Linden Lab Official:Intellectual Property

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Trademarked, Copyrighted, and Celebrity Material in Second Life

In Second Life, we hope creators will use their imagination to make original content. Some create things that are inspired by real world objects, like cars or jewelry. When you do that, please make sure you’re not improperly using another’s intellectual property – for example, a trademarked logo or brand name, a distinctive product appearance (known as “trade dress”), characters or material from a movie, book, or other copyrighted work, or a celebrity image or name (protected as a “right of publicity”). As Second Life gets larger, we receive more questions about intellectual property and Second Life.

You should not use copyrighted, trademarked, or celebrity material in Second Life, unless of course you are the intellectual property owner or have permission from the intellectual property owner. Your use of Second Life is subject to applicable copyright, trademark, and right-of-publicity laws. These are complicated laws, and understanding our Terms of Service and DMCA Policy is only a very small start to understanding applicable laws. Real world laws apply to intellectual property infringement, and nothing about your use of Second Life will shield you if you are infringing on someone else's intellectual property- the rightful owner of the intellectual property can take direct legal action against you in real world courts of law.

The following describes more detail about how Linden Lab treats trademark, copyright, and celebrity issues in-world. Our explanation is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as legal advice. If you seek legal advice on your rights in a specific situation, please contact a lawyer.

Trademarked and Celebrity Material

Linden Lab generally removes content that uses trademarked or celebrity material without apparent authorization, with or without giving notice to the object owner. This generally includes trademarked logos, trademarked brand names, and trade dress, which is the distinctive visual appearance of a product or its packaging.

It is often difficult to tell what may or may not be trademarked or protected as trade dress. However, use of designer logos and brand names without permission, such as Gucci, Nike, Louis Vuiton, etc., are usually not acceptable. If you don’t have permission, please don’t just use a misspelling of the brand name, for example, “Njke” instead of “Nike” – instead, create your own original brand name that’s associated uniquely with you!

If you’re creating objects inspired by real world objects, take care that your objects have an original appearance and shape. That’s the best way to avoid trade dress issues. Be wary of imitating distinctive and recognizable product appearances. For example, the well-known appearance of the Eames lounge chair and ottoman is protected under trade dress law.

Please also be aware that celebrities have a “right of publicity,” which means that they have a right to control commercial uses of their name, image, likeness, and other aspects of their identity. Although you may be a fan, you risk infringing celebrity rights if you use a celebrity name or likeness in connection with in-world objects you trade, and you don’t have the celebrity’s permission. If you are a trademark owner or a celebrity and you believe your rights have been infringed in Second Life, please submit a notifications of infringement in writing to:

Linden Research, Inc.
Attn: Legal Department
945 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111 
Alternatively, fax the document to (415) 520-9660. 

When submitting a notification of trademark or trade dress infringement, provide a copy of the relevant trademark or trade dress registration(s) from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Please also provide the location in Second Life (the region name and coordinates or, if on a website, the URL) where you believe the infringement is occurring and the name of the Second Life Resident whom you claim is infringing. For more information, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office homepage:

You can also use the trademark look-up feature on that website: Use the “Search TM database (TESS)” tool under Trademarks on the left navigation when you go to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office homepage.

  • Use the "New User Form Search (Basic)"
  • Under View Search History, select "Plural & Singular " & "Live" radio buttons
  • Enter the name of the business in question (ie. Nike)
  • Press "Submit Query"

Copyrighted Material

Linden Lab follows the procedures described in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) regarding copyrighted materials. For more information about Linden Lab’s DMCA policy, go to: Notifications of copyright infringement must be in writing and submitted to:

Linden Research, Inc.
Attn: Legal Department
945 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

Alternatively, fax the document to (415) 520-9660. On the cover sheet, please write ATTN: DMCA   NOTIFICATION

If a legally sufficient DMCA notice is submitted, Linden Lab will then remove the identified materials as appropriate. Repeated copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property violations by a resident may result in their accounts being suspended or terminated.

Again, this is just a very brief description of laws pertaining to intellectual property. Residents interested in this topic are encouraged to more fully examine the materials below, which are not Linden Lab materials, but we have found them to be informative: