Linden Lab Files Response to Complaint

On June 28, 2007, Linden Lab and its Chief Executive Officer, Philip Rosedale, filed their response to the complaint of Marc Bragg in the federal district court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, denying Mr. Bragg’s allegations, and asserting counterclaims on behalf of Linden Lab against Mr. Bragg for computer fraud, breach of contract, and other claims, arising from certain activity that led to his being suspended from participating in Second Life.

Mr. Bragg, a Second Life Resident under the user name “Marc Woebegone,” had sued Linden Lab and Rosedale to recover “virtual land, property and items that were in his account” when it was suspended, and for money damages and other relief.

Linden Lab stated in its answer: In his complaint, Bragg attempts to cast this as a case with broad implications about whether ‘virtual land’ – actually, access to computing resources that enable a virtual representation of land in a three-dimensional online digital ‘world’ – is subject to the laws governing real property. That is not what this case is about. It is a dispute about whether an online service may suspend a user from that service for engaging in a fraudulent scheme to obtain money, to the detriment of the service and its user community.”

In its counterclaims, Linden Lab alleged that “Bragg – who is a licensed attorney – and his confederates, knowingly and with intent to defraud, without Linden’s permission, obtained, used and altered data and computer software in a deliberate exploit to gain unauthorized access to Linden’s server software in order to manipulate and subvert Linden’s standard system for making so-called “virtual land” available to its users through its land auction system.”

Linden Lab also alleged that “The objective of Bragg’s scheme was to obtain access to ‘virtual land’ that was scheduled to be auctioned by Linden in the future and thus before it was available to any other users, and to acquire it for as little as one U.S. dollar rather than whatever winning bid (in excess of the minimum opening bid of U.S. $1,000.00) might have resulted from a legitimate auction” and that “After acquiring the ‘virtual land’ through this fraudulent scheme, Bragg intended to subdivide it, sell it to other Second Life users, and potentially obtain thousands of dollars in U.S. funds in ill-gotten profit.”

In addition, Linden Lab alleged that: “When Linden told Bragg that it had placed his account on hold pending their investigation of his activity, Bragg threatened to sue Linden, in an attempt to dissuade Linden from continuing its investigation into his fraudulent scheme. When Linden did not capitulate in response to Bragg’s threats and remove the hold on his account, he immediately retaliated by bringing suit and – incredibly – demanding that Linden refund him his “expectation interest in the profit” he hoped to gain by reselling the fraudulently-purchased ‘virtual land.’”

Use of the exploit not only harmed Linden Lab, but Second Life Residents as well, by disrupting the in-world economy. If those who used the exploit had succeeded, not only would have they profited unfairly, but they also could have sold their parcels at below-market prices and still made a profit, putting legitimate sellers at a disadvantage.

Consistent with the goals of its Community Standards and the provisions of its Terms of Service, Second Life is designed to be a safe environment where users can express themselves, be creative, and develop safe and legitimate relationships and businesses. Mr. Bragg’s use of the exploit was contrary to the goals of the Community Standards and violated the Terms of Service.

How was Linden really harmed by what Bragg did?

What Bragg did undermined the integrity of the Second Life economy. Other Residents reasonably expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently. The use of the exploit undermines that expectation, and causes loss of good will among Residents. In addition, Linden was required to spend time and resources investigating and addressing the scheme, and the federal and California computer fraud laws provide that companies who are the victims of schemes like this are entitled to recover damages for those kinds of losses.

What about Bragg’s claim that Linden “stole” his money and his virtual property?

In fact, the money that was in his account at the time it was suspended is still there. Linden was obliged to mitigate any losses resulting from Bragg’s suspension, so instead of leaving Bragg’s “virtual land” in his account and causing him to incur monthly land use fees (or “tier charges”), Linden recovered it and auctioned it off to other users, in accordance with the Terms of Service. Now that it has been determined that the case will be decided in federal court rather than in arbitration, Linden has asked the court to hold the funds that were in Bragg’s account at the time it was suspended and the proceeds from the sale of the “virtual land” in that account, pending resolution of the dispute.

Why didn’t Linden return Bragg’s money and the proceeds from the sale of his property when he was suspended?

Bragg filed suit the very day after his account was suspended due to the irregular auction activity in his account. At that point the parties were in a legal dispute. The court will decide what happens to the money and the proceeds.

Because this dispute is still in progress, we will be offering no further comments at this time.

About Robin Linden

Be the Change. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ---Mahatma Gandhi
This entry was posted in Announcements & News, Community. Bookmark the permalink.

124 Responses to Linden Lab Files Response to Complaint

  1. Davina Glitter says:

    Are auctions still suspended? Will people who purchased land from this person have it repossessed?

  2. The XO says:

    Fraud is fraud no matter if it’s “virtual” fraud or not. This was more than virtual fraud – it actually could/would earn/generate real RL revenue.

    Mr Bragg should be gracious and accept the fact he got caught with his fingers in the cookie jar and leave it at that! Looks like his “virtual” greed knows no limits here!

    Well done LL – another leech kicked off the grid! You got my vote! Allowing this to continue would have been insane, and the right course of action was taken. What he did was clearly wrong, with no shadow of a doubt.

  3. nimrod yaffle says:

    Didn’t the judge decide the SL TOS was ‘Unconscionable?’

    http://pblog.bna.com/techlaw/2007/06/arbitration_cla.html

  4. Serene Miles says:

    Interesting, however the wisdom of airing the allegations in a public manner strikes me as slightly questionable.

    I’m sure the courts will decide fairly.

  5. Ricky Zamboni says:

    I think it’s useful to point out that the masterful exploit Bragg used consisted of looking up the publicly-available auction ID on the SL world map, appending that to the auction URL, and being presented with a publicly-available auction on LL’s own servers.

    What a criminal genius.

  6. Oz Spade says:

    No further comments, but I can comment… hur?

    I’m not saying Linden or Bragg is right or wrong, but this is notably and inevitably one-sided in Linden Lab’s interest. Duh, right?

    One question that should have been there with the three others is “Why does the TOS repeat that things such as Land have no real value yet the marketing department and ‘high ups’ of the company constantly promote how Land and such CAN get you tremendous amounts of money and therefore are of value?”

    The answer is obvious. But you can’t have your cake both ways fellas.

    Any comment on the Judge’s comment of the TOS being unfairly one sided as well? 🙂

  7. Ricky Zamboni says:

    “What Bragg did undermined the integrity of the Second Life economy. Other Residents reasonably expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently.”

    One word:
    Landbots

  8. Buster McNutt says:

    Leave to a lawyer to try to argue ‘stealing’ should be ok because he was ‘able’ to do it…..

    I hope the courts give Bragg the death penelty, or at least order him to be a furry for 10 years.

  9. Zoraya Damone says:

    Laufs…. I have seen alot of ppls accounts poof and no refund months later so this shocks me not at all. Good for him maybe he will atleast get back what he put in. But I also would like to say TY LL for removing SCUM. 🙂

  10. Shawn Ormsby says:

    It says he’s an attorney, what are those people doing in SL in the first place.

  11. ari blackthorne says:

    “Bragg filed suit the very day after his account was suspended due to the irregular auction activity in his account. At that point the parties were in a legal dispute. The court will decide what happens to the money and the proceeds.

    Because this dispute is still in progress, we will be offering no further comments at this time.”

    Go go Lindenonians. I with you on this one. lawyers who pull this crapola are seriously disingenuous. Hope his clients all find out what kind of sleazebag this guy is.

  12. “What Bragg did undermined the integrity of the Second Life economy. Other Residents reasonably expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently.”

    Is this a statement that Linden Labs believes a region on the mainland costs US$675 less to set up than a region in a private estate, and that Linden Labs believes a mainland region is worth up to US$100 a month less than a region in a private estate?

  13. Pie Psaltery says:

    I agree that what Bragg did was wrong, but I also understand that this case has farther reaching implications for not only Linden Labs, but for Terms of Services in many instances. It should be very interesting to see where this all goes, since the motion for a mistrial has already been dismissed (I think the judge is enjoying the media coverage). Even if Linden Labs wins this case, which it probably will, I hope it changes the way we have to continually agree to TOS changes, or risk losing our assets in-world.

    I did find this line from the post here really amusing however:
    “Residents reasonably expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently”
    Come on guys, no one expects anything “will work fairly and transparently” from Linden Labs anymore.

  14. Mako Mabellon says:

    You say that, “in fact, the money that was in his account at the time it was suspended is still there.” Could you please clarify one thing – if Bragg had not filed a lawsuit against you, would Linden Labs have returned the funds contained in his account?

  15. Smiley Barry says:

    Trouble in paradise ‘^_^

  16. Patrick Morris says:

    Read 2.6 of the TOS, this guy doesn’t have a case.

