Subscribe to

I recently ran across a story about a dustup over alleged misuse of the “Miss Universe” trademark in Second Life (via Twisted and Tawdry).  Cutting through the drama (and there’s plenty, if your drama levels are low) the story appears to be that “The Trump Organization” — as in Donald — is enforcing its Miss Universe” trademark in Second Life, and Second Life’s provider, Linden Lab, is assisting with enforcement.

While mainstream organizations have taken steps to enforce trademarks in Second Life before, in this case, the recipient of the enforcement action apparently made the note received from Linden Lab public.  Here’s the purported text of that notice:

Subject: Re: Notification of Trademark Infringement Received by Linden Lab

We’re writing to let you know about changes made to your profile in Second Life.  Miss Universe L.P, LLLP — the owner of the Miss Universe trademark — has complained about use of the Miss Universe trademark in the Second Life environment.

Linden Lab respects the rights of both Second Life residents and trademark owners.  Accordingly, Linden Lab has removed uses of “Miss Universe” and “Miss SL Universe” from your Second Life profile.  Please do not continue to use “Miss Universe” or “Miss SL Universe” in the Second Life environment.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Best regards,

Linden Lab

Assuming this is all accurate, it sheds some light the procedures and steps a trademark holder might wish to request that Linden Lab take in similar situations.  Notably, the communication only refers to alteration to profile text, and not removal of in-world items.  Verbiage in profiles is the low-hanging fruit of trademark enforcement in virtual worlds, of course, so I wonder if The Miss Universe Organization targeted only the profile text, or if Linden Lab limited their enforcement to that area.  In any case, it’s interesting to see an example of what Linden Lab will currently do when contacted by mainstream brands (or their attorneys) claiming trademark infringement.

Email This Post Email This Post
Print This Post (Printer Friendly Formatting) Print This Post (Printer Friendly Formatting)

Related Posts on Virtually Blind

7 Responses to “Second Life Miss Universe Pageant Trumped by Real Life Trademark Holder, Linden Lab Assists”

  1. on 24 Nov 2008 at 1:36 pmBrandon Brown

    Perhaps it’s time to codify a DMCA-like formal takedown procedure for trademarks, a la Tiffany & Co. v. EBay.

    This letter seems incredibly casual, and in stark contrast to a letter that an OSP sends to an alleged copyright infringer, which usually at least mentions the idea of a fair use defense and the right to send a counter-takedown notice.

    What if Miss. SL Universe was really just a parody of the real thing, commenting on and poking fun at the pageant system? Hardly seems right that rather than having a right to assert some sort of trademark fair use defense and get the material put back up, the alleged TM infringer has his profile edited and is just politely asked not to continue use.

    Ben, I suspect you intend to keep your source confidential, but do you know if this was just a “contestant” in the “pageant,” or has the entire SL “franchise” has been shut down? I recall this contest being rather large in SL.

  2. on 24 Nov 2008 at 2:27 pmtrademark

    It’s kind of crazy how much real life and the virtual worlds are coming together. Pretty soon, there won’t be any distinction!

  3. on 24 Nov 2008 at 3:38 pmDoubledown Tandino

    I find this intriguing. Simply very interesting.
    Minsky’s SLART vs LL,
    Playboy enforces their TM inworld,
    There was that furnature dude that came in proclaiming you’ll receive a pardon if you trash the fake ripoffs,
    Those are some examples of restrictions…

    meanwhile, coke, on the opposite end has decided to donate their logo to all of SL as common use.

    I just find all this fascinating.
    Mainly, because RL companies I think all in all are starting to realize they need to protect their IPs inside of virtual worlds…. but I think at the same time, RL companies may be fine with the free publicity, meanwhile others will disapprove of the false representation.

    All very interesting stuff.

  4. on 24 Nov 2008 at 6:00 pmlarryr

    and all totally expected.
    why would it be any other way?;)


  5. on 27 Dec 2008 at 9:14 pmAriel Allera

    I think the only credible international pageants are Miss Universe and Miss Earth. I find Miss International too boring to watch or its delayed telecast sadly unreasonable to look forward to. Watching it feels like attending a JS Prom where every delegate simply sashays in her evening gown (after parading in her national costume). The stage is dull and the production predictable: there’s no element of thrill. Almost always, though, their judging is tasteful. On the other hand, I think Miss World is too conservative, not to mention old school, although their stage is usually splendid. However, watching it live feels like watching a Grammy Awards Night (and I bet you know what I mean). It’s too dragging, much like the Miss International presentation. What’s worse with Miss World is that most of the time their results seem rigged for political purposes. Sometimes I don’t understand why Julia Morley has to sit amongst the judges every year, whilst in Miss Universe Donald Trump couldn’t care less about how his hired judges size up every delegate and come up with the winner at the end of the night. Of course, there are times when a winner seems to have been pre-conceived by both the organizers and the judges, but then again, Miss Universe is still obviously much more credible than the other two. Miss Universe production cum presentation has always been consistent with its sophisticated and glamorous, exciting and thrilling approach to both its audiences and televiewers. In a nutshell, the Miss Universe choreography is indisputably spectacular—from the opening number down to the winner’s crowning moment. Anyhow, as a Filipino, I can’t help taking pride in the fact that despite our economic condition here, we are still able to produce the second best international beauty pageant, the Miss Earth. Wouldn’t you be proud too… that despite how poor and pathetic we seem to other so-called first-world countries, we’re able to bring about such a high-end event, a gathering of the world’s most beautiful ladies vying for a title that comes with a responsibility to help make our world a better place to live in? If Miss Universe or Miss World are able to put up with a grand presentation of their official candidates, it’s because they’re being organized by two of the world’s most opulent or powerful countries (the U.S. and the U.K.). Of course, they have all the resources—ways and means— and they have connections with gigantic companies to back them up in the name of presentors, sponsors, benefactors, rah-rah-rah. What a shame on Japan for their lousy Miss International preparation. It didn’t hurt a bit when this year’s Miss World wasn’t seen telecast live in the Philippines. But it will definitely break our hearts if we Filipinos will stop supporting our very own Miss Earth or be deprived of watching Miss Universe pageant live on the boobtube.

    ariel allera

  6. [...] the karmic hand he was dealt by the Trump organization enforcing their copyright on anything Miss Universe wasn’t strong enough to humble Mills, as not only was there a backlash against the impartial [...]

  7. [...] the karmic hand he was dealt by the Trump organization enforcing their copyright on anything Miss Universe wasn’t strong enough to humble Mills, as not only was there a backlash against the impartial [...]

Leave a Reply

Notes on Comments: Your first comment must be manually approved, but after it is you'll be able to post freely with the same name and email. You can use some HTML (<a> <b> <i> <blockquote> etc.) but know that VB's spam blocker holds posts with five or more <a> links. VB supports gravatars. Got a gravatar? Use the associated email and it'll show with your comment. Need one? Set it up for free here.