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date: 30 March 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the intersection of the virtual and law. It begins by offering a definition of the virtual. It then explains that existing law does regulate the virtual, since there are laws that create social rules with respect to simulations. The chapter next explores how the law regulates social actions within persistent online avatar-based simulations, also known as virtual worlds. It highlights the crucial role of copyright law in expanding the scope of private power over online interactions. In a third section, the chapter explores how virtual law is evolving in three particular areas: jurisdiction, contract, and property. Finally, the chapter concludes by stating that, with respect to virtual worlds, the current dynamic in technology and law is one that tends to increase the relative private power of platform owners and decrease the relative rights and freedoms of users.

Keywords: virtual, law, jurisdiction, property, contract, copyright

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