Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Get this document free



									Regulating Virtual Behaviour:
The Evolution of Law in Real
and Virtual Spaces

    Lynne Hall
    University of Northumbria

This virtual life
Virtual Society
Legal Structures in MUDs
Crime and Punishment
This virtual life

6 out of 10 children have access to the net
Biggest growing user population: women over
Increasing ubiquity of computer
Computer provides an alternative to traditional
 forms of home-based recreation
  letter writing
Living the virtual life

Virtual does not mean alone

Raison d’etre of the net = communication
Growing possibility to find others to
 communicate with.
Many small societies in many spaces on
 the net
  interest groups
  café society
  village communities
Multi-User Dimensions

Text-based synchronous communication
Communication not just limited to speech
Stable, well-used technology
Geographically bounded spaces
MUD Society

Occurs in context
  MUD provides plot, storyline and landscape
Involves primarily violent activities
Tends to be highly stratified
  deities / admin equivalent
  known players (high level, long time)
  mid-ranked players (approved of players)
  low-ranked players (low-level or “invisible”)
Role Playing MUDs

Most typical sort of MUD
Fantasy / Sci-Fi genre most common
Players become a virtual character in an
 interactive novel
Gaming activities focus on gaining
 experience, money, possessions
The populace

Group identity often strong
  race, guild, clan, city, church
Strong personal loyalty between players
Tendency to e-romance
High potential for conflict
  between formal, identified groups
  between informal player groups
Legal Systems

Common / case law
  hierarchical judicial structure
  judge as neutral arbitrator
Code law
Legal Theories

Legal Formalism
  scientific, positivist

Legal realism
  law as action, judges as people

Natural Law
  underlying fundamental moral principles
Basis of law in MUDs

Legal Formalism
  scientific, positivist

Legal realism
  law as action, judges as people

Natural Law
  underlying fundamental moral principles
Deviant Behaviours?

  when is the object yours and when does it
   become public property?
  the right to private space
Acceptable interactions
  what is acceptable in a RP MUD?
Law in Virtual Communities

Similar to real systems
  based on wrongful acts
  sources, enforcement agencies, penalties
But not like real -> crimes committed,
 judged and punished in virtual space
Precedent for separating the real and the
  LambdaMOOs Virtual Rape (Dibble)
Administration of Law

Games Admin as law providers
  dictatorial / oligarchical control structures
  codes of conduct
Players as law providers
  tend to build on code of conduct
  increases democracy and player loyalty
  often highly successful, based on status in
   the MUD community

  most serious MUD crime
  focused at the player not the character
  often in-role
Malicious Intent to Harm
  RP Muds: rape, violent assault, murder
  Social MUDs: destruction of property, verbal

Needs to be appropriate to context
Varying degrees of severity
  Site / Player banning
  Removal of status / experience
  Removal / destruction of possessions
Virtual Law

  within the context that it is applied (similar to
   nation / state based law)
  has to be enforced to have an impact (similar
   to real world law)
  within any multi user environment deviance
   occurs and must be dealt with
Virtual Law

  its not real, why should there be any need
   for it?
  has no effect, very easy to avoid
  it doesn’t matter what people do in virtual
   space as this has no effect on the real

Sustained growth in computer supported
 co-operative recreation
Need for social framework to regulate
Crime and deviance do exist
Virtual and real is there a cross-over?

To top