For many people with very little going on in their lives, Second Life is a great retreat, a place where they can be anyone they want. Or at least, it was. New rules are being put into place that will stop Second Life users from creating avatars of existing people, with Barack Obama and Angelina Jolie specifically referenced.
Second Life publisher Linden Labs was sued earlier this year by TASAR Inc. over a trademark dispute. It would appear that, while the suit was dropped, Linden is taking no chances and making sure that similar legal difficulties don’t arise in future.
Quite how Linden Labs will enforce this, however, I don’t know. For a start, it’s not actually illegal to create likenesses of real people. Even if it were, however, I don’t envy the people who now have to troll through Second Life‘s huge userbase, trying to eliminate anything and everything that might be fall under their new prohibition. Something tells me there will be a lot of Obamas out there, and Linden’s not going to catch ’em all.