For our purposes, let's first define the term copyright in its most basic form.
Copyright: Is the right of an author to govern use and distribution of his/her work, provided that work was original and in a fixed medium of expression.
Since the Gor novels have been published, they are copyrighted. That copyright is valid for the life of the author plus 70 years. This means that it is illegal to possess or distribute unlicensed copies of John Norman's novels. Yet, many Goreans in SL continue to do just that.
John Norman is aware of the SL Gorean community's illegal behavior. He addressed it in an interview with Charlie Jane Anders from i09.com in 2011.
"I have heard of Second Life, but know very little about it. I have heard that large numbers of my books have been "pirated," so to speak, and distributed freely in that community. I am disappointed that individuals would do that, if they are doing that. Let us hope that that claim is mistaken. If individuals do care for an author, and his work, it seems to me they should, in respect, refrain from such a practice. Intellectual property is property, after all, as much as a baseball glove or a bicycle."If the SL Gorean community is not impressed by legality and honor, consider this: John Norman holds the copyright to his novels, but he also holds the copyright on any derivative works that are based on those novels. A derivative work would include role play. It is well within the rights of John Norman to have SL shut down the entire Gorean Community. It would be a very easy, almost overnight process. All he has to do is notify Linden Labs.
~ John Norman
...to BUY his books.
Think about this the next time you want to share or request a pirated, illegal copy of the novels.
[The Gorean Campus stands in staunch support of copyright laws and the SL TOS. Anyone found distributing illegal copies of protected works may be banned.]