Archive for the 'Legal' Category

Linden Labs Clarifies their “Ageplay” Policy

November 14th, 2007 | Category: Child Protection, Legal, Virtual Sex

In a post on the Second Life blog, Kend Linden clarifies the ageplay policy from Linden Labs, in which they disallowed depictions of and or engagement of sexualized conduct with avatars that resemble children. Specifically, real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors are not allowed within Second Life. In this post, they outline the three key elements that are specifically disallowed.

(1) participation by Residents in lewd or sexual acts in which one or more of the avatars appears to represent minors (or the depiction of such acts in images, video, textures, or text) is a violation of the Community Standards;

(2) promoting or catering to such behavior or representations violates our Community Standards. For instance, the placement of avatars appearing to represent minors in proximity to “sex beds” or other sexualized graphics, objects, or scripts, would violate our Community Standards, as would the placement of sexualized “pose balls” or other content in areas depicting playgrounds or children’s spaces;

(3) the graphic depiction of children in a sexual or lewd manner violates our Community Standards. Source: Clarification of Policy Disallowing “Ageplay”

My favorite part, and I quote

Of course, any images, chat or other conduct which leads us to believe actual minor children are involved will lead to swift action, including reporting to the appropriate authorities.

Now if only Linden Labs could actually find this stuff when it is pointed out to them, maybe they can actually give this policy some teeth. Here is the video from Sky News that shined a light on some of the seedier things going on in Second Life concerning child avatars.

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Pedophilia in Virtual Worlds

October 31st, 2007 | Category: Child Protection, Discussion, Legal, Virtual Sex

Updated october 31, 2007

I have to ask this question, even though it creeps me out to even think about it, but is pedophilia really possible in Second Life? One would have to say yes, because it is entirely possible that a youngster playing an avatar could have sex with an adult playing another avatar, but, if you stick to avatars that have payment info on file, that should prevent it from happening accidentally.

But, what about people who are looking to have sex, even if it’s virtually, with children? Since the US Supreme Court removed the virtual children clause, Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, the federal definition requires that an actual child exist, so, for right now, I don’t think by the letter of the law that it is illegal if two adults engage in the activity, it’s certainly sick, but I’m not going to get into all that.

Linden Labs has made it known how they feel about child pornography, which is certainly more applicable, I’m just not sure how animations or cartoons would fit into that category.

Linden Lab’s stance on child pornography

Linden Lab has absolutely zero tolerance for depictions of child pornography within Second Life. We were outraged to see the images that ARD showed us, and will cooperate fully with any legal authorities that choose to investigate the individuals involved in such activities. Child pornography is, of course, illegal and as such is a breach of our Terms of Service. It goes without saying that anyone engaged in this activity will be permanently banned from Second Life, and subject to legal consequences.

What are the consequences?

We simply will not tolerate the depiction of sexual or lewd acts involving minors in Second Life.

If Linden Lab learns that someone is engaging in, advertising or promoting locations or activities involving the depiction of sexual or lewd acts involving minors, their account will be terminated, and we will fully cooperate with all appropriate authorities.

If a Resident possesses or distributes real-world pornographic images in Second Life that appear to involve minors, their account will be terminated and their details provided to real-world authorities, as has always been our policy. Source: Accusations Regarding Child Pornography in Second Life

Lowell Cremorne did some looking around when this first came about from Linden Labs, and in his post here, you can see the kinds of child like avatars that came up when he searched for child, I’m glad he blacked out that first one, brrr.

Which brings me to the whole point of this post, a blog post from the Second Life section of Reuters says that the UK is going to investigate pedophilia in virtual worlds, they will be looking for depictions of adult-child sex and trying to track down the pedophiles.

But the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) said Second Life isn’t being specifically targeted. “Our interest is wherever on the Internet children are,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “We place officers into a number of virtual worlds.”

