First Avatar vs. Avatar Lawsuit Filed

First Avatar vs. Avatar Lawsuit Filed First Avatar vs. Avatar Lawsuit Filed

Kevin Alderman, founder of Eros LLC, a company specializing in the manufacture of virtual genitalia and intimate action scripts for Second Life avatars, filed a civil lawsuit against Volkov Catteneo for breaking Eros's copy protection and reselling its programs.

But Volkov Catteneo is not a firm nor is he a human at all. In fact, Volkov is just an avatar in Second Life. When Alderman confronted him, Volkov, confident in his real-life identity's secrecy, responded: " What are you going to do? Sue me?".

Alderman took his violator's advice to heart and filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tampa against the second life avatar. " I guess the mentality is that because you're an avatar ... that you are untouchable. The purpose of this suit is not only to protect our income and our product, but also to show, yes, you can be prosecuted and brought to justice", said Alderman.

Such a lawsuit is possible because -unlike other MMO worlds- Linden Lab allows Second Life users to retain ownership of the content they develop in game. "It's a piece of software and software is copyrightable",said Alderman's attorney, Francis X. Taney Jr. "It's also expressed in graphics, which also are copyrightable. There is some sizzle. People like to say it's really far out there, but at the end of the day I equate it to basic intellectual property principles."

Alderman's attorney has subpoenaed eBay, PayPal and Linden Lab for Volkov's transaction records and chat logs. PayPal and Linden Lab have already turned over their records, and the attorney says he is preparing another round of subpoenas. " We're proceeding carefully", Taney said. "This guy has claimed the information he gave to Linden was bogus. We are looking for ways to cross check and corroborate the information."