A Real World Lawsuit Involving Virtual Real Estate

It's not quite ad-related, but evidence abounds that virtual worlds are coming into their own as alternative real-world business opportunities. This time, a property dispute involving a gamer versus Linden Lab, purveyor of Second Life, a massively multiplayer online game, is headed to real-world court. Gamer Marc Bragg, who's also a lawyer, is suing Linden Lab for freezing his user account after a land deal went bad, and then shutting him down completely. Bragg is demanding $8,000 in restitution. Second Life is one of the only virtual worlds in which members actually own the content they create. Bragg, who owns nightclubs and other "in-world" businesses in Second Life, says he paid $300 for a plot of land through an auction; Linden Lab says he used a hacker-like method to secure the plot at an abnormally low price (plots usually go for $1,000). Second Life supports a burgeoning trade market in real estate, clothing, vehicles, and yes, advertising, which have all contributed to a growing in-game economy, supporting full-time businesses and entrepreneurs.
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