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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 13:38 GMT
Second lifers
Spencer Kelly
By Spencer Kelly
Click presenter

Since its launch in 2003, Second Life has grown into a thriving virtual community.

Screen shot from Second Life

Its residents, represented by their character avatars, have been busy building homes, attending pop concerts and indulging some of their stranger fantasies.

Second Life's San Francisco based creators, Linden Lab, boast that their world has over 1.5 million residents.

That number may seem small in comparison to World of Warcraft's seven million players, but there is one very big difference between the two - Second Life is not a game.

In this virtual world residents can do literally anything they please.

Because Second Lifers can actually own the virtual goods they create, the world enjoys a booming virtual economy; residents can spend Linden dollars, which have a real world value.

As a result a number of virtual entrepreneurs have been making a living through their online activities.

Recently this economy has been threatened with unscrupulous residents using so-called "copybot" software. The copybot duplicates already manufactured in-world items.

This, coupled with an attack by a worm called Grey Goo, which briefly brought the world to a standstill, have caused upset in the online community.

Jim Purbrick from Linden Lab and Mike Butcher of TechCrunch.com talked about Second Life, its importance and future in this extended version of the interview which appeared in the broadcast version of the show.

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