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Bragg v. Linden Lab CaptionLinden Lab announced today that it reached a confidential settlement with Marc Bragg which allows Bragg to return to Second Life as avatar ‘Marc Woebegone.’ Bragg had brought suit against Linden Lab in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after Linden Lab revoked his Second Life account claiming that Bragg purchased virtual land at far less than its typical value by accessing parts of the Second Life website that were not generally open to the public. From Linden Lab’s press release:

The parties agree that there were unfortunate disagreements and miscommunications regarding the conduct and behavior by both sides and are pleased to report that Mr. Bragg’s “Marc Woebegone” account, privileges and responsibilities to the Second Life community have been restored.

Although the settlement is not a surprise, many observers, including VB’s editor, hoped that the case would progress further and that the court would issue a substantive ruling regarding the nature of virtual property. Trial was scheduled for mid-December.

Virtually Blind’s coverage of the later stages of the Bragg case can be found here. Second Life commentator ‘Tateru Nino’ covered the early phases of the case at Second Life Insider. Thanks to ‘Nino’ for the heads up on the settlement.

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10 Responses to “Bragg v. Linden Lab – Confidential Settlement Reached; ‘Marc Woebegone’ Back in Second Life”

  1. on 04 Oct 2007 at 8:07 pmLem Skall

    Anyone has any idea who is Marty Linden, the one who posted the announcement on LL’s blog? I find the language in the blog amusing. What are Marc Woebegone’s “reponsibilities” that are restored? And why are the privileges and the responsibilities to the “Second Life community”? What’s that got to do with us? When did WE get pulled into this mess? What is “the benefit of the Second Life community” and what if the Second Life community wants to know anyway?

    On second thought, what/who is this community anyway?

    OK, so I’m a cynic.

    Does this settlement pretty much match Bragg’s claims in his lawsuit? Or was he asking for any extra damages? I thought he was only claiming the reinstatement of his account and everything he owned besides the land he got through the exploit.

  2. on 05 Oct 2007 at 8:30 amBenjamin Duranske

    “Marty Linden” (Marty Roberts) is Linden Lab’s new General Counsel. He was formerly deputy GC at eBay and, interestingly, has much more experience with IPOs and acquisitions than litigation. Bio here.

    As for the agreement, I would be very surprised if this was just a straight walk-away, given the attorney fees that Bragg had likely accumulated so far and the early decisions that went against Linden Lab.

    Bragg was definitely seeking all sorts of other damages. Lawyers never just ask for the middle ground; for better or worse, a lawsuit is essentially the opening move in a process of positional bargaining.

  3. on 05 Oct 2007 at 9:29 amLem Skall

    He he, welcome to SL, Marty! Thanks for including us, the “community”.

  4. on 05 Oct 2007 at 9:34 amBragg v. Linden Settled « Broken Toys

    [...] Virtually Blind doesn’t have much to say, now but I’d expect more later [...]

  5. on 05 Oct 2007 at 5:57 pmc3

    IPOS and Acquisitions eh?
    well dont say i hadnt warned ya all…:)

    IP in SL is going to be very simple./ If “you” or “they- LL” dont own it…. its gone. Private and Public companies basic rule of life.

    OR it USED to be….. but im not sure anymore ……

    Since the “Mother of 2″ lost to the RIAA a sum of 900k.. I wonder if she should turn around and go after KAZZAA/NAPSTER/GROKKSTER and the the VC-silly alley(industry) and advertisers who funded and provided it all. They still exist and have deep pockets. Lets face it, they create and promoted the culture and tools required for her to even end up with a few dozen songs on her drive. This is not a call to “litigate against progress” but history shows that many times “big businesses are held responsible for the conditions it creates.”

    seems we have a system that needs fixing…otherwise we build more jails for housewives.

    Just about all of the P2P systems/software ive ever seen makes it very hard ( for the masses) to know whats “legally” online for distribution and what is not. Ignoring the silly “TOS” they all through up, -most as silly as LLs- the actual software app once placed on your system, and many were placed as BUNDLED apps unknown to many “non tech” users, would be active..working as server up and down. Seems a clearer interface and product guidelines and regulations IF required would have made both the Mothers life and that of the RIAA a little bit easier.-) Google NADER and the CAR companies if you need any ancient history lessons…:)

    As most know via my posts and long history in creating digital IP, Im not for the illegal downloading of content that harms the creators livelyhood. But lets be fair, its not a mother of 2 in mid america who should really be on the hook for 900k for a few dozen songs, its the “something for nothing” businesses and tech culture looking to quickly cash in and out of the changing times and changing media access rules we are living through.

    Do we really believe its the RIAA or college Kids(or their older sisters with 2 kids) that are the real benefactors of the “illegal download wars”… follow the money…

    just a thought;)

  6. on 06 Oct 2007 at 12:59 pmNobody Fugazi

    Bah. I predicted the settlement months ago. And I’m not shocked that this wasn’t linked. :-)

  7. on 06 Oct 2007 at 8:00 pmBenjamin Duranske

    I’m not tracking, Nobody. Are you saying you’re not shocked that your piece wasn’t linked here? Feel free to post a link if you want to. There’s been a lot of speculation about this one and I didn’t link to any of it here. No slight intended, if any was perceived.

  8. on 08 Oct 2007 at 11:00 amTony

    Not sure if I understand it, and I wish they wouldn’t keep so tight lipped about it (though I can think of several reasons why – I just don’t want them to).

    I’m sure a number of people are going to think of it as a win/lose situtation so does this mean that Bragg “won”. Or is there enough possibility that they just finally came to terms that both could agree to settle on (like Bragg gets his account and a portion of the land or lawyer fees or something enough to stop pursuing, but not everything and will be watched)?

  9. on 08 Oct 2007 at 2:18 pmBenjamin Duranske

    For the record, here’s Nobody “Nostradamus” Fugazi’s link:

    He says, “Settlement by the end of 2007.” Most suits do settle, of course, but still, yeah… that’s a good call and worth noting.

    @8, Tony – I have to respect the parties’ desire to keep it under wraps, but I, too, want details. And I would love to run a story about this to the extent that any of the attorneys or litigants do feel they can discuss some aspect of it.

    Personally — and I have to stress this is just speculation — my suspicion is that Bragg came out of it pretty well. I’d guess he got his fees and expenses covered, his account back, and a check for enough to buy and maintain a handful of islands (at face value) too.

    This is just guesswork of course, but it’s educated guesswork. Big companies with expensive law firms tend to be willing to cough up some cash at this stage in things like this to avoid trials (and pre-trial activity) that can easily tip several hundred thousand dollars, and avoid high-profile video depositions too.

    Trial was slated for mid December (though I had no expectation it would go off then) and Rosedale was scheduled to be deposed in the near future. Also, summary judgment motions were going to be due fairly soon, and that was going to cost Linden Lab well north of ten thousand dollars — probably closer to twenty thousand — per round of briefing. I suspect that this all motivated them to pony up a bit of cash to make it go away.

    To be blunt, I’m surprised it took this long though I — like just about every other lawyer watching this unfold — would have loved to see it go to trial, however it worked out.

  10. [...] game blogs.  Here’s the scoop from Linden Lab, Game Politics, Lum, Nic Suzor, Reuters, Raph, Ben Duranske… Syndicated [...]

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