If you aren’t into having a virtual Second Life then you most likely have not heard of Ozimals or Amaretto Ranch Breedables. The former make and sell breedable virtual bunnies. The latter are newcomers who make and sell virtual horses. Well, the two have wound up in the courts over a copyright dispute.
The concept of raising artificial creatures in a video game originated with Puppy Love by Tom Snyder Productions, released for Macintosh in 1986. Digital pets were a massive fad in Japan, and to a lesser extent in the United States and United Kingdom during the late 1990s. The popularity of virtual pets in the United States, and the constant need for attention the pets required, led to them being banned from schools across the country, a move that hastened the virtual pet’s decline from popularity. wikipedia
Here’s a copy of the Amaretto complaint document (PDF). On 21 Dec 2010 Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for Northern California issued a temporary restraining order to Linden Lab (PDF) and “all persons in active concert or participation with Linden Research” from filing DMCA notices against Amaretto or otherwise removing its content from Second Life.
“The gist of the copyright dispute between the parties is whether Plaintiff’s virtual horses infringe on copyrights associated with Defendant’s virtual bunnies.” This reminded me a little of that great line from Ghostbusters: “dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”
The underlying dispute involves rival sellers of virtual animals that require the users to keep purchasing food to keep the animals alive.
Virtual living is huge and we are talking about millions of bucks to fake farm or and/or own fake pets.
- Do you have a virtual “second life” somehwere online?
- Are you a virual farmer and/or virtual pet or livestock owner?
- What can we take away from this?