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VWN Resource Database: Legal
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Resource Database > Legal
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Artificial Intelligence | Alternate Lives | VR & Crime | Teaching and Training via VR
 
The serious side of running a world: copyrights, the ugly issue of virtual ownership, intellectual property rights, derivertive work - both yours and that of your playerbase, and your legal rights in content monitoring. Everything you need, to run yoiur world, and keep out of jail.


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Liability (4)

When a player in your world does something idiotic, and damaging, who is responsible? It sounds silly, but, the fact is that, unless you're careful, you could find yourself liable for the acts of your players.
Locally Hosted resource
The legalities of Snooping
This short article covers a sensible use of the snoop tool, to allow for virtual immunity to legal action taken as a result of player-content.

Linked resource
Online Games & The Law, Part Four: Community Rules
Creating a community is more dangerous legally than many people realise. This article looks into the issues raised by the american COPPA laws, the lisencing of content created by your community's members, and why Terms of Service documents are crucial.

Locally Hosted resource
Responsibilities and Liabilities of MUD Hosts and Admins
Discusses the legal responsibilities of Administrators, and M** hosters to the control of what players do - what they should be able to get away with, and the legal precedents for relevant situations.

This tome lays out how the dystopian internet of the near future will look if trends continue as they are, and shows how the internet of the past would have looked had individuals not acted to stop other similar attempts.





Copyright (8)

Linked resource
Is it time to defend our rights?
A soundly reasoned piece by BBC journalist Bill Thompson on how copyright restrictions on the net may finally have gone too far, and are in danger of damaging both the net and augmented lives.

Linked resource
Legal Issues for Rookie Development Studios Part I: Initial Legal Issues
Before you can hope to market any piece of software, from a spreadsheet, to a game, to a world, you need to be sure you can protect your copyright, from outsiders, from yourselves, from third-party partners. How do you do that? Set up in business.

Linked resource
Legal Issues for Rookie Development Studios Part II
A thick, wordy, and extremely detailed look at the various ways to slap "Intellectual Property" on your work, digging through various means of copyrighting, their advantages, their limitations, the lot. A very thorough read, if a little headachey.

Linked resource
Legal Issues for Rookie Development Studios Part III
The final piece in a series of three, this article takes a long, hard look at protecting the company/group's copyright, via the age-old horror - the employee contract.

Linked resource
Online Games & The Law, Part One: IP & Copyright
A practical look into copyright and IP issues faced by online environments, and geared specifically for these, and other online businesses.

Linked resource
Online Games & The Law, Part Two: Copyleft & Trademark
A practical explanation of Copyleft, that oft misunderstood alternative to copyright, and a look at trademarkig. Includes breakdowns of the requirements for all the major routes: Open source, GPL, Creative Commons.

Locally Hosted resource
Podcast: How creativity is being strangled by the law
This cast from TED 2007, takes a look at how dart laying down of new laws and lobbying victories are twisting that which was designed to foster innovation, into a cage to prevent new innovation.

Linked resource
The Rocky Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds, Part 3: Copyrights
The third instalment of Linux Insider's guide to the rocky road of protecting legal assets you create in a virtual world, looks at perhaps the easiest and cheapest method: copyright.



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Ownership (19)

When your team creates content for the players, everything is fine. You know exactly where you are, and what you cvan do. But what happens when the players start creating content? Do their creations belong to the world, to the team, or to the player? What happens if a player decides that the work is theirs, and they're going to copyright it? You could find yourself in legal difficulty without warning.

The resources held here, are here to help you make an informed decision on how to handle this problem when it crops up.

Linked resource
An Avatar's Bill of Rights
Law.com has issued a suggested 'bill of rights' to be adhered to by any social virtual virtual environment terms of service, in order to give users the same rights they might expect from a more traditional government.

Locally Hosted resource
Another Reality Check
This short article takes a realistic look at how the people who sell user-created content within a virtual world may not be the doom-bringers of online world development if they are allowed by lay to continue such distribution, and how they may well be the harbringers of increased enjoyment and profitability. Read it.

Linked resource
Declaring the Rights of Players
An older but still very interesting and very relevant article by Raph Koster. Do players of virtual worlds have rights?

Locally Hosted resource
Do in WoW as You would in RL
A couple of days ago, Blizzard, the parent company to World of Warcraft, stunned many people with a privacy-related announcement. They were making changes to the forums, and from an unspecified date in the near future, they will require all forum posters to have their real first and last names, together with all character names, on display on every post they make.

Linked resource
Fortune Telling
In the wake of Sony's decision to open a virtual goods marketplace, this article looks at what is in store for the industry, and virtual nations in general.

