Intellectual Property

Real Suit Over Animated Sex Character

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We’ve written about the virtual online world of Second Life—how lawyers take on second identities there, find business and create legal guidelines to rule their make-believe towns.

Now the Associated Press reports on a real lawsuit brought by the creator of a virtual Second Life sex machine that seeks the identity of the online avatar who illegally copied his software code.

Kevin Alderman created the SexGen Platinum, which permits Second Life characters, known as avatars, to pay $45 to have make-believe sex. His suit filed in federal court in Tampa claims an avatar called “Volkov Catteneo” copied the code and sold it.

Alderman’s lawyer, Francis X. Taney Jr. of Philadelphia, says the suit is about traditional legal principles, rather than sex.

“It’s a piece of software and software is copyrightable,” Taney said. “At the end of the day I equate it to basic intellectual property principles.”

Updated with a new headline on March 6, 2008, to avoid confusion over the registered trademark “Virtual Sex Machine.”

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