Virtual Borders: The Interdependence of Real and Virtual Worlds

15 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2005


The flourishing trade of virtual items for real-life money suggests that virtual worlds will sometimes welcome the intervention of real-life law. At first glance, this possibility seems to undermine the Law and Borders thesis that online spaces should enjoy independence from real-life law. These ideas are compatible, however, because they start from a common premise: that these new communities are developing their own distinctive values. The lesson of the real-money trade is that preserving those values requires recognizing the interdependence of virtual worlds and the real world.

Keywords: Virtual Worlds, Computer Software, Internet

JEL Classification: K10, K33

Suggested Citation

Grimmelmann, James, Virtual Borders: The Interdependence of Real and Virtual Worlds. First Monday, February 2006; NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08/09-9. Available at SSRN:

James Grimmelmann (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Cornell Tech ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

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