    But Linden can’t use the “Well He Haxorzed our serverez!1!” Defense either, because that isn’t/wasn’t listed in the TOS…

    Right now you’re both at a stalemate, Although Personally I think Bragg is a Dick.

  17. Purple Ryder says:

    The biggest fraud being committed by Second Life is the fraudulent Support system. This is fraud–considering we’re being forced to pay for this non-service, useless Knowledge Base/Solution Finder entries and staff whose only reply is: “We’re working on it.”

  18. Aeper Jie says:

    dang LL thats got to mess up the Main Grid Money System. But Lucky for us Teens. We dont even have one, unless you count the Selling of Nukes,Guns, and other army junk.

  19. Reg Mannonen says:

    Braggs a scumbag. An attorney who uses the law for his own gains and has little respect.

    Too bad he doesn’t practise in my state, i’d file a complaint with the bar.

  20. Of course the only interesting part of this suit is the part where the Second Life Terms of Service were deemed unconscionable, potentially a big blow to click-wrap licensing in general. Linden Labs manages to stay in the limelight one way or another these days :-).

  21. Banett Carter says:

    I dont understand how Bragg got access to the auction system, did he hack it? We would love to stay informed on how the case goes

  22. oh, how torn I am. On the one side, I agree with the judge on the points of the TOS. most definately I think the current TOS is a pile of junk.

    However, to have it pointed out by a complete scumbag that attempted to thwart the system of SL and now the system of (albeit, shabby) american justice has got to be a bit more than a thorn in LLs side (maybe as bad as a javelin).

    I sorta hope LL learns the lessons about its TOS, but I also hope this pile of poo doesnt get more than a few dollars to compensate his PROVEN costs. I hope LL has some good lawyers, that part about ‘no other comparable online service’ will be a tough one.

  23. But the land glitches being complained of where people other than Linden Lab lose gobs of money is… OK?

    It might be a good community building exercise to assist residents who encounter these problems instead of blatantly disregarding the issue or labeling it ‘human error’. If it is good for Linden Lab, it should be good for the community… landbots, anyone?

  24. Cocomo Munro says:

    omg… you are taking comments on this? wtf?

  25. Taft Worsley says:

    Complaint Against the Gods

    *Some thoughts on the case Bragg v. Linden Lab*

    In May 2005, an American lawyer called Marc Bragg – acting on his own behalf – filed suit against Second Life’s creators: Linden Lab.

    His complaint was submitted to the District Justice Court of West Chester County in Pennsylvania: a local judicial body well down the pecking order in the US legal system. However, the issues his case raises are not only essential to anyone who conducts business in Second Life, they are also of such an inherently intriguing nature this action has been reported widely in the media outside the Second Life community.

    Indeed, so well has it been publicised, it is likely that many of our readers will already be familiar with the case, so I will plead their patience while I provide the briefest outline for those new to it.

    Bragg was an bullish buyer of Second Life real estate, and had accumulated considerable land and other property holdings within the virtual world: to a value of some thousands of US dollars. There seems to be no contention that these were obtained entirely legitimately, even from Linden Lab.

    However, through the familiarity he acquired with the land auction process, he discovered a technique for manipulating the URL’s used by Second Life which allowed him to buy property which was scheduled, but not yet available, for auction. By doing so, he naturally avoided the competition of other buyers and was therefore able to buy at far lower price: L$300 as opposed to a probable L$1000 or so.

    When Linden Lab discovered what he had done, their action was swift and comprehensive. Not merely was the sale disallowed, but Bragg’s entire portfolio was confiscated, including all his legitimately bought property, and cash holdings he held for trading. Bragg himself was then permanently excluded from Second Life. In his suit, he claims that the total loss to him exceeded US$8000.

    As such cases do, it has dragged on, and I shall not document the various legal twists since the case was filed. However, Bragg has shown remarkable persistence, and the case was recently refiled: so it remains live and unresolved.

    The substantial media interest is interesting in itself. It has been common where advances in technologies, and applications of existing technologies, have created situations which the law did not anticipate, and existing social consesus does not cover.

    More simply, new things bring new headaches, and Second Life is very much a new thing. What is a virtual world? Can you really own virtual land? Are you simply playing a very fancy game of Monopoly, or will existing property law, or even criminal law, eventually be extended to include things which “exist” in Second Life?

    Such questions have fascinated many, and the delight of court cases is that they promise to provide some kind of definitive answers. The media has therefore keenly awaited the first legal dispute which might create significant precedent.

    However, I feel they are likely to be disappointed here. While much of the comment around this case has indeed wrestled with the true nature of Second Life and its virtual land and property, the central questions on which the case are likely to be decided are different.

    While the papers may not get to print their “Judge Says Virtual Reality is Real” headlines, those conducting business in Second Life should nevertheless take a keen interest in this case: because the questions which are more likely to be settled are still of the highest importance.

    At first glance, the issue might seem simple. After all, each resident agrees to the Second Life “Terms of Service” or TOS. The whole point of any TOS agreement is to clearly define the rights of a supplier and their customer. They publish it, you read it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t buy. If you *do* buy, you’ve accepted that agreement, so it is legitimate to use it to settle any dispute. In this case, the TOS gives Linden Lab *extremely* wide discretionary powers. Should the case be settled this way, it is almost certain Linden Lab will win.

    Indeed, some commentators have said that this is exactly what will and should happen. In plonking tones they have declared that the whole case is bogus, that the TOS clearly lays out Linden Lab’s rights, they are entirely within them, and that all else is publicity seeking nonsense.

    However superficially simple and persuasive such an argument would appear, I think it is naive. I do not know how many Second Lifers have read the TOS, but I would be surprised if it were even 5% of them. Most will simply press the invitingly large “Join Second Life” button, log on, tick the “yeah I’ve read it” box, and start designing their athletically and cosmetically perfect bodies.

    But even those who have read the TOS are unlikely to be lawyers, and may miss things. What if, buried somewhere in there, the TOS said “Linden Lab reserve the right to draw random amounts of money from your credit card whenever they feel like it”? Once they’d maxed out your card, would you shrug and say “oh well, they were within the rules of the TOS?”.

    This is nonsense, and the US, like most developed countries, has various laws which essentially ensure that contracts are broadly *fair*. Now, this does not mean that they want to second guess every agreement ever made. If you rent a house for US$2,000 a month, and then discover that the neighbours rent theirs from the same landlord for only US$1,500, you might feel it is unfair, but the courts are unlikely to care. The unfairness needs to be both fundamental and gross before they will intervene.

    Looked at this way, Bragg has something of a case. Linden Lab could have restricted themselves to reversing the dubious sale, slapping Bragg on the wrist, and leaving it at that. Instead, they wiped him out. This is *arguably* disproportionate, and even if the TOS nominally gives them the right to behave this way, if a court found it to be grossly unfair, Bragg might win some or all of his losses back.

    Bragg’s other argument essentially concerns the way in which a product or service is described before sale. Once again, you cannot simply lie through your teeth during the sales process, and then hide behind a piece of paper you have your customer sign on completion.

    Imagine this. You enter a car showroom. A smooth looking salesman directs you to his latest model, the fabulous “No Gas Car”. He explains, in tones of sober sincerity, that this car runs entirely without fuel. You are astounded, but through surreal optimism, or a bad hangover, agree to sign some papers and hand over US$20,000. When the car is delivered to your home, you excitedly climb in and turn the ignition key, only to find that nothing happens. A mechanic examines the car and explains the problem.

    The car has no engine.

    You read your copy of the papers you signed, and read “I understand that the No Gas Car is a specialist vehicle only designed to run downhill. Instructions: Release the handbrake. Happy rolling.”

    Should the world contain sufficient cretins to make such deception worthwhile (and the money poored into “Perpetual Motion Machines” over the years suggests that it just might) you can bet the law would shut it down. Laws covering the advertisement and descripton of goods for sale ensure that you cannot say one thing, provide another, and hide behind an “agreement”: or a TOS.

    The “No Gas Car” wouldn’t be too tough for a judge to decide about. The main delay would be the time it took him to finish laughing. Naturally, I am not suggesting that Linden Lab have made anywhere near so gross a misrepresentation. Most of their customers are clearly happy. However, the question remains, are they guilty of misrepresentation at all, and if so, is it sufficiently serious to justify Bragg’s argument?

    This is interesting, because there can be no question that in their description of Second Life, Linden Lab give heavy prominence to the idea that you can, indeed, *own* both what you buy and what you make in that “virtual world”. Their page “What is Second Life?” begins…

    “Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents.”

    …and continues…

    “You’ll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow residents. Because residents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.”

    These are not carefully selected examples. The Second Life promotional material simply drips with such promises. At first sight, Bragg would seem to have at least an argument that such claims were not compatible with the confiscation of things he was promised “rights” to and “ownership” of.

