Too Much Free Time

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
aeron chairs, second life

herman miller

Do Virtual Aeron Chairs Violate The Rights Of Herman Miller?

from the getting-ridiculous dept

Apparently the maker of the famed Aeron chair, Herman Miller, has joined Second Life... and discovered that there were virtual Aeron chairs created by others. To its credit, the company didn't go sue crazy... yet. Instead, it offered those who had a "fake" a free trade-in program to get official virtual Aeron chairs (yes, official virtual chairs... what is this world coming to?). However, it has started sending cease-and-desist notes to the makers of the unofficial virtual Aeron chairs, which they note are "firm, but polite." The company claims that these virtual Aeron chairs violate both copyrights and trademarks, but it's an open question whether or not that's necessarily true. The trademark claims may be somewhat stronger, but there's a point at which you need to take a step back and simply ask what's the harm being done here? It's a virtual world. The fact that people are making fake Aeron chairs should simply be seen as flattery and a sign of just how iconic the chairs have become.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Buzz, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 2:27pm


    Are you freakin' kidding me? What is this world coming to?

    I'm going off to start a new nation. Who wants to come?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), Oct 10th, 2007 @ 3:14pm

    Second(No)Life needs a better TOS agreement...

    ...that has stuff like:

    ...No claims of "Real World" intellectual property infringement (Patent, Copyright or Trademark) will be permitted between members. Such assertions will be grounds for termination of your account.

    ...You agree that all images, entities, objects, concepts, methods, situations and dialogs within SecondLife are ficticious and any similarities to any analalogs in the "Real World" are purely coincidental.

    ...And on and on...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Paul, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 3:15pm

    Re: OMFG

    "I'm going off to start a new nation"

    Oh what a sweet idea. If only you could. The only trouble is that the 'your not allowed in because you are a lawyer/politician/FIAA member/..../just dumb' list would be so long that you would be dead before you got to the end of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    chris (profile), Oct 10th, 2007 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: OMFG

    "If only you could."

    check this out.

    the process is simple, stop participating here, and start participating there. it's not easy, but it is simple.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    boomhauer (profile), Oct 10th, 2007 @ 3:55pm

    heck yeah

    new nation with ron paul as president ;) ;)

    or wait... can you just move secondlife servers offshore somewhere? jurisdiction? hmm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 4:05pm

    make Herman miller pay in real money. Don't buy one of their chairs.

    They want virtual chairs, they can have them. We'll take our real money elsewhere.

    Who wins?

    Person with the money.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Bob Sadler, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 5:03pm

    The real question is

    How was he logged into Second Life long enough to notice there were fake chairs? Second Life has become so unstable in recent months, you find yourself crashing every 10 minutes for no other reason then standing still. Perhaps Herman was out at Linden Lab where things are run from and able to use Philip Rosedale's machine, that apparently never has a problem with Second Life, as explained by his silence over the past 6 months while the rest of the Second Life Community has been screaming for changes and a Stable World.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Lucretious, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 6:45pm

    Let's all giive thanks for the legal profession for making the current climate of litigation-for-all possible.

    Copyright/patent/entertainment/personal injury attorneys are the absolute scum of the earth and represent the biggest threat to a truly free society based on private enterprise and innovation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    inc, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 7:22pm

    said it before and i'll say it again.. second life is boring.. who cares

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 10:52pm

    patent this now... chair with EULA

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Lisae Boucher (in SL), Oct 11th, 2007 @ 4:23am

    I disagree...

    There is some sort of copyright violtion here. In Second Life, the members own the copyright of anything they create in the game. Thus if I build a house and someone else copies it without my permission, that person violates the rules as set by Linden Labs.
    Of course, there's another issue here. We're talking about some brand here which will be associated with anything else that it's linked to in SL. Since sex plays a major factor in SL it is likely that such a chair would be used in some sexroom for all kinds of weird sexual fetishes. Thus the brand gets associated with these too. There are people who think it's fun to play a child avatar or a furry avatar. It would not be good if there would be a room in SL full Aeron chairs where those furries can sit down while children provide them with lapdances... :-) "Look! With this Aeron chair your child can goive a lapdance for your lapdog!"

    But basically, I think brands should only be introduced to SL by those who own the brand name. Not by fans of their products. At least, not without the permission of the brand owner and in this case, the brand owner doesn't give any.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Mark, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 1:48pm

    Aeron is a scam

    Is a virtual Aeron chair any more comfortable than a real one? It's what I have at work, and I have never used a more unpleasant chair in my life. Granted, they look cool, in a H.R. Giger kind of way, and in a virtual world that's all that matters. I can only conclude that Herman Miller has the secret power to cloud people's minds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Clueby4, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:11pm

    Blah Aeron Blows anyway

    Aeron is crap.

    Get a Steelcase Leap, instead

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Peter Davis, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 6:36am

    The issue here is that people are making real money, each 'fake' object is sold for L$ which can be exchanged for real US dollars. Therefore, this is a thorny issue indeed.

    With Second Life economy churning over 1.2 millionUSD daily, this is not play money!

    I also understand, that the 'brand violators' have been making up to $30,000 a year.

    Serious gaming indeed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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