Friday, November 14, 2008

Woman Hires (Virtual) Private Eye in Second Life

Following on a recent post about a Japanese woman who was arrested for allegedly "killing" her ex-boyfriend's avatar in a "Second Life"-type game comes this just-as-odd report from the UK.

A woman has filed for a divorce from her husband after she caught her husband's avatar chatting affectionately with a female avatar in Second Life. The couple had an interesting Second Life history; before they were married in real life, each played the role-playing game, and their avatars (hers was "DJ Laura Skye," his was "Dave Barmy") became partners in the game. That was, until the woman caught the David Barmy having in-game sex with a prostitute avatar. DJ Laura Skye immediately broke up with Dave Barmy, even as the couple stayed together in real life.

Evidently hoping for the best, the woman decided to test the fidelity of her boyfriend's avatar. She retained a virtual private eye named Marke Macdonald to set up a "honeytrap" designed to provide the David Barmy avatar an opportunity to stray again. However, Barmy passed the test with flying colors, speaking warmly of only of DJ Laura Skye all night. As a result, the virtual couple reunited in Second Life, and, incidently, their "meatspace" counterparts married in Cornwall.

A happy ending? Sadly, no; the woman then found the David Barmy character sweet-talking another female character in the Second Life game, and filed for a divorce -- in real life.

Yet another example of virtual world events having real world consequences. I find the use of the virtual P.I. to be particularly interesting.

Thanks to Michael Geist's BNA Internet Law and News feed for the heads-up on this one.

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