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Claude Desmoulins
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Announcement

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

Dear Citizens

As some of you may know, the City of Neualtenburg has engaged in negotiations with Ulrika Zugzwang to settle once and for all her claim of having her intellectual property rights wronged by the City.

We, the governmental negotiation team, feel it is prudent at this stage to inform you of the results of these negotiations. Sadly, it has been impossible to reach a compromise position with Ulrika Zugzwang, despite our good faith efforts to end the controversy in a fair and conclusive manner.

Therefore, the City of Neualtenburg denies the claims of Ulrika Zugzwang.

Summary of the Negotiation Process

The following details the negotiations and why they failed to achieve a mutually satisfactory result.

The City of Neualtenburg negotiation team was comprised of the leaders of all branches of the Neualtenburg government and drew upon the capacities of other members of government on an as-needed basis. It was the intention of the team to negotiate and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with Ulrika Zugzwang, then present the same to the Representative Assembly for approval and ratification.

The dispute seems to have arisen when Ulrika Zugzwang claimed that her intellectual property had been wrongfully used by the City of Neualtenburg and demanded compensation in exchange for the abandonment of her claims and handing over the rights to her purported intellectual property regarding Neualtenburg.

Briefly put, the negotiation team could not accept Ulrika Zugzwang's claims that her intellectual property was being violated nor that she had any specific rights which rose over and beyond the rights of any of the other original founders and subsequent contributors to the City of Neualtenburg.

However, in order to put these and other issues to rest, the negotiation team worked with Ulrika Zugzwang to craft a settlement agreement which would satisfactorily resolve the concerns of both parties, allowing each to move forward. To summarize a complex agreement, the City offered Ulrika Zugzwang compensation of 260,000L$ in exchange for her cooperation in permanently discontinuing her involvement with Neualtenburg and permanently abandoning any claims on rights to Neualtenburg-related intellectual property. The complete draft agreement is appended to this document.

Ulrika Zugzwang initially accepted these terms during the negotiation process and co-operated with the negotiating team to craft the language of the settlement agreement. However, when the final draft settlement agreement was submitted to her, she refused to accept the clauses upon which Neualtenburg gained a benefit for the settlement, those which contained a verbatim copy of her exact own words. One is to the effect that she would no longer make any reference to Neualtenburg in the marketing of her other endeavors. She further refused to accept other clauses to which she had previously agreed to, namely to discontinue any further involvement in the Neualtenburg forum at the Second Life website and to cooperate in shutting the sane down.

Throughout this process it has been of the utmost concern of the negotiation team to safeguard the interests of Neualtenburg's citizens. Our top priority during the negotiations was to ensure
that the final agreement with Ulrika Zugzwang would contain mechanisms that would ensure her future compliance with the requirements that she cease and desist from slandering the name of Neualtenburg in our very own discussion forum.

Regrettably, Ulrika Zugzwang has decided not to stand true to her own word.

Therefore, it is the sentiment of the negotiation team that we have reached a point where further negotiation is impossible. We would have gladly reached and recommended a settlement with Ulrika Zugzwang that entailed her due compensation for accepting never again to cause disruption and perjury by her slanderous accusations against members of the Neualtenburg government, the Citizens of Neualtenburg and the City of Neualtenburg in general.

Summary of the Denial of the Claims

The following summarizes Ulrika Zugzwang's claims and an explanation of why the purported intellectual property violations are unfounded.

1. The disputed structures built by Ulrika Zugzwang have always remained her property. The Neualtenburg sim has over time contained many structures built and owned by Ulrika Zugzwang. They have never been under the ownership of the government; Ulrika Zugzwang has at all times been able to move, remove or alter these structures should she wish to do so. The negotiation team considers Ulrika Zugzwang's recent action of removing a considerable amount of her structures from the Neualtenburg sim undeniable proof that she has at all times been and remains the sole owner of these structures. Therefore, her own actions disprove her illogical claims that her structures have been used without her permission as she has always retained ownership of the same.

