Grei charge that Linden Lab's doesn't do enough to stop the sale of copyright and trademark-protected wares on Second Life, and profits from these sales. According to their lawsuit Linden takes a cut from every financial transaction between virtual world characters, whether it involves the sale of pretend goods, upload feeds, or the conversion of LindeX virtual world currency into real-world dollars.
Their attorney Michael Aschenbrener told FindLaw that Alderman has been battling copyright and trademark infringement of his products on Second Life "for more than five (5) years." He sued to individual infringers in the past, without too much success. According to Aschenbrener, people just keep hawking counterfeit Eros's products.
But what motivated Alderman to go beyond suing individual infringers, the attorney said, was that he got tired of constantly having to send DMCA take down notices to Linden Labs, with reportedly ineffective results.
You can read the complete copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Eros, LLC and Shannon Grei d/b/a Nomine against Second Life owner Linden Research (more commonly known as Linden Labs) here: