January 31, 2007
Posted by Bill Herman
The parody, which invites visitors to “Get a First Life,” is a statement about the popularity of the virtual world. The parody’s creator, Darren Barefoot, knew the letter was coming; he even included a link that said, “Comments or cease and decist letters?” He was, however, pleasantly surprised at the letter’s contents.
The attorney for Linden Lab, Ginsu Yoon, writes, inter alia (lawyer speak for “among other things”):
We do not believe that reasonable people would argue as to whether the website located at http://www.getafirstlife.com/ constitutes parody – it clearly is. Linden Lab is well known among its customers and in the general business community as a company with enlightened and well-informed views regarding intellectual property rights, including the fair use doctrine, open source licensing, and other principles that support creativity and self-expression. We know parody when we see it.
Moreover, Linden Lab objects to any implication that it would employ lawyers incapable of distinguishing such obvious parody. Indeed, any competent attorney is well aware that the outcome of sending a cease-and-desist letter regarding a parody is only to draw more attention to such parody, and to invite public scorn and ridicule of the humor-impaired legal counsel. Linden Lab is well-known for having strict hiring standards, including a requirement for having a sense of humor, from which our lawyers receive no exception.
In conclusion, your invitation to submit a cease-and-desist letter is hereby rejected.
They even give him explicit permission to keep selling T-shirts, though they retain the right to revoke that specific license.
Much love to Linden for having a sense of humor and a realistic view of IP law.