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The Magic Circle


Joshua Fairfield


Washington and Lee University - School of Law

November 19, 2008

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 2009
Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2008-45

Abstract:     
This essay examines the concept of the "magic circle," the argument that real-world law ought to be excluded from virtual worlds. The article explores the reasons for the magic circle metaphor, and criticizes the metaphor's logical and legal basis. The article concludes that although real-world law cannot reasonably be excluded from virtual worlds, game gods and players can control the interface between law and virtual worlds through their agreements, customs, and practices. This leads to a new conception of the magic circle: the magic circle is the point of interface between community-generated norms and external law, which often adopts local norms as legal rules.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: Technology Law, External Law

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Date posted: November 21, 2008 ; Last revised: May 25, 2009

Suggested Citation

Fairfield, Joshua, The Magic Circle (November 19, 2008). Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 2009; Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2008-45. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1304234

Contact Information

Joshua Fairfield (Contact Author)
Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )
Lexington, VA 24450
United States
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