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Jun 19, 2009



Raph's keynote:

* Starts by talking about his brother the cyberterrorist who has political power.

* VWs are not changing things as much as pundits like to say or think. Twitter is changing things more than VWs.

* The key reason that HTML, the Web, etc., change things is that the technological architecture supports opening and individual autonomy.

* The Web is open and distributed.

* How would you make a virtual world that is open and distributed? (How would a VW reflect architectures like HTML, Moz, Apache, CSS, DNS...

* Metaplace is an attempt to build a virtual world that works like the Web.

* Killer Ap for virtual worlds is wasting time, having fun, not doing distance education, etc. (Mentions WoW.)

* Metaplace follows the rights of avatars for its terms of service. Acts like an ISP.


[continuing Raph]

* Metaplace just tells its users: "Don't break the law." Problem is that users are everywhere with all sorts of different laws.

* Problem with children in an open world and linking.

* Metaplace has problems that the Web has, because it is open.

* You can -walk around- in deep links to other people's content. How will people react?

* Metaplace involves a lot of "dollhousing" --> creating their own worlds as art.

* Metaplace does not make (C) violation any more easy than the Web makes it.

* Star Trek fan club (which is legit)

* The norm for metaplace users is to be in a tabbed VW -- since it is part of web browsing.


[continuing Raph]

* What things would people create if they could really create their own virtual worlds. Very unusual things -- without realistic physics, e.g.

* Twitter = guildchat for the internet.

* Immersion will no longer be important in future virtual worlds. (???)

* Virtual worlds will no longer be (???) persistent immersive places -- we'll be logged in to pieces of VWs, VWs in advertisement banners.

(???) = Raph is guessing

* Question: If VWs are going to be relevant, how much of being VWs are they going to have to give up in order to do things like take down countries? (Virtual worlds today are VWs of the past, not the future.)

Start Q&A


Raph> Virtual world governance today is a dictatorship

James G asks> Why is there one "metaplace"?

Q> Why is "taking down a country" a measure of relevance? Why not community, communication, etc.

Raph> You can get online community through many venues -- so what do VWs offer?


[[-- Legal Issues Panel --]]

Roxanne Christ = first speaker

User-Generated Content in Video Games and Virtual Worlds

* Difference between user-generated content and "user-moved" content. (Sony, Napster, etc.) Issues with definitions.

* Timeline: User Moved (VCR) --> User Shared (file-sharing) --> User-Mashed --> User Created (ed. who is a user and why do we call them users?)

* $500 million dollar set-aside in Google's YouTube purchase. (Review of secondary liability, contributory (C) infringement, DMCA)

* Newest issues -- virtual items, machinima, mini-mes (right of publicity issues).

* UGC revolution to come (recognition of virtual property, user rights in content, "EULA as law", privacy)

* It is going to be really hard to argue that virtual goods are not a form of property, and people are going to feel entitled to the protection of their investment.

* Minors and capacity to contract -- minors cannot assign IP rights according to California law (ed.: Club Penguin? Free Realms?)

* TOS/EULA-skeptical law -- many courts are being critical of TOS terms (Bragg, etc.) Growing consensus on no unilateral amendments of contracts

* Top 5 issues (yet to be resolved) list:
-- capacity of minors to contract
-- enforcement of contracts
-- copyright revisited
-- Dispute resolution
(ed. seem like good choices!)



Sean Kane -- the EULA and minimizing risks, top 10 commandments

* Balance is key. Balance the publisher and the player interests. Failure to balance interests leads to court non-enforcement.

* All EULAs will be tested.

* Drafting -- keep it clear and simple.

* Virtual property.

* Arbitration

* Difficulty in making points clear and summarized, because you want to have all the protection in the long-form version. (Ed. "unburying" terms in a 10-15 page document is kind of a hard concept to grasp -- if you put the whole document in bright red ALLCAPS, it is not unburied.)

* Forum shopping

* Class waiver


comment from Andy Zaffron --> you need to make an argument that makes sense, where you can explain issues to a court or legislator. The problem with Bragg was that Second Life went beyond what could be explained.

Andy again --> on virtual taxation. You should be taxed on the sale of virtual property. You should not be taxed on acquisition prior to sale, because that would be like taxing poker chips while they are in play, even if you could quantify the economic value of the poker chip that is received during play. Quote: "It's such a non-issue."


More notes on Sean Kane.


More notes here.


Government Panel

[[ Kevin ]]

* Increasing state attention to virtual worlds due to rise of virtual economies.

* Network neutrality >> fast & slow lanes, content discrimination vs. commercial discrimination.

* Video traffic huge due to bandwidth, VW traffic thin because of thick client model

* Micro-governance debate about identity -- management of data, privacy

* Opportunity -- many people who "get it in" administration who are eager to transform government


[[ Andrew Sparrow ]]

* Thumbnail of UK internet regulation. Laws of virtual worlds will be first and foremost these regulations of the internet, which are plentiful.

[[ Ren ]]

* Much regulation talk shows de-emphasis of game uses. Dangers of policy that exclude or outlaw some parts of the industry.

* Difficulty of defining the "virtual world industry"

[[ Seth from Take Two ]]

* General overview of the legal problems facing Take Two

[[ Ken D ]]

* Difficulty of defining a virtual world

* Roll slow on the regulatory front

* What is the problem we're trying to fix

* Regulators come to ESA (Sony, Nintendo, EA, on its board)

* Interesting notion that video games are like the internet


Well, that's it -- I'm afraid I'm not a very diligent or skilled live-blogger compared to others!

Some pointers to conversations:

Raph (read the comments), Sara Grimes, BP. That's just a quick scan -- if you've got more links or coverage, please post.


Comments from Andres.


Tim was live-blogging too.

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