Potential RL Jewelry

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8 is a very well known rule. It is also one of the most important because it explains how what you have to say to show that you have a legitimate claim, at least to start. It states the following:

A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;

(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

This rule simply states that in order to start a law suit you need to file paperwork that tells the court and the potential defendant what the plaintiff believes was done wrong and what that person wants in response, either to fix or compensate for the wrong. In the legal sense a wrong is not necessarily the action that the potential defendant did, but the harm that it caused the plaintiff. For example, the wrong is NOT “A ran a red light,” or even “A hit my car,” instead the wrong is “A dented my car and caused transmission damage.” Whether or not A ran a red light is irrelevant to the complaint (the paperwork that starts a law suit. Those details become important later in the progression of the lawsuit but are not needed here.

So, how does this apply to SL? It’s doesn’t exactly, but what it does do is give me the freedom to recreate (irl – in real life) some of the nice items that I see in SL. This would mean that I could commission (or create myself) the necklace that I am wearing in the picture with impunity. Because all sales of the item (which would likely be considered only pictures) are done in a virtual world. The creation of an physical version of the item would cause the creator no harm. At first glance, the idea that I could benefit from the creativity of another with impunity may seem odd, but when looked at carefully one can see the logic. In the law, only something that causes harm can be claimed as a wrong worth starting a law suit. When I create something based on a picture that someone created in Second Life (all items in SL are code and pictures), I do not diminish the value of that picture. I do not reduce the market for it. I don’t even take myself out of the market because I did not get a copy of the picture; I only created something that is like it.

I have no intention to create this jewelry (I’m way too busy and broke 🙂 ), but I have heard avatars bemoaning the lack of related items in real life that I felt it would be an interesting topic. I also think content creators would be interested to know that they will need to do more than claim rights to their creations in order to fully protect them. I would suggest (informally) that you speak with a lawyer about how to claim copyright to items potentially created in the real world that are substantially similar to your content.

I’d love to hear from anyone who knows of circumstances where things first created in SL were created in real life either by their in world content creators or others and what fallout if any there was because of it (or better yet, what benefit people received from it).

******DISCLAIMER*****

I am a law STUDENT. Do NOT depend on my commentary. Please contact a LICENSED LAWYER before doing anything that YOU think could potentially lead to litigation. Please contact a LICENSED LAWYER before doing anything that you DON’T think could potentially lead to litigation based on my posts.

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