Friday, October 12, 2007

Second Life Forum with Metanomics

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in an event put on by Rob Bloomfield of Cornell's Johnson School of Management and Metanomics. The purpose of the forum was for me to answer questions from an audience of 70+ Second Life residents, moderated by Bloomfield.

For my part, it was a good, productive discussion. Questions covered a wide range of territory. Taxes were an obvious concern, but participants also asked about regulation and the form and likelihood of intervention by the federal government. I was impressed by the quality of the questions and the discussion that took place by chat in the background. By far my favorite comment from the chat log was by Dizzy Banjo: "yay geeks in congress :D"

You can read more in this Reuters article. Video of the event is available online if anyone is interested. Jim Rapp of has posted some photos (including the one used here).

Friday, October 5, 2007

Bragg Lawsuit No More

Reuters has reported that Second Life has reached an out-of-court settlement over the lawsuit brought by Mark Bragg. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. While this settlement was self-evidently in the interest of both parties, it still leaves unresolved key questions pertaining to virtual worlds. If the case had gone to trial, then it is possible we would have obtained the first clear legal opinions on issues involving property rights and the applicability of terms of service (TOS) agreements. As I previously blogged, the court in this case had already handed down a significant ruling against the enforceability of a clause of the Linden Lab TOS. If the Linden Lab had suffered a defeat with respect to its TOS or regarding property rights in Second Life, it could have had a major impact on the future treatment of virtual worlds on tax and rights issues. Looks like we'll have to wait for another lawsuit, Congressional legislation or IRS ruling.