    And this is where the importance of the case really lies to those who plan to do business in Second Life. In practical terms, Linden Lab is not a government, it is a God. No government can affect the very nature and existence of every object within the land they govern, but Linden Lab can.

    Only three things protect the Second Lifer:

    1. The TOS: however, even a brief reading reveals how few limits Linden Lab place on themselves in this document.

    2. Fair contract and description law: the very law on which Bragg’s case probably depends.

    3. Linden Lab’s natural self-interest in not wishing to alienate possible future customers.

    This last factor may prove decisive. Bragg has worked hard to publicise his case, doubtless with this in mind. Essentially, even if Linden Lab feels comfortable that they will win, if they do so by loudly broadcasting the argument that they have a *right* to remove even legitimately obtained holdings within Second Life, they may think again. Such an argument might win them their case at the cost of losing them customers.

    So far, Linden Lab seem to have been quite thick skinned on this score. With the benefit of hindsight, they might have shown a little more nous to quickly agree some modest settlement with Bragg, as it would certainly have saved them many articles like this one which at least throw doubt on their complete fairness. And, of course, they may yet do this: though doubtless the settlement Bragg would accept has gone up with the cost of time and money he has put into his case.

    In the meantime, those doing business in Second Life would be well advised to keep their profile low and their noses clean: and it may have been for this purpose, “pour encourager les autres”, that Linden Lab decided to fight and not settle.

  26. Echo Kinsella says:

    Last evening a friend on mine in game once again lost a significant amount of inventory. She is fed up as are several of us. She contacted a Linden asking for reimbursement. Of course we all know they won’t do that. So she is gathering data and getting an attorney to look into this. About 2 hours later she was im’d by a Linden stating that her conversation earlier with the Linden and the one currently going on could not be used in a court case and she was not to copy it and to do so would result in her being banned. Essentially they threatened her.

  27. Athena Whizenhunt says:

    ha!Lawyers!

  28. Daring Petrichor says:

    Had you (LL) taken steps to stop bots from operating in SL, you wouldnt be in this mess.

  29. I don’t see why the claim has taken any further then this… If it was wrongfully purchased it should have ended here.. good luck with this 😦

  30. Oz Spade says:

    @7, I thought the exact same thing and agree. If LL is going to get into “integrity of the SL Economy”, land sales haven’t had Integrity in 3 years. It’s all a ridiculous joke now. It’s sad when waiting for Land Bots to swoop in has become a game. This system is not working.

    Instead of having front up “public” sales (i.e. allowing anyone to purchase a parcel of land for x), why not have public sale parcels go up for an auction instead? Then the market will *really* be bearing what people are willing to pay instead of this inflated and scavenged bullshit. When LL introduced the auction system for themselves, residents were supposed to be able to post land as well, which would have balanced things out from the start.

    But of course that’s totally off-topic from this whole issue. 🙂

  31. Ann Otoole says:

    so will Linden Research aggressively pursue and recover all land acquired through use of so-called “land bots”?

    and even further go after all persons engaging in any form of deception for profit? (selling textures without permission, selling texture UUIDs without permission, making texture UUIDs available at no cost without permission from the texture originators, etc.)

  32. Kahni Poitier says:

    No wonder I hate lawyers. Bragg is scum.

  33. barney says:

    Right on, Nobody. I think it’s a little bit hypocritic to talk about the losses for LL – while they could regain them all by just taking the sims and auctioning them off – while people bitten by landbots still have no way of recourse for that. There hasn’t even been an open word on landbots from LL, despite the fact that their whole purpose is to get one up on other residents and to distort the economy to the benefit of the landbot operators.

  34. I’m happy to just watch this progress. Nothing here. Move along.

  35. Itazura Radio says:

    Virtual land has a value, but no intrinsic value. Like anything it is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Have you tried to sell you Beanie Baby collection for $$$$$$ lately?

    In fact, nothing you ‘own’ in SL has any intrinsic value, and I’m pretty sure most people know that it could all go poof tomorrow and you’d have no recourse. That’s the TOS you agreed to. If you didn’t read it before, read it now. If it’s not to your liking, sell your stuff, cash out your L$ and have a nice day. What can I say?

    No one said Bragg was a brilliant cheat, but he was still a cheat. Unfortunately landbots (as much as I hate them) rely on exploiting the stupidity of people, not the system itself, so it’s not quite the same.

    I’m really hoping this scumbag doesn’t win. If he does and the court rules he has to be compensated for his lost Beanie Babies… uh, I mean virtual land… you’ll see a rash of people trying to get compensated for everything from lost wages from camping chairs to missing naughty bits.

    If that happens, SL will close up shop in a heartbeat and declare bankruptcy. There is NO WAY POSSIBLE they can survive. They will suffer Death of a 1000 Lost Inventories and then it all really WILL go poof… for everyone.

  36. Siyuri Watanabe says:

    Im From the Philadelphia Delaware County/Chester County area, and I would have to say neither none of the parties are right in this case. Had Linden Labs took better steps on stopping bots from operating in SL (what#24 said) and the other from operating money making schemes that is ALL overi in world you would not be in this mess.

    Also residents have had many security issues and that bugs within the system has resulted in money lost, time etc…

    I would not be surprised if Linden Lab has to repay restitution and/or involving the residents that bought the auctioned land.

    Regardless; Linden Lab needs to use this as a wake up call. Be more vigilant and start repaying lost money and stop threatening residents if they need another party to look into another matter.

    Threatening only makes it worse and you might want to revise your Terms of Service page.

  37. Tegg B says:

    Zoraya Damone Says: Laufs…. I have seen alot of ppls accounts poof and no refund months later so this shocks me not at all. Good for him maybe he will atleast get back what he put in. But I also would like to say TY LL for removing SCUM.

    Difference being this guy also wants the vitual profits lost from his leeching scheme refunded as well.
    It’s lawyers like him that assure their whole industry would never have a good name.

  38. Cat Cotton says:

    :0 I’m stunned that this was posted. Just stunned.

  39. Let me be perfectly clear. This BLOG is up for comment, because in the past week, there is a new initiative at Linden Lab to be OPEN with their Customers and Residents of Second Life.

    To have an OPEN relationship, one must be willing to listen and hear what the other party is saying. Opening the BLOG Comments for every single entry is doing just that; and I think we should all be saying “THANK YOU” for this new attitude.

    Now, that being said, I have ONE small comment about the Bragg case. Can some legal eagle at Linden tell me when a new TOS agreement is going to be written? Having the other tossed in court, or part of it, pretty much make it invalid doesn’t it?

  40. Taft Worsley says:

    Why is LL not held to the standard of other hosting companys – if i build a website and host it on a hosting providers system. Then one day my site just disapears after spending thousands on delevoplment and marketing, Would that service provider, not be responsible for my losses – certainly so. What makes this any different – if i spend 25000L (93$US) on a poker table, and it gets lost in there system, why are they no responsible for my data???

    Philp Rosedale has done serveal interview where he equates this company to a hosting company – well if thats the case they should be responsable for all the data on there systems – wheather its items, land, currency – these losees equate to real money – real data – and real intellictual property – instead they make no conseesion to the users for losess, yet keep lining there pockets monthly with these users fees. Thats crooket business any way you look at it, and as a consumer you have the right to attempt to recover your loses – just as with any other hosting company.

  41. Warda Kawabata says:

    Having read the details of how Bragg obtained the disputed server space, I can’t honestly see how fraud was committed. Typing a website address by hand, though disgustingly primitive, is by no means a criminal (or civil) offence, yet that is all he did, and apparently only by using information that was publicly available.

  42. There’s a huge debate running on the Resident Answers forum about landbots right now . . . if Bragg’s exploit was ‘fraudulent’, what about landbots who buy up land before humans even have a chance to notice it’s for sale?

  43. Itazura Radio says:

    Landbots are different from what this guy was doing. To be taken by a landbot you have to set your land for sale for a ridiculously low price and set it for sale to anyone. YOU have to do that. Just like YOU have to click through the debit permissions on some object that a complete stranger gave you for it to drain your account.

    This guy wasn’t finding ways to use the system. He was finding ways to manipulate the system, bypass it and subvert it.

    Again, I HATE landbots with a passion… but lets not fool ourselves as to who is ultimately responsible here. A landbot can’t “steal” your land anymore than the wind can “steal” your $100 bill you left on the corner of your desk next to the open window.

  44. SqueezeOne Pow says:

    I love it when people form whole opinions and make sweeping statements about a situation of which they have only a cursory knowledge.

    Speaking of, does anyone know where one could actually read the full LL and Bragg statements without commentary?