Linked resource
I 0Wn Y0o, d00d
Taking a look at ownership issues with MMOs. Specifically those companies that sell content created within them, and the issues which have arisen round them.

Linked resource
I 0Wn Y0u, d0Od! Part Deux
A detailed, in-depth look at why selling content from within MMOs, to others can damage the business on the company in question, by looking at the effect it has on the costs of the MMO.

Locally Hosted resource
Mugging ? on a Massive Virtual Scale
Industry News

News from the 18th of August 2005, the first recorded case of a man arrested for mugging a great many people in a virtual world - and then taking their virtual goods, and selling them wholesale on an auction website. Industrial grade mugging - in a virtual world.

Linked resource
Online Games & The Law, Part Five: Property Rights
An interesting article, concerning the "right of publicity" laws in the USA, where you're not allowed to use someone's name or likeness to sell your product. This is a problem if you use a celebrity - even dead, in-world. The article also looks at and explores the developing issue of Virtual Property Rights, and your legal standpoint as a developer.

Locally Hosted resource
Player wins court battle to restore property
This article made the news in December 2003, when a long time player of a certain virtual world, successfully sued for financial compensation when his items were deleted by the server. It set a worrying precident for many.

Linked resource
Render Unto Caesar
Virtual worlds have shown themselves to have very real, and fairly powerful market forces when it comes to items from within them being traded openly on the internet. Time to stop arguing about the value of virtual, and start worrying about the reality of the virtual?

Locally Hosted resource
Should real profits in virtual worlds be taxed?
In social VR and VR gameworlds, a large amount of people are making a lot of money ? some 200 million to 800 million US dollars worth per year and growing ? that is tax free. The American government is understandably annoyed by this.

Locally Hosted resource
Sony opens Virtual Goods Marketplace
Industry News

Industry news, originally posted 22-04-2005. Massively Multiplayer Online world operator Sony Entertainment appears to have reversed its position regarding the buying and selling of virtual items.

Linked resource
The Rocky Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds, Part 1: Trademarks
Linux Insider has run a three part series on the legal issues of content creation within virtual worlds, in response to the boom in user created worlds. This first segment looks at the possibility of trademarking your goods, even if they only exist virtually.

Linked resource
The Rocky Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds, Part 2: Patents
Part two of Linux Insider's guide to legally protecting your virtual assets looks at patents, and patent law. Considering the pros and cons of patenting your discoveries, and the enforceable and unenforceable patents of the past, that sought to do similar, within a virtual environment.

Locally Hosted resource
User-created content ownership
This short article covers a sensible use of the snoop tool, to allow for virtual immunity to legal action taken as a result of player-content.

Locally Hosted resource
Virtual Property Theft ? Physical Murder
Industry News

Industry news, from 01-04-2005. Hands up who saw this one coming? That?s right, you can all put your hands down now. Virtual property, existing only in a database server, has long been a hot topic in virtual reality, as to who actually owns it. Now, this case has reached a new level, with the murder of a man accused of stealing a virtual sword.

Linked resource
Virtual Worlds Collide With Real Laws
Legal experts and game players closely eyed a lawsuit against Second Life, which asked courts to clarify the legal status of virtual property in 2006.

Linked resource
What rights should we have to our virtual goods?
An intreguing article written from a MMO player's perspective, taking a balanced approach and arguing as to what rights players and participants should have to the virtual goods created within and dependent upon a specific platform.



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Hardware Patents (1)

In this jumble of legal wrangling, profiteering, and patent-slapping, who owns what parts of the technology to bring us into the virtual?
Locally Hosted resource
Sony patents theoretical brain-interface
Industry News

Industry news, originally posted 10-04-2005. A patent granted to Sony Entertainment for a device for transmitting sensory data directly into the human brain, may sound exciting, but will likely lead to stifled growth for neuroprosthetics.



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Regional Restriction (3)

Linked resource
Games without frontiers?
A BBC column by Bill Thompson on how companies, far more than governments, are attempting to wall off the internet by physical location, and the methods being employed to fight back.

In a world governed by speed, the Internet plays a growing role in many of today's innovations, and the resolution of disputes using electronic means of communication may soon be part of everyday legal practice.



Locally Hosted resource
The Fragility of Internet-Enabled Communication
In the wake of the recent London riots in the UK, uncomfortable truths have come to light regarding the security and privacy of messages spoken or otherwise transmitted over technological networks. Specifically that communicating via technology is never going to be as potentially private as a whispered conversation in a secluded locale.






 



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