Online gaming is still making headway into the mainstream by the release of Dungeons & Dragons Online, the new version of the popular pen and paper game. It seems like the online gaming market is heating up, with other large role-playing games set for release soon in order to compete with market leaders World of Warcraft. But what does it all mean for the law?

Online trading is just one of the legal issues involved, with people selling some of their virtual goods at different market places. Online game intellectual property is also an interesting avenue to explore in the future, with some companies claiming ownership over the IP assessts created in-game. I believe that other legal issues will start to emerge soon, but one thing that has struck me is that the popularity of games has not prompted more legal suits or legal issues.

1 Comment


Anonymous · March 1, 2006 at 4:09 am

All very interesting – I'd like to see a law (or laws) which criminalizes in-game griefing, scamming, kill stealing, item duping, and maybe something to deal with over fishing of mobs in otherwise protected fishing areas and perhaps even farming subsidies introduced by the EU – because everyone think farmers aren't wealthy enough already. Perhaps also tax breaks for the money that pours in to out of game guild activity! Game EULA's are exceptionally flakey, and I'd love to hear of a challenge made to them. Also many beta testers who sign up to NDAs break the agreement and release NDA protected info to the public – it'd be great to hear of a case involving that. I wonder too if someone could claim that they have been subject to racial abuse when your Dark Elf SK is called a pointy-eared-darky-scum or similar? It's all a game?It's amazing to think that little research has been done in the legal field in to online gaming – which after all can be done through your TV in your living room as easily (if not easier) that through your PC. It seems that it is thought that adequate provision can be found through existing pivacy, copyright and contract legislation to cover the game producers. But is it sufficiently covering the interests of the end-user?

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