Second Life Players Sue over Illegal Seizure of Virtual Property

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Pennsylvania judge, Eduardo C. Robreno, will have to decide whether illegal seizures of virtual property in an online role-playing game can be addressed in a real courtroom. Four players of Second Life have sued the game’s creator, Linden Lab, for taking their “property” and are seeking $5 million in damages. First created in 2003, Second Life claims that about 1,000,000 “residents” log in monthly and that there are 12,000 “profitable in-world business owners.”

The plaintiffs state that although Second Life is referred to as a “game,” it is also a for-profit business operated by Linden, and that Linden “represents that its participants retain/obtain ownership rights to the land they purchase from Linden.” In this regard, Linden differentiated Second Life from other virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft. By 2004, Linden publically claimed that it was generating more revenue from taxing land in Second Life than it was from selling subscriptions. However, following a separate lawsuit in 2007 regarding property rights in Second Life, Linden gradually moved to the position that Second Life residents did not really own the virtual land they had paid for, and that the virtual land actually belonged to Linden.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Carl Evans et al. v. Linden Research (U.S. District Court, Eastern Pennsylvania) (pdf)


Wizard Gynoid 5 years ago
Are the two documents dated in April 2010 the same case?

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