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Real life infringement into a virtual world

Released in 2003, Second Life allows users to reside in an online virtual world. The escapism allows them to interact with their fellow avatars as they explore many locations and gather countless objects. Whether they socialize or trade virtual property with each other, Linden Labs insists that their creation is not a game.

There is no objective. More importantly, there is no conflict.

The growing popularity of online socializing soon gave way to the “breedables” craze. Ozimals LLC hired Edward Distelhurst and Akimeta Ltd to create digipet rabbits that would reside in a virtual world where they needed to breed and eat via computer servers. Yet, that sensation soon peaked and began to lose its luster.

Ozimals shut down operations last year, owing the developers a significant amount of money. While volunteer Malkavyn Eldritch kept the servers online, a legal dispute has dragged on with court orders and accusations of bad faith.

The Second Life virtual world was served with a dose of reality in the form of a cease and desist letter. Distelhurst and Akimeta demanded that Eldritch and Second Life stop all use of their intellectual property.

Some blame the infringement of capitalism in to the Second Life way of life. With Ozimals lacking the resources to fight, the only option was to shut down the sustinence-providing servers. Yet, the virtual animals still existed and needed to “eat” and “breed.”

Without the ability to communicate, an entire world of virtual pet rabbits simultaneously starved. While nothing truly dies in a virtual world, the bunnies will go into a hibernative state after 72 hours, only to wake up if they are fed again.

Those who pad for “everlasting” status can keep the now e-sterilized rabbits. In an effort to save the rest of the population at the eleventh hour, the Ozimals store offered free “timepieces” for the hare’s everlasting Second Life.

So much for a game without conflict.

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