The Los Angeles Times has the story: “A real-world battle over virtual-property rights.”
Apparently virtual world developer/promoter/host Linden Labs has changed its terms of service for Second Life over time to diminish the central importance of user ownership of virtual property created within the Second Life service. The most recent user agreement reportedly dispenses with the idea of user property claims and asserts Linden Labs’ right to allow or revoke a user’s license to use the service at the company’s discretion.
I dabbled in Second Life a few years ago, but never quite had the right combination of graphics, computer power and internet speed to make it an enjoyable experience. Somewhere a small backup file may exist with my old Second Life avatar (which, now that I think about it, had skin about the same color of blue that James Cameron later chose for the Nav’i in the movie Avatar. Weird.). Hadn’t thought much about going back. But maybe it is worth the trip, just to see how the property rights debate is unfolding in virtual worlds.