A Virtual Property Solution: How Privacy Law Can Protect the Citizens of Virtual Worlds

24 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2010 Last revised: 11 Mar 2014

John William Nelson

Samford University - Cumberland School of Law; University of East Anglia (UEA) - Norwich Law School

Date Written: October 5, 2010

Abstract

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.

Keywords: privacy, property, virtual property, virtual worlds, online games

Suggested Citation

Nelson, John William, A Virtual Property Solution: How Privacy Law Can Protect the Citizens of Virtual Worlds (October 5, 2010). Oklahoma City University Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1688001

John William Nelson (Contact Author)

Samford University - Cumberland School of Law ( email )

800 Lakeshore Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States
(404) 939-4705 (Phone)

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Norwich Law School ( email )

Norwich NR4 7TJ, Norfolk
United Kingdom

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