The CEOP takes a dim view of age play, even when both avatars have confirmed their identity as consenting adults. “Why would a 56-year-old man masquerade as a 13-year-old child? That’s something that would concern us,” the spokeswoman said. Source: UK to investigate pedophilia in virtual worlds

That concerns me as well and I hope they can find and eliminate them all from virtual worlds and real life for that matter. So, maybe the US doesn’t consider it illegal, the UK seems to think it is, and if I can help in anyway I certainly will.

This is kind of interesting as well because while I was checking out the sim, The Legend of Autumn Hollow, this child avatar came in and was looking around, eventually she came up to me and we started talking, which was weird to start with, but when she asked if I had a girlfriend, I bet my jaw hit my desk, I didn’t know what to say, but she kept on talking and eventually said he sister needs a good looking guy like me. I felt a little better after that and we actually ended up working together some and finding some of the items in the treasure hunt, she was kind of cute, she did not go out of character, talking like a child the whole time, skipping around and asking silly questions, but it was certainly a moment I will never forget when it comes to Second Life and another reason I would rather no child avatars be allowed inworld at all. Thanks God she didn’t hit on me!

A post at Techcrunch, Virtual Pedophilia Report Bad News For Second Life discusses Virtual Pedophilia in Second Life, and I am amazed at the commentators who say it’s okay as it’s two consenting adults, sure, that may be true if this happened in their own homes, but this is a virtual world where anyone can see it, sure there are some restricted areas, but if you can get into the area, you can pretty much watch anything happening with the camera. It would be very easy for a child to register and end up seeing this type of stuff, depending on what they search for, kids, children, etc.

I wrote this before I read and watched the Sky News report, but now that I have seen it, I am even more disgusted, the areas they have setup are swing sets with child avatars swinging on them, talk about trying to make it look like real life. I just added the video below.

“Wonderland is a virtual children’s playground where pedophiles cruise and kids are solicited,” said Farrell.

“At first site it looks like a real-life playground.

“Here child-like avatars are not just playing on swings - they’re offering sex. These are virtual children of all ages - even toddlers.

“After talking to one child I was offered a range of sordid and sick sexual acts.

“My avatar had entered a virtual pedophile ring. Obviously, I declined the offers and reported my disturbing findings.” Source: Perverts Use Virtual World For Fantasies

Wonderland needs shut down, it’s no wonder that almost every newbie I saw and talked to coming into Second Life in the CSI area the other night mentioned, hookers, sex or having fun, that’s all they think we do inworld.

Warning: The might not be considered safe for work, although I don’t think anyone is naked.

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Debate: Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on SL?

October 18th, 2007 | Category: Child Protection, Debate, Legal, Virtual Sex

By Stone Culdesac

There is going to be a debate at 8:00pm SL time and the topic is Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on SL? I don’t think it’s appropriate at all to play a child avatar in Second Life, even in role playing situations; this is just one of those taboo things I think Linden Labs should just outright outlaw. I have seen some freaky stuff in Second Life, some things you just want to take your brain out and scrub it down real good, so I know there are probably some situations where child avatars are being used in ways that are illegal in real life, so, if there is a chance that someone could see something bad going on with a kid, why even take the chance that it could happen?

I think I have read more bad stuff about people being worried about animal avatars than I have child avatars, and there has been talk about banning bestiality in Second Life because it is illegal in many states, while others think it’s okay since there is no real animal involved. Check out these images of stuff that has been going on in Second Life with animal avatars and human avatars, Animal Love in Second Life Warning: NSFW! But, I guess it all comes down to what you believe, and I don’t believe I want to even have the chance of seeing some adult avatar doing anything to a child avatar. Nuff said.

I will probably check this out, at least there will be someone thrown to the pit at the end. ;)

What: Debate (Moderated) - Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on SL?

When: Oct 18, 2007 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm (Thursday)

Where: sLiterary Second Life

Tags: Education Elealora Writer learning Second Life sLiterary

Description: Moderated by Sodovan Torok, the new host for our weekly Thursday AVATAR vs. AVATAR debates, our moderated debate series put two strong debaters head to head in battle over words and words only until the end. AVATAR will meet AVATAR on debate night, and… we’d start off from there.

