The lord high executioners of Frank Herbert's estate have demanded that all Second Life areas (inhabited by all of 130 people) remove all references to Dune IP. Drat. There goes my 36-inch sandworm cock.
Trident Media Group, responsible for all things Arrakis, Dune, Desert Planet, sent the C&D to Linden Lab, which runs Second Life. Linden turned around and sent it to its SL fremen, harkkonen, et al. They're complying with the letter of the letter, not its spirit. Says "Vooper Werribee," leader of the Dune roleplayers:
We've made all the compliance changes we intend to now. Basically we've removed the words 'Dune', Bene Gesserit, Atreides, etc. from as many object names and descriptions as we can find. But we still intend to keep the place as a 'generic' sci-fi desert planet with spice mining. And still intend to roleplay here.
In something of a Streisand effect, the publicity has created more interest in the Dune environs, which had counted 130 members, only 20 percent of which were currently active. Star Trek SLers have expressed interest in using them for "First Contact" scenarios. And, horror of horrors:
"Some Star Wars players are interested in using the place as a 'spice mining' base. As Star Wars has 'spice'."
I wouldn't necessarily take Trident Media's banhammer to mean that Herbert's estate has imminent plans for a Dune-licensed MMO. It's more like brand protection, and of course, protection of the potential value of licensing one down the road.