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'Like a Celebrity' Store Image Courtesy of 'Therese Carfagno'The Second Life News Network is running a short piece on another scam in Second Life. This time it’s someone allegedly selling empty boxes labeled as celebrity skins via an in-world store called “Like a Celebrity.”

The alleged scammer used the avatar ‘Brenda Balczo’ (‘Balczo’ did not respond to a request for an interview). The store has been closed, and the vendors taken down. ‘Therese Carfagno,’ who wrote the SLNN piece, took the accompanying picture earlier, and graciously gave permission for its use.

From the Second Life News Network article:

‘Ey Ren’ is among those who feel cheated. ”I thought I’d bought a Legolas shape. But alas, the box was empty,” ‘Ren’ said. (Legolas is an elf character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s series, Lord of the Rings.)

Besides the skin representing the iconic stair-surfing elf, the store also carried skins (well, empty boxes purporting to contain skins) based on Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Allen Iverson, and other real life celebrities.

The irony here is that though IP infringement is far more widespread than fraud in Second Life, this particular alleged scammer actually avoided infringing MGM’s copyright, and Jolie’s, Pitt’s and Iverson’s rights of publicity, at the same time that she was defrauding her customers.

I guess it’s hard to be a tiny criminal mastermind without managing to do at least something right.

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2 Responses to “Second Life Empty-Box-Scam Silver Lining: At Least There’s No Intellectual Property Infringement”

  1. on 13 Jul 2007 at 12:53 pmJack Payne

    Doesn’t the weight consideration even enter this equation, as a significant factor? I never could understand this empty box stuff for this reason alone. It’s so easy to simply refuse delivery.

    –Jack Payne

  2. on 13 Jul 2007 at 1:23 pmBenjamin Duranske

    Jack, I’m not deleting this comment because for spam trying to drive folks to your site, this is about the most time-intensive effort I’ve seen, and I just have to honor it.

    You seem to have missed the boat on the comment though. Actually, you seem to have missed the ocean. This blog is about virtual law, which means it’s about virtual goods, which means no shipping, no weight, and no boxes.

    Good luck with the marketing effort. Personally, I’d maybe spend the time writing another book instead of leaving semi-random comments on blogs in order to provide a link to your unrelated web site, but hey, it’s your quarter so play the way you want to.

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