Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Your Second Life ... as a celebrity impersonator

This Washington Post story on artists performing concerts in the game Second Life is intriguing because it doesn't distinguish authorized performances (Suzanne Vega, Regina Spektor) from unauthorized (a group of fans dresses as U2 and plays their music). The DMCA should protect the game company from copyright liability for the tribute band, but does the CDA cover right of publicity claims? Smart money says yes, but courts could still find no violation by the Second Life tribute band by finding that, even if the right of publicity is an intellectual property right and thus not subject to the CDA's protections for ISPs, fan-generated celebrities aren't being used for commercial advantage and thus don't fall within the scope of the law. I haven't seen any discussion of this so far, though I'm not completely up to date in the literature on virtual worlds.

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