Virginia IP Law > Troutman Sanders LLP

GRIPLA becomes virtually legal

Ask a member of GRIPLA (the Greater Richmond Intellectual Property Law Association) about “second life” a couple days ago, and chances are they would have thought it was either an introduction to a conversation about finding another career or the beginning of a pitch about how to reach the great legal Shangri –La known as work-life balance.

No longer.

Thanks to Linda Quigley and Stacey Rae Simcox, adjunct professors at the William & Mary School of Law, associate directors at the Center for Legal and Court Technology (formerly the Courtroom 21 Project), and attorneys at the Matthews Law Group, GRIPLA members now know that your question may herald interesting, serious legal work.

Second Life is the virtual world created by Linden Lab, where people translate themselves into avatars and experience everything from the everyday to the mythical to the deviant.

At GRIPLA’s April meeting, held tonight at Spotts Fain, Quigley and Simcox led GRIPLA members to contemplate everything from how large corporations might need to deal with virtual trademark infringement (meet you at “Slarbucks”) to whether virtually having sex or getting married to someone other than your real world spouse is adultery.  GRIPLA members got an introduction to virtual police life from the chief of police.  They learned that it is now increasingly common for virtual worlds to lead to federal court cases.

The evening also touched on questions like:  How many Tweets does it take to make one copyright?  (Probably needs to be a collection.)  Do Facebook and the Israeli Defense Forces mix?  (No.)  and  Once William Shatner has assigned you to a planet or starship, what rights do you have in what you create?  (Start with the Terms of Use.)

And although this all may sound funny, serious money can be at stake, and serious legal issues can be involved.  You can take that to the bank — just be sure it’s a real one.

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