A federal judge certified a class at least 57,000 Second Life property owners who lost their virtual property, which led to a settlement of 43 million Linden dollars, or $172,000 according to the American Lawyer. In November 2012 US Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu in the Northern District of California in case of Evans v. Linden Research certified the following class:
All persons whose assets, including virtual items, virtual land, and/or currency in lindens and/or U.S. dollars, have been deliberately and intentionally converted by Defendant Linden’s suspension or closure of their Second Life accounts.
Needless to say the Judge devoted a great deal of time to analyzing the meaning of ownership of virtual property since Linden Research argued against the notion that virtual property was real ownership of tangible property, but rather:
Second Life users own copyrights in the virtual land and items that they purchase or create.
The settlement of this case means that we need to watch for other lawsuits to see how virtual property ownership will ultimately established.
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