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The State of Play presents an essential first step in understanding how new digital worlds will change the future of our universe. Millions of people around the world inhabit virtual words: multiplayer online games where characters live, love, buy, trade, cheat, steal, and have every possible kind of adventure. Far more complicated and sophisticated than early video games, people now spend countless hours in virtual universes like Second Life and Star Wars Galaxies not to shoot space invaders but to create new identities, fall in love, build cities, make rules, and break them.
As digital worlds become increasingly powerful and lifelike, people will employ them for countless real-world purposes, including commerce, education, medicine, law enforcement, and military training. Inevitably, real-world law will regulate them. But should virtual worlds be fully integrated into our real-world legal system or should they be treated as separate jurisdictions with their own forms of dispute resolution? What rules should govern virtual communities? Should the law step in to protect property rights when virtual items are destroyed or stolen?
These questions, and many more, are considered in The State of Play, where legal experts, game designers, and policymakers explore the boundaries of free speech, intellectual property, and creativity in virtual worlds. The essays explore both the emergence of law in multiplayer online games and how we can use virtual worlds to study real-world social interactions and test real-world laws.
Contributors include: Jack M. Balkin, Richard A. Bartle, Yochai Benkler, Caroline Bradley, Edward Castronova, Susan P. Crawford, Julian Dibbell, A. Michael Froomkin, James Grimmelmann, David R. Johnson, Dan Hunter, Raph Koster, F. Gregory Lastowka, Beth Simone Noveck, Cory Ondrejka, Tracy Spaight, and Tal Zarsky.
About the Author
Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, and the Founder and Director of Yale’s Information Society Project. He is the author of numerous books and the editor of What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said (NYU Press, 2002). He lives in New Haven, CT.
Table of ContentsPart I: Introduction1. Introduction 2. Virtual Worlds: A PrimerPart II: Game Gods and Game Players3. Virtual Worldliness 4. Declaring the Rights of Players5. The Right to Play 6. Law and Liberty in Virtual Worlds Part III: Property and Creativity in Virtual Worlds7. Virtual Crime 8. Owned! Intellectual Property in the Age of eBayers, Gold Farmers, and Other Enemies of the Virtual State9. Virtual Power Politics 10. Escaping the Gilded Cage: User-Created Content and Building the Metaverse11. There Is No Spoon Part IV: Privacy and Identity in Virtual Worlds12. Who Killed Miss Norway? 13. Who’s in Charge of Who I Am? Identity and Law Online14. Privacy and Data Collection in Virtual Worlds Part V: Virtual Worlds and Real-World Power15. Virtual Worlds, Real Rules: Using Virtual Worlds to Test Legal Rules16. The New Visual Literacy: How the Screen A?ects the Law17. Democracy—The Video Game: Virtual Worlds and the Future of Collective ActionAbout the Contributors Acknowledgments Case List Index
What People are Saying About This
“This is a spectacular collection of essays on the present and future of virtual worlds. It's a perfect introduction for those who have yet to experience them, and more important, a thoughtful companion for those who do.”
-Jonathan Zittrain,Oxford University
“The State of Play is an extremely comprehensive look into digital worlds and how those worlds are evolving cultures, changing lives, reshaping the way we think and communicate. If you want to understand where modern culture is headed and learn more about incredibly fascinating experiences taking place in virtual worlds, pick up and read this book now.”
-Richard Garriott,a.k.a. Lord British, Creator of Ultima Online and Executive Producer, NCsoft
“These essays, by the best thinkers in their fields, will be read, debated, taught, and cited in court cases as we struggle to figure out how to live in a world which is part digital and part social, part real and part imaginary.”
-Henry Jenkins,author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
“Is useful and interesting for students of surveillance.”
-Surveillance & Society
“With diverse essays from game designers, social scientists and legal scholars, The State of Play is a provocative consideration of virtual jurisprudence.”