Its a problem that arises in so many aspects of life, probably more than we even know about, copyright, pushes its head into vast corners of this life..and others two. However, in a virtual world that the social environment is so different from our own and where things have little boundaries or repercussions. It is even harder to put copyright laws into it. At the end of the day whether some have problems admitting it or hearing it the world is ‘virtual’ it does not exist it appears to exist. Therefore, it creates an even greater problem of enforcing real life laws into Second Life. Because one is real and the other is not
If Electronic Arts, the corporate owner of The Sims Online, turns off its servers-or just engages in a periodic database wipe-every piece of virtual property in Blazing Falls immediately disappears.20 3 In other words, despite its name, there is no there There. One might assume that something so intangible can't be property at all because property, after all, should be something real. (1).
In real life there's consequences, in real life you touch, feel, taste, breath, you are who you are, whether you like it or not. What you create has a physical presence. In Second Life these truths become blurred. Yes, it is obviously a fantastic thing about Second Life, you can be anyone and do anything. But how do you reinforce real life laws into something that isn't absolute “ As virtual worlds continue to evolve into virtual communities with separate rules and expectations, it is important to understand the interaction between the laws of the real world and the laws of the virtual worlds”(2). It must to be considered the time, money and love that people have put in to Second Life and the importance it has to their lives “millions of people with Internet connections are currently living large portions of their lives, forming friendship with others, building and acquiring virtual property, and forming social organizations” (3). It is therefore important to ensure that these users have laws in place to protect and provide a safe environment to create, venture and form social communities in. It becomes important to establish copyright laws that safeguard the creations, ideas and designs that are invented within Second Life. However, there are problems establishing these copyright laws as most of these laws are created by the content designers. The laws therefore, lack the legal knowledge that is needed to ensure of correct legal procedures to be in place. An issue also arise because of the fast paced and ever changing technology that comes along with virtual environments, it is than difficult to keep up legally with these changes. Along with this as it points out in Content & Licensing in Virtual Worlds from shenlei.com it is not easy to change licencing terms “If you license content under one agreement, you cannot legally to make a unilateral change in the licensing agreement unless you have included language to this effect in the original license.”(4). Although, things in Second Life are not said to be ‘real’ , there are still designed, produced, sold and used whether virtual or not these things have a right and need to be protected. The time, effort and dedication that is put into creating things in Second Life must be appreciated and guarded from plagiarism. Copyright laws allows for publishers of work to have legal right over their work, this means that the creators within second life can have a say over how their work is used. It is important that copyrights exist within Second Life for the same reason that it does in real life.
(1) , (2) Lastowka, F. Gregory, and Dan Hunter. "The laws of the virtual worlds."California Law Review (2004): 1-73.
(3) Lastowka, F. Gregory, and Dan Hunter. 2003. The Laws Of The Virtual Worlds. Ebook. 1st ed. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Law School. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=402860.(4) SHENLEI,. 2010. 'Content & Licensing In Virtual Worlds'. Shenlei Winkler. http://shenlei.com/2010/10/13/content-licensing-in-virtual-worlds/.