You Can Lead a Virtual Horse to Water, But You Might Get Sued Along the Way

A palomino mare named Star grazes on Debbie DeLouise’s clover meadow, hanging out at a salt lick there and frolicking with her foal Holly.

But a legal dispute may imperil their pastoral bliss: It threatens to close the only store where Ms. DeLouise can buy food for Star and Holly. Without their special diet, the horses would waste away and turn green.

Star and Holly aren’t real horses. They exist only within Linden Research Inc.’s “Second Life,” an online virtual world where people can fashion a new existence. But while the buying, breeding and riding of horses happens in the virtual world, litigation over them happens in real-life federal court.

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