May 13th, 2008 by Benjamin Duranske
New 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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