  45. blazed undercity says:

    TOS for the Win

  46. Mitsuyasi Tiger says:

    wewt, don’t upset or challenge the almighty linden labs or they’ll throw you under the bus on their blog! they are mighty hear them rawr!

    Sarcastically Yours,
    Mitsu =(^^)=

  47. Bragg’s claim about the applicability of real-property laws is, when properly analysed, quite absurd: why should a contract for the provision of computer server capacity and the use of software be fundamentally different in character to any other such contract merely because the thing that the servers are doing is simulating something (land and chattels) which, if real, would have specific sorts of legal rights attached to it? The claim is as absurd as one that those who play online flight simulators are required to hold pilots’ licences.

  48. Itazura Radio says:

    *bangs on table*

    People people people…. TWO things.

    1. He didn’t use landbots. Landbots came after the client was open sourced. This case happened well over a year ago.

    2. LL will never compensate you for lost inventory not because they don’t want to. They won’t because they can’t. It would break them.

  49. Cocoanut Koala says:

    “Other Residents reasonably expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently. The use of the exploit undermines that expectation, and causes loss of good will among Residents.”

    Now do something about the landbots. Like outlaw them as the exploits they are.

    coco

  50. Darien Caldwell says:

    @40,
    If they would fix their system, they wouldn’t have to compensate anyone.

    As for the lawsuit, I really hope he wins. It’s the only way to get LL to stop misrepresenting their system. Telling people you own land and own the items you make currently is a lie. If we own them, we should be able to be compensated for their loss, and take them with us should we decide to leave SL. Currently neither happens. So either start allowing that, or quit alleging we own anything.

  51. Martini says:

    This is somewhat “Rich”!!!!

    How many people were forced to sell their land at vastly reduced prices because 40 campers in other locations on the sim made it completely useless? How many people complained Directly to LL on numerous occasions and simply got no response or “oh sorry cant help”….That was EXPLOITING a limitation of the software/system to gain unfair advantage……you work it out. Yes deal with an exploiter…but deal with ALL of them, you can’t just pick and choose if you have the rules you know when it suits you. LL’s uneven application of the only for of internal “justice” (in this case you) will lead to more and more of these resentment inducing practices. Typically your chance of seeing any kind of abuse complaint appearing in the Blotter must be akin to the chances of winning the lottery.

    “Mr. Bragg’s use of the exploit was contrary to the goals of the Community Standards……” and so is having a sim wrecked by 40 campers…..namely CS 6….Gonna do anything about that?….

    No, Somehow I dont think you will be.

  52. Misterbear Fapp says:

    Excellent analysis Taft. Also, as Bob Bunderfeld notes above, parts of TOS have been orbited in this proceeding. I’m not sure why Linden Labs felt it necessary to make this post (probably a scare tactic designed by Room 101). It was pointedly one sided and exhibits the narrow field attitude which started this whole mess – that and Mr. Bragg is a lawyer. I suggest that both parties get a spanking and sent to bed without dinner.

  53. I agree with The XO. Fraud is fraud. Finding a loophole and exploiting it for self profit is wrong. And besides, hasn’t he already admitted to what he has done and even bragged about it (no pun intended) on some of the public forums? Sorry. Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200 Linden Dollars! {:o)

  54. Argent Stonecutter says:

    @Warda: you write “Having read the details of how Bragg obtained the disputed server space, I can’t honestly see how fraud was committed. Typing a website address by hand, though disgustingly primitive, is by no means a criminal (or civil) offence, yet that is all he did, and apparently only by using information that was publicly available.”

    A good deal of criminal and fraudulent activity involves taking a series of individual steps that are, by themselves, not illegal. Fo an example that’s easy to understand, albeit one unrelated to this: It’s not against the law to advertise a product for sale. the law doesn’t say you have to have any particular amount of stock of a product on hand. And yet if you deliberately advertise a product knowing you can’t sell it, to entice people into your store and hope they will buy a more expensive one, what you’re doing is “bait and switch”, and you can get in trouble for it.

    I don’t know enough about the bug that allegedly allowed him to buy sims before they officially went on auction to argue about his intent, but you can’t deconstruct the process and say that because none of the individual steps was illegal the whole process was legitimate.

  55. Argent Stonecutter says:

    @Itazuru: you write “Landbots came after the client was open sourced.”

    The first landbots used libsl. They came well before the open source client.

  56. MichaelZ Market says:

    What is a Landbot and how does it work? Never heard the term before in SL

  57. The XO says:

    @ Misterbear Fapp #44:

    LMAO!!! Although I think spanking may fall under the “broadly offensive” banner – so no spanking… but you might be able to take away dinner at least :-p

  58. People like Mr Braggs needs to be hurt .. (specially buy the people he scammed)

  59. Jeremy Duport says:

    “Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents.”

    …and continues…

    “You’ll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow residents. Because residents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.”

    These are not carefully selected examples. The Second Life promotional material simply drips with such promises. At first sight, Bragg would seem to have at least an argument that such claims were not compatible with the confiscation of things he was promised “rights” to and “ownership” of.
    ———————————-

    I would note that your example actually takes into account objects and original created items. Not land. Land is the property of LL, and any and all land “owned” by users of the service is RENTED from LL. If you steal from your landlord and don’t pay the rent, as it were, you’re very likely to get kicked out – whether you payed a month’s rent last year or not.

    Think about it.

  60. As to the suggestion that the *contract* between LL and Bragg is capable of being a basis upon which to claim that Bragg has a *property* (rather than merely a contractual) right to the “land” in question, the answer is simple: people cannot contract to create entirely new kinds of property rights, only to transfer existing property rights. That is the numerus clausus principle.

  61. Nevera Stooge says:

    Has anyone seen the report that Congress may be, or is, looking into the possibility of TAXING virtual holdings?

    Things get complicated when attorneys and the government get involved…

  62. Carl Metropolitan says:

    It strikes me that Linden Lab was in much the same position in regards to Marc Bragg, as SL resident who mistakenly priced their land for 1L$ hoping to sell it to their friend standing by only to have that land grabbed by a landbot. In both cases, the sellers depended on the obscurity of the transaction to allow them to make the sale as they intended. In both cases, the buyer found an opprotunity to buy land at a price vastly below market, due to the seller’s ill-advised dependence on “security through obscurity” and grabbed it. The only difference is that Linden Lab has the ability to reverse the transaction with Marc Bragg and did so. While in the case of land grabbed by landbots, Linden Lab cannot reverse the transaction.

    Wait? You mean they do have the ability to reverse lanbot transactions? But–that would mean they were holding Marc Bragg to a diffrerent standard than they do the host of landbot operators in SL.

    They wouldn’t do that, would they?

  63. Nulflux Negulesco says:

    In my opinion, when LL bans an account without proof of fraudulent activity they should be required to convert that accounts Linden Dollar balance to a US balance transferrable from the SecondLife website. In addition, they should be required to refund any pre-paid premium membership fees with a pro-rated schedule.

    It is not reasonable for a company to hide behind their TOS while silently stealing the money of those who have been banned. There are many cases when someone may have been banned that did not in any way fraudulently obtain money.

    It is very deceptive for a company to provide the illusion of ownership of virtual property and items, without providing the users a safe local backup mechanism for all of their purchased / created in-world objects. In effect, YOU do not own ANYTHING in SecondLife, it is all property of Linden Labs. That is contrary to all the marketing material Linden Labs has produced, claiming resident ownership. If a refund and backup system were in place, this probably never would have went to court.

    I am not taking sides on this case but I am not happy with the SecondLife TOS or the way Linden Labs handles terminated accounts. In defense of Mr. Braggs, if he actually had that much money in his account he has grounds for court action. Let me ask you this: How many people/companies would get away with STEALING $8000USD from your account? I believe in EVERY state that would be a felony case.

    For those of you applauding LL’s stance on this issue, I want you to take a serious look at your account balance and the value of items in your inventory. What would you do if for some arbitrary reason, and without a court order, all of it was taken away?

  64. Wrath says:

    I appreciate the fact Linden posted “anything” regarding this suit, I don’t mind the disclosure on their part at all.

    As much as landbots suck, they are nothing compared to this case – wherein land was purchased “before” it was even made available for auction for others to buy, as was the intent.

    Pretty underhanded, no matter what the TOS says.

  65. Nulflux Negulesco says:

    # 48 I would note that your example actually takes into account objects and original created items. Not land. Land is the property of LL, and any and all land “owned” by users of the service is RENTED from LL. If you steal from your landlord and don’t pay the rent, as it were, you’re very likely to get kicked out – whether you payed a month’s rent last year or not.
    Think about it.
    —————————————————————————–
    Yes I am thinking about it and if you are using that as an example, LL would have no right banning you from your land without a legal eviction order, signed by a judge.

