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Discovery proceeds in the Bragg v. Linden Lab case. Bragg recently served two sets of document requests on Linden Lab, and has made them available. Bragg v. Linden Lab CaptionAs is my policy on live lawsuits, I’ll run the excerpts without significant commentary. I expect, however, that these excerpts will raise some interesting questions for readers.

The first set (.pdf). served on July 23, sought just five categories of documents. These included unedited chat logs that Linden Lab plans to use to support its counterclaims, all documents supporting the counterclaims Linden Lab might use at trial, and Linden Lab’s document retention policies. A response to this is set of requests is due today, and I will be interested to see if Bragg posts it, along with other discovery responses. (Although a note for non-litigators: parties’ responses to document requests aren’t typically very illuminating, as the documents themselves aren’t part of the formal responses.)

The second set (.pdf), served August 17, is much more expansive, seeking documents in response to 110 individual requests. Excerpts below.

1. All documents discussing, referencing or related to the use of “metaphors” or “analogies” with regard to land ownership in Second Life.

2. Documents sufficient to identify each person and/or entity who was told or that it was disclosed to that “selling land free and clear”, selling “title”, “own virtual land” and/or any other statements made by Defendants with regard to virtual land were metaphors or analogies and/or truly meant “license to computing resources.”

3. All documents disclosing or supporting the contention contained in Paragraph 48 of Defendant’s Answer that the references to selling “title” are metaphors or analogies to the concept of ownership of real property.

19. All documents Defendants provided to Catamount Ventures, L.P.

23. All documents Defendants provided to Globespan Capital Partners.

27. All documents Defendants provided to Benchmark Capital.

31. All documents Defendants provided to Omiyar Network.

40. All documents pertaining to any virtual land auction that closed / ended for a price less than $1000 prior to May 5, 2006.

43. All posts in the forums and blogs hosted by Defendants that discuss, reference, or relate to any auction procedure, process, mechanism, exploit, abuse, or sales.

46. All documents and/or communications between Plaintiff and InterNAP.

51. All documents discussing, referencing or related to any rule, statement, term, or description that consumers or avatars cannot bid on sims that are not posted on the Linden web page.

52. All documents and/or communications discussing, referencing or related to the term “Exploit” and/or “Exploiter.”

69. All documents discussing, referencing or related to the terms, conditions, restrictions, and procedures for any item sold at auction by Linden in Second Life.

71. All documents discussing or related to Plaintiff s virtual property, including but not limited to the property in contention which was resold by Defendant.

73. All documents and/or communications identifying the names of the persons and avatars who purchased each piece of “virtual land” listed in Plaintiff’s account and sold by Defendants after May 1, 2006.

75. All documents and communications between Defendants, and/or between Plaintiff, and/or between any of the following avatars and/or their associated persons and Defendants, and/or the email addresses listed below, and referencing, identifying, or made in connection with any auctions and/or “virtual land” transactions:

a. Thunder Lardner
b. Drea Sopor
c. Mezentius Speculas
d. Nimrod Raffle
f. Kazanture Aleixandre
g. Cinda Hoodoo
h. Khamon Fate
l. Hiro Pendragon
J. Phillip Linden
k. Jack Linden
1. Torley Linden
m. Robin Linden
n. Brent Linden
o. Sleesak Sleestak
p. Medina Speculas
q. Buck Barkley
r. Lucian Overlord

76. Documents sufficient to identify the real name, last known address, status of employment, duties and responsibilities while employed by Defendants:

a. Jack Linden
b. Robin Linden
c. Torley Linden
d. Ramzi Linden
e. Philip Linden (Rosedale)
f. Jeska Linden
g. Microdick Dinkens
h. Corey (Cory) Linden (Ondrejka)
1. Blue Linden
J. Anshe Chung
k. Liana Linden
l. Brent Linden

77. All documents and/or communications identifying the names of any and all other avatars used by each of the persons associated with each of the avatars named in Request for Production # 75 or #76.

78. All documents and/or communications discussing, referencing, or related to any auctions participated in by any of the avatars or associated persons identified in Request for Production # 75 and/or #76.

80. All documents discussing, referencing or relating to the information provided to Lawrence Lessig and/or any other Linden investors regarding virtual land.

93. All documents discussing, referencing or evidencing the drafting of or changes to the Terms of Service Agreement from October, 2003 until the present.

97. All documents and/or communications discussing, referencing, or related to Defendants offering “virtual land” for “rent” or “lease.”

101. All documents provided or shown to Ed Castronova with regard to virtual land or intellectual property rights in Second Life.

102. All documents provided or shown to Julian Dibbell with regard to virtual land or intellectual property rights in Second Life.

103. All documents provided or shown to Jeff Bezos with regard to virtual land or intellectual property rights in Second Life.

104. All documents provided or shown to Pierre Omidyar with regard to virtual land or intellectual property rights in Second Life.

105. All documents provided or shown to Lawrence Lessig with regard to virtual land or intellectual property rights in Second Life.

106. All documents provided or shown to Mitch Kapor with regard to virtual land or intellectual property rights in Second Life.