2. Furthermore, in 2005 an agreement was entered into between the Guild (represented by then Guildmaster Kendra Bancroft) and the Representative Assembly whereby all members of the Guild who had contributed builds to Neualtenburg agreed to forfeit their claims for compensation in exchange for being guaranteed payment for any future Neualtenburg builds. Ulrika Zugzwang was a member of the Guild at that time and was therefore covered by said agreement for those of her
builds which were owned by the government of Neualtenburg. It should be noted that she would also benefit from this agreement in that any future builds contracted with her for the City would be compensated.
3. Ulrika claims not to be covered by the above-referenced agreement as she considers the builds in dispute to predate the formation of the City and therefore concludes that the Guild could not have negotiated an agreement covering the builds in question. She does not consider her builds to have been covered by that agreement and demands compensation for the same.. However, there is a rather large gap of logical here in that if what she states is true, these buildings would have been produced before the City came into existence hence there weren't any government officials of Neualtenburg; therefore, the government could not have authorised their manufacture.

4. The constitution of Neualtenburg states explicitly that "all goods produced by members of the AC [The Guild] remain property of the citizens and must remain with them if a member departs." Ulrika Zugzwang was a member of The Guild, thus in accordance with this clause of the Constitution all the goods produced by her remain with the citizens of Neualtenburg when she departed the City.

5. Linden Lab maintains a so-called DMCA procedure whereby individuals who believe their intellectual property rights have been violated in Second Life can report the violation. Linden Lab will act promptly to cease the violation and will also investigate to see if the case has any merit. At no time has Ulrika Zugzwang filed a claim under the Linden Lab DMCA procedure. One can only wonder why.

6. The name "Neualtenburg" was indeed coined by Ulrika Zugzwang and Kendra Bancroft. However, the word Neualtenburg has now come to "name" a place (a virtual land) and a community (the historical City of Neualtenburg) encompassing the shared experiences of perhaps as many as a hundred people who have directly participated in one way or another in its history and many more who have visited. The word "Neualtenburg" has moved into common knowledge and public usage in that when it is used in any conversation or document in the world of Second Life, it is commonly understood that it refers to this particular sim, to the community which resides in the sim and to the government, and its short history.

In effect, the word "Neualtenburg" has become a geographical placename with an intended reference to this community. This material fact prevents any step to trademark the name and remove it from the community. In Real Life, another person might proceed to trademark the
name and use it as a brand name, for example a bottle of beer. The community named Neualtenburg would have no authority to prevent that unless it filed for trademark registration itself. However, filing for a trademark does not preclude a community to continue using its proper name. E.g., trademarking "New York Beer" does not preclude the City or State from using its own moniker. Therefore, no one will be able to derive this community from calling itself Neualtenburg as that is what we are.

Conclusions

In conclusion, it is the hope of the negotiation team that the citizens of Neualtenburg will understand and accept why further negotiations with Ulrika Zugzwang cannot be entertained.

The City of Neualtenburg entered into good faith negotiations as we believed it was possible to reach a compromise wherein the interests of the citizens of Neualtenburg would be met. However, the demands made by the other side were simply too one-sided and non-negotiable: Unilateral compensation for a perceived violation which we did not acknowledge, without any agreement to honour our legitimate interest in ensuring the future disinvolvement of Ulrika Zugzwang with Neualtenburg.

The negotiation team regrets sincerely that it was not possible to reach a compromise with Ulrika Zugzwang despite expending our best efforts towards that goal. Three rounds of negotiations enabled us to draft a final agreement based on the input of Ulrika Zugzwang herself, which she subsequently outright rejects despite the fact that it is based on her own wording and on what she previously agreed to.

To allow you to make up your own mind about the outcome of the negotiations we enclose in the following the final copy of the proposed agreement, which was rejected by Ulrika Zugzwang.

The Negotiation Team
Claude Desmoulins, LRA
Sudane Erato, Gildemeister
Gwyneth Llewelyn, Dean, Scientific Council

***

Agreement between The City of Neualtenburg, an entity of Second Life, (as conveyed by the representatives of its duly elected Representative Assembly) and its successor institutions ("the City")

and

The real life person who as of the date of this agreement owns and operates the Second Life avatar named Ulrika Zugzwang ("Ulrika").

