Welcome to Virtually Blind. This site will cover both real-world legal developments that impact virtual worlds and also in-world legal issues — collectively, “virtual law.” Virtual law is important because virtual worlds are fast becoming big business. Brands like IBM, Adidas, Toyota, Dell, and MTV have established virtual world presences. Second Life recently registered its millionth account. Games like World of Warcraft are even bigger hits, as much for their “virtual world” role-playing possibilities as for the virtual creature-slaying. Gaming systems are converging with computers, putting devices that can run virtual-world clients and persistent-state gaming and social environments in tens of millions of living rooms.
What does this mean? Where people go, laws and government aren’t far behind. Will a real-world lawsuit help clarify the status of digital property? Will criminal charges result from in-world activity? Will someone’s in-world private legal system become the de facto standard? Will attorneys practicing law in-world get in trouble with real-world ethics bodies? Will someone bring a civil suit for emotional distress inflicted by an avatar?
These questions will inevitably arise, and virtual law will just as inevitably become part of the modern legal landscape. It should be interesting.
So again, welcome. Let’s see what happens!
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