  66. Aodhan McDunnough says:

    A lot of people are ignoring something. This is not about Linden’s support nor property ownership. Bragg, through an exploit, grabbed land that was slated for auction BEFORE they went up for auction.

    Regardless of all other circumstances and all complaints about Linden support Bragg’s actions were blatantly against the TOS, ROC, and all explicitly stated procedures by which the world is supposed to operate. His actions hurt both Lindens and us.

  67. Tony says:

    Ironic that you take no action against land bots but will take action against Bragg. Show some integrity by acting against land bots and then you’ll get my sympathy in the Bragg case, but whilst you allow land bots to ruin the economy, your words are empty. Bragg is a land bot.

  68. Singular Seoul says:

    Contempt of court: publication of material deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial.

  69. Jazzman Jibilla says:

    Not too long ago in the US if somebody cheated at the card table you just shot them.

    hmmmm….not too long ago…hmmmm….

  70. Dominick Barnosa says:

    Whatever happened to just chasing ambulances for a living ???

  71. Sling Trebuchet says:

    Bragg is a crook. He took advantage of a ‘mistake’ that LL made in setting up their auctions and bouhgt land at an unreasonable price.

    A landbot that takes advantage of a mistake that a resident makes in setting up a sale and buys land at an unreasonable price is equally a crook.

    What a pity that LL only get upset when it happens to them.

  72. Zulqadi Saarinen says:

    TREAD SOFTLY, BECAUSE YOU TREAD ON MY DREAMS

    Honestly speaking, I am very much confused at this point as to who I want to win. Although a part of my heart goes for LL but on the other hand I also dread that what will entail if Lindens win in it. WHY? Because of Lindens’ heavy handedness that I had been victim of in the past. before I say any further, let me make it clear that I love Second Life and hate scums like Bragg who damage it in anyway possible. HOWEVER, once a Linden ( I won’t mention name) just threw my whole shop and all the build into my inventory just because she/he got annoyed in a dispute in which I was completely within my rights acting legitimately in every sense of the word. Since that day, I could never feel same. That promise that “Resident’s build and own” it was severely shaken in me. If my whole “world” can be swept away without even a single notice served to me on any possible issue, then what’s mine? Especially when I consider myself to be one of those who are adding value to SL through their time energy money and creativity.

    So, now when I see that case of Bragg vs. LL, a part of my heart says, even though he is a Scum, let him be winner so I could regain some of my assurance and control back from Lindens.

    In it , there is a lesson for Lindens. You need to be balanced. “Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams”.

    I know most people who haven’t had experience of Linden heavy handedness, can’t or wont understand the significance of what I am saying. But, at this point, I honestly think, that if that SCUMBRAGG wins in the court, it is going to be in the best interest of residents in the long run. Unless, off course, there is some self criticism starts taking place in LL and they set a proper code of conduct for themselves and a procedural route to settle disputes with residents. Those sweeping powers are not a good promise for residents.

    All the best.

  73. sichel seifert says:

    If that man tried to exploit the auction system, that has nothing to do with LL mistakes or virtual land ownership (which is, btw, a not easy law issue), that has to do with fraud or acting in bad faith. So, I hope LL will succeed to have a good Courrt decision on that!!!

  74. Very Disappointed says:

    Linden Labs is taking money just away from avatars and closing them without any reason or give such reason, that are proven to be false. I hope that the court will decide to correct Linden labs TOS, that consider only the Linden Labs part and has nothing to do with fairness.

    I’m very glad that Mr. Bragg is one who is fighting against this very unfair company, which is just making things that are illegal in the real world and nobody can do against that at the moment.

  75. Dirk Felix says:

    It’s interesting that LL is protecting itself from Fraud of users within the enviroment. Do you think they will do the same for member to member fraud? This occurs often, with no recourse. I would like to same right to go after blantant fraud that will in the end is no less a crime than this.

    LL VP of Marketing stated that Second Life is not a game. If it’s trule not a game as stated with real world commerce, I want the same rights to litagation.

  76. kath McGill says:

    YO! KIDS!

    1. Linden labs owns SL.
    it is *Their* sand box.

    2. Kids who take toys from others in the sand box can get kicked out of said sandbox at a parents discression.

    3. its all particals.

    4. While we dont have all of the information like the movie HOODWINKED there are many sides to this story.

    5. After seeing how the media handled the issues on ABC island, you have to learn how to dismiss 99 percent of what is said in the press and go with your gut. What ever you find in the press regarding this case is biased.

    6, any one can request the transcripts of a court case. if you want to judge what happened, do so.

    7.In the case that was suggested a linden employee threatened a user, that would more a case of the trade commision and the FCC, however, there would have to be substantial proof on both sides.

    Enough of the he said / He said…

    Can you fix my inventory so I can use note cards please???

    TYVM
    Kath

  77. Blinders Off says:

    Whether such was done by exploit of code or exploit of the TOS, massive land theft and fraud has long been a problem on Second Life. Groups have had lands stolen by dishonest officers. Land theft occurs on a regular basis, and Linden Lab does nothing about such things.

    I have no opinion as to who is right or wrong in this. I have no comment to make in this regard. But I will say one thing: this is likely not the last major lawsuit that Linden Lab will ever face. To be truthful, it surprises me they have not been hit with more.

    They have long held the policy of “user privacy”, refusing to publish names in the police blotter when resolving issues. Their TOS forbids any revelation of user identity or information. Yet they publicly publish this person’s name and avatar name, as well as this case. It seems Linden Lab’s TOS only goes as far as they wish it to go, and only when it serves their interests. I wonder why they felt it proper to publicly post this information on their blog, and consider such to be not only against their TOS, but in bad taste.

    Linden Lab has long held no concern for their clients in ethical and legal issues. I surely have no concern for Linden Lab in the same boat.

  78. Montana Corleone says:

    Well, I don’t like cheats and land barons generally, but I can’t say that if that was all Bragg did it was really bad, somewhat stupid of Linden to leave a great loophole like that.

    And I agree about the bots, that’s just as fraudulent and yet LL do nothing. I think they are sailing very close to the wind by adding comments here rather than just a statement. Very close to contempt of court and imbalancing a sub judice process. Not that I think this blog is the right place, but if they want views and comments in the new open world, they’ll get ’em.

    For those who think land has no intrinsic value, well think again. You are buying or renting server space, which is a tangible good with real value. And that would follow on Linden’s own argument that they are an ISP, so they are not responsible for the content. Too often Linden wants to have their cake and eat it too. At least the judge has already made one comment on that and the very unfair one sided ToS, which it seems they now change every week. They should number and date the versions on the web site.

    And lastly, what about people buying Lindens on eBay in good faith, that turn out to have been bought with a fraudulent cc? While losing those Lindens is fair enough, they then impose huge penalties on an innocent party for doing so. What gives them the right to do that?

    Really, as long as LL have such cruddy databases that constantly lose inventory that at the end of the day cost real money, I can’t see how they expect people to have sympathy for them. If you put your house contents into stirage, and the storers lost some of it, you’d make a claim right, and be able to do so legally. Please explain the difference to me here, when real money has been used?

  79. I think ultimately Mr. Bragg will be entitled to his lawfully gained assets, but of course not the ones obtained the improper way. I think this will force LL to write its TOS and *maybe* take a look at landbots. I’m not holding my breath though.

  80. Tony says:

    I largely agree with Montana Corleone, when residents have a complaint, when residents are having their economy ruined by bots or group finance issues, LL turn a blind eye. When residents name and shame, they face a ban but yet when it happens to LL, they are victims, they can name and shame.

    The hypocrisy is staggering, your residents have been complaining about devious practices, you’ve shrugged your shoulders, now you know how we feel you bleat about it. If you won’t at the very least ban Land bots then you have no room for complaint about people finding exploits.

  81. Flavorless Flan says:

    Agreeing to the TOS is like signing up for a credit card. How many of us really read the fine print? Not reading isnt an excuse…its ignorance, and as far as i know ignorance doesnt hold up in a court of law.

    Example:

    I fill out an application for a credit card, sign my name and send it in to the company. The application said 1.2% interest, but the fine print (i didnt take the time to read) said that if i am just a day late with my monthly payment my interest would go up to 18.0%.

    Am i going to get my 1.2% interest back if i am a day late with my payment? NO!!!! That has been proven! No court of law is going to say “well he didnt read the contract so we are ruling in his favor”.

    My point is we all have the opportunity to READ the TOS and have a CHOICE to AGREE or DISAGREE with it.

    Like it or not that is the way it is. I support LL all the way.

  82. LeVey Palou says:

    I AM A PASSENGER ON THE HINDENBERG AND I SMELL SMOKE…..DOES ANYBODY ELSE SMELL SMOKE?

    BURN, BABY BURN!

    I really hope Bragg wins. If LL wins this their audacity will be unbearable. You think the TOS is stacked against us now? You think LL has turned deaf ears to your legitimate complaints and concerns?

