Second Life Content Creators’ Lawsuit Against Thomas Simon (aka Avatar ‘Rase Kenzo’) Settles; Signed Consent Judgment Filed [Updated]
December 3rd, 2007 by Benjamin Duranske
A judgment by consent (.pdf) was filed today in the copyright and trademark lawsuit six Second Life content creators brought against Thomas Simon (avatar ‘Rase Kenzo’) last month. In the judgment — which still must be “entered” by the court to take effect — Simon agrees to a number of terms and conditions, including the following.
- Simon will pay $525 in damages for profits made through unauthorized use of the plaintiffs’ intellectual property via “unauthorized copying and distribution of plaintiffs’ merchandise.”
- Simon will represent, under penalty of perjury, that no one assisted him in his copying efforts and that he profited only $525 by his actions.
- Simon will make his PayPal and Second Life transactional records available to the plaintiffs’ attorney.
- Simon will inform plaintiffs of any future “alt” accounts in Second Life.
The parties — the six content creators and Simon — all also agree that they will “not make any further comment on the terms of this Order [...] or the negotiation of the terms of this Order, or the events giving rise to this Action.”
While the judgment must still be formally entered by the court, settlement agreements like this are typically honored, so the matter is essentially concluded. The six content creators “win” the lawsuit with this kind of judgment; that would not be true if they had simply dismissed the claim.
Although the claims largely centered on intellectual property, if the judge — the Honorable Sandra Townes, in the Eastern District of New York — enters the consent judgment as written, including its reference to copying of “merchandise,” the judgment will stand as the first formal, if tentative, recognition of virtual property by a U.S. court. Though the judgment will not have as significant a precedential value as a contested decision on the merits would have had, it will be cited for the foreseeable future.
Reuters reported last week that Simon had rejected a larger settlement demand, and that at the time, he planned to fight the charges.
This post will be updated if and when the judgment is entered. Depending on the court’s procedures, that often occurs within days of filing.
[January 3, 2008 update: the consent judgment was signed by the court and entered without modification.]
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