On the 7th of June 2007 I received an e-mail from SLexchange that my Coke outfit was in violation of Coca-Cola’s trademark and the listing was taken down from their website. I was a surprised, as I thought everybody must have know that with their Virtual Thirst campaign, Coke was actually calling out to the Second Life residents to create ‘Coke content’. I was to supply proof we could actually do so: ‘If you have permission to use the Coca-Cola trademark, please provide us with proof and we will reactivate your listings.’
I don’t know what had gotten into me at that time, but rather than posting an aggitated rant here about calling out to create Coke oriented content only to force it being taken down afterwards, I contacted C.C. Chapman - one of the person I met at the Virtual Thirst party - to ask if he could sort things out. He was as surprised by the news as I was - and probably worried too - and said he would try and sort things out.
June 22, SLexchange sends out the following: ‘ We have spoken to Coca-Cola and they have released their trademark to SL Merchants. Therefore, any of your items that were disabled on June 7, 2007 have been retrieved….’*
Now I was wondering, wouldn’t it be nice if Linden Labs creates a list on their website of all the real world companies - assuming that other companies are willing to do this too - that released their trademark as far as it comes to Second Life.
The benefits I see for this:
- Residents can create products based on that trademark without having to fear to get their pants layer sued off.
- The real world companies don’t need to worry about maintaining islands, making sure those are populated, etc. I am sure the residents that created content based on a trademark will take care of the promoting themselves. Or they could just create a shop that gathers all resident created content involving their brand, …
- They can watch which products residents create for that trademark. Maybe one of us really comes up with something ‘neat’.
Another possible approach if they want to control more what is created: Write out a contest for product creation for a certain trademark. The winner will then be allowed to sell virtual goods for that trademark in Second Life.
And I’m sure there are tons of other possibilities left.
* Strangely enough, not a word about the bottle of Evian that accompagnies the outfit. So actually, they should delist it again. *grins* Also the outfit has never been delisted from SLBoutique. Maybe the Electronic Sheep Company doesn’t really care about trademark violations**.
** Jade Lily in the comments: ‘We never received any DMCA complaint from Coca-Cola. :) Interesting news about the trademark release! I’m glad everything worked out.’