Broadening Legal Horizons: An Introduction to the Virtual World

Ever-growing virtual environments are opening the eyes of many to a whole new legal frontier. As the field expands from solely entertaining purposes to a more practical approach, lawyers are realizing the potential for protection regarding intellectual property. With the military utilizing virtual software for both training and therapeutic purposes, other businesses are starting to understand the value of virtual interaction. Unfortunately, the legal aspect of this atmosphere can be difficult to grasp, particularly for lawyers who have been practicing for years. There is no precedent as of yet proclaiming rights for virtual users making this a practice that will require a great deal of interpretation and flexibility on the part of those eventually arguing cases.

In order to expand knowledge and hopefully gain new ideas in the field, the Second Life Bar Association was created. Second Life is the main attraction when it comes to virtual environments. Offering both a social atmosphere for individual users and communication strategies for business, Second Life has begun attracting the attention of many lawyers breaking into this innovative field. Through their set up of SLBA, their own form of online interaction, lawyers are free to share their knowledge, brainstorm possible problems that could occur in the virtual world, along with how these would be solved. In addition, several law schools are beginning to offer courses covering this topic in the hopes of producing a new generation of lawyers open to this interpretive new field. This approach to protecting rights is just another way in which the legal world is keeping pace with technological advancements.

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