Mogul Ordered to Divide Estate with Abandoned Copy

Aaliyah, Hyperborea, Venus -- 21 Mar. 2057:  The Regional Civil Court this day handed down a decision in the infamous Vanbreezenbrock v. Vanbreezenbrock trial, ordering Unimedia Information Curators president and CEO Limehouse Vanbreezenbrock to hand over nearly a third of his fortune to the plaintiff, Limehouse Vanbreezenbrock.  The upload who claimed to the world that he was the original and his flesh-and-blood source was a fraud and a usurper now stands to claim thousands of credits and a large stake in the link-farming empire.

Mr. Vanbreezenbrock was the victim of a sudden and total overload of his cortical implants due to the failure of the neuromuscular actuators.  The implants had to be removed and replaced with a fresh set at Nightengale Hospital.  However, the malfunctioning implants were mishandled during a technomedical investigation intended to determine the source of the problem; the full imprint of Mr. Vanbreezenbrock's consciousness who had been running the implants' operating system was activated and was allowed to copy itself to the hyperlayer.  Mr. Vanbreezenbrock had of course since scanned a new imprint, and would have been unable to re-interface with an obsolete imprint in any case.  When Mr. Vanbreezenbrock denied Vr. Vanbreezenbrock any access to his funds, estate or spouse, the wayward copy launched a lawsuit as well as a scandal in the press.  After many weeks of exhaustive legal arguments, the Honourable Judge Wilma Plagenphlan wrote in her decision that "Mr. Vanbreezenbrock is legally responsible for the creation of every imprint of himself, no matter whether this creation was voluntary or involuntary, and he is responsible for their maintenance just as the father of a child is responsible for its upkeep, whether he knew of his paternity or not.  However, a full imprint is more than just a child; it is a copy of oneself, full and entire, and can thus be considered to have a claim on the fruits, from its own perspective, of its own labour."  The judgement goes on to spell out the reasonoing behind the division of the estate:  "At the present moment, the original Mr. Vanbreezenbrock and two copies of himself exist, one estranged and one integrated within his own neural architecture.  Given no agreement to the contary, each one of them has equal claim to Mr. Vanbreezenbrock's accumulated possessions, less those that the original and integrated imprint have together worked to accrue since the moment when the estranged imprint was removed from the equation."

The unprecedented case, which establishes an absolute claim of estranged consciousness copies to a share of their living progenitor's estate in the absence of other explicit arrangements, has taken the world of upload estate law by storm.  "People are going to have to be a hell of a lot more careful about creating full imprints," opined legal scholar Dr. Pilominus Barrelroller of Heinlein University.  "And I think that law firms everywhere are going to be doing a brisk business for the next little while drawing up fresh contracts for integrated partials.  We tend to assume, since we share such close neural links with the copies that run or personal networks, that they and we are for all intents and purposes identical, one and the same.  This case establishes that such an assumption is both true and not true -- and that in any event it is seriously flawed."

Though Vr. Vanbreezenbrock has denied requests for an interview, a source close to the victorious data ghost who wished to remain anonymous reported that he is satisfied with the decision, has accepted his altered circumstances and plans to don a neonym to avoid further confusion.  Mr. Vanbreezenbrock, when asked for comment, was philosophical.  "It's a hell of a thing, to see your own face staring at you, accusing you of stealing everything that's rightfully yours," he told reporters in a brief public appearance.  "If he'd just been willing to listen to reason, sit down and talked it over instead of coming at me with threats and accusations... but then, it's exactly what I would have done.  He fought hard, he earned this, and I wish him well, but I hope never to see him again."  Mr. Vanbreezenbrock and Vr. Vanbreezenbrock have also filed separate suits against Nightengale Hospital.  In the wake of the decision, Unimedia stock has taken a severe hit, losing 117 millicredits on the InterPlan Index.

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