TOPIC: Is it appropriate to be a child avatar on Second Life?

The LOSER will be kicked off the floor, to freefall onto the ground roughly 30m below at sole discretion and mercy of the WINNER after audience and moderator announces verdict. Or, the audience might decide to put both AVATARS on the pit and slow-roast ‘em alive.

Complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres served.

Second Life URL.

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Financial News and Sales!

September 01st, 2007 | Category: Insurance, Legal, Sale, Shopping

Property and Second Life Benjamin Duranske points to the very interesting Virtual Property Rights Case. Some of this should sound familiar:

…Soon, wealthy avatars were taking the form of “metaverse speculators” buying in bulk, driving up the cost of virtual land and, in some cases, developing it for a tidy profit. The stakes were high and, to some, there seemed to be a bubble forming, mirroring the frothy bull market for real property investment that had taken place offline. Meanwhile, the real world owners of Third Life were becoming wealthier than they had ever dreamed. The incremental cost of strategically creating and introducing additional parcels of virtual land to Third Life was essentially zero, and there were always eager buyers…

Blowout Sale at Your2ndPlace.com People out there kept playing limbo with prices so now at the Your2ndPlace.com store - so we’re beating them, or meeting them where competitors priced stock we had to 0 Lindens - Free! We only charged 1 Linden for the items, and had a money tree out - so now we just got rid of the money tree and priced loads of stuff to 0 Lindens.

What’s the point, anyway? :-) Here’s a shot of their store.

Second Life URL Free Insurance for BCX Customers. Beginning September 1st 2007

BCX customers can go to the nearest “The Rock Tam” and get free insurance up to 5k per month.

You will buy your insurance, pay for it and get a note from The Rock saying that BCX will reimburse them within 10 days.

On a weekly base, The Rock will provide BCX Bank with a list of customers entitled to get a refund and BCX Bank will then reimburse You.

Second Life URL.

Bragg v. Linden Lab: Discovery Heats Up, Linden Documents Posted on Bragg’s Web Site Plaintiff currently approximates that he provided $13,900 U.S. dollars and one million Lindens to Defendant Linden for tier payments, land purchases, account credit, lindens in account, and purchases from third party vendors.

Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees exceed $100,000 and are growing on a daily basis Plaintiff is also entitled to treble damages, punitive damages and statutory damages, as more fully documented in the Complaint, in addition to injunctive and equitable relief.

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Global Workplace Counsel Opens in Second Life

August 24th, 2007 | Category: Legal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Second Life, Silicon Island (193, 91, 38) August 24, 2007; Elchoness Law Firm, LLC: Global Workplace Counsel is pleased to announce the opening of its Second Life office on Silicon Island. “Second Life presents a unique opportunity for legal practitioners across the globe. There is no question in my mind that a Second Life needs an employment law firm and HR consultancy like Elchoness Law Firm, LLC: Global Workplace Counsel. From advice and counsel, workplace investigations, training, and global off shoring/outsourcing consulting, the firm is poised to bring something new and valuable to Second Life,” said Da Etchegaray, Principal.

In related news, Da Etchegaray is pleased to announce a new group in Second Life dedicated to the enhancement of the workplace, human resources, and employment issues through the use of virtual worlds such as Second Life. Second Life Workplace, led by Etchegaray, is open to all residents interested exploring how virtual worlds can improve the workplace.

For all questions related to Elchoness Law Firm, LLC: Global Workplace Counsel and Second Life Workplace, please contact Da Etchegaray, stop by the office on Silicon Island, (193, 91, 38), or visit our website: www.globalworkplacecounsel.com

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First UK Virtual Law Firm

August 03rd, 2007 | Category: Legal

Saw this press release about a UK law firm that is supposed to be the first one in Second Life, I say supposed because I don’t know that for sure, haven’t checked it myself.

