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Help needed for university dissertation on Second Life - law student


priceyrice
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Hi everyone, I am new to this board and relatively new to Second Life.

I am a final year law student IRL focusing on cyberlaw and have chosen to to my dissertation piece (a 12,000 word essay) on Second Life and was just wondering whether anyone on here has underdone similar work or research and know of any useful articles/websites. Sorry this post may be a little long and not of interest to many, but for those with a deeper fascination of how virtual worlds work and how they can be regulated and the legal aspects raised within them, the topic of my work is quite interesting and obviously I would be happy to share the completed piece.

My working title ATM is: 'The rights of players and the issues that arise in Second Life and the means by which they are governed'

I have broken my piece down into three chapters:

 

Chapter 1:

sets out to define virtual worlds, focusing on the virtual v real world debate and whether virtual property is real

looks at the real world issues that can arise in from virtual worlds- such as taxation of money made from Second Life, Intellectual property infringement, money laundering and defamation concerns

Look at in world issues that arise, something known as 'fantasy crime', which includes acts such as virtual rapes, virtual pedophilia or age play and harassment (such as the area Wonderland which used to exist in Second Life) - if your avatar has been involved in any of these aspects either as the offender or as the one harassed/violated it would be great to hear your story.

Chapter 2:

This will focus on the rights of users within Second Life, paying particular regard to end user license agreements/ terms of service

I will also look at the problems in regulating Virtual worlds, such as the jurisdictional issues as well as looking at the real v virtual world debate again

Chapter 3:

I will include an analysis of the current regulatory structure of Second Life before looking at what the future has in store for regulating these online communities, be it through a means of self-regulation by the users and creators or be it through real life government intervention and regulation.

 

Sorry again for the long and a little boring post but any help on the matter would be greatly appreciated, I may also be looking to interview a couple of users who have been involved in a fantasy crime, or have made real money and a career from Second Life. Also if you are one of the many users who spend more time in the virtual world than the real world it would be good to hear what attracts you to the virtual worlds so I can look at the psychology behind the users. Also if anyone knows any up to date statistics on Second Life, such as active users or anything you think may be of interest to me please let me know and what your source is too.

Thanks again for reading and thanks in advance for any help

Priceyrice

 

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Everyday some student pops up in the forums asking us to give up our time for free to answer their questions about the SL platform or to find out how we make money or to gain insight into our private virtual lives. 

On the other hand during the past week we have Linden Labs poking us with a stick, messing about with our TPV viewer choices, our inventory management structure and proposing to inflict pointless privacy policy on us that will break multiple types of content in SL.

Does anyone else feel like we are just here to be experimented upon and probed for our knowledge?

 

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Thanks for your reply, you seem to get what i am looking at as well. I agree that virtual property is real and i agree the TOS are a good place to start on rights, I am very interested in the recent cases against Linden labs for changing their terms of service without the users consent to try and remove the users rights to their property in Second Life, makes for very interesting reading, if your into that thing! lol

 

Thanks for the suggestion about landowners, i will hunt some out.

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Yeah sorry, I didn't realize so many students had taken an interest in Second Life, not until after I posted and then looked through all the previous threads. I am not on here looking for quick and easy answers to my project, it's just useful to hear from the people who have used Second Life for longer than I have. You can do as much research as you like but there is no one better to talk to about the virtual world than those who inhabit it.

I think there's is some pride in being the first wave of modern virtual world users, Second Life provided a platform that none of it's predecessors did, the effect virtual worlds have had an real world companies and people is ever increasing. There are many who believe that within the next decade, when we move on the the third generation of cyberspace, most people will spend most of their lives in virtual worlds, when these worlds can incorporate all 5 senses and provide a 100 real life environment where you can smell the aromour of a flower or experience the cold touch of snow. I think it's exciting to be some of the first people to be involved in virtual worlds but the downside is that it is still experimental and there will be more and more research done into virtual worlds as their popularity and usefulness grows.

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Porky Gorky wrote:

during the past week we have Linden Labs poking us with a stick, messing about with our TPV viewer choices, our inventory management structure and proposing to inflict pointless privacy policy on us that will break multiple types of content in SL. 

 

What was that?? 

I'll go search forums but it would be great if you answer lol

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Linden Lab is doing an excellent job of managing Second Life. Most Residents operate under Common Law, we like for the customs, standards and traditions to be defined regionally and by the Residents who will actually dwell in those Regions.

Common Law is the best rule for common-unity.

 

Do you like cooking? What happens when you add 20 random ingredients into a "melting pot" and then you agitate it?

