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CBS issues Final Answer on Star Trek RP in Second Life

Previously we reported on CBS's action to stop Star Trek Intellectual content from being sold unlicensed in Second Life. We mused on their actions and offered possible outcomes based on their response.

We contacted CBS to attempt to clarify the point of SELLING their IP content vs. USING it for personal 'fan adoration' roleplay. A simple, logical question. Our response was silence.

We were descended upon by doomsayers who accused us of aggravating the situation and 'scaring CBS into breaking off talks.'

Well, the Final Answer regarding the Final Frontier has come down to earth.

Hold onto you phaser.

Transmitted into Second Life via the IFT Sci-Fi Alliance Group, by Anthony Haslage, IFT Director of Operations, in its entireity:

From Mallory L. (CBS Legal) to Anthony Haslage (IFT iOps):

Anthony – Thank you for your patience. As I and my colleagues have previously discussed with you, CBS Studios is appreciative of the fans of STAR TREK who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the STAR TREK franchise in the real world as well as virtual worlds such as Second Life.

After our internal discussions, we can advise that CBS Studios is pleased that STAR TREK fans interact and role-play in Second Life, but objects to fans who create and sell unlicensed, real or virtual merchandise featuring the STAR TREK properties. As I explained during our discussion, when users of Second Life make it a commercial enterprise to sell uniforms, costume emblems, logos, badges, ships designs, props, etc., CBS Studios is obligated to protect against the unauthorized use of its rights. CBS Studios remains concerned such an approach may cause confusion with its current or future licensed properties.

With regard to your inquiry about obtaining a license for CBS Studios or a sublicense from its licensee, I have confirmed that at this time CBS Studios does not wish to pursue a license with you to permit third parties to sell virtual goods in the Second Life.

You mentioned Linden Labs’ prior actions against fans of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. We are not aware of Linden Labs policing Second Life on its own initiative to conduct blanket sweeps related to STAR TREK as a result of our prior take-down notice pursuant to the DMCA. Should you become aware of such activities, we would appreciate your promptly advising us. In the meantime, should CBS Studios seek to enforce its rights against users in Second Life, CBS Studios will take reasonable steps to notify Linden Labs of the infringements with sufficient detail.

We hope that this explanation enables your fan communities to continue to enjoy STAR TREK in Second Life.

Mallory L.

-----

From Anthony Haslage (IFT iOps) to Mallory L. (CBS Legal):

Mallory L.,

I need one clarification on wording... When you say, "objects to fans who create and sell unlicensed, real or virtual merchandise featuring the STAR TREK properties," you are saying that they may continue to create items for personal/group use, but cannot sell them? If so, that is what I seek.

As far as the sub-license question... I said that I would ask. I did. You answered. I am fine with the response.

It is the right of CBS, NBC or whomever to protect their legal rights. I just want to make sure that in doing so that the innocent fans are not negatively impacted.

When your legal department contacted Linden Labs, Linden Labs did not overreact as they did when NBC contacted them about Battlestar Galactica items being on the marketplace. It is simply a fear that fans on Second Life have resulting from that overreaction of Linden Labs.

Thanks.

-----

From Mallory L. (CBS Legal) to Anthony Haslage (IFT iOps):

Hi Anthony,

CBS Studios does not object to fans’ personal use where they do not sell the virtual items, so long as the creations do not result in confusion with the legitimate, licensed works or properties. CBS Studios intends to take the same position in the virtual world as it does with fans’ creations of their own costumes for personal use and exhibition at conventions.

-----

CBS Copyright Disclaimer:

"This entity is not endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with CBS Studios, Inc. or the "Star Trek" franchise. The STAR TREK trademarks and logos are owned by CBS Studios, Inc. All rights reserved."

Yawn.

This is exactly the answer we were trying to get, and really the only answer CBS could give and not lose face. Glad all those weeks of delicate negotiations paid off.

If this sounds like sarcasm, it is. Any logical person would have come to this exact conclusion long ago, and not played 'Hide The Roleplayer' with SL Trek fans who were literally stuck in the transporter stream waiting to materialize on one side or the other.

For the record, we are a TOS Trekkie, and fully support both positions. CBS would not want to waste their time issuing a license to sell IP content for a 'cut.' The numbers just don't add up. All SL fans wanted to know is if they could continue to use the items they created in 'fan adoration' roleplay, or, as CBS puts it, "CBS Studios intends to take the same position in the virtual world as it does with fans’ creations of their own costumes for personal use and exhibition at conventions."

Is there an echo in here?

Congratulations SL Trekkers. You've been renewed for another season.

STAR TREK© and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. ©

Battlestar Galactica® is a registered trademark of Universal Studios, Inc.®

Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc. No infringement is intended.

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