So the Taser case hit the New World Notes this morning.
Reading through the case file (that's a .pdf file) is eye-opening, for more than one reason. First, I had (what I thought was) reliable information that Oni Horan, owner/designer of Necronom, had made something called the "Taser Collar"--and that had started off the lawsuit, when Taser found out.
According to Kanomi Pikajuna, this is not so, which is the first confusing point.
Two sections from the filing:
18. Upon information and belief, all of the Defendents that sell virtual weaponry like Plaintiff's real ones, under the mark TASER for use in the Second Life programs and grids, also sell adult-only explicit images and scenes, attached within Exhibit 2, thus attaching such content to the TASER mark. See Exhibits 2 and 3.
So Taser first is blaming Linden Labs directly, plus all named defendants (some of whom have been fired/voluntarily left, so are no longer Lindens). That's odd enough.
19. Upon information and belief, all of the Defendants that sell virtual weaponry like Plaintiff's real ones, under the mark TASER for use in the Second Life programs and grids, also sell unlawful drug materials, see reference to "crack den" in Exhibit 3, page 9, thus attaching such content to the TASER mark.
But here's the fun bit: they're also blaming Linden Labs directly, plus all named defendants, for the selling of illegal drugs.
The. Hell. I mean seriously, the hell? LL have made their share of mistakes, but--selling drugs? Drug dealers they're not.
This passage from section 37 is particularly telling:
37. Upon information and belief, the Defendants communicated amongst themselves and others,via mail, email, telephone, and/or through other interstate and intrastate mediums, so as to plan to nationally sell and distribute their applications directly into this district; and to pass-off on TII's TASER brand weaponry as their own via the web. Upon information and belief, the Defendants' actions to pass off TASER weaponry as their own, were false, fraudulent, or to induce fraud within consumers, which caused harm to Plaintiff by associating such weaponry with adult-oriented, nearly or actually pornographic images and references to illegal "crack den" sold on the same sites..."
All right. Everyone who's anyone knows that Taser International is sue-happy. They've done this over and over since formation of their product and the company. But this is unusual on a few fronts. Essentially, what they're saying is:
1. We found Linden Labs selling our product virtually; we want them to stop.
2. We found Linden Labs associating our product with sex; we want them to stop.
3. We found Linden Labs associating our product with drugs; we want them to stop.
Which is really, really odd, because--virtual drugs count now? Virtual sex does, sure, but--is it just the Crack Den as a name they're objecting to, or the fact that someone in the Crack Den is hawking virtual drugs along with virtual Tasers? What's really going on?
Man, I'm asking that a lot these days.
And it gets worse--at the bottom of page 25 of the complaint from Taser International? They're hitting the Labs with a cease-and-desist under RICO provisions, as well.
Now we're treading in serious legal waters. People have gone to jail under RICO provisions. Assets have been widely seized and held for the duration of trials. Employees have lost access to payroll, or equipment used for corporate gain, or both--in essence, no one gets paid, no one can work on-site--which is severe indeed.
More telling, though, is that banks refuse to loan funds to companies convicted of, or under indictments for, RICO offenses. Which means potentially Linden Labs could not borrow funds for anything to do with Second Life.
This? Could be huge.
(I will say one more thing: read through the last few entries on Kanomi's blog. They're priceless, especially the "Talk with A Linden" one.)