    Just you wait……..

    What was meant to be an Utopian dream is nothing more than virtual communism.

    I will tell you this: whether Bragg wins or loses this is but the first of many suits that are coming against LL and those of us who stick around will witness the death of LL.

    Wait til the big named companies start to see a loss in profit in a world where they were promised green pastures……

  83. Lex Neva says:

    I’m probably talking to myself here, since no one reads down this far, but about the TOS…

    The SL TOS was not “thrown out in court”. Merely the binding arbitration clause was thrown out, which prevented Bragg’s case from being dismissed.

  84. Blinders Off says:

    Sling Trebuchet said: “What a pity that LL only get upset when it happens to them.”

    Dirk Felix said: “It’s interesting that LL is protecting itself from Fraud of users within the enviroment. Do you think they will do the same for member to member fraud? This occurs often, with no recourse.”

    Nulflux Negulesco said: “I want you to take a serious look at your account balance and the value of items in your inventory. What would you do if for some arbitrary reason, and without a court order, all of it was taken away?”

    Carl Metropolitan said: “Wait? You mean they do have the ability to reverse lanbot transactions? But–that would mean they were holding Marc Bragg to a diffrerent standard than they do the host of landbot operators in SL. They wouldn’t do that, would they?”

    Misterbear Fapp said: ” parts of TOS have been orbited in this proceeding. I’m not sure why Linden Labs felt it necessary to make this post”

    Martini said: “Yes deal with an exploiter…but deal with ALL of them, you can’t just pick and choose if you have the rules you know when it suits you. LL’s uneven application of the only for of internal “justice” (in this case you) will lead to more and more of these resentment inducing practices.”

    Ashcroft Burnham said: “LL will never compensate you for lost inventory not because they don’t want to. They won’t because they can’t. It would break them.”

    Ann Otoole said: “so will Linden Research aggressively pursue and recover all land acquired through use of so-called “land bots”? and even further go after all persons engaging in any form of deception for profit?”

    Echo Kinsella said: “Last evening a friend on mine in game once again lost a significant amount of inventory. She is fed up as are several of us. She contacted a Linden asking for reimbursement. Of course we all know they won’t do that. So she is gathering data and getting an attorney to look into this. About 2 hours later she was im’d by a Linden stating that her conversation earlier with the Linden and the one currently going on could not be used in a court case and she was not to copy it and to do so would result in her being banned. Essentially they threatened her.”

    Pie Psaltery said: “Even if Linden Labs wins this case, which it probably will, I hope it changes the way we have to continually agree to TOS changes, or risk losing our assets in-world.”

    Cat Cotton said: “:0 I’m stunned that this was posted. Just stunned.”

    Blinders Off says: Right on the button, all of you. And in regard to the TOS: considering the way it is written, and the point Pie Psaltery brought up, it would not seem difficult for a competent attorney to have that document thrown out of court. It is coersion: you agree to our new, arbitrary TOS rules or we will no longer let you on this system. That one is just begging to be destroyed in court.

    Whether this current case is won or not, sooner or later someone will file a big one, they WILL win, and LL will likely be in a heap o’ trouble. That’s what happens when you fail to support your customers.

  85. What the Federal Judge said in his initial ruling was that the clause in the TOS that required Bragg to submit his claim to arbitration in California, with an arbitrator of Linden Lab’s choice, at his own expense was “unconscionable” given that Linden Lab reserved for itself multiple alternatives. He did not comment on the merits of the underlying case. The effect of his ruling was to permit the case to go forward in the US Federal Court rather than by arbitration. You can read the entire opinion at http://pub.bna.com/eclr/064925_053007.pdf.

    Interestingly enough, the Judge did comment on Mr. Rosedales repeated public comments to the effect that SL land was indeed private property, that creators did have property rights in it and their cotent on it and that this had real, monetary value. Now they seem to be asserting more-or-less the opposite. So it will be interesting the see what the court thinks of it all. In any case, as has been mentioned, this case has very broad implications for virtual property. Timely as the US Congress gets set to begin trying to figure out how to tax it next month.

  86. sirhc DeSanti says:

    First #21 taft – very nice overview. Don’t agree with all the points but a cogent take on the available info.
    Second – kudos to LL for the new openess – it might bite you on the derriere but welcomed anyway.
    Third – landbots. You advertise land for sale to anyone for 1$L and I see it I will buy it. No excuse for stupidity.
    Fourth – my beach cost me $200 for real and thats my risk. Eyes open and all that. Believe me when I say it means a lot to me but I am fully aware of what the Lindens could do at anytime. This isn’t RL.
    Fifth and final – if this is the start of the end of SL then I will just wait till they start up something just as satisfying, just as frustrating and just as inspiring – and I will sign up again.
    Good luck LL

  87. Susanne Pascale says:

    Just my opinion, I think LL will win this one. The only big problem I see forthem right now is the capricious and arbitrary way they enforce their own TOS. Case in point – land bots.

  88. Maggie McArdle says:

    O.o…..hypocrites

  89. Maggie McArdle says:

    maybe i should expand on my post: LL goes out of thier way to ignore in world fraudulant buisness practices that happen every hour on the hour, yet scream “no fair!!” when the same rule is applied to them?

    Hypocrites, is the only word that describes this pile of horse pucks.
    i don’t agree with Bragg’s tactics, but i truly hope He wins, if only it will show LL how they treat those with similar complaints.

  90. Tony says:

    @Suzanne Pascale I’m not sure LL will win, if Bragg is a lawyer he’s likely to see how LL respond to Land Bots, how they allow their residents to be exploited and how LL ignore the issue and use that as ammunition to suggest he merely used a similar exploit.

  91. Raudf Fox says:

    Hmm… I’m going to await the results on this case before making ‘real’ opinion on this. Right now, I’m sitting that fence, because LL needs to do some serious reconsidering on handling ‘appeals’ and in their joke of an idea of arbitration. But I also don’t want Bragg to win, because that isn’t right either.

    Also, if you are going to hold Bragg to that standard, then why not the landbots? If you can’t get rid of them, at least make them less and less useful. For helpful suggestions on how, read the forums. In between the feuds, there are some very good and well thought out ideas.

    I’m very appreciative of the fact that the comments were left open on this. Thank you.

  92. Tony says:

    “But I also don’t want Bragg to win, because that isn’t right either.”

    Agreed Raudf, I don’t want Bragg to win either because I think he exploited the system, I also think Land Bots exploit the system, I think both are wrong.

    What frustrates me is that LL only consider an exploit when it affects them directly, yet indirectly they must know how many residents abhor land bots, how may residents find them offensive, how many residents feel they ruin the economy and experience. Land Bots are no different to Bragg. LL have to make a consistent stand or they have no principles and any decent lawyer will point this out loud and clear.

  93. 3Ring Binder says:

    Ban the land bots. Seems like a simple solution to a lot of frustration by paying customers… an issue that has been unaddressed for quite a lengthy period now.

    I want to get a 2nd and allow it to buy land. WHY would I invest further if the game is so unbalanced. Unfair. Unappreciative of my almighty dollar.

    What’s done is done. So be it. But now you know, LL. Either give EVERYONE landbot capabilities, or none. This isn’t an artistic arguement, like a script or animation, or fashion design. This is a equal and fairness issue. I don’t see why it’s allowed to continue.

  94. Cat Cotton says:

    So what say thy LL about the deceptive practices of land bot owners?

    I would like to think that LL will stand up and ban them now; it is abundantly clear that many many ppl DO see land bot owners in the same light as Mr. Bragg.

    Good for the goose, good for the gander? Or special treatment for special ppl.

    Cat

  95. Darling Brody says:

    Oh come on, let him back into the game. I’ve got a new weapon called a Quantum Core that I have been wanting to test 🙂

    Stealing from LL or other players should always be a bannable offence. When it involves a large amount of money and hacking, it should also be a criminal offence.

    I hope that you bring criminal fraud charges against him in RL. That should really help his legal carreer along.

    DB

  96. hope antonelli says:

    Has anyone seen the report that Congress may be, or is, looking into the possibility of TAXING virtual holdings?

    Things get complicated when attorneys and the government get involved…

    But according to LL the property is not ‘real’ nor is it ‘ours’ so how can we be taxed on it? Maybe THEY should get slammed with a huge tax on the value of property they rent to us? Hrmmm…

  97. Taft Worsley says:

    Why is LL not held to the standard of other hosting companys – if i build a website and host it on a hosting providers system. Then one day my site just disapears after spending thousands on delevoplment and marketing, Would that service provider, not be responsible for my losses – certainly so. What makes this any different – if i spend 25000L (93$US) on a poker table, and it gets lost in there system, why are they no responsible for my data???