Legality Solicitors (http://www.legality.biz), the UK’s first virtual law firm, has recently provided advice to BJL Group Limited, the largest independent advertising agency outside London, on the legal issues surrounding the creation of ‘Mancunia’, based on a famous part of Manchester, in Second Life.

Mancunia (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Mancunia/128/128/0), which launched earlier this week, replicates the Deansgate area of Manchester centered around the mile-long road running through the city centre. The BJL office in Mancunia provides a creative thinking space where individuals can share their innovative ideas.

Mr. Roberts adds: “At present, very few law firms have true experience in Second Life and similar media. Clients may find it difficult to source a suitable lawyer, and could end up paying for their chosen solicitor to climb a steep learning curve – before the real work even gets started. Legality has the existing knowledge and expertise. We speak our clients’ language and operate at the cutting edge of digital technology.” Source: Legality Virtual Law Firm Advises Businesses about their ‘Second Life’ and Helps with the Creation of ‘Mancunia’

Second Life URL.

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Real Lawyers in a Virtual World

July 31st, 2007 | Category: Legal, RL Meets SL

Neat little article about a law firm in Washington D.C. who not only has a virtual office, they are earning another $20,000 a year from it. And that is all from consulting people in world on issues that would just cost too much money offline to litigate, like stolen items, copyright infringement, or even a bad tenant. Even so, as we have seen, some cases do go straight to a real life court, like the Sex bed case where Stroker Serpentine, is suing another avatar, named Volkov Catteneo, for copyright infringement over a sex bed that made Stroker a lot of money.

Except for one thing: The jewelry store in question doesn’t really exist. Nor does the jewelry — at least not in the realm of traditional Newtonian physics. And although Lieberman has an actual law office, that isn’t where Davis found him. Instead, Davis saw Lieberman’s law firm ad in a place far removed from Washington, a place that only exists as an endless stream of ones and zeroes.

Not long ago, when lawyers spoke of “virtual law firms” or the “paperless office,” they meant being able to share electronic documents and hold video teleconferences. Here, the whole office disappears, or at least is radically transformed, into computer code, along with the people, furniture, conference rooms, copying machines — everything, in fact, except for the bad coffee.

Don’t misunderstand. Stevan Lieberman is a real-life attorney, and he does practice intellectual property law at a real D.C. firm called Greenberg & Lieberman. It’s just that he and his firm have opted to expand into the relatively uncharted territory of Second Life, an online simulated universe with more than 8 million users — and growing. Take that, DLA Piper.

“There’s real money changing hands, and there are real disputes that people have in-world over real creations,” says Benjamin Duranske, whose avatar, “Benjamin Noble,” created the Second Life Bar Association. “It just happens to be represented digitally.” Source: Lawyers Find Real Revenue in Virtual World via the WSJ

Real money changing hands, you guys running the stock exchanges hear that, a lawyer said that.

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SL Business Communicators Meeting

July 13th, 2007 | Category: Legal, RL Meets SL

The website Business Communicators of Second Life have posted a transcript of their talk with Benjamin Duranske, aka Benjamin Nobel, an attorney, founder of the SL bar association, and Virtually Blind blogger. They cover Trademarks, Copyrights, Patents and Registration, copying, are avatars real, will you sue me, fair use, IP rights, IP and SL objects (a picture of a picture), SL M&A’s, Contracts, Celebrities, and Audio Recordings and company avatars. Lots of good info and speculation, as there are more questions than there are answers currently when you talk about what and who owns what.

The time flew by, but this was one fascinating discussion, thanks to IP attorney, founder of the SL Bar Association, and Virtually Blind blogger, Benjamin Duranske, aka Benjamin Nobel. We covered a wide range of topics related to activities in Second Life and Benjamin kept up amazingly well with the flood of questions.

He promises to come back and meet with SL Business Communicators in a few months - and we’re going to hold him to it! Be sure to watch for announcements on his return. It is well worth your time to join in.

