The adult entertainment industry is responsible for bringing many of the seminal cases that have shaped intellectual property law on the Internet, from Playboy Enterprises Inc. giving rise to the “initial interest confusion” test for trademark infringement, to Perfect 10 shaping the contours of search engine liability. And now a company named Eros LLC is seeking to join their ranks.
Eros claims to be one of the most successful merchants doing business within the virtual world platform known as Second Life. Second Life is perhaps the most closely observed virtual world in the United States. Virtual worlds generally allow online participants to create a persona (known as an “avatar”) and interact with other avatars within a persistent and shared virtual environment hosted by the game developer. Avatars generally have attributes (such as strength or aptitude and other customized player-crafted characteristics), skills (such as the ability to fly) and possessions (such as housing), all of which constitute “virtual assets” that players can create, purchase, barter or otherwise accumulate and improve over time.
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