    Philp Rosedale has done serveal interview where he equates this company to a hosting company – well if thats the case they should be responsable for all the data on there systems – wheather its items, land, currency – these losees equate to real money – real data – and real intellictual property – instead they make no conseesion to the users for losess, yet keep lining there pockets monthly with these users fees. Thats crooket business any way you look at it, and as a consumer you have the right to attempt to recover your loses – just as with any other hosting company.

  98. Cat Gisel says:

    Yes Hope, and they are looking into legalizing online gambling too in the US.

    I just hope that Linden is able to take a look at some of the other (much larger) fraud schemes that have persisted in SL as well (no I don’t mean gambling)

  99. martini says:

    Sorry to post twice, I know space is limited.

    Yet again, what seemed like a good idea a few hours ago come around and looks like it’s going to bite LL on its soft behind.

    Thanks for posting the “we are trying to protect you by smacking the nasty man’s bottom” but with all due respect all it does is highlight your previous failures to address the other exploits within the world, it doesn’t take one of Thorley’s overly colorful and content confusing graphs to show you that the main topic here is not “How right you are!” but rather “yeah well…….thanks, but in the scheme of things we would much rather you were dealing with a far more widespread and far more damaging exploit that you have CHOSEN to ignore”.

    One day, if you really try hard, listen to people, just put yourself in the position of us…..come out of the village, see how you feel when your HONEST, hard work is undermined by exploits, when your being part of the management is not an option to get things done….just like the rest of us, then maybe you with have some empathy from the crowd here.

    If you won’t do anything about an issue then you are accepting it. I offer you a challenge I offered before. Come next town hall, say you accept camping as a way of forcing people from land, say you accept land bots as an acceptable facet of this game……and having done that, take all that comes with those statements.

    If you don’t think it’s acceptable, then say so. Show some determination, show some responsibility and more importantly show some courage. Make your position clear for your sake and ours.

    Puttin

  100. alexia cournoyer says:

    “What Bragg did undermined the integrity of the Second Life economy. Other Residents reasonably expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently.”

    ahhh yes.. fairly and transparently..

    unless I’m very much mistaken (and I may be as perhaps a miracle has occurred and they’ve worked out a way to increase sim sizes) LL are advertising land for auction and misrepresenting (see, I’m playing nice) the size of the land.

    http://secondlife.com/auctions/

    Thinktank (128,128) Mature 65636m 1d 16h 16m US$2,126.00
    Chromex (128,128) Mature 65636m 1d 16h 19m US$1,751.00

    these have been up for 8 hours now and the sizings haven’t been changed.. and although I haven’t been inworld to check out the actual parcels, I’m pretty sure that they aren’t as big as LL claim..

    I’m sure it’s just a clerical oversight and typical lack of QA, but strictly speaking these auctions should be pulled as they misrepresent the size of the land on offer.. but i bet that all that will happen is that LL will go in and change the size and not advise those who have already placed bids.. too bad for anyone who set up a max bid after calculating the size/cost ratio..

    this doesn’t fall into the category of fraud (well, I don’t believe it’s deliberate) but the way it will be handled won’t come under the heading of fair and transparent I bet..

  101. RobbyRacoon says:

    I look forward to the further evolution of this case, and I expect to be thoroughly entertained by it. I personally believe that Bragg is a thief and and idiot, and doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. Regardless of the larger implications (or lack thereof) in this case, I expect Bragg to get spanked in court.

  102. Chip Midnight says:

    Bragg’s case rests purely on a disingenuous semantic argument – namely the use of the word “own” for what’s actually a rental of server resources. I do think LL should use more appropriate language in their marketing, but it doesn’t serve as an adequate justification for this suit.

    It reminds me very much of the recently “pants” case, in which a judge in the DC area sued his local dry cleaners for $54 million because he insisted the pants they returned to him weren’t the same ones he brought in. Even though they offered to pay him the replacement cost, he refused their offer and sued for an outrageous amount arguing that their posted “satisfaction guaranteed” sign entitled him to make outrageous demands that the cleaners would have to accommodate. He lost his case, of course. The judge in the case ruled that their posted sign didn’t entitle him to anything a reasonable person would know was completely unreasonable. A reasonable person also knows that they are renting land from LL and nothing more.

    To those expressing shock that LL posted this response, I think it’s great that they did. Bragg put out his own press release about it months ago in which he admitted the use of the exploit and also stated that he’d never bothered to read the TOS before agreeing to it. The guy is a total moron and deserves to have his name and reputation trampled for his actions. I truly hope he loses his license to practice law.

  103. Suzie Sue says:

    A court ruling on the status of property owned in a virtual world must eventually come, but this is a very unfortunate example to be first into the arena. Why ? Because it is confused by the fraudulent behaviour of the litigant, decision on which will confuse the outcome.

    Did he behave badly enough for the punishment he got ? Maybe you or I might have discovered, messing around, that we could access an unstarted auction. But how many of us would have then purchased the land, gone through with it, and kept quiet. Not me. I suggest no-one with an ounce of honesty. The punishment was in my opinion morally fair.

    So what of land bots ? I remember the start of all this outcry, before landbots, when certain avis used to watch for mispriced land, get there as fast as they could, and buy it from just out of the sight of the still-chatting owner.

    One particular owner, oblivious to her own stupidity, kicked up a huge fuss. The result was that LL modified the UI to put in a specific extra warning step on setting land for sale, which we all thought meant NO moron could make such a mistake. But ye gods, they keep on doing it, and they keep on screaming. Yes, the landbot turns up a bit faster than the avi used to, with p2p teleporting as an extra help, and the land grabber has less work to do. But otherwise nothing has changed. A landbot is powerless to take anything from you unless you act utterly without thoughtlessly. An avi could do it to you to, with no bot at all, just as they did before. The cause is the thoughtless mistake, not the landbot.

    I hope this disgusting person, who has the effrontery to try not only to justify his blatant dishonesty, but to go on to muddy the legal water on points that do really matter, is sent packing, with costs awarded against him to LL.

  104. Oz Spade says:

    @7, I thought the exact same thing and agree. If LL is going to get into “integrity of the SL Economy”, land sales haven’t had Integrity in 3 years. It’s all a ridiculous joke now. It’s sad when waiting for Land Bots to swoop in has become a game. This system is not working.

    Instead of having front up “public” sales (i.e. allowing anyone to purchase a parcel of land for x), why not have public sale parcels go up for an auction instead? Then the market will *really* be bearing what people are willing to pay instead of this inflated and scavenged stuff. When LL introduced the auction system for themselves, residents were supposed to be able to post land as well, which would have balanced things out from the start.

    But of course that’s totally off-topic from this whole issue.

  105. hugsalot says:

    I think Bragg is depending on the court and the presiding judge’s ignorance about technology, the internet (those damn tubes) and second life it self so that he might win the case. Or at least drag on this B.S. so that he and his lawyer cronies keep getting paid regardless who wins this case, assuming it ever ends.

  106. Dallas Seaton says:

    “What Bragg did undermined the integrity of the Second Life economy. Other Residents reasonably expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently.”

    WHY yes we do expect that, and those expectations would INCLUDE our Linden balances and inventory not just disappearing and being given the brush off by Linden that its not their problem and there’s nothing they can do. My partner’s Linden balance has been unavailable for MONTHS now! It shows in her account on the webpage, but is NOT available inworld, and after literally MONTHS they’re not concerned about doing anything to FIX it and return her money to her.

    YES, we do expect that Second Life’s economic systems will work fairly and transparently, and that starts with YOU, Linden Lab!

    Whether Bragg is right or wrong, THANKS to the Judge in this case for finding the TOS to be “unconscionable” and therefore hopefully unenforceable in future suits. So quit quoting the “unconscionable” TOS to us, Linden.

  107. James Udal says:

    #35, Please use a wardialer to access a bank over state lines that has so graciously forgot to put a password in, and transfer yourself the remaining balance in the bank. oh wait, so 80’s. Please click this link (–removed–) to access linden labs bank account and transfer their balance because the bank forgot to secure it. Wait, make it your account.

    Perhaps if I post YOUR bank account information on this website, due to your lack of forethought to secure your own personal information that makes YOU liable for us taking your money.

    This is not directed at you, but everyone so ignorant that thinking that changing a url is not FRAUD not ILLEGAL.

    Granted I sympathize with those who have lost inventory, money, whatever else and haven’t been redeemed… but this is silly, you defending this method.

    Perhaps you should ask Kevin M. to blog on here the innocence of accessing a part of a computer system that was ‘left open’. Or perhaps you (the people who share #35’s thoughts) are too young to remember that at one time there were no passwords, just a phone number noone was supposed to give out. To young to know that it’s a FEDERAL FELONY.

