You can chalk this up to “just when you thought Second Life couldn't get any weirder”. In my three years as a resident of SL, I've read many stories about SL crossing into real life -- from broken marriages due to playing around to Stroker Serpentine suing Linden Lab over copyrights to his virtual sex toys. Yet now, I think I've seen it all.
The original link to this article was sent to me by a friend, Toysoldier Thor, in Texas:
Women files child support lawsuit for "virtual babies"
PROVIDENCE, RI via URA Newswire - Erita Sasti, female, age 41 of Pawtucket, RI has taken the groundbreaking action of petitioning the court for monthly child support payments for "virtual children" she allegedly had with a male companion in the virtual reality world of Second Life. Second Life (SL) is a 3D computer game simulation featuring realistic avatars and fantasy worlds whose players often engage in role play including virtual sex, gender switching and simulated pregnancies.
Sasti "lives" in SL as Yllis Norom (her avatar name) with twin virtual "daughters", Latota and Joram, also being role played by two (unamed) real life humans. Sasti filed her petition to the Rhode Island Family Court (Providence) today against "Lirpaloof Frychester", the avatar name of the alleged virtual father. Because Sasti apparently does not know the real life name of the human behind the avatar, the petition also contains a demand notice on Linden Lab, the California-based makers of Second Life, to release Frychester's private information to her for service.
In the petition, Sasti claims Frychester had virtual sex with her as "Yllis Norom" and that the two of them had agreed to extend their role play by having virtual children. It goes on to detail how "Lirpaloof" abandoned Yllis after the children were "born" and that Sasti continues to support their "feeding, growth and education" in the Second Life world. Because this form of role play apparently requires buying virtual clothing, food and shelter using virtual currency or Linden dollars ($L which are converted from real US dollars), Sasti is asking for $15,000L per month for child support until the virtual children are two years old plus $65,000L in emotional distress.
When we contacted Sasti for more information, she referred us to her lawyer and real life husband, Mac Sasti who explained, "Mrs. Sasti has suffered humiliation in Second Life of having been kicked out her partner's virtual mansion and of being obligated by convention to continue to care for her two daughters. Since the eviction, Yllis and her girls have been forced to live as a homeless family in welcome centers and to breast feed in public.
While this may be somewhat ground-breaking, we feel that legal precedents for similar situations in virtual games like IMVU and World of Warcraft establish her rights as both a real person and as an avatar."
When asked why the suit wasn't filed as a breach of contract, Mac Sasti said, "The humanitarian aspects are more appropriate for family court which, in Rhode Island, can also deal with property division and abandonment."
Wow, just wow!
So either this is a major publicity stunt or someone has a few screws loose. I guess we'll have to wait and see how things evolve. I put a few emails into some of my contacts at Linden Lab to see if they'd heard anything but no replies yet. The whole thing seems a bit foolish but then again, when it comes to Second Life, nothing surprises me any more.