It Has To Be Said: What’s in a Name?

by Jessica Holyoke on 18/02/10 at 7:09 am

by Jessica Holyoke

One reason why I am not too worried about people outing my identity is that I have a fairly common real life name.   Pretending my real life name is "Stacey Fox,"  if you Google it, you will find many other people who share my name, some sharing my real life location, some sharing my real life profession.  In fact, Googling that name will not easily reveal my real life identity, you have to dig through many results, and many hypothetical Stacey Foxes, in order to get to the real me.  

On the other hand, there is only one Jessica Holyoke when it comes to editorializing about the virtual worlds we take part in.  There is only one Jessica Holyoke who mentions how the Second Life in-world economy is doing.  

So when people talk about 'fake avatars' on Avatars United, there comes that issue of who is actually fake.

Granted there can be only one 'Jessica Holyoke' on SL.  But on the new social media, not only can there be a Jessica Holyoke on AU, but there can be a Jessica Holyoke on any world, a Jessica Holyoke on Twitter and so on.  Some people are advocating that famous avatar names should be limited to the original users of the name.  But excluding avatars that use their name as part of their business, like Aimee Weber, why should that be the case with avatar names? 

While there might be confusion, its not a confusion that would come from identifying goods or services.  That is protected under trademark law.  And even then, that is only to protect your business interests.  So if an Anshe Chung offers land for sale n OS grid and they are not the Anshe Chung we all know and love, then there might be a trademark issue.  But as a general rule, there should not be a limit on peoples' use of avatar names.   It would be like saying that in all the world, there could be only one Stacey Fox.

4 Responses to “It Has To Be Said: What’s in a Name?”

  1. Imnotgoing Sideways

    Feb 18th, 2010

    Someone duplicated my AV name on AU. I friended her. =^-^=

  2. Judge Joker

    Feb 18th, 2010

    Really? why suddenly is this site almost wholly all about your opinion? stop writing fillers and write some content that is actually worth 5mins of my time.

    You have recently had 5 “articles” and I use that term liberally, published and while they seem to be concise and clear to the point, don’t offer me much in the way of being mentally engaged in it.

    I get more engagement from talking to myself and or a brick wall, to which I can at least bounce ideas back and forward and come to some conclusion that requires some deep thought, and while I realise you must in all sense be pandering to the less educated individuals whom may read this site I am sure they can understand more advanced topics than this.

    After how ever many years of Second Life I believe most of us are pretty sure we understand the basics, so if you want to teach go be a mentor and not an opinionated lobotomised blogger.

    Now to be nice, I’m sure you’re a nice “woman” and again I apply that term liberally but please go and investigate the JLU, we the masses require more shocking butt naked superman facts about this group.

    And why he is 99% immune to abuse reports against his own actions?

    Other than that what do you think is in my name?

    Judge Joker – I give you 2 clues Judge Dread and the villain the Joker a ying & yang of order and chaos.

  3. marilyn murphy

    Feb 19th, 2010

    i think jessica is a good writer. i like to read her stuff. this one might have been a bit “phoned in”, but so what? no one bats a thousand. at any rate, i used to work for the herald, and i believe they have a policy of cheerfully refunding your money if you are not satisfied.

  4. Jessica Holyoke

    Feb 21st, 2010

    Maybe my point would be better made by the example of people wanting to use their real life name in Second Life. When we sign into SL by using a made up name, we are certain that there is only one Jessica Holyoke or one Pixeleen Mistral. However, when you get to real life names, then you have issues as to who has the right to use that ‘real life name.’ Is it the first to register it? Is it the first to show that they have ID that says that they are the person that they say that are? What happens if there are two people who sign up at the same time? Does the more famous Stacey Fox get that name?

    This might have been a lighter article, but the issue still stands; how would you chose who gets what rights in a name?

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