How does the law apply in virtual worlds? Our law deals with the physical world and in one sense, it’s not expected to venture into the virtual realm. As of now, crimes require physical evidence based on reality. This leaves owners of virtual reality programs and gaming sites the power and responsibility of creating their own rules, terms of service and game administrator mediation methods. In another sense, the physical law and the virtual world have and will continue to meet in court.
Developers of these virtual worlds and gaming sites incur legal obligations. Virtual property rights do exist under the law in the form of intellectual property, misuse of trademarks and the law protects the legal rights of participants. Virtual property rights’ value often translates into the taxation of the value of such rights by the Internal Revenue Service.
Virtual property rights also attract legal disputes; where there’s considerable value, a legal dispute eventually follows. In 2003 a court in China recognized value built in a virtual world by ruling that the developer must compensate a player (in real cash) for the value of virtual property stolen by a hacker. As more and more legal disputes make their way to court, questions arise. Are owners and developers responsible for monitoring and preventing intellectual property thefts? Under what circumstances can an owner close down a virtual reality area losing money after customers spend time and money developing their virtual properties?
Understanding where reality begins and gaming and virtual worlds meet the law introduces owners to needless frustration. A knowledgeable attorney who understands the virtual world created by technology and the world of reality eases the pain and frustrations by efficiently guiding their clients through the maze. Kuzas Neu wants to be part of your team, proactively preventing your exposure to legal suits before they begin.