Reuters reports on Linden Lab complying with the subpoena requesting Catteneo’s real life identity data:
(Remember? The whole SexGen copyright/trademark/hack story?)
The subpoena requested Linden provide “the entirety of identifying information” the company has on the avatar, including Catteneo’s Internet protocol addresses and chat histories. Taney wouldn’t divulge the particulars of what Linden Lab provided, but said there was no apparent plan by Linden to fight the subpoena in court.
(Vint: As usual) Linden Lab declined to comment.
Over at Virtually Blind, Benjamin Duranske quotes an interesting article on American.com by Pejman Yousefzadeh ‘Virtual Reality Avatars are now real enough to be sued.‘ which suggests a change in the civil procedure to make it harder to force companies like Linden Lab to comply with requests for the real-life identities behind avatars:
For these reasons, when lawsuits involve subpoenas to uncover the identities of virtual avatars—or, for that matter, pseudonymous bloggers and blog commenters—both state and federal rules of civil procedure likely need to be reformed so that plaintiffs will need to satisfy some clear standard before they can force pseudonymous Internet users into the open.
My suggestion: Plaintiffs should have to discuss the merits of the case itself in a fashion specific enough to survive a motion to dismiss—and thus to justify discovering the identity behind a particular avatar. Having allegations drawn up in what lawyers call “specific and particular form” at the onset of litigation will help parties draft reasonable discovery rules—and the protective orders that would likely accompany those rules—to treat both sides fairly.
So, I get from that ‘first check if the complaints/whatever are legit, and only then fetch RL identity’? Or am I mistaken? Seems more logical anyway. Now Catteano’s RL information is with the court (and the people suying him?) without knowing for sure that he even did something wrong. No?