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At least for now, this is my final post at Virtually Blind.  It’s been a blast, but personal and professional obligations have taken center stage, and at the moment, I just do not have time to keep posting at the rate VB’s readers have come to expect.  The site will remain online as a research resource, but there will be no new content for the foreseeable future.  I will continue writing on issues related to virtual law in mainstream and industry publications, and plan to stay very active in this field.

I cannot overstate my appreciation for Virtually Blind’s readers, commenters, and contributing writers.  Your regular visits over the last two years kept me posting, and your witty, insightful comments added immeasurably to the site.  I will genuinely miss interacting with all of you here, and will look forward to staying in touch with you in other forums.

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Benjamin Duranske, VB’s editor and author of Virtual Law, is guest hosting a special edition of Metanomics on Monday, December 8 at 12:00 PM Second Life time (Pacific).  The show will feature a number of other virtual world authors talking about their books and their current projects — just in time for the holidays!  Guests include Mark Bell (Second Life For Dummies), Eddy Shah (Second World), Julian Dibbell (My Tiny Life; Play Money), Tom Boellstroff, (Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human), and Wagner James Au (The Making of Second Life; Second Life: The Official Guide).  We’ll be giving away signed copies of some of the books (including Virtual Law) and it should be a lot of fun.  Hope to see many of VB’s readers there.

Metanomics is typically produced in Second Life, though has been broadcast from other virtual worlds.  You can learn about the show at, and can catch up on old episodes at

If you can’t log in to Second Life at noon Pacific on Monday, you can watch the video feed and participate in chat via the web.

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Virtually Blind periodically runs “quicklinks” — items that are not long enough for a full story, but are worth a click. Here’s the current batch.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation will be conducting a seminar on virtual world tax issues at Second Life’s Depo Business Park on Tuesday, the 2nd of December at 3:30pm GMT / 07:35am PST.  Here’s a SLURL.  It’s a bit early for U.S. readers, but should be well worth attending.

I just ran across a fascinating discussion of Second Life’s “patent peace” policy from a 2006 listserv post.  The post was written by Linden Lab’s Gene Yoon, and it sheds a lot of light on the thinking behind the rather non-standard patent clause in Second Life’s Terms of Service.

Interesting twist in the SLART trademark lawsuit (via Massively).  It turns out that the avatar ‘Victor Vezina,’ who Richard Minsky named as a defendant (along with Linden Lab) is the avatar of technology writer Victor Keegan, who writes for  Keegan says he “was a pawn caught in the crossfire between Linden [...] and Minsky.”

Last year VB covered a video by Second Life’s ‘Bernard Drax’ of a virtual Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.  The video of the installation is up for an “Every Human Has Rights” media award. Congratulations!

There’s a solid breakdown of the Blizzard v. MDY case (.pdf) from the North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology.  The interesting thing about this article is that it sets out a potential argument for appeal based on what the Journal sees as the trial court’s somewhat vague restatement of a key test.  Definitely worth a click if you’ve been following the case.

This one’s not directly related to virtual law, but I wanted to highlight Geri Kahn’s new California Immigration Lawyer Blog, because Geri is current VP of Finance of the SL Bar Association, and active in virtual worlds.

Also in SL Bar Association officer blog news, Stephen Wu, the SLBA’s President-Elect, recently posted on the possible impact of an Obama administration on virtual worlds.  Interesting analysis.

Just came across a list of the top-50 internet and digital law blogs that includes VB.  Lots of good sites on here, including a few I hadn’t heard of.

One more blog note: Sean Kane, one of my co-chairs of the Virtual Worlds and Multiuser Online Games committee of the ABA’s Section of Science & Technology Law, is periodically posting to a blog at his new site, Virtual Judgment.

Finally, in case stated-income home loans seemed insufficiently high-risk for your investment profile, some of the usual suspects in the always-entertaining Second Life financial markets are selling securities in Second Life in order “to raise the funds [...] potentially to sue Linden Lab” for incresing the price of some types of virtual land last month; proceeds from the lawsuit supposedly go to investors.

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I recently ran across a story about a dustup over alleged misuse of the “Miss Universe” trademark in Second Life (via Twisted and Tawdry).  Cutting through the drama (and there’s plenty, if your drama levels are low) the story appears to be that “The Trump Organization” — as in Donald — is enforcing its Miss Universe” trademark in Second Life, and Second Life’s provider, Linden Lab, is assisting with enforcement.

While mainstream organizations have taken steps to enforce trademarks in Second Life before, in this case, the recipient of the enforcement action apparently made the note received from Linden Lab public.  Here’s the purported text of that notice:

Subject: Re: Notification of Trademark Infringement Received by Linden Lab

We’re writing to let you know about changes made to your profile in Second Life.  Miss Universe L.P, LLLP — the owner of the Miss Universe trademark — has complained about use of the Miss Universe trademark in the Second Life environment.

Linden Lab respects the rights of both Second Life residents and trademark owners.  Accordingly, Linden Lab has removed uses of “Miss Universe” and “Miss SL Universe” from your Second Life profile.  Please do not continue to use “Miss Universe” or “Miss SL Universe” in the Second Life environment.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Best regards,

Linden Lab

Assuming this is all accurate, it sheds some light the procedures and steps a trademark holder might wish to request that Linden Lab take in similar situations.  Notably, the communication only refers to alteration to profile text, and not removal of in-world items.  Verbiage in profiles is the low-hanging fruit of trademark enforcement in virtual worlds, of course, so I wonder if The Miss Universe Organization targeted only the profile text, or if Linden Lab limited their enforcement to that area.  In any case, it’s interesting to see an example of what Linden Lab will currently do when contacted by mainstream brands (or their attorneys) claiming trademark infringement.

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