The structure and underlying code may vest copyright in the virtual world platform company; however, each avatar is the embodiment of a user’s story. As a legal person, the avatar could be deemed an author for copyright purposes. As a juridical entity, an avatar will have a brand name which may be used to create good will and be trade marked. If an incorporated avatar is given rights within the context of the virtual worlds, then virtual world interface and virtual property can maintain a balanced co-dependence which will make them more “real” until one or the other ceases to exist at the code level. So long as there is careful delineation as to how far virtual property rights extend, many of the problems raised by virtual property’s uniquely digital nature may be avoided. Hence, both the bottle and the wine may be protected.
In the end, the process of intellectual exploration – whether it is modern painting, Darwin’s voyages, or gaming in virtual worlds – may be much the same. Whether we call it a profession or a preoccupation, when we return to the same activity again and again, what we learn in the exploratory process transforms us. In this spiral of activity we explore, digest, create, transform ourselves, and explore again.
To view the entire article: Angela Adrian Intellectual Property in Virtual Worlds v2