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Eros v. Leatherwood CaptionEros, LLC has filed an amended complaint (.pdf) naming Robert Leatherwood, of North Richland Hills, Texas, as the John Doe defendant previously known only by a Second Life avatar’s name, ‘Volkov Catteneo.’ A summons (.pdf) was also issued. Eros is owned by Kevin Alderman (‘Stroker Serpentine’ in Second Life).

Alderman confirmed the identification of newly-named defendant Leatherwood as the person he and Eros’ attorney Frank Taney believe controls the ‘Catteneo’ account. Alderman said that Leatherwood denies that he is ‘Catteneo.’

Richard Slatkin of Fort Worth, Texas, a private investigator hired by Eros, served Leatherwood with the summons and complaint Thursday morning, according to Alderman. Slatkin reported that Leatherwood is nineteen and lives with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and uncle.

Leatherwood admits that he uses Second Life, and has offered several different explanations of his relationship with the ‘Catteneo’ account in an attempt to address two IP traces that ended at different locations where he is known to log on to Second Life, including his home. In an article in the Tampa Tribune, Leatherwood first said that ‘Catteneo’ was a “hacker” who gave him access to the account, and that he would not reveal the hacker’s real name in case ‘Catteneo’ sought revenge. Later, he stated that he would give up the name if he knew it, but that he does not know it because ‘Catteneo’ and he only interacted in Second Life. Two days earlier, according to the article, Leatherwood told Eros’ attorney that he did not know ‘Catteneo’ at all.

Alderman said, “I am saddened that Leatherwood doesn’t understand the severity of his actions and the evidence we have against him. Witness statements, Linden Lab account information, and numerous corroborating sources assure us we have our guy. If he continues to deny his guilt we will seek the full damages afforded to us by law, which are considerable. Regardless of his current financial situation, a prevailing judgment will follow him until satisfied. We offered an extremely amicable and affordable settlement, that would have required a fractional monetary compensation.”

Reuters reported that the Leatherwood family said they needed to speak to an attorney, and that Eros planned to go forward with discovery (which would likely include an early deposition of the defendant) in 20 days, if no settlement had been reached by that point.

‘Catteneo’ (allegedly Leatherwood) previously admitted to a Reuters reporter that he had copied and sold at least 50 of the allegedly infringing items but claimed that his identity was not discoverable because he had provided false information to Linden Lab. Based on earlier filings, it appears that Eros discovered his identity via his IP address, which was provided by Linden Lab and PayPal, and traced to his account via his internet service provider.

‘Catteneo’ did not immediately respond to an in-world interview request, and VB was unable to reach Leatherwood by telephone.

For background information on this lawsuit (an intellectual property claim originally naming a fictitious defendant because the alleged infringer was only known by the name of his Second Life avatar) see VB’s previous coverage.

[Updated 10/25 and 10/26 to add comments from Kevin
Alderman and information from external sources.]


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10 Responses to “Defendant Named in Eros Intellectual Property Suit”

  1. on 25 Oct 2007 at 11:16 amcsven

    Besides the IP issues, I’m curious to know how Mr. Leatherwood is going to answer questions from friends/family regarding his choice of activities (“You was doin’ wha? piratin’ “sex beds”? What da hell are you? Some kinda registered pervert?”).

  2. on 25 Oct 2007 at 11:35 amBenjamin Duranske

    According to an article that was just posted on a Tampa newspaper’s website, the guy is 19, and lives with his grandmother and great-grandmother. Apparently he turned down a settlement offer involving a small amount of cash and a promise to stop infringing. He claims that he isn’t Cattaneo, though the IP addresses Eros got via subpoenas re: the Cattaneo account led to two computers Leatherwood used to log in to Second Life, one at his home.

  3. on 25 Oct 2007 at 1:25 pmc3

    the true “face” of the “avatar age”
    good for Kevin and his “CSI Detectives” :) well done!

    not as pretty a find as the “hot babe assassin” on CSI-:) lat night… But that fantasy also struck reality for the cheepbs:) and the meta hype machine this morning.

    Build was nice, its design moderately well done. Very VRML game 1997- ;) But the CSI NY audience may not be the right target for this 3dmedia yet:) Lessons learned.:) on to the next show-)

    3d cybercrime—-a win for the rights of creators..

    c3 mcDuff….grrr

  4. on 25 Oct 2007 at 1:28 pmBenjamin Duranske

    Here’s more on this from Reuters also.

  5. on 25 Oct 2007 at 1:42 pmcsven

    *was hoping he’d be a well-respected member of the community… pfooey*

  6. on 25 Oct 2007 at 1:56 pmcsven

    More here:

    Didn’t know he admitted having access to the account.

  7. on 25 Oct 2007 at 2:09 pmcsven

    (Sorry. Didn’t notice the link in the earlier comment.)

  8. on 25 Oct 2007 at 2:47 pmCyn Vandeverre

    Just for drama, it would have been even better if it turned out that he was under-18.

    I look forward to more news on this case.

  9. [...] who recently succeeded in tracking down the real life identity of another SL resident in his lawsuit against Robert Leatherwood for selling illegal copies of Serpentine’s sexgen bed, said regarding the suit just [...]

  10. on 28 Oct 2007 at 2:03 pmAshcroft Burnham

    I’d be very interested in how much it cost Eros to track this character down – this particular litigation is probably worth a great deal, but many, many other disputes in virtual worlds are almost certainly not worth anything like enough to go to that expense – hence the need for an in-world judicial system with in-world enforcement mechanisms.

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