A. OBLIGATIONS OF ULRIKA

Ulrika:

1) Acknowledges by her signing of this document that the City holds
the full and exclusive rights - including but not limited to rights of
ownership and use - to any material created in whole or part by Ulrika
for full or partial use with the project: This includes but is not
limited to the name of Neualtenburg; the

neualtenburg.org

and
neualtenburg.info domain names; any other names invented for use in
the Neualtenburg sim; any text, hypertext or multimedia ( f.x.
textures, structures, scripts) content present in the Neualtenburg
sim, on the neualtenburg.org and neualtenburg.info websites as well as
any applications that have been developed to support the
administrative infrastructure of the city.
2) Will in support of the above identify this material by supplying at
her expense a DVDR to a person designated by the City the general contents of which are listed in clause #1.

3) Will further in support of the above ensure the transferral of
logical ownership to content in the Neualtenburg sim to the
Neualtenburg Raumnützung group.

4) Accepts by her signing of this document responsibility and will
thus indemnify the city against any claims made by a third party for
possible use of copyrighted material in the content mentioned under
clause #1 by settling with these parties independently of city
intervention.

5) Will ensure that the discussion forum on secondlife.com known as
the Neualtenburg Projekt is closed permanently and moved to archive by
Linden Labs in the sense that it will no longer be possible by anyone
to post to it and that the status of this forum as closed is
irrevocable, although one may still access its historical contents.
Ulrika will provide the city with a full record of her correspondence
with LL and third parties in this regard.

6) Will remove her membership from the SL groups of Neualtenburg, the
Neualtenburg Raumn ützung and Die Gilde and will refrain in perpetuity
from becoming a member of these groups.

7) Agrees by her signing of this document that from this date she will
refrain from posting to either the currently established Second Life
Neualtenburg Projekt group forum, or to any succeeding official (as so
declared by the Neualtenburg RA) forum, either within the SL forum
system or outside it, without exception and in perpetuity.

8) Agrees by her signing of this document that she will in any future
ventures and activities in SL refrain from interacting or involving
herself in any way, shape, manner or fashion with the organizational
entity now know as Neualtenburg, or any successor entities.

9) Agrees by her signing of this document that in the marketing of any
future governance projects in which she may be involved, she will
refrain from making comparisons to Neualtenburg, or any successor
entities.

10) Acknowledges by her signing of this document that the agreement
relieves both in SL and in RL, the City, and its successors, of all
claims and obligations which Ulrika may hold against it.
B. OBLIGATIONS OF THE CITY
The city:
11) Agrees to pay Ulrika a total sum of 800 USD paid in two successive
instalments upon the fulfilment by Ulrika of the relevant obligations
mentioned in the above clauses 1 - 11.

C. PROCESS

The following applies with regards to the validity and fulfilment of
the contractual obligations of the parties to the agreement:

12) Ulrika and the Leader of the Representative Assembly will sign a
notarised version of this document using the SL Nota Bene Notary
system. Each shall receive a copy of the document, which must be kept
secret until the time by which it will be discussed by the
Representative Assembly of Neualtenburg.

13) Upon ratification of this notarised agreement by a majority of the
Neualtenburg Representative Assembly, the City shall, within
reasonable time, pay to Ulrika by US Postal Money Order via US Mail
the sum of US$150 as recognition of the obligations undertaken by
Ulrika as regards clauses 1,4,7,8,9 and 10. In the event that this
agreement is not ratified by the Neualtenburg Representative Assembly,
this agreement shall be null and void and neither party shall be bound
by its terms. Otherwise the agreement shall remain in effect in
perpetuity.

14) Upon the subsequent successful fulfilment by Ulrika of the
conditions outlined in clauses 2, 3, 5 and 6 of this agreement the
city shall pay to Ulrika within reasonable time a further US$650 by US
Postal Money Order via US Mail.

15) The terms of this settlement will be public, and both parties
agree that the publication of the terms of this settlement will be the
entire public statement of either party regarding this settlement. No
other comments will be made by Ulrika or by anyone acting in the
capacity of the city's government.

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Pelanor Eldrich
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Re: Legal strategy

Post by Pelanor Eldrich »

I think we're fine. If it goes to DCMA and we get a cease and desist order, we can change the name of the city and reform all groups she's in.

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Gwyneth Llewelyn
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Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

Yes, at this point, this is a possibility, although, naturally enough, the DMCA claims will be contested by us...

"I'm not building a game. I'm building a new country."
  -- Philip "Linden" Rosedale, interview to Wired, 2004-05-08

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