Ownership of Cyberspace
Virtual racing got big exposure during the Volvo Ocean Race, which claimed to have had over 220,000 players participating in an online simulation of the race, with users competing on the same course and making decisions not unlike the actual sailing teams. The Volvo Ocean Race Game was hosted by VirtualRegatta.com, but other providers have gotten into the act, which is now complicating the ownership of cyberspace.
When the Royal Ocean Racing Club started its 608-mile Rolex Fastnet Race last Sunday, there were again online users, with the RORC having partnered with VirtualRegatta.com for their virtual race. However, a competing brand, Sailonline.org, had provided a Fastnet Race for their users too - called the Cowes-Plymouth Challenge - but in the eyes of the RORC that became one too many sheriffs for their town.
On August 9th, when all the races - both real and virtual - were starting, Sailonline.org announced they had to cancel their race after being contacted by solicitors engaged by RORC, who were seeking to protect their brands, both real and virtual.
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