A Virtual Property Solution: How Privacy Law Can Protect the Citizens of Virtual Worlds
John William Nelson
Samford University - Cumberland School of Law; University of East Anglia (UEA) - Norwich Law School
October 5, 2010
Oklahoma City University Law Review, Forthcoming
Privacy laws can protect virtual worlds and their users where property law cannot. Yet, legal scholars tend to ignore this power in favor of extending the virtual world metaphor in an effort to see the common law of property cover virtual worlds. This article explores how harms against the citizens of virtual worlds are harms against the victim’s mental state rather than his wallet. A review of the types of privacy law applicable to virtual worlds is provided, and those laws are applied to common virtual world scenarios resulting in harm. Finally, privacy law is offered as the most viable and logical approach to dealing with virtual world harms because of its ability to address mental harms without the need for a property loss.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: privacy, property, virtual property, virtual worlds, online gamesAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 6, 2010 ; Last revised: January 26, 2011
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