And the virtual-meeting-real suit was covered a couple years back, but I found more information on the team responsible for it--included in the article is a mention of the Virtual Transgender Suit and a terrifying way to kill your avatar off in SL.
Microtransaction conversions--aka, game money converted into real money--is now legal in Korea. Expect a flood of gold/diamond/Linden/currency-of-choice spammers in your virtual world soon.
The investigation started a few days ago. I continued it last night, but now I'm left with even more questions. It turns out James Cameron--and the design team responsible for the film's unique look--may not only have been inspired by Poul Anderson, but by Roger Dean and the writing and artist team of Tom Yeates and Steve Perry, who wrote a very similar-in-look comic for the Marvel title Timespirits, which ran from October 1984 to March 1986.
The issue in particular that seems to have caught peoples' attention was issue number 6, "The Jungle Beat", because of its extraordinary similarity, shot by shot, to James Cameron's Avatar.
Okay. So Marvel Comics, LLC is owned by Isaac Perlmutter (CEO),Simon Philips, President (of the corporate store and affiliated products), John Turitzen (Executive Vice President and chief counsel), Alan Fine (Executive Vice President, worldwide, and Chief Marketing Officer) and Kenneth P. West (Chief Financial Officer). And their chief media contact is Jeff Klein, who works for Dan Klores Communications, another company entirely.
Epic Comics, who, in 1985, co-branded the Timespirits comic miniseries (among others) served the same function as the Vertigo imprint did for DC Comics--namely, provide a place for more mature work, intended for an older audience.
Twentieth Century Fox Corporation is now owned by News Corporation--there's the equivalent of a small town managing them, headed by Rupert Murdoch--and they and Lightstorm Entertainment, James Cameron's production company, put together Avatar.
So at this point, near as I can figure...
|James Cameron||plus||WETA Digital|
|plus Roger Dean||plus||Poul Anderson|
Did I leave anyone out? This is deranged.
Ultimately, the case of who influenced who, and when, will likely be settled by the courts; but in the meantime, the original question I started with still languishes by the wayside: namely, did Linden Labs have permission to trade on Avatar's name from Twentieth Century Fox Corporation or James Cameron?
So far, I'm still hearing crickets.
[Note from the Editrix: not minutes after I finished this, I discovered a brief little squib from Tateru Nino on NWN claiming the words of Peter Linden:
["While we’re certainly fans of the Avatar film and of blue avatars (not to mention pink, green, yellow, and robot avatars), we do not want to cause any confusion between Second Life and the movie with this advertisement, and we plan to change it to avoid any misunderstanding."
[Right. They didn't want to cause confusion, that was it. AKA, THEY DIDN'T ASK PERMISSION TO USE LIKENESSES OF THE CHARACTERS, AND ARE RETRACTING IT BEFORE THEY GET SUED.
[One wonders, if a few of us hadn't noticed--or hadn't said anything--would they have bothered to "realize" the ads might "cause confusion"?
[In short, though, this does validate my thinking: any leg the Lindens had to stand on, regarding copyright infringement, just collapsed under them in a major way. The CSI gateway went beautifully. The alliance with GossipGirl and Warner Brothers, though reducing in size now, is still strong. IBM practically has a virtual training campus in SL at this point. So it's not like they don't know how to ask permission and gain licensing.
[No, to be blunt, they fucked up, and now they're trying to backpedal gracefully so no one gets "confused". Peter, I'm not confused. You wanted to tie into Avatar without licensing the property formally because you wanted more money in your pockets. And according to Miss Nino, the tactic worked; more people signed up using the "Free AVATAR" banner than using any other advertising banner. Go you.
[Except it was blatant copyright infringement, even granting the absolute thick murk Cameron's done to the property himself. You didn't care, you did it anyway, and you won't apologize for it because it was just a case of "confusion".
[Sadly, though I'd love to say the cover-up won't work, it very likely will. An enormous number of people are willing to put up with the nonsense you give them on a daily basis, Peter. Apparently including me, because I'm still in SL, after all. But it galls. This one galls, and it also cheapens every intelligent and reasonable solution proposed to copyright infringement out there--including Step Up!'s.]
And a further note, at just past noon--I'm still thinking I was in the crowd that noticed it first, but I wasn't the only one to notice. And me personally, I don't think the controversy is over yet...