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As long as there has been law, I imagine there have been ridiculous attempts to try to use it to advantage…nuisance lawsuits, angling for unfair business advantage, exploiting loopholes. All of this seems unavoidable, since law is the process of trying to encode morals into words, and words are never a perfect expression of a thing, and it’s impossible to get everyone to agree on morals. So having perfect laws that no one can exploit is kind of like trying to paint a photorealistic portrait that depicts six different people at the same time.

Still, with law (not the portrait), it’s important to try!

[There was a section here about SLART trademark registration, but it turned out I didn’t have my facts straight, so I’m putting up a new post about it. Thank you very much to Prokofy Neva, who pointed out the errors.]

One of the great follies of “legal thinking” about Second Life lately has been Zorkmid gambling, although I’m delighted to say that has been shut down.

(Oh, and in the second article I link to above, Second Life Herald staffer Pixeleen Mistral mixes some specific information with speculation that Linden Lab might have once said Zorkmid gambling was OK and criticism against them for changing their mind – without being sure that they did – and for not having transparency in the abuse rulings process. I feel I have to point out this mixture of information, rumor and opinion in my role as the Second Life Journalism Police. Of course, that’s easy for me to say…I get to write whatever I want because I don’t call myself a newspaper.)

The basic idea was this: since games of chance that pay were prohibited and games of skill that pay weren’t, people would set up shop as gambling establishments where people could buy a fake currency called “Zorkmids” (a widely-used fake currency name) using Linden Dollars (which are also supposed to be a fake currency). Then people would gamble on unregulated gambling machines which I’m sure were perfectly fair (ahem), and take their winnings (if any) to a “skill game” that was so simple that anyone could win. If they won the “skill game”, then they would get a “random” Linden Dollar prize that was “influenced” by the number of zorkmids they had from gambling.

Oh, for goodness sake, zorkmid gambling people. Get an honest job and stop trying to wriggle through nonexistent loopholes!

This is all perfectly TOS-safe and legal, right?

I’m kind of against gambling in the first place, since it seems like a good way to play on unrealistic hopes and fears to make money for whoever’s running the gambling. I’m especially against virtual gambling because it’s so hard to regulate whether or not the gambling owners are “playing fair”. If you go to a reputable Vegas casino to play blackjack, at least you know how much money the proprietors are making from you (on average). And I’m super-especially against virtual gambling that thinks it can get around a ban on virtual gambling by such a ridiculous ploy. Thanks to the Lindens again for stepping in on this. Yes, this is a pro-Linden post. I can’t claim I think all of their legal steps are ideal, but they’re certainly on the right side of these issues, as far as I’m concerned.

(Good grief, I’m starting to sound like my paternal grandmother. Well, *she* wouldn’t have approved either!)

^^^\ Kate /^^^