Body Doubles: Another IP Puzzle for SL

by Urizenus Sklar on 02/03/07 at 7:35 pm


Here is an interesting question. Body Doubles is a Second Life company run by Persia Christensen that sells body shapes that supposedly correspond to RL stars along with instructions on how you can make your avi look like the star. From Persia’s promotional literature:

With this body double shape and my avatar suggestions, you too can look like the gorgeous, Scarlett Johansson! Great care has been taken to make this shape look as close to possible as the actual, real-life model.

Now presumably the stars could object to their images being used to sell these products in Second Life, but could they object if it was only the shape that was being sold? Paging Virtually Blind.

More screenshots and details below the fold.

Better update the instructions here. Bald is the new blonde.

Remember when Betty Page seemed kinky. In Second Life she seems positively schoolmarmish.

Noobs find gainful employment modeling Body Double shapes. Here a couple noobs strike a pose as Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore.

Yet another noob finds gainful employment.

And of course there are lots more doubles where these came from.

18 Responses to “Body Doubles: Another IP Puzzle for SL”

  1. Petey

    Mar 2nd, 2007

    The law is appropriation of name or likeness. My guess is that this is a definitely an infringement of the former and probably an infringement of the latter as well.

  2. Notoriun

    Mar 2nd, 2007

    wewt wewt brother man cole! wewt wewt!

  3. Cloakinn Dagger

    Mar 2nd, 2007

    I just joined Second Life a couple days back. I am on the beginning part where I am learning things for the game. I have also been reading articles about Second Life (I found you through google)and I just wanted to say Hi and also say that from what I read there are lots of this kind of thing happening. I saw a video and article about people being the band U2 in Second Life and they said on the site they are not the real U2. Someone mentioned on a youtube video I found that they use bootleg recordings of audience taped shows. That is the kind of thing I would question as well. I did read they help out with some of the causes that the real U2 help with but does that make it ok to use copyrighted names, costumes, Illegal music sources, etc to do it? I don’t think so. I don’t think it is ok to sell things with a celeb’s name on it either if they did not endorse it. Maybe the product should stand on it’s own if it is good and not piggyback off a celeb and make money for the seller from the name of the celeb?
    I have more to read about here. Second Life looks like lots of fun and much controversy too. I hope to get time to leave the place where I learned to drive a tractor soon and go into the real places.

  4. Nacon

    Mar 2nd, 2007

    HOLY MOTHER FUCKER… that’s crap.

    For one… Britney’s eyes are far apart, with flat template from her brow down to her nose, which btw, a lot lower from her eyes.

    Scarlett’s lip is not that damn big. Her chin is slighty bigger than her own lips and her nose has point on tilt upward, NOT DOWNWARD!

    (yes, I’m an graphic artist and you already pissed me off, Persia.)

  5. Maria LaVeaux

    Mar 2nd, 2007

    I’m a HUGE fan of Bettie Page, and I’m going to Buy one as soon as i get home tonight!!!

    Having said that, I think this Company May be letting themselves in for some Negative Legal attentions by some of the more possessive Celebs. I’ve seen some Free Poser Models that are Obviously based upon various famous people, and the creators are VERY careful to Never directly associate the Celebs name with the Image. They may name a Halle Berry Model for Example “Looks like a Cat Lady”. For one thing, it gets them Under the Radar of any Web Searches for Unauthorized use of name or Image done by the Celebs Legal people. Still, i Have seen some get Pulled Very fast, with Notice that they have been warned off by Lawyers when they Have been discovered.

    That’s One reason i’m Buying Bettie tonight, This company Could find it’s self shut down quickly, and that Avie looks Too good to Pass up.


  6. Nacon

    Mar 2nd, 2007

    Maria said: “That’s One reason i’m Buying Bettie tonight, This company Could find it’s self shut down quickly, and that Avie looks Too good to Pass up.”

    The Bettie doesn’t look too bad, but… only if you had the right skin and the right hair to go with that shape.

    And yes, I think you’re right about about legal stuff with celebs. I do too see something like that get pulled off like nothing actually happened.

  7. Warda Kawabata

    Mar 3rd, 2007

    This is undoubtedly an ip infringement. Using the name of a famous person to sell your products, without their consent, is illegal in most places.

