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Lawyers Have Senses of Humor in 'Second Life': Blogger Gets Mock 'Cease-and-Desist' Letter for Satire

A lawyer for the virtual world "Second Life" has responded to a parody with something that's quite different from the usual corporate cease-and-desist letter.

Vancouver-based blogger Darren Barefoot had put up a one-page site, GetAFirstLife.com, that imitates the look of SecondLife.com but promotes a real-life existence where you can work, reproduce and perish — all for free.

The site purports to answer frequently asked questions such as "Why can't I build a dirigible with my mind?" That's a dig at "Second Life," where users with sufficient skill in three-dimensional modeling can build almost anything. The site includes a logo that's a modified version of Second Life's logo.

With a link, Barefoot invited cease-and-desist letters, the type lawyers often send threatening lawsuits if a site doesn't pull down objectionable material.

Sunday's note from Ginsu Yoon, a lawyer for Second Life, started out with the legalese of a standard nastygram — Internet slang for a cease-and-desist letter — but went on to say that "your invitation to submit a cease-and-desist letter is hereby rejected."

Second Life representative Alex Yenni confirmed the note, delivered as a comment on Barefoot's blog, was authentic.

"Linden Lab objects to any implication that it would employ lawyers incapable of distinguishing such obvious parody," Yoon wrote. "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."

The note even gives Barefoot a "nonexclusive, nontransferable, nonsublicenseable, revocable, limited license" to use the modified logo on T-shirts he sells.

Barefoot, whose day job is promoting software companies, wrote on his blog that the letter was an "enormous credit" to the company. He writes that he doesn't hate "Second Life," but has been amused by the amount of hype and attention the world has attracted.