Virtual Worlds Players – Consumers or Citizens?

Internet Policy Review, 3(4), 2014

12 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2014

See all articles by Edina Harbinja

Edina Harbinja

University of Strathclyde Law School; University of Hertfordshire

Date Written: October 15, 2014


This article questions the preconceived notions that participants in virtual worlds are essentially consumers. Building on the existing scholarship around virtual worlds and notwithstanding the current character of virtual worlds, this paper explores aspects of End User License Agreements and notes the unfairness of their provisions, particularly the imbalance between user and developer interests governed by such contracts. It argues that the contracts cannot be regulated with consumer protection legislation, as interests such as property or intellectual property are beyond the scope of consumer protection regimes. Finally, recognising the phenomenon of constitutionalisation of virtual worlds, the article argues for stronger regulatory solutions in this domain, in order to strike a more appropriate balance between competing interests in virtual worlds.

Keywords: Virtual worlds, End User Licence Agreements, Consumer protection, Multi-User Dungeon (MUD), Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMOPG), Terms of service, Virtual asset

Suggested Citation

Harbinja, Edina, Virtual Worlds Players – Consumers or Citizens? (October 15, 2014). Internet Policy Review, 3(4), 2014 . Available at SSRN:

Edina Harbinja (Contact Author)

University of Strathclyde Law School ( email )

Graham Hills Building
50 George Street
Glasgow, G1 1QE
United Kingdom

University of Hertfordshire ( email )

United Kingdom

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