There was a good in-world presentation yesterday on protecting brands in Second Life. The panel was hosted by ‘Celebrity Millionsofus’ (Mark Allen) of Millions of Us. Panelists included ‘Haver Cole’ (Rebecca Small) of Metaversatility, ‘VirtualWorldsNews Writer’ (Joey Seiler) of Virtual Worlds News, and ‘Nic Whizenhunt’ (Nic Mitham) of K-Zero.
The audio is available for download or online listening.
Topics included real world companies dealing with in-world infringers, creation of new products vs. recreation of real world products, the difference between marketing real world brands in Second Life (where infringement is rampant) and places like there.com, vSide, and others (where content is much more strictly controlled), and incidents that tarnish brands.
One small point from a legal perspective: K-Zero’s Nic Mitham makes the argument (with which I generally agree) that the first step a company entering a virtual world should consider is working with existing content creators, even if the in-world creators are infringing the company’s intellectual property. I think that’s smart, but companies also need to be aware that litigation may be necessary, especially once they open discussions. A company needs to bring both a carrot and a stick to the negotiating table, not because litigation is likely (it usually isn’t) but because long-term acquiescence to infringement can be used as evidence of abandonment.
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