Second Life Fashion Designer Raising $20,000 to Pay for Real Life Legal Fees in Copyright Dispute
Gala Phoenix of the well-known SL fashion brand Curio is raising $20,000 to cover her legal fees in a copyright/DMCA dispute with another SL content creator (apparently based in Canada) which has led to the Curio brand being taken offline, and Ms. Phoenix, reportedly, without a primary source of income. As she writes:
Because there is already a case in court, I will probably have to go to court to clear my name and get my business back. Copyright litigation is very expensive, though. Just a small copyright case like this costs around $20,000 to see through, and most of that is court fees, which can’t be waived even if I found an attorney in Canada who’d take the case pro bono (I have an attorney here in America).
She says a group of fellow SL designers are holding an in-world fundraiser on her behalf next week, so check her blog for updates. I'm not versed in the details of the dispute to have an opinion either way, but NWN fashion expert Iris Ophelia definitely does, and says this on Gala Phoenix's behalf:
"I'd take her side unflinchingly, I've blogged her skins and worn them for ages," says Iris. "The idea that she could have been the thief in this situation is unfathomable to me. The evidence doesn't add up, objectively or subjectively." There may be more details we don't know, but whatever they are, it's definitely disappointing when such a well-established content creator finds herself facing the prospect of such a huge real life legal bill over virtual content. I'll just repeat the advice offered by lawyer Benjamin Duranske, who literally wrote the book on virtual world related law:
SL content creators [should] make sure they register their copyright with the government because in the US doing so increases the ability to sue for damages and recover legal costs.
If you're you're a SL content creator who hasn't done so, might be a good time to do so now.