TAMPA, Fla. — A dispute over sales of virtual sex toys has resulted in a real-life slap on the wrist for a Texas teenager.
Eros LLC, a Tampa Bay-area company that creates virtual sex scripts in the online world "Second Life," sued Robert Leatherwood, 19, last year claiming he copied, displayed or distributed Eros products without permission.
Eros creations allow "Second Life" users to equip their online personas, or avatars, with realistic genitalia and engage the avatars in various sexual actions.
A federal judge accepted a settlement in the case last week that doesn't involve money or an admission of wrongdoing from Leatherwood.
Reached at his grandmother's home in North Richland Hills, Texas, he acknowledged he sold Eros products but said the whole case had been overblown.
"I did it in private," he said. "I wasn't out to do a huge market thing. I was doing it for a little bit of money."
He said he stopped selling Eros products online a year ago and rarely uses "Second Life" anymore. He called the case "ridiculous."
Francis Taney, a Pennsylvania attorney representing Eros, said owner Kevin Alderman, of Lutz, Fla., is "moving on."
Taney said the case is one of two real-world legal fights he's launched on Eros' behalf involving activity inside "Second Life." While settlements don't create legal precedents, Taney said the case does seem to transfer some real-world principles to the online universe.
"This is a technology that has to be dealt with by lawyers, by business people, by regular citizens," Taney said. "I think it fits quite nicely into existing concepts."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.