Monday, October 09, 2006

Lawsuit Over Virtual Land

Virtual Land Lawsuit Reveals Dark Side of 'Second Life' Game - Tech News - Playfuls.com - Science & Technology
On October 4, 2006, a first-of- its-kind lawsuit was filed in Chester County, Pennsylvania seeking remedies for a series of virtual land deals gone sour. The lawsuit was originally filed in magistrate court on May 1, 2006 and re-filed with a more detailed complaint because of importance of issues being addressed in the case.

The suit names Linden Research, Inc. and its CEO Philip Rosedale as Defendants and seeks financial damages in the thousands and specific performance requesting a return of the land and access to it, in part for a breach of a virtual land auction contract, fraud and violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer protection> Law and California Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act, among other claims. This suit is unique because the land does not actually exist in the real world and no law has yet been created in the United States with regard to the unique nature of virtual land.
Who saw this coming? Has a market for virtual lawyers just been created? You know, in my haste to see humanity push forward, I never suspected that the human factor would be such a problem. Are businesses irresponsible? Are people abusing "the system"?

I remember thinking when I saw Kirk use a hand-held communicator that it would be cool to have that. What I did not anticipate was wireless plans, minute counting, contracts, drops in service, government involvement, nickle and dime ringtones... The whole experience totally takes away from the gadget and the coolness of it.

Now something as fun as a virtual world has either a company defrauding land owners or a frivolus lawsuit. How annoying will it be to have a flying car? What would people do to the flying car experience to make it as tedious as using the internet or a cell phone?

1 comment:

JStrider said...

Thanks for the heads up! I posted about this to my own blog, with a link back to here, at http://www.jstrider.net/archives/00000624.html The topic is important to how the web continues to develop, and it will set a bunch of precedents that will change the small print that comes with most things you download and install. The important part has nothing to do with who is right or wrong in this case; it has everything to do with how the courts treat it! The question of whether laws written for the physical world apply to the virtual one is the core of the matter; if they decide no, it is all over. If they decide yes, everything changes! And then a whole host of other questions will need to be decided, with lawyers earning huge fees for decades to come, with all of our lives and the way we get to interact online hanging in the balance. It's Chineese Curse time again, because we are all living in interesting times!