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An idea....maybe a bad one.


Nacy Nightfire
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Everyone is focused, and for good reason, on not infringing on copyright material.  And this forces people to be creative.  But let's face it, part of the appeal of any virtual experience for a lot of folks, at least initially,  is being able to have a faux hot bod and drive off in that Lexus or Mercedes while drinking some expensive name brand virtual beverage, etc, etc. that they are as yet too young and/or not rich enough to own in RL. 

Drinking from a can of kola-coca just doesn't quite match the experience.

At the same time these companies vigorously protect their copyrights, they do also love novel forms of advertisement that get their products seen in an environment where people are using them in their day to day activities.  Just like product placement in movies.  Of course they want to maintain control of how these images are delivered.  

So it would be interesting if some "events director" or what-not from LL approached companies like Coca-Cola, for example, and engaged them in participating in contests open to all creative SL residents to come up with a 3d design of their product.  The goal being the winner be given a limited license for exclusive distribution of their design in SL of that approved item.

Everyone wins here (I think).  The company gets more international brand recognition and gets to approve the design..free advertising.  LL gets something interesting happening and can potentially charge the company an advertising fee, creators have some competitive fun, peeps get their virtual name brand luxury goods that make their virtual world extra fun.

Any thoughts on this, or should I go back to modeling my generic off-label  kittens?

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Sounds like a good idea.

Using Coca-Cola as an example, it is registered as a trademark for a non-alcoholic carbonated RL beverage.  What I wonder about is this:   Would its use for a virtual world imitation beverage be covered by that registration?  My understanding is that registering a trademark only gives the registrant exclusive use of it for similar goods, because the whole purpose is to keep others from causing buyers to confuse their goods with the trademark holder's.   No one is likely to confuse a virtual beverage with a real one.  I really wish I knew what a lawyer with expertise in trademark law thought about this.

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Coca cola as a brand name isnt limited to just beverages, they sell alot of things. The problem with a virtual world example isnt the confusion between a real beverage you can consume and that which is only a virtual 3D representation, its the implication that someone selling a coca cola product could be mistaken as being endorsed by coca cola themseleves.

Imagine your 3D can of coke having a crappy texture on it, or a script that doesnt work properly, the customer contacts the creator who tells them eff orf, said customer then complains on a blog somewhere saying coca cola's customer service stinks.

I know the likelyhood of such thing a happening is very remote, but its not something a company as agressive as coca cola would allow and they spend millions preventing it. Look at that company who shall not be named .. trademarking a fruit! If you can believe it.

 

That being said, most copywrite laws are draconian not to mention many copywrite claims fall flat on thier face if they go to court, the problem is how the laws are applied, in our case Linden Labs would also be liable for endorsing copywrite breaches if they did nothing to prevent it which is why they are so agressive also taking the shoot first ask question later approach. It is abit of a pickle though, if Linden Labs were to remove some percieved copywrite material which infact was an original creation they could also be liable for that too. I sure wouldnt like to be in their position.

As an example of how silly some laws are, in the near future in the UK it will no longer be illegal to copy songs you bought on a CD, onto your computer.

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I guess using the logo isn´t allowed, even only the wave ...

No matter on what product.

As for the OP:

I love that idea but i guess the companies would pay a fee they would ask for a massive fee using their "name" no matter where or why even thats (as OP said)  free promo.

It isn´t the company owners, its their lawyers this people often very closed-minded and only care for money. 

On the other hand the internet shows alot examples of bad use of brands, names, TMs .... 

 

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Again, I'm talking a contest where one person's design is approved by the product's company and not open to general use. Probably too complicated as a legal issue, but it would be interesting and I see it as an all around opportunity.

(I've always been amused by the C-Class Mercedes that are all around SL. As long as we're going virtual here, why not an S-Class? )

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York Jessop wrote:

...in our case Linden Labs would also be liable for endorsing copywrite breaches if they did nothing to prevent it which is why they are so agressive also taking the shoot first ask question later approach. It is abit of a pickle though, if Linden Labs were to remove some percieved copywrite material which infact was an original creation they could also be liable for that too....

Wrong.  Under DMCA, by complying with a takedown notice, they have a safe harbor, but they would not necessarily incur any liability if they didn't, and certainly wouldn't if the notice was invalid.  They also incur no liability for taking down content in response to an invalid takedown notice.  The remedy that the victim has is to file a counternotice, in response to which LL will restore the content.  The ball is then in the complainer's court; she can file suit in RL court or not.

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I think  most of you are missing the point, any use of any logo or name of a real lfie company isnt a good idea.

At this time SL is still small, the(at any given moment)amount of people in sl,isnt suportive of product placement from big companies,(not worth there time as of yet), but there out there watching,and alot of bigger companies  came then left,knowing the time wasnt right yet. or population.

We creators in SL have a small window of time here, we dont have to compet with million dollor  companies,im sure we  have a few more year, but they will come and they will bring there owen designers, take levi jeans for example, they can pay some person,right out of grafx's school to sit in a office and create jeans for sale in sl  they have access to take high rez refernce picture of all there jeans, this is product placement,.