  8. Clarrice Cinquetti

    Mar 3rd, 2007

    Well if ya give Britney a crew cut and an umbrella in one hand and a bottle of Beam in the other, I might buy.

  9. Urizenus

    Mar 3rd, 2007

    On cue, Benjamin Duranske has an analysis up at Legally Blind:

    He notes (i) right to celebrity is a state by stae thing and (ii) Body Doubles could argue that this is a form of artistic expression:

    “In the event of a suit, however, Body Doubles would have a possible defense — Body Double could claim that the images are sufficiently artistic and interpretative to give them first amendment protection as artistic works. Though the first amendment provides some protection, “commercial speech” gets less protection than other kinds of speech.

    A recent case (Tiger Woods v. Jireh Publishing) clarified the interplay between first amendment protection and the right of publicity. In that case, the court held that a painting of Tiger Woods was protected by the first amendment as an artistic work.”

  10. Really interesting post. The right at issue is the “right of publicity.” I just posted a short piece on this at Virtually Blind. Thanks for the in-text link, Urizenus!

  11. Nacon

    Mar 3rd, 2007

    Benjamin, best bet is Body Double going to lose.

    For reason of that case, because Body Double ARE intended to sell them for mere profit… it’s a store for crying out loud!

    And as for “artistic expression”, gather up bunch of professional artists to make their opinion about the work.
    For I am one… I say it’s crap.

    Sure, Body Double could argue that it’s an “artistic expression” work… but who is going to fall for that when you have more than one avatar models being paid to display, to boost their sale? It’s a quick wrap up close case.

  12. Macon – Thanks for the comment. I essentially agree (visit the post… before the part quoted above, I say, “Because Body Doubles is selling ‘images’ of celebrities in world, it is probably treading on [the Celebrities'] rights.”) That said, however, the Tiger Woods case at least gives them a plausible defense… even if it isn’t all that likely to work. As with many issues, the issue isn’t completely cut and dried. That’s why “issues of fact” are decided by juries.

  13. Macon = Nacon. Fat fingers.

  14. Brace

    Mar 4th, 2007


    in 2004 I made an avatar of Wonder Woman. I had a TV guide with an interview on Lynda Carter and terrific pic of her all gussied up as WW.

    I spend hours trying to get her unique shape expressed on the avatar. I think I did pretty great, actually :)

    Back when I used to sell the avie I called it the Lynda Wonder Action Av or somethin like that. I did an approximation of the WW outfit from textures in the inventory Library.

    (not that I knew how to rip and paste the true costume – but even if I DID – still don’t rofl – I wasn’t gonna GO THERE)

    but now its set for free at the main NCI location.

    But I wonder… (pun intended) Say if I was selling it like body doubles etc – I mean that was Lynda Carter’s shape Back In The Day and all. She still looks hawt nowadays mind you, but that shape is a thing of the past….

  15. Nacon

    Mar 4th, 2007

    Macon? Heh, what are the odds if you hit B instead? Hmmmm Bacon!

    Ahh yes, the juries, hope they know what’s right and wrong… now these days, they don’t care and want to go home.
    But meh, *shrugs* we’ll see how this one goes… if at all.

    Brace, it wasn’t really about using their shape… but using their names to sell.
    However, giving them away for free is no big deal.

  16. Allana Dion

    Mar 4th, 2007

    Please, this is not a big deal. Does anyone remember the haircut trend known as “The Racheal”, based on whats her name from friends? People would go into beauty salons and ask for it, salons were advertising that they could do it. How often do you see in fashion magazines pictures of a celebrity with a breakdown of what they’re wearing and how you can look just like them and where to buy the stuff? The celebrities aren’t the ones This is the same thing.

    And actually though I don’t buy body shapes, I think Persia’s work is really well done.

  17. Archie lukas

    Mar 7th, 2007

    I think the company should immediately base themselves in Sierra Leone and register themselves as a ship.

    If ship owners can break every national maritime law and pllute every beautiful coastline and get away with it because they are legistered in this lawless country – then the name stealers / body snatchers should be able to as well.

    There will be tears.

  18. Pappy Enoch

    Oct 22nd, 2008

    I don’t know ’bout this-hear bizness.

    I dun turned mah-self intu James Dean a wile back n’ I didn’t git me no wimmim.

    Boo-humbug, I sez. I dun transmogrfied mahself back tu my normul self.

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