Virtual World Feudalism
Cornell Law School; Cornell Tech
Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Vol. 118, p. 126, 2009
NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08/09 #24
Second Life is a feudal society. No, not metaphorically. Literally.
Two problems have preoccupied scholars of virtual world law: "What is the political relationship between developers and users?" And: "Should we treat in-world objects as property?" We can make progress on both questions by recognizing that virtual politics and property are inextricably linked, in the same way that feudal politics and property were. It is the tenant/user's relationship with his lord/developer that both creates the property interest and enforces it. The similarity between ownership of land in feudal England and in Second Life suggests that offline courts should protect user interests in virtual items, gradually, without treating them as full-blown modern "property."
Number of Pages in PDF File: 5
Keywords: virtual worlds, virtual property, feudalism, property, second life
JEL Classification: K11
Date posted: January 23, 2009