A Virtual World Without Virtue

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Filed under: Legal Issues, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

sex3.jpgIn 1993, Joey Skaggs created the world’s first sexual virtual reality company, SEXONIX to market an apparatus that offered not only safe sex in the era of AIDS, but also offered a new dawn of hope for the impotent and handicapped. As Skaggs noted, “Let there be no doubt, SEXONIX offers pleasure of a different order of magnitude. By translating individual fantasies into a stunning approximation of reality, we enable our clients to experience sublime pinnacles of delight that most people only dream of.”

Unfortunately for SEXONIX, Canadian customs agents confiscated all of the hardware and software, valued at over $300,000, at the Canadian border as it was enroute to the Metro Toronto Christmas Gift and Invention Show, on the grounds that SEXONIX was morally offensive to the Canadian people. Thus ensued a long legal battle to retrieve the confiscated property.

Fast forward to 2007 and a story of not-so-epic proportions, but that might actually be true, is unfolding in the virtual world of Second Life.

Entrepreneur Kevin Alderman’s company, Eros LLC, created SexGen Platinum, software that, according to AP, “animates amorous avatars in erotic positions… [It] has gotten so popular that he’s now had to hire lawyers to track down the flesh-and-blood person behind the online identity, or avatar, that he says illegally copied and sold it…

“Catherine Smith, director of marketing for ‘Second Life’ creator Linden Lab, said she knew of no other real-world legal fight between two avatars.”

Here’s the AP Story, and a Reuters Story with a slightly different angle.