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Fresh off settlement of Bragg v. Linden Lab, Marc Bragg, as recently-reinstated Second Life avatar ‘Marc Woebegone,’ has posted to his blog seeking evidence of land bot abuse in Second Life for a potential class action lawsuit. Landbots are automated programs that operate within Second Life to purchase land which has been accidentally mispriced at less than its fair market value.

Land for Sale in Second LifeI’ll say that again, and this time, read it slowly and just let the sublime irony wash over you: Marc Bragg is collecting evidence of Second Life users taking advantage of pricing errors to buy virtual land at less than market value so he can sue them. This is so rich it makes my teeth hurt.

Though a suit by landowners against landbot users is not completely unreasonable, the differences in proof necessary for each individual defrauded by a landbot user seem to make class certification problematic. If the suit ends up in Federal Court — and even if it is not filed there, removal is likely — then Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 will govern:

One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all only if (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

In addition, a class will only be maintained when:

…[t]he court finds that the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members.

That last one is a potential sticking point here because each potential claim seems to require different evidence, and each will be lodged against one of any number of different defendants — unlike typical class actions involving, for example, a group of diners who all get sick from eating the same thing at the same restaurant, or a group of consumers who were all defrauded the same way by the same company’s false advertising.

Bragg presumably intends to target one or more landbot users and conceivably (given that he says he seeks injunctive relief) Second Life creator Linden Lab. At this point, no defendants are named.

Other coverage comes from Your2ndPlace, SLReports, and VintFalken. Also, a hat tip to Cat Galileo, who sent me the first link on this.

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6 Responses to “Commentary: Bragg Agitates for Class Action Lawsuit Against Second Life Landbot Users”

  1. on 16 Oct 2007 at 7:00 amCyn Vandeverre

    It is rich, to be sure. On the other hand, he has name recognition now, for good or ill, and may figure it’s time to do something with that recognition.

    Or maybe he’s just grandstanding. Time will tell.

  2. on 16 Oct 2007 at 8:46 amBenjamin Duranske

    I suspect a bit of all of that, but if something good comes of it, all the better. No denying the irony here though. ;)

  3. on 16 Oct 2007 at 9:36 amcsven

    I wonder if he’s trying to make up with Prokofy. If I’m not mistaken, she hates landbots with a passion. Of course, she seems to hate most things… passionately.

  4. on 16 Oct 2007 at 3:57 pmTop Tank

    I am very much against landbots, and was one of the first residents to sign Jez Bailey’s petition ( calling LL to improve the land purchase process.

    That said, I also think that defining landbots as “automated programs that operate [...] to purchase land which has been accidentally mispriced at less than its fair market value”, is a little misleading. Landbots are programs that automatically buy any land that is offered at a fair or better price. This includes land that’s accidentally offered for 1L, of course, but it is not limited to exploiting these mishaps. I’m pretty sure that even if LL finally implement some measures against accidental land transfers, landbots would still exist.

  5. [...] to more on this story:Virtually Blind, Your 2nd Place, SL Reports, Vint Falken] [...]

  6. on 11 Nov 2007 at 5:50 pmwhosoeverthouart

    I think that if something is put up for sale, then any persons who are allowed or permitted to buy, may then buy what was put up for sale, as long as the items being sold are not deemed illegal.
    No laws are broken by people who buy low.
    It’s the same as buying high.
    If I buy high or low, no laws are broken.
    Maybe some people like to ‘force’ their own brands of ‘moralities’ onto others???
    They want to ‘force’ their wills??
    I would like to see inquests, to try and figure out why people want to ‘force their wills’????????

    What are you after, when you force your wills?????

    I think that whatever it is that is being accused; the accusers are also guilty of those themselves. If not, then they are guilty of other ‘sins’ in other areas, and I think that ‘the wages of sins is death’.
    No difference. Go crucify yourself Bragg.(but LL is guilty also of whatever they blamed on Bragg)

    Jesus is Lord. God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day.

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