Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other stuff) Will Disappear from Second Life

August 12, 2009 -

Recently, GamePolitics reported on the availability of Barack and Michelle Obama avatars for use in Second Life.

But it seems that those virtual depictions of the President and the First Lady are destined to have short careers.

New World Notes reports that, beginning next month, SL publisher Linden Lab will implement strict new rules on the sale of real-world products and brands - including depictions of actual celebrities. Barack Obama and Angelina Jolie avatars are specifically referenced as examples of prohibited content in the new Linden Lab guidelines.

Readers may recall that stun gun manufacturer TASER, Inc. brought a trademark lawsuit against Linden earlier this year over virtual copies of its weapon which were being sold by third-party content creators for use in Second Life. The suit was later dropped, but the new SL guidelines are almost certainly a response to such legal concerns.

As New World Notes mentions, enforcing the new policy may be problematic for Linden Lab:

While I'm not a lawyer, I would think avatar imitations of celebrities, especially political figures, would fall under the parody safe harbor of fair use. In the real world, you can still buy an unauthorized Barack Obama mask for Halloween. Not so in Second Life very soon...

 

The biggest challenge to this policy, in any case, is likely to be the SL content creation community itself, who often do reference the real world in their works, but are still proprietary about their products.


Comments

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

so to go around this rule would be to make bootleg knock off parody versions of the items and avatars and the names.

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

 If it's Bush and your trying to make him a Nazi I bet it's allowed but dare you not showth the Messiah!

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

I think this has more to do with the fact that second life has a lot of creepy pervs that would love to have a virtual Obama screwing some furry

and considering the mass effect fiasco I could easily see FOX news running a story on Obama's "Secret beastiality" or something especially considering the political leanings of the network

I think this could be for preventing stuff like that

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

I think the big issue here is people are making the av's and such and selling them, if they were tradeing them for free there would be more room for fair use and parody claims.


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

I can conceive of nothing wrong with offering copyrighted, trademarked, or otherwise branded items as long as an unathorized source is getting paid. Receiving payment for the trademark or work of others without license seems a bit shady though.

So NO pre-existing copyright or trademark may be used regardless of licensed monetary commission?

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

I take it you meant "authorized source?"

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

I believe celebrities can copyright their image but politician's visages are fair game as, to my knowledge, they can't be copyrighted or protected by their owners. If this were not the case you'd have politicians doing it to 'protect' their image from political cartoons that display them in a less-than-favourible light.

I don't think the rules will be as strict as LL are suggesting due to the fact that a pretty significant portion of their user base would be against it.

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

what about Jack Thompson? didn't he try to stop a Photoshop contest about him?

岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

I know he tried to sue Midway because someone made him in a Mortal Kombat game, and he tried to sue a buddy icon website because there was a character in a suit gettign injured that vaguely resembled him.

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

Everyone has the sole right to exploit their image and likeness unless they've licensed that right to another or others. Political cartoons are an excluded "fair use," usually as either satire or parody or both. 

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

What about politicians? I doubt all the crappy Obama merchandise that's available for sale is in any way licensed from Obama.

 

Re: Under New Rules, Obama Avatars (and lots of other ...

If it isn't falling under the fair use doctrine, then I assume there's some calculation that a sitting politician, particularly one with as high a profile as the POTUSA, isn't going to spend their time tracking down and suing unauthorized users of their image and likeness. Best that I know, the mere fact of holding elected office doesn't negate one's rights to the use of their image and likeness.

 
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Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
TechnogeekHell, Liam Neeson built his modern career around it. Cultural factors likely play a far greater role than you appear willing to admit.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
TechnogeekSeriously, though, the idea of "because women are protectors and that's why they never commit school shootings" is, at best, grossly overreductive. There's nothing inherently feminine about being willing to kill in order to protect one's offspring.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
quiknkoldbut I am also certain nobody in their right mind is committing these shootings singing the Machoman song. these are sick individuals who have given up on life10/24/2014 - 9:51pm
Technogeekevopsych lol10/24/2014 - 9:49pm
quiknkoldWhen you suffer from mental illness, youre more likely to go by instinct. yes. I came off as sexist.10/24/2014 - 9:46pm
quiknkoldmore on somthing they are fixated on. Post Partum Depression is an example. This is why a woman is less likely to go off on a rampage.10/24/2014 - 9:44pm
 

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