Tuesday, February 5, 2013

CBS Says Trekkers Can Still Roleplay Star Trek in Second Life

On Monday February 4, following a few months of worry from Second Life's Star Trek community, CBS finally answered the question of whether or not they had a problem with Trek content and roleplaying in Second Life. In short, they have no objections, as long as no one is making money off of it.

The following letter was the most recent one of a series of exchanges between CBS's legal department, and Anthony Haslage of the IFT group.

Thank you for your patience.  As I and my colleagues have previously discussed with you, CBS Studios is appreciative of the fans of STAR TREK who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the STAR TREK franchise in the real world as well as virtual worlds such as Second Life.

    After our internal discussions, we can advise that CBS Studios is pleased that STAR TREK fans interact and role-play in Second Life, but objects to fans who create and sell unlicensed, real or virtual merchandise featuring the STAR TREK properties.  As I explained during our discussion, when users of Second Life make it a commercial enterprise to sell uniforms, costume emblems, logos, badges, ships designs, props, etc., CBS Studios is obligated to protect against the unauthorized use of its rights.  CBS Studios remains concerned such an approach may cause confusion with its current or future licensed properties.

    With regard to your inquiry about obtaining a license for CBS Studios or a sublicense from its licensee, I have confirmed that at this time CBS Studios does not wish to pursue a license with you to permit third parties to sell virtual goods in the Second Life.

    You mentioned Linden Labs’ prior actions against fans of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.  We are not aware of Linden Labs policing Second Life on its own initiative to conduct blanket sweeps related to STAR TREK as a result of our prior take-down notice pursuant to the DMCA.  Should you become aware of such activities, we would appreciate your promptly advising us.  In the meantime, should CBS Studios seek to enforce its rights against users in Second Life, CBS Studios will take reasonable steps to notify Linden Labs of the infringements with sufficient detail.

    We hope that this explanation enables your fan communities to continue to enjoy STAR TREK in Second Life.

So it would seem Trekkers in Second Life, after months of worry, can relax again. But in a meeting to discuss CBS in December, it was brought up that some had already made places in other Grids. Whether or not they'll return in another issue.


  1. Everyone should have simply done what the Anime folks had to do forever. The japanese law up to a time forbade anime and manga from showing real products and real trademarks.

    So the anime folks simply changed a letter here and there, creating products like Mimolta, Caco Cola, Xerex, Toyola, and Nissam. And then the law could say nothing, and the trademark holders could not sue or say anything either -- hard to say someone is defaming Xerox when he's clearly using a Xerex instead.

    SL RPing groups should just play in the Baddlestar and Star Drek universes and let the lawyers starve.

  2. I imagine the roleplayers thought doing so would give others the impression they were a parody group. Though it's easier to see a content creator trying to pull that off.