In late 2006, I was attending Temple University's James E. Beasley School of Law when I discovered Second Life. At first, the platform sounded like just a huge video game, but one where real people were making real money doing virtual activities. Once I entered into the platform, I became hooked. Not so much on the activities, but on the possibilities.
In the past two years, having a law practice that centered around virtual worlds started to became more realistic. There are at least three committees within the American Bar Association that deal with virtual worlds; one dealing solely with intellectual property, one dealing with the science and technology aspects and yet another dealing with business law. There is a class action law suit filed in federal court in California dealing with the rights of content creators and the responsibilities of virtual world providers such as Linden Labs, the providers of Second Life. Previously, there were suits dealing with the right of access, Bragg v. Linden Research, and suits dealing with copyright and trademark infringement, such as Taser v. Linden Research.
As the users of virtual worlds become more involved, the practice of law in virtual space expands; contracts will be breached, profits will be taxed and governments will want control over content, or at least control over its access. While I have a traditional law practice, visit my main law practice website for more information, the virtual world and its users need real lawyers, those who understand not only the issues surrounding their claim, but also the issues involved with the platform and the litigants.
The thought behind Metaverse Solo, other than bridging some of the gap left when Virtually Blind shuttered, is to provide that small town general practice to the average user of virtual worlds. Not the resident who brings in more than a million dollars a year selling beds who turns to the mega firm with thousands of lawyers, but the user who wants to open a small store and finds her goods copied and needs help filing a DMCA notice and filing a copyright suit when the notice doesn't stop all the infringement, or when someone files a false DMCA notice against her.
While I have virtual world clients, I am known for writing about the issues involved with virtual worlds. I have an article pending for the Sci-Tech Lawyer dealing with the Federal Trade Commission investigating virtual worlds and the potential risk of minors accessing explicit content. I have written a chapter on legal issues for the book Second Life by Mario Gerosa. (Italian language.)
Sharing information with the public regarding virtual worlds and the legal issues involved is what Metaverse Solo will provide as well as allowing for feedback. I welcome comments and questions. People seeking legal advice will be directed to fill out a form on the main practice website and will be handled differently than comments of a general nature, but all are welcome.
I am going to carry over a rule from Virtually Blind; I am not going to provide commentary on legal theories of pending litigation. I may report on the litigation. But by boxing myself in one way or the other, I may be hindering myself in future litigation on behalf of a client.
Welcome to Metaverse Solo.