It’s no secret the Second Life is a rather unique place to visit. It’s also where rabbits and other small animals go to die — OK, sleep forever — after some legal shenanigans put a stop to the only company selling digital food for the little guys.
A post by Ozimals creator Malkavyn Eldritch provides some details on the mass virtual extermination, triggered by legal actions from one Edward Distelhurst and a company called Akimeta:
At 8:00 am on Monday, May 15, 2017, I received a Cease and Desist letter from legal counsel representing Edward Distelhurst and Akimeta Ltd. This letter demands that I cease all use of Ozimals intellectual property … As of the morning of Wednesday, May 17, 2017, my products and their associated games will cease to function.
- All databases supporting the bunnies and Pufflings will be offline.
- Support, both inworld and through the ticket portal, will cease.
- All Ozimals inworld groups will be closed.
- Pufflings will cease to function.
- Any bunny who is Everlasting will continue to function, as he or she does now: without cost.
- Any bunny who is not Everlasting will be unable to eat and will hibernate within 72 hours.
The Ozimals site itself is now dead, though the post can be read via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
The story behind the legal scuffle has a number of layers involving intellectual property and “unpaid royalties”, which Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Alice O’Connor explains:
Akhmeta say that Ozimals the company was dissolved last year but the person currently running Ozimals the game has kept using their work [animal textures and models] and that’s not covered by the old license … Edward Distelhurst’s story is messier. A programmer who worked on the game, he has been in a legal battle for six years over alleged unpaid royalties.
The end result is a lot of dead birds and forever-slumbering bunnies. It’ll certainly make for some creepy in-game menageries.