Sunday, March 9, 2008

Do I really own my sword?

Human rights in a virtual world?

MMOs. WoW. Second Life. GoPets. Live Gamer.

This panel was discussing what types of rights people have in these types of games.

Are they only “renting the objects” in the games?

If they want to sell an object “what are they really selling?”

Are there full trappings of ownership or limited trappings of ownership?

What if a person dies? Is there inheritance?

Full ownership doesn’t exist because publishers and authors are scared. Scared of the legal ramifications? Being sued? Being responsible for hacker theft, crashed servers, and random bugs within the MMO worlds?

Do you have the legal right to enforce punishments?

There was an example of a person being hijacked by “screw driver to your head” in a PC room for their character. This was used as an example of when criminal law might come into play. 

The panel was sightly out of my sphere of interest. I suppose that's why you should read the panel description before hand. 

Succinctly put, this is still very much a grey area and there is not much initiative for the law to be involved. 

The opinion of the panel overall, was that it is up to the publishers of the games to protect the personal rights of their players.

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