Building Policy that Crosses Virtual Borders: A Case Study of a Virtual Labor Strike with Real World Ramifications
19 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2012
Date Written: August 15, 2010
Within this paper, the authors present an initial analysis of a protest case study in Second Life and the policy, legal and regulatory issues it involves. In particular, the authors elaborate on the current understanding of legal frameworks within virtual worlds and build on the concept of inter-real harm first introduced by Warren and Palmer. Three critical events within the Second Life case: Media Storm, Organization, and Strike! are examined to see how the actions of the protesters and authorities meet the definition of inter-real harm and support the need for a new framework for understanding virtual worlds. Virtualizing protest changes the repertoire of contention that protesters and authorities operate under and introduces new complications and unconsidered consequences that are unique to virtual worlds. Inter-real harm addresses issues raised by some of these complications and its implementation requires a re-examination of law policy dealing with virtual worlds.
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