Saturday, November 27, 2010

Linden Labs Cracks Down on "Battlestar Galactica" Sims After Universal Studios Complaints

For the past few days, Linden Labs has been going after items and sims connected to the “Battlestar Galactica” television show. Linden Labs is doing so on request from Universal Studios, which owns the copyright to the show.

Linden Labs passed out a notecard to those whose content they took down, stating they were doing so because of complaints by Universal, “Linden Lab respects the rights of both Second Life residents and intellectual property owners. Accordingly, we ask that you discontinue any use of Battlestar Galactica intellectual property in Second Life. You must not use the intellectual property of others unless you have their permission to use it.”

Upon hearing this, Second Life Newser did a search for Battlestar Galactica-themed places. We found a few roleplaying sims still up. One, BSG-47, was reported the next day by New World Notes to have been shut down. But a check showed it was still up, at least the welcome area.

To get some answers from someone directly involved, Second Life Newser contacted Angelica Nephilim, one of the coordinators of “The Colonial Fleet” Battlestat roleplay group.
She stated, “Linden Lab has examined BSG roleplay sims to comply with a Universal Studios request to remove illegal IP violations from the grid. Some regions were deprived of functionality for the time being, others still largely functional. The one I administer, for example, has a request to change the name of the regions and groups as to not use the term "BSG". We have complied with that, awaiting Linden Lab’s approval to change them and are reviewing the sim for other issues.”

Angelica felt trouble with Linden Lab, at least with her group, was resolved, although would be more certain after the holiday weekend. Of other groups, she had heard they had “varying degrees of ... functionality impaired,” depending on the supposed violation. Some had sims taken offline. Some took themselves offline after things like vehicle rezzers being shut down or removed, “Others, like mine are still there, just not appearing on the map due to temporary renaming.” The renaming was all she felt her roleplay needed, though there was other “minor work” being done to make sure there would be no further problems.

Asked if this would cause some Battlestar fans to loose interest, Angelica answered, “Some may, but not all.” She felt this was a legal matter that could be easily complied with, “other genres have the tacit approval of the movies and intellectual properties they portray, making it not an issue for them.” She went on to say Battlestar sim owners were talking things over during the weekend “how we can address things,” and should have some answers from Linden Lab on Monday.

This hasn’t been the first time roleplay groups have come under the crosshairs by the company owning the show they’ve based themselves on. In April 2009, the estate of Frank Herbert, the writer of the Dune novels, went after the roleplayers in Second Life whom had set up a Dune sim and roleplay. The incident left others, such as the numerous Star Trek groups, wondering if they might be next. But nothing else happened since, until now.

For now, the Battlestar groups are making their changes, talking to one, another, and waiting.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sources: Harrisburg Examiner, Tateru Nino

1 comment:

  1. Fanbased works and dealing with them can be something of a tricky business. When does a tribute begin to become a problem for those who created the original? And how to protect one’s rights without alienating one’s most devoted fans?