109. Documents sufficient to identify each purchaser of virtual land from Defendant Linden.

110. Documents sufficient to demonstrate the total number of hits that have been received on Defendant Linden’s blog page where Defendant Linden posted portions of its Answer and Counterclaim.

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7 Responses to “Bragg v. Linden Lab Update: Bragg Serves Two Sets of Document Requests on Linden Lab”

  1. on 23 Aug 2007 at 1:07 pmcsven

    He should check avatar names for spelling.

    Interesting, tho. I’m especially curious about the documents that went to investors. Those might prove enlightening.

  2. on 24 Aug 2007 at 8:22 amWrath

    Wow, does Bragg think he will need all that information to help his case, or does he just want to make public all of Linden Lab’s business?

    “real name, last known address” for all those Lindens?

    As well as “Documents sufficient to identify each purchaser of virtual land from Defendant Linden”? Seems like that would be a long list, is he planning on filing a class action suit? Why would he need to know the identity of people purchasing virtual land years later?

  3. on 24 Aug 2007 at 11:59 amBenjamin Duranske

    Sticking with my policy on not commenting on tactics in active suits is hard in answering your question, Wrath, but I can at least tell you what I have done in the past with respect to document requests.

    I generally do not file document requests that are as broad as #110. I’ve found they just don’t accomplish much, and unnecessarily annoy the lawyers on the other side. That said, there’s a reasonable argument for doing so — basically, you take the most extreme position you can plausibly take, and so does the other side, and it works itself out because you’re both doing what is called “positional bargaining.”

    I, personally, dislike litigating that way and I try to find middle ground on issues like this fairly early on. I have typically had good working relationships with opposing counsel, though, and that may not be true here. Since I don’t know the personalities involved, I’m not sure if working things like this out is possible or not (and the fact that they couldn’t agree on a Rule 26(f) report earlier leads me to believe it might not be).

    Anyway, what usually happens with requests like #110 is this: the other side sends over the documents that it thinks the court would hold are relevant to the current suit. Then, if the guy who made the requests feels he is really entitled to more, he has to move to compel (basically, ask the court to make them produce the rest of the documents).

    As for the motivation for request #110, there’s no class action potential here as Bragg is uniquely situated, and moreover, you don’t need the names of everyone to do that anyway.  My guess is that it’s just a longshot attempt to get Linden Lab to send over two trucks of documents that Bragg could then point to as evidence that they “sold” (e.g. transferred ownership) of a lot of virtual land — a key issues since Linden Lab is claiming it just leased server space when it “sold” land.  The other way to look at it is somewhat critical: requiring Linden Lab to actually collect all of that data would probably be expensive and time consuming.  Given that there were over one hundred document requests (and I’m reminded that I’ve been involved in multi-million dollar patent suits with fewer) some might think that was the intent.  There’s no real way to know Bragg’s motivation, of course, but it’s certainly not for class action purposes, and the only two possibilities I can come up with off the top of my head are the two I named above.

  4. on 25 Aug 2007 at 3:43 pmOrdinal Malaprop

    Well, I didn’t comment on this earlier, but: is there any requirement on the defendant to actually produce this stuff? I assume that from what you say regarding the other side sending over only what they think is relevant that this is really just a request with no intrinsic force.

    The above, if taken seriously, would be an absolutely insane amount of material. I’m also thinking about confidentiality issues here. If I were named above, and LL provided details of my correspondence with them to Bragg which were not directly mandated by the courts and which I considered broke agreements, would I then have a case? Obviously it isn’t an issue for me, given my not-buying-any-sims status, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody like Anshecorp had a severe problem with such practices.

  5. on 25 Aug 2007 at 5:50 pmBenjamin Duranske

    @4 – Ordinal, no, there’s absolutely no requirement at this point that Linden Lab provide all these documents. What happens next is that Linden Lab will respond to each of these requests within 30 days by either stating they will produce documents or by objecting (and in some cases, objecting to part of the request and agreeing to produce documents in response to another part). Then, if Bragg feels either a) that the objections are inappropriate, or b) that the documents that show up aren’t everything he is really owed, the lawyers will talk about it and will either reach some compromise or, that failing, fight about it in front of the judge in the context of a “motion to compel” filed by Bragg.  If — and only if — Bragg prevails in a motion to compel and the court orders production, only then is Linden Lab actually obligated to produce these documents.

    That all said, there is definitely Linden Lab’s attorneys are under an obligation not to object frivolously and to comply with facially reasonable requests. But I’d be extremely surprised if Linden Lab complied with a few of these (particularly #110) without putting up a significant fight.

  6. on 05 Sep 2007 at 6:47 amKazanture Aleixandre

    I am Kazanture Aleixandre, an old Second Life resident. My account is banned by Second Life and i lost over L$400000 , all my inventory which has more than L$2000000 value, and a private estate with my account.

    But at Bragg vs Linden Lab issue; I remember this issue; Linden Lab was right. Bragg had used illegal ways to hack auction system. He was aware of what he was doing was illegal.

  7. on 12 Sep 2008 at 9:04 amThunder Lardner

    well if you think for a minute that Linden Lab’s Troubles are over think again. there are several of us that are taking them back to court and going to give them what they got comming to them and yes i am the real Thunder Lardner

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