It seems Second Life has been hit by more controversy. After we reported the game had been rocked by a sex scandal a few weeks ago, now a lawyer in the US is taking the developers Linden Lab to court alleging that they deleted his account and thousands of dollars worth of his property.
Marc Bragg in Pennsylvania is seeking $8,000 in damages after claiming the developers froze his account after a property deal ‘went bad’. The lawyer claims he bought the property via a legitimate auction on Second Life’s website. The lawsuit states that Linden Lab ‘breached an auction contract by allowing the land to auction, accepting online payment, and then suspending plaintiff’s account.’
According to Wired, Linden Lab say they consider the lawsuit to be ‘without merit’. It reports that Bragg’s identity within Second Life is “Marc Woebegone,” who owns real estate, nightclubs and other businesses. The crux of the case rests on a $300 ‘sim’ – a large plot of land – that normally costs a minimum of $1,000 that Bragg says he legitimately won in an auction.
This latest incident once again brings into focus the difficulty of navigating the line between the real and online world. Second Life is unique in that it is one of the only online games that actually assigns real world legal rights to land purchased by users. Virtual gamers should keep a keen eye on this case because if Bragg is vindicated, it will give further credence to property purchased in Second Life and ensure that gamers who devote hours of time to it are protected in the same way as they are in the real world.