Monday, August 10, 2009

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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5 Comments:

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks to me like a case of bully boy tactics. It is ridiculous to patent a piece of cyberspace. Shame on VirtualRegatta. I hope their users rebel. It is definitely inferior to the sailonline system, so I suppose it is a complement that they need to use lawyers to frighten them off. Shades of Americas Cup tactics! There are too many lawyers in sailing already.

NZL_Sunburst (a virtual boatin SOL)

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Virtual Regatta is right. See Gary Kremen, et al. v. Stephen Michael Cohen, et al. No. 01-15899 (9th Cir., July 25, 2003)

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This tactic may backfire on Virtual Regatta, and I hope it does. VR has inadvertantly provided publicity for sailonline and will not fare well if people compare the two.

I have raced on both VR and sailonline, and the sailonline experience is vastly superior. It is no wonder that in my last VR race, there were over 130,000 "ghost boats," including several of my friends, who had abandoned this childish game.

I have learned much about racing tactics and navigation on sailonline, and met some great people through their "in-race chat," something that VR does not have.

Although sailonline is free, I have gladly joined their yacht club to support the great team that provides this game.

Journey (another virtual boat in SOL)

 
At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have raced on both VR and sailonline, and the sailonline experience is vastly superior. It is no wonder that in my last VR race, there were over 130,000 "ghost boats," including several of my friends, who had abandoned this childish game."

Dude, you gotta get out more.

"I have learned much about racing tactics and navigation on sailonline, and met some great people...I have gladly joined their yacht club."

Seriously, you gotta get out on the water, meet some real people, get a life and perhaps a girlfriend to. You're online chick is probably a dude anyway.

 
At 9:48 PM, Anonymous yachtyakka said...

I can only repeat the comments from above the click and point basic game is different to the SOL. It is a place where yachties can practice some moves

 

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