A virtual world, but a real lawsuit. Taser International has sued Linden Labs, creator of the virtual world Second Life, for $75,000. The reason: in-world tasers.
According to Bloomberg
, Taser, which manufactures the well-known stun games, filed a 102-page complaint asserting that Linden Labs is damaging the company’s reputation and hurting its sales by allowing virtual weapons to be sold online under the Taser brand name.
got a look at the complaint, and put together a pretty detailed analysis of the lawsuit.
How is the use of the Taser trademark in the game going to hurt Taser's reputation? Well, the company is afraid that they will be "damaged" by the virtual sex and drug use that occurs in Second Life. Virtual, mind you.
As Massively says, this revolves around the tasers that content creators are selling:
Some of these content creators also manufacture/sell material that Taser describes as pornographic, or offensive, and they feel that their brand is being linked with these prurient materials, and that they're losing business and sales to Linden Lab.
Linden Labs' acquisition of Xstreet SL
, a Web-based virtual good store, surely complicates matters, as Linden could be then said to be directly involved in the sale of these sorts of items.
Massively adds that:
under Arizona Revised Statutes Taser can be granted US$500 per infringing copy (or manufacturer's retail price, whichever is greater). Considering that the most expensive replica being sold in Second Life is of the order of US$2, it seems as if the US$500 figure will be the one used.
Our thoughts are that Taser sees that Linden Labs has deeper pockets than the content creators themselves, and thus decided to aim their lawsuit in that direction. One would also have assumed that perhaps a DMCA takedown would have been enough, but the lawyers would not get any money out of it in that case.
And our guess: most likely we will see this settled out of court.