Cooperation and Code: Necessary Ingredients for Law in Virtual Worlds


Disputes. “Griefers.” These are just virtual equivalents to real world crimes. And in the real world, such crimes are often resolved through the court system. In the real world, there are laws that govern transactions, theft, property disputes, vandalism and violent acts. In Second Life, however, there currently is no virtual equivalent to real world law.

It stands to reason that Residents, who are virtual representations of flesh-and-blood people, want to transplant real world legal systems into Second Life. They are familiar with real world legal systems, understand how they work and see Second Life as an opportunity to create the perfect legal system, a utopia. Proposals like that of the Metaverse Republic are attempting to create that system, as are others such as Villanova University Law School student Sarah E. Galbraith and Latham & Watkins associate Farnan M. Alemi.

Though they both propose systems that transplant familiar, real world legal systems into Second Life, complete with mediators, judges and juries, they are missing two important components: the role of code and the role of Linden Lab.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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