Now we can have our owen brands yes some might be better then some of the name brands out there, this is the time to make our own brands and get your names out there as gifted creators, maybe some can be hired to create for  comeing companies.

The point is , you might get by useing a name of a prodcut for a while but if that company comes to sl then,where are you at???? you will have to remove all your products, maybe even pay back profits, lindens have been trying to get us to see  this.

In time all social media, from tv to google,product placement (ad's)is a big thing,sl will be no different,Dont  belive we have this sl world to our selfs as a playground,

 

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First of all, I'm not suggesting doing anything without the permission of the brand name company.  It's been frequently the case that companies involve their customers, or potential customers, in projects and promotions to create "buzz" , excitement and name recognition, etc.   And yes SL is small change.  It will always be too small for these companies to be bothered with involving their design departments in making items for SL.  It will never be worth it.  These are billion dollar corporations.  But  these companies often have small promotions at college campus, etc. -grass roots stuff - for the purpose of promotion.

As to the idea that we don't have SL "to ourselves as a playground", that has always been the case.  We have always been bombarded with advertisment, really awful stuff of made-up virtual brands in SL and the forum is frequently blasted postings of advertisments for land rental and sales and $L exchange...this is no less materialistic or commercially crass then the real world.

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What a creative idea Nacy! I love it. I see a potential opportunity here, but one that I am not organized enough to pursue. Someone into marketing might want to consider it.

You would have to contact the companies with the idea, and probably most will say no. If you knock on enough doors, you may find an interested company. I would not offer free product placement. I would ask to be paid! Second Life is small, so the price would have to be very modest. The place where the product would be placed would have to be very high traffic, or it would have to be placed in a lot of places.

I am thinking you would not be asking permission to sell their product in SL. You would be asking them to pay you to create it and give it away in world for free. You could give them final approval over the 3D model before putting it out there so they could be assured of quality.

Maybe the time is not yet right for such an idea. The day will come.

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Must be public domain by now? Where do these companies get off? Copyrights? I dislike cola advertising and not seeing the logo many times daily is almost impossible. Most countries they have it pasted up everywhere, you name it, even the TV and audio versions are sent on radio waves through my body, and tin hat, day and night without my permission. Repetitive imprints in memory against my will, brainspam in the human cloud, Unpaid for Adwords of the mind. Hundred and twenty five years of it man and boy!! The twice sold Cola-Cola Company of dubious old west legal origins, Protecting their copyrights.. Huh!! **spits** Sonny Bono, Mickey Mouse Protection Act **again**  Darn it must be public domain by now!


® Genericized Trademarks Inc, © 2011.
The views of the author are non defamatory, a commentary on art, which occurs frequently in the context of parody and satire. Everyday, each of us encounters at least 1,500 trademarks and up to 30,000 if we visit a supermarket. Second-Cola Rules!!

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Trademarks never expire so long as they are in active use by the company holding them. There is no public domain for products that are still being produced and sold. Copyright is more complex, and extensions can be granted in the US by the Congress. This is why Mickey Mouse is still protected. Plus, you have the problem of not knowing what material that may be in the public domain in one country is still protected in another. For instance, there are still works protected in Germany that are in the public domain in the US, due to the fact that Nazi Germany did not recognize many Allied copyrights. Germany tacked on those missing years of protection after WWII, extending the copyrights on certain creative works past what was originially expected.

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Personally, one thing I like most about SL is that it does force creativity through not letting people take the easy path of just reproducing real brands in SL. There are many very cool SL exclusive brands that create products that would be viable on the rl market should their owners decide to go there. Would a little sole creator business painting excellent clothing designs onto the template take off in SL if Levi had a designer in world to replicate their massive and mass produced brand?

 

The time for rl companies in SL has come and gone. They were all over it in 2007 when the news broke about someone making a million bucks in SL, but they soon realized that there is no drive by traffic marketing, that they had to actually adapt their marketing strategy to sl's audience, and that people in SL didn't care to wear poorly made photo source reproductions of rl brand labels. The Gap had a store in SL for a short time, and so did another big designer.. I want to say Calvin Klein but I don't think that was it - nothing in their pretty build was for sale!

 

The SL population is not a "new" market that has never heard of coca cola and would be enticed to try it by seeing it in SL all of a sudden. Personally i'm quite happy not to have rl brands in my face everywhere i go in sl. Just like i dont want to see ads for coke or mercedes in world of warcraft. I don't really know what big rl brands would have to gain from product placement in SL at all to be honest. Probably why they don't do it anymore!

 

I've had a lot of fun and challenges and learned a lot through creating my own viable virtual brand. It's taught me more about marketing than I ever thought I would care to know. Riding on the coattails of some established brand would be nowhere near as satisfying and I think I'd feel like a corporate puppet after a while, rather than a creative businesswoman.

 

This is not to say it can't be done, if a company came to SL with their luxury brand, a clever marketing strategy, some ideas to make the product of more value to SL users rather than a hunk of (branded) junk in people's inventories, real artists and scripters to recreate their products, and people on board who have some clue about what makes SL great, then they would probably have a chance. :) till then, I'm happy to see what the little guy can do.

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