Saturday, February 13, 2010

Legal Issues with Virtual Worlds and Social Media

On February 3rd, 2010, The George Washington University Law School Cyberlaw Students Association hosted Jim Gatto, head of Pillsbury’s Virtual Worlds and Video Games practice group, who spoke on Legal Issues with Virtual Worlds and Social Media.

There are lots of interesting issues around virtual goods such as: How should we value virtual currency? What about taxation, seizure, property rights, etc...? If virtual goods or avatars have real-world value can companies just up and delete them or take them away without compensation? Are they “assets” if a company goes out of business? What happens to someone’s virtual goods when they die in the real world?

Virtual currency issues and virtual goods issues are covered in pages 35-37 of the presentation. Gatto states that "many virtual currencies will be viewed as 'stored value' or 'gift card' accounts by relevant state and federal regulators."

For further reading/viewing:
"3 Reasons Pay-With-Facebook Won't Squash All The Other Payments Providers", Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider, February 8, 2010
"What Happens to Your Virtual Property When You Die?", Stephen Wu, 3D Internet Law, December 2, 2009
"Intersecting Interests: Virtual Worlds and the Law", Metanomics with Robert Bloomfield, May 20, 2009
"Monetizing the Metaverse", Metanomics with Robert Bloomfield, October 13, 2008
"Taxation of Virtual Worlds", Metanomics with Robert Bloomfield, October 22, 2007

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