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Playboy Island in Second LifeNew World Notes is running an item expanding on CNN iReports coverage of an ongoing investigation by Playboy into trademark infringement in Second Life. The original report isn’t sourced, outside from identifying a couple of Playboy representatives visiting a potentially infringing display in the virtual world, but New World Notes tracked down Playboy Island manager MSGiro Grosso, who noted that the investigation is in the early stages, and that he’s trying to work with infringers who might be up for a partnership.

My take? I love the way Playboy is approaching the problem. They originally built a very pretty island that was sparsely visited. They then started doing in-world partnerships with content creators, and have apparently turned things around. More praise? It now looks like they’re taking a smart, long-term view of their presence in virtual worlds, and are joining Aeron chair maker Herman Miller in trying to find creative ways to police their trademarks without instantly defaulting to lawsuits, or even DMCA notices.

Where they hit resistance, they’ll have to consider a suit eventually, but it’s good to see companies handling these issues with some sensitivity to the fact that they arrived well after their brand was already being represented by fans. Turning to licensing and revenue sharing first is the right approach.

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4 Responses to “Playboy Investigates Possible Trademark Infringement in Second Life”

  1. on 13 May 2008 at 3:21 pmKenan Farrell

    I’ve met a few Playboy trademark attorneys over the years at various conventions/meetings and found them all to be rather forward-thinking and savvy, so this approach doesn’t surprise me. Kudos to them.

  2. on 19 May 2008 at 6:30 amMarc Woebegone

    Did someone copy someone else’s boobs?


  3. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:07 amMincedMedia Clip

    If you mean “The original report isn’t sourced,” as in, I don’t know who saw this or reported on it, I’m the source in both cases. I was logged on to Second Life and was at the store looking at the display when the Playboy Island managers teleported in. They received an IM about the towels from off-duty virtual bunny Haileigh Flanagan, which caused them to come to the store. See that photo in my Website link above.

  4. on 04 Jun 2008 at 11:24 amBenjamin Duranske

    Thanks, Minced. No slight intended. I just meant that I couldn’t tell from the piece what you had overheard, what you were surmising from the circumstances, what you were observing first hand, and what you’d gotten in interviews. Hamlet’s piece, where he interviews Grosso, has more credibility because there are quotes that are identified with a source. No big deal. I think that a more casual style is pretty standard for CNN iReports, I just try to keep it really clear where information is coming from here. I’m glad you spotted this issue and wrote on it originally (and got the cool art). It is really interesting that Playboy is keeping tabs on this.

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