Sunday, December 03, 2006

Addendum to Second Life Series

I wrote yesterday's post--the fifth in the series on Second Life--almost a week ago, but posted it last night.

Bobbin and Dinah, two of my three cats, woke me early this morning having an argument. I got up to mediate and decided to stay up. I made a cup of hot tea and sat down to cruise my favorite Internet sites. Almost immediately, I came across an article posted yesterday at CNET News. The article, titled "Who Governs Virtual Worlds," was a report on the fourth annual symposium taking place this weekend at the New York Law School on the "State of Play." The conference was described as "an academic gathering where professors from a slew of top universities come to talk about the intellectual, legal and social issues around virtual worlds."

According to Greg Lastowka, one of the attendees and an assistant professor of law at Rutgers, "The virtual-world governance landscape boils down to two categories: internal and external views of governance . . . Internal governance . . . is that which takes place between players and publishers. External governance is more akin to how any organization handles disputes over bylaws or rules."

The article continues, reiterating the issues we've covered this week:

Perhaps the biggest question is whether the trade in virtual goods--weapons, armor, clothing, buildings and the like, all of which have real-world financial value--is taxable . . . But beyond taxation are plenty of legal issues, which the experts addressed at the event . . . One of the first question was what game designers can do to stop players from defrauding each other.

If you want to read the article yourself, go to here .

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