    Please please judges and lawyers pass this judgment against Linden Lab, cause you bet the moment you do there will be hundreds or thousands of us just dying to use #35’s bank information (–removed–) to pay for our tier.

    If what you say were true I wouldn’t have spent 8 years not being able to have a bank account and my history would be a lot different.

    I do not check the blog often but welcome a sincere debate on this topic if anyone is ever interested. IM me.

    P.s. Please leave your front door unlocked when you leave as you are so gracious to not be mad when I walk out with your stuff tonight.

    (( again not directed at you but the idea you present ))

  108. Chaos Mohr says:

    “If those who used the exploit had succeeded, not only would have they profited unfairly, but they also could have sold their parcels at below-market prices and still made a profit, putting legitimate sellers at a disadvantage.”

    That sounds a lot like what the current crop of uncsrupulous landbot owners are doing, and yet this exploit is continued to be allowed? Although some of these landbot ‘grabs’ are from people just wanting to get rid of their land quickly, many other have been the result of user error’s and errors with the Second Life software itself.

    While I am all for Linden Labs protecting their interests in this case and think this person should be prosecuted for his actions, there are still issues like the landbots that need to be addressed. As long as people are being taken advantage of, and an unfair advantage exists in the economy, there is a problem!

  109. Johnny Sleestak says:

    Landbots are easy to fix….make all sales have a 30min delay where the sale can be cancelled or revoked….

  110. Aphrodite Tagore says:

    This was a low-cost go-away suit a while back, but now that Bragg is famous, well. You have to pick your fights. I think this thing should have gone away with a quiet little settlement, with a gag clause. Now all of us are facing some idiocy that our hotels and houses on Boardwalk and Park Place are real property. I mean, do you understand how this will take the virtual world into the real world? How this will make Second Life just another 1st life?

    Bragg would have had no standing if his requests for payout of his account were met. Now, we are all likely to be bound by whatever comes out in this judgment. Is that fair? This could set a nasty, game killing precedent, and pave the way for a gagillion other suits to follow.

    I don’t know what color the sky is where the LindenLabs offices are. In my little corner of for-really-world though, usually, disgruntled customers are given their money back. Of courtse, on their next visit, they *could* be refused service. Does it sound like all however many thousands of us actually pay some money into this game every month should have to put up with the after-effects of this adventurism?

    If the customer is wrong, you ask him to leave the bar. You tell him to never return. You do NOT keep his coat and hat.

  111. Orville McGann says:

    “In my opinion, when LL bans an account without proof of fraudulent activity they should be required to convert that accounts Linden Dollar balance to a US balance transferrable from the SecondLife website.”

    If I go into my local arcade and buy $20 worth of tokens, then make a ruckus and get kicked out, do you really think they’ll refund my tokens? Lindens are like arcade tokens. They aren’t negotiable currency. When you buy them with your real dollars you should bear in mind that what you’re buying is worthless outside SL and act accordingly.

  112. Truth? says:

    From Paragraph 48 of the Answer: “Rosedale was quoted as saying . . . . “We started selling the land free and clear, and we sold the title, and we made it extremely clear that we were not the owner of the virtual property.” Defendants aver that the references to “selling land free and clear” and selling “title” are metaphors or analogies to the concepts of ownership of real propertly, as what is “owned” with respect to “virtual land” in Second Life is in fact a license to computing resources.”

    Metaphor.

  113. @36: Actually, dude/dudette, there are cases where the land switched prices. Now, if one person reported it we could say… ‘ahh, user error’. But there are lots of people who NEVER met each other and who had not even heard of the problem… saying the same thing.

    When it happens to you – and it probably will unless LL fixes the issue (which would require them to pay attention to the issue, not to mention the media who has been informed repeatedly to pay attention to the issue).

    No, Bragg didn’t use a landbot. But he took advantage of LL’s mistake in having some really shoddy security (I mean, come ON…). Landbots run by unscrupulous people do that every day. One German lady crashed while pricing land and lost about 1/3 of a sim for about 6000L. An Italian Lady had her screen showing information on a 1024 plot which she was pricing… and which instead priced half a sim at the same price. One person set the land for sale at one price, and it sold for a lower price. When these mistakes happen, there are people who can and do give back mistakes – but the ones who do not are as much of an exploiter as Bragg is accused of.

    What is good for Linden Lab should be good enough for the community. If they have recourse when someone takes advantage of an exploit which THEY permitted, shouldn’t residents have recourse when someone takes advantage of an exploit as well?

    Of course they should. You should too. If you disagree, feel free to distribute your SL wealth amongst people you dislike the most.

  114. DennyOdell Loon says:

    LLs will end up wishing they had just refunded his money. They’ve opened a can of worms with this one and their TOS may no longer be binding on any of us.

  115. Daryl Shepherd says:

    The blog and the subsequent comments in this forum highlight to me the biggest horror and failing of US law – that there is no concept of contempt of court through public discussion, theorising, postulating, pronouncing or pre-judging of a matter that is Sub judice. Thus rules trial by media…

  116. AMD64 user says:

    I agree that appeals should be handled better, even if the user was in the wrong. There are far to many stories of locked accounts and lost money, for strange reasons where the parties were not even notified and will be charged a fee just to reenable the account to find out what happened. This particular case is an extreme of course, I’m talking about the people that aren’t lucky enough to be lawyers that actually havent done anything wrong but are treated the same way.

  117. akagi says:

    To the First post troll, its up for remarks because its NEWS.

    LL screwedup, they knew it and they froze. Taking away his money after relizing their selling land program has problems so how unknowing their are. That does not mean Mr Bragg is correct, but then again that does not mean LL is correct eiter. LL just used their power because they (LL) did not wantto lose. JUST PLAIN FACTS

  118. akagi says:

    Nobody is correct NO LANDBOT got the land, it was all done land switched prices. Why don`t people read before posting remarks.

  119. Cloud says:

    LL and every other virtual world provider MUST have a method for removing cheaters like this lawyer from their services. He cheated, he got caught, and the consequences SHOULD be loss of access, any profiteering and any opportunity to exploit the company and the community again. Without the ability to ban such, these worlds otherwise simply become portals for con artists and virtual anarchy, and what company wants to try to function in the RW as suppliers of that? Those of you who think LL eternally owes you a SL existence, think again.

  120. Lina Pussycat says:

    OK for starters this was an exploit we wont go into it. An easy way for LL to solve the land bot issue is to allow the set the resident to be able to buy the land first before putting it on sale. It avoids any issues (and if you can already do that people should start using that….) Bragg admittedly used an exploit (though he claims it to be legit)

    Its Like “Hey i can legitimately get your IP address and then hack you” that doesn’t seem right now does it? In all honesty if Bragg wins the implication are horrid for every virtual world in existence that develops an economy because every time someone has invested some money this is stating they shouldn’t be bannned…. Where as really they should do you want a bunch of people running around freely just because they have invested some sort of money?

    Also what this comes down to is Bragg knew his actions when he partook in them. He knew he would risk his account being banned. There are past cases where LL have banned someone but have given their land proceeds and L$ back to them in the form of a check as well. This may of happened and we dont know that because of how quickly Bragg filed suite. This is what happens and because he filed suite until the case is done with the proceeds here will ultimately be held where neither party can use them…. Its because of people like Bragg that we see increases in land costs etc on LL’s end charging us more and more as they are being pressed with other fees.

    In all honesty I am glad they banned him he had it coming its plain and and very easy to see. When you risk your account in such a way and get caught you dont get to turn around and whine. Also keep in mind that while people are whining about consumer rights ere what about the rights of a company to protect itself as well?

  121. Geminian Teazle says:

    Here is the transcript of the case, if anyone wants to read it (46 pages long)

    http://pub.bna.com/eclr/064925_053007.pdf

  122. Lina Pussycat says:

    @90 The issue is how fast he filed Suit does not allow the linden’s to access the money until a settlement is reached by both parties. I have a feeling Bragg would drag this case on even if a settlement was offered though. He’s trying to set precedent that would ultimately make virtual world development of things like SL to big a risk to companies.

  123. akagi says:

    Lina when you cheat you lose correct!

  124. Lina Pussycat says:

    Also a side note LL’s claims on ownership of items is that you retain your IP rights. Meaning the idea for the object itself. IE if you made a recreation of said object in another 3d APP you entirely own it LL dont. Just because its on their server with objects they retain no rights to them short of it being on their server space….. Land on the other hand is entirely on their server space. Your tier fee is what you pay them monthly to keep your land up and running and keeping you marked as the land owner….. You buy land from them (private island) but they still own its like an upfront cost for renting server space or you buy from other residents same case except the upfront cost is through a reseller….

    They tout that you can own virtual land but you can own a Virtual sword in WoW to that doesnt mean you can own said glowing sword in real life…

Comments are closed.