Legal and policy issues of virtual property
by Nikolaos Volanis
International Journal of Web Based Communities (IJWBC), Vol. 3, No. 3, 2007

Abstract: This article aims to underline the importance of End User Licence Agreements (EULAs) in the context of virtual worlds known as Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). By examining the issue of virtual property in several virtual worlds, the article ascertains the failure of some EULAs to acknowledge and respect the importance of players' contribution to the perpetual development of the virtual environment; a failure which, in turn, undermines the players' drive for creativity and collaboration. However, assigning virtual property rights to the players should not be considered as a mandatory legal obligation but rather as a policy decision. Within this context, the EULA acts as a sort of virtual 'social contract', which sets the degree of permeability between the real and the virtual.

Online publication date: Wed, 27-Jun-2007

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