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Getting to Conscionable: Negotiating Virtual Worlds' End User License Agreements without Getting Externally Regulated

Brendan James Gilbert


May 12, 2009

Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1375408

Currently, virtual world governance is the product of end user license agreements, contracts which attempt to provide a complete legal and enforcement system to the virtual world. This method of governance is flawed, however, and results in participant frustration. Alternative approaches that have been advanced so far include governmental regulation, which has begun in some countries. However, numerous pressures and precedent resist such an application in the United States. The following argues against keeping just the license agreements as the body of law, and also against a wholesale shift toward governmental regulation.

Instead, a compromise -- establishing a standards-setting body of developers, referred to here as a virtual world council -- is the most efficient solution. This is a daunting task; however, numerous examples exist for the developers of virtual worlds to follow and they are explained below. The final proposed result is a two-tier system that retains EULAs with modifications as appropriate, and supports a common law approach rooted in standardization for resolving what EULAs cannot.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: virtual world, virtual, third party beneficiary, third party, EULA, end user license agreement, terms of service, terms of use, regulation, developer, virtual world governance, second life, world of warcraft, virtual chattels, virtual property

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Date posted: April 9, 2009 ; Last revised: May 26, 2014

Suggested Citation

Gilbert, Brendan James, Getting to Conscionable: Negotiating Virtual Worlds' End User License Agreements without Getting Externally Regulated (May 12, 2009). Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1375408. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1375408 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1375408

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Brendan James Gilbert (Contact Author)
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