Tag Archive: FRCP


IDK how 4 came out and 3 never did.

I recently got an alert that a law suit had been filed against Linden Labs (LL). It seems that the person who filed the suit didn’t get that alert.

After filing a complaint, in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, that alleged “illegal distribution of Plaintiff’s intellectual property in violation of his rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”)” back in April of this year, Corey Fahy (the plaintiff) seems to have forgotten about it. Corey alleged that LL used an algorithm that he created for his Cool VL Viewer without his knowledge or consent, but it seems that he forgot to serve the company notice of the law suit.
When the court issued a Show Cause Order, an order requiring Corey to explain why he didn’t serve LL, he never responded. The court then ordered him to a hearing, which he missed. The court dismissed the case, but was nice enough to do so in a way that would allow him to file again after he got a day planner.
Interestingly enough, if Corey had shown up with some good cause for not serving LL, or proof that he had, he would have been able to continue his suit. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m) requires a court to extend time to serve a defendant if the plaintiff can show good cause. Lucky for Corey no harm was done, and maybe we will see him back in court on a later day.

Fahy v. Linden Research, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109591

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.

In my review for my recent Civil Procedure final exam, I noticed this sentence in Title 28 of the United States Code Chapter 89 Section 1441, “For purposes of removal under this chapter, the citizenship of defendants sued under fictitious names shall be disregarded.”

For those of you who didn’t sit through a full semester of jurisdiction and joinder, pleadings and procedures, section 1441 relates to the removal process for taking lawsuits out of state court and trying them in federal court.

The general rule is that if the plaintiff could have brought the case in federal court to begin with. This would be in situations when there is a federal question (some case that interprets the constitution or certain specific federal statutes) or there are persons from different states or countries disputing something.

As usual, I thought about Second Life(R). What about a person who sues an avatar, who, for example, stole their copybotted their entire store’s worth of in-world creations, worth hundreds of dollars monthly to that person? They have to, at least at the beginning, sue the avatar because they won’t know the real name of the person behind the avatar. I wondered if this meant that defendants sued in this way would be stuck in state court even if they were, say, from Azerbaijan,  and emailed my professor to ask him about it.

Thankfully, my wonderful, intelligent, funny, interesting professor (can you see that I still haven’t got my grades back?) replied that this provision relates to defendants whose names are genericized for their privacy. I assume that this relates most often to times where an unknown defendant or group of defendants are sued (e.g. the owners of gambling websites – we’ll hear more about them later) and then choose not to reveal their true identity during  court proceedings. This would allow the copybotter from Azerbaijan to choose whether or not  to reveal their identity. He would be able to decide whether it was more important to hide his identity (so that he doesn’t get banned from second life) or have the suit in state court (so that he doesn’t face as much bias against him).

**** AGAIN… If you have anything tha tyou would rather see me write about than just the random things that come off the top of my head, please comment and let me know.  Since starting this blog, I have learned that it is uncommon for a legal blogger to work alone. It is much more demanding to come up with relevant legal commentary (especially when one is in the beginning stages of learning about the law) than to come up with personal posts. The blog will likely not become a daily or weekly blog anytime soon, but I will stick with it and try to keep my (1 or 2) readers coming back.  Let me know what interests you. ****