Second Life’s merits as an actual video game may be debatable but its impact on the economy is not. It has, for example, provided a huge boost to the new markets of virtual sex caskets and imaginary pet food. And ridiculous lawsuits, because America has been lagging other first-world nations in that important economic indicator.
The latest one concerns two makers of virtual animals, specifically ponies and bunnies. They’re locked in a lawsuit over who copied whose bullshit first. One litigant’s demands were particularly cruel, or hilarious, depending on your point of view. They asked that Linden Labs shut down the store of the alleged infringer, which would have shut down the feed supply for the virtual horses, which would starve them to death. Linden said no thanks.
In reporting this oddity, the Wall Street Journal went and found a human victim, a woman who lives in upstate New York who cares for one of the animals in jeopardy. While Linden hasn’t shut down the feed store, that’s still the aim of Ozimals, Inc. which is a virtual bunny ranch (yes, really) that claims Amaretto Ranch Breedables, the horse farm, copied its intellectual property. A judge recently ruled that the suit could go forward but did not grant Ozimals’ wish to starve the ponies.
You Can Lead a Virtual Horse to Water, But You Might Get Sued Along the Way [Wall Street Journal]