Thank you, Ben, for a thoroughly enlightening session. I encourage everyone to read his blog regularly. Source: Vitual Law Q&A Transcript: Benjamin Duranske at SL Business Communicators Meeting

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Another Day, Another Lawsuit

July 11th, 2007 | Category: Legal

I wonder how many lawsuits we will eventually see involving stuff created in Second Life? You see all kinds of brand name items for sale out there, and I am pretty sure there are lots of them that are not officially created by any brand, so it will be interesting when large corporations get involved. The other day we had an avatar sue another over a sex bed, today it is over sex toys. So, just remember, no matter which world you are in, sex sells!

A maker of the “Eros SexGen Platinum Base Unit” (a device in the online virtual world Second Life) has filed suit against another person in the game for copyright infringement, claiming the second party is making exceedingly similar sex toys. So now apparently there’s going to be a legal battle for the hearts, minds and bodily fluids of online avatar-based sex-havers. Just like Philip K. Dick predicted in 1967 in his novella The Eros SexGen Platinum Base Unit. Source: Litigate, Castigate, Investigate: Second Life Kerfuffles

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Second Life Avatar Sued in RL Court

July 05th, 2007 | Category: Business, Legal

An entrepreneur in SL, Kevin Alderman, avatar name of Stroker Serpentine, is suing another avatar, named Volkov Catteneo, for copyright infringement over a sex bed that made Stroker a lot of money. The SexGen bed contains over 150 animations to allow residents to sexually interact with each other, and is sold by Eros LLC for $12,000 Linden, or around $45 dollars, Stroker says that Volkov is copying and selling the bed for much less, $4,000 Linden or around $15 dollars. Stroker’s lawyer plans to subpoena Linden Labs to force them to disclose Volkov’s real identity, chat histories, and financial records from Linden Lab and PayPal.

Catteneo told Reuters in a Second Life interview that Alderman had never been in touch with him. Catteneo said he had sold about 50 of the beds on behalf of a third party who pocketed the proceeds.

Catteneo, who declined to provide his real name, said he doesn’t fear the subpoena. “I’m not some kind of noob,” Catteneo said. “My name isn’t on [Linden Lab’s] file. I don’t even have a permanent address [in real life] either.”

Alderman said he tried to report the copyright violation to Linden Lab in accordance with its Digital Millennium Copyright Act compliance policy, but that he was told to use the in-world “abuse reporting” system.

Linden Lab was not immediately available for comment. Source: SL business sues for copyright infringement

Stroker estimates that Volkov has sold about 100,000 of the beds, while Volkov says he sold about 50 of the beds on behalf of a third party, who kept the proceeds. Stroker says he is not really interested in damages or getting money from Volkov, he is just interested in protecting his income. Stroker is also the avatar who sold his Amsterdam sims to Dutch media firm Boom BV for US$50,000.

Stroker was contacted by the website GigaOM who asked him why he took it to trial instead of going in world and making sure the residents know so the can ostracize him. Stroker said he tried that route before,

Stroker tells me he did try that method in another case, but ironically, it backfired. “[T]he last time this happened I confronted the individual about it and requested that they cease and desist…,” he says, “I was made out to be a bully and dragged through the [SL community] forums.” Linden Lab has a system for letting users file DMCA suits against each other; Stroker tried that twice, but wasn’t happy with how Linden responded. So he found a law firm specializing in copyright/trademark disputes. “We weighed all alternatives and listened to a lot of advice. So here we are.” Source: Second Life Avatar Sued for Copyright Infringement

GigaOm also referred to the bed and avatar as not existing, something I’m sure most SL residents would disagree with, as well most software developers, I would think. They both exist at least in source code, they bed can be purchased and used by residents, and, residents can buy land to live on or resell, much in the same way you can buy a web server and resell it to others. The big issue will be whether they decide if it’s a knock off or a direct copy, but the biggest issue will be simply getting a jury to understand what is going on. Many residents will be following this one closely.

A copy of the filing is available here.

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