Virtually Blind in Second Life
Virtually Blind in Second Life: One thing’s for sure. Virtual worlds are rapidly requiring services normally associated with the real-world. The first and most obvious service that comes to mind is real estate. No need to go into more detail here. But, an interesting new category emerging is Legal Services. And, in particular, trademark and copyright management.
This is been stimulated by the large number of shops selling virtual goods carrying logos and replicating designs of branded products such as watches, clothing and cars. Did you know there’s 16 shops in SL selling Ferrari’s? I wonder if Ferrari know this? They are currently NOT officially represented in SL.
On this theme, a really valuable blog to check out is Virtually Blind in Second Life. This site is run by Benjamin Duranske, a US-based IP lawyer and self-confessed code monkey. Benjamin also founded the SL Bar Association. The SLBA is an informal professional organization that promotes the development of law in Second Life and assists attorney and scholar members navigate the Second Life legal landscape. Here’s their website.
The issues surrounding unofficial brand representation is an interesting one and in essence boils down to one key area – whether or not the shop selling the virtual products does so for commercial gain. If this is the case, then clearly there’s issues here relating to infringement and potential loss of revenue (not to mention brand management) for the company. However, there’s several instances of brands being unoffically created in SL by residents without commercial gain. This is more to do with the strategy of leverging brand advocacy. This topic is explored further in a K Zero case study about Luxury Brands in SL. Request the case study here.