Regulating Your Second Life: Defamation in Virtual Worlds
Bettina Chin, Editor-in-Chief of the Brooklyn Law Review has deposited Regulating Your Second Life: Defamation in Virtual Worlds in SSRN. Her note is published at 72 Brooklyn Law Review 1303 (2007). Here's the abstract:
Although the issue of virtual harm has never been raised in real-world courts, virtual worlds like Second Life have become increasingly significant in terms of both time and money for their users. As such, it is important to develop theories of how the law may apply to and resolve disputes that originate in these worlds. This Note will therefore argue that because users have imported real-world concepts, specifically currency and economy, into the metaverse, it would behoove brick and mortar societies to provide for redress if a user suffers pecuniary loss in these worlds. This Note will also explore certain ambiguities inherent and unique to the virtual environment when traditional elements of defamation law are applied to it. Moreover, this Note will argue that real-world courts should be the proper forum in which to litigate defamation actions, where victims suffer pecuniary loss due to the fall of their reputations.
Policing Diversity in the Digital Age: Maintaining Order in Virtual Communities
David Wall (University of Leeds, Law) and Matthew Williams (University of Wales System, Cardiff School of Social Sciences) have published Policing Diversity in the Digital Age: Maintaining Order in Virtual Communities, 7 Criminology & Criminal Justice 391 (2007). A copy of their paper is also available as an SSRN download. Here's the abstract:
Members of 'terrestrial' communities are increasingly migrating to a new 'Third Space' that manifests outside traditional geographical physical boundaries. This online space consists of purely social relations where interaction and community are performed at-a-distance. The diverse populations of these virtual villages, towns and cities now constitute very real communities. Online non-gaming spaces such as Ebay, Active Worlds and Secondlife, for example, deliberately utilize the discourse of community in an attempt to instil a sense of communal space and shared responsibility among their members. While the majority subscribe to the rhetoric of 'netizenship' others find alternative means to participate online. The avocations of these few have resulted in the endemic deviance/crime problem that exits online. As a result, online communities have developed their own distinct history of control and regulation.
This article explores the ways that online social spaces maintain orderly 'communities'. It contrasts 'proximal' (online) forms of governing online behaviour, such as online reputation management systems, 'virtual' police services and vigilante groups that employ 'online shaming', with 'distal' (offline) forms such as offline policing and criminal justice processes. The central theme of the article is a critical account of how these, often contradicting, nodes of governance interact.