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Legal Issues in Virtual Worlds: intellectual property, content regulation and governance Dr Melissa de Zwart School of Law University of South Australia Should public policy frameworks be adapted to support use of virtual worlds? If so, how? Key issues: Intellectual property

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legal issues in virtual worlds intellectual property content regulation and governance

Legal Issues in Virtual Worlds: intellectual property, content regulation and governance

Dr Melissa de Zwart

School of Law

University of South Australia

should public policy frameworks be adapted to support use of virtual worlds if so how
Should public policy frameworks be adapted to support use of virtual worlds? If so, how?

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

key issues
Key issues:
  • Intellectual property
  • Content regulation

  • Governance
  • Service provider as ‘manager of communities’ (Humphreys)

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

governance three key stakeholders
Governancethree key stakeholders:
  • Government
  • Service provider
  • Users/players/residents

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

problems
Problems:
  • Regulation via intellectual property model
  • Tendency (at least in Australia) to over-regulate
  • Lack of understanding/ perception that not all vws are alike: intellectual property, privacy, content, rmt, ethics …

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

potential governance mechanisms
Potential governance mechanisms:
  • General law (common law, statute)
  • EULA
  • Rules
  • Code
  • Norms

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

complex relationships between various aspects of governance
Complex relationships between various aspects of governance:
  • Blizzard v MDY (US District Court, 2009) licence to use the game software subject to the user’s compliance with the EULA and ToU
  • EVE: destruction of the Band of Brothers alliance

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

classification wrangle in australia
Classification wrangle in Australia:
  • Classified as a computer game: Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995
  • Classified as Internet content: Broadcasting Services Act 1992
  • Distinction between content and communication
  • Self-regulation eg social networking

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

regulation must
Regulation must:
  • Be sensitive to the particular needs of the relevant vw community
  • Recognise that not all vws are alike
  • Reflect importance of community norms and enforcement mechanisms
  • Reflect diversity of users/individual experiences
  • Reflect importance of network as an organising agency

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

national governments should
National governments should:
  • Support the development of vws by creating consistent, supportive frameworks
  • Avoid fragmentation of the user’s experience
  • Require the service provider to have an accessible, transparent ToU
  • Govt  service provider  citizen

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA

melissa dezwart@unisa edu au
Melissa.dezwart@unisa.edu.au

Dr Melissa de Zwart, UniSA