Second Life Dispute Spills into "First Life"

August 15, 2007

In July, a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., was filed alleging an individual broke a software program’s copy protection and sold unauthorized copies. What makes the case so unusual is the accused is a Second Life avatar named “Volkov Catteneo.”

The suit was filed by Kevin Alderman, a 46-year-old entrepreneur whose business, Eros LLC, designs and develops sexual enhancements for Second Life avatars. His $45 SexGen animates avatars in erotic positions, as well as adding accurate looking genitalia to the otherwise "featureless" avatars.

“We confronted him about it and his basic response was, ‘What are you going to do? Sue me?’” Alderman said. “I guess the mentality is that because you’re an avatar … that you are untouchable. The purpose of this suit is not only to protect our income and our product, but also to show, yes, you can be prosecuted and brought to justice.”

According to the Salon.com article:

"Linden Lab grants its users broad rights to create and sell content with few restrictions. Users can install copy protection and seek U.S. copyright and trademark protections, all of which Alderman did for the SexGen software."