I think that having distinction between flavors is a good thing. It offers the best variety and spice. Yes, It's not as easy to Incorporate all the ingredients, but, it's not like it's our job to only serve a few Elite people with exotic desires; we have an entire planet to sustain. 

Our Individuality is what defines Humans and it is what makes the World a bountiful place. Please do not disrupt this.

 

 

Edit: typo

 

 

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priceyrice wrote:

Thanks for your reply, you seem to get what i am looking at as well. I agree that virtual property is real and i agree the TOS are a good place to start on rights, I am very interested in the recent cases against Linden labs for changing their terms of service without the users consent to try and remove the users rights to their property in Second Life, makes for very interesting reading, if your into that thing! lol

 

Thanks for the suggestion about landowners, i will hunt some out.

If you had read TOS you would know that the TOS says it can change at any time, and we accept that in order to play.

Wouldn't a legitimate study publish who is doing it and for which school, among other things? I don't see much protocol  here. Fine for a casual topic, but for a law student? I thought they were thorough and literally by the book? Your sentence structure and such seem more like a teenager in the forums.

And it's Linden Lab, not Linden labs.

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Thanks for your reply. Sorry about my spelling and sentence structure, it's not my strong point and not something I pay too much regard to when writing on a message board.

 

I am not sure you read my intro did you? It sets out what my topic is on and how it relates to Law. Cyberspace is one of the most interesting current legal topics I think. We will soon be living in a world where we spend most of our lives in virtual worlds, we will shop there, visit friends there, do work there, the possibilities are endless because of the similarities to the real world. With this comes new opportunities for regulation, not something I am necessarily for, but something that will grow in importance to governments and international bodies as our lives evolve to encompass virtual worlds.

 

By the sounds of your message you are American so perhaps you are not aware of how the English university system works. In most students final year they are required to provide a dissertation (research piece, essay etc) on a topic of their choosing. As I have been studying cyberlaw for two years now I thought the rights within Second Life and the way in which virtual worlds are regulated would be a good topic.

 

I can understand your frustrations at the number of people coming on here asking for help with work, but your message is a little pedantic isn't it? I was not exactly asking for someone to do y work, just wondering if there is anyone else out there who has completed similar research or know of any good articles.

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priceyrice wrote in part:

I am very interested in the recent cases against Linden labs for changing their terms of service without the users consent to try and remove the users rights to their property in Second Life, makes for very interesting reading, if your into that thing! lol

First, I'm not sure what "recent cases" you're reading.  The bit about "remove the users rights to their property" sounds like Bragg v. Linden Lab, which is now quite an old case with a very narrow and not very interesting result (popular interpretations nonwithstanding).

If you haven't already come across it, Benjamin Duranske's Virtually Blind covered a lot of the topics in which you express interest, from back when virtual worlds seemed to have real promise.

Finally, I'd suggest you find a copy editor for your dissertation.  Re-read your posts carefully and you'll see what I mean.

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Thanks for the reply Qie, it's good to hear some constructive advice. Virtually blind is a good document, have taken a fair few of my points from their. I have mentioned Bragg, however that is not the case I was referring to. I meant 'Carl Evans, Donald Spencer, Valerie Spencer, Cindy Carter, individuals, on Behalf of themselves and for the Benefit of all with the Common or General Interests, Any Persons Injured, and All Others Similarly Situated v. Linden Research' (some info here http://www.virtuallanddispute.com/ if you are curious) and another (I have to trawl through my notes to find the name, but if you are interested let me know and a will find it), very interesting cases, it is just annoying how slow the process is with these types of cases, and most of them settle before court, which is not ideal from a legal standpoint

 

I know my grammar is never great, although obviously I give it little attention on a forum, but luckily for me my girlfriend is an English student so you would hope she can help!!

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  • 11 months later...

i'd like to comment to those that are complaining about ppl coming onto forums to learn, or write a paper for college based on secondlife, or something that has to deal with it.

first of all if you dont like it, you dont have to comment on it, simply as that, those that wish to help him out or whoever out, will do so out of the kindness of thier own heart because they are decent ppl.

secondly, secondlife has been encroached into so many aspects of real life, how can you fault others for writing on this platform, world or however you wish to label it. professors use secondlife as a teaching tool, companies use it as a platform for virtual board meetings, and companies use it to make money just as some of us do or try to do.

i am currently myself writing a paper on amaretto breedable horse breeders as a subculture. and far as i know those that research thier papers actually get into the life of secondlife and enjoy it.

and if ya wanna correct grammer and structure go be a teacher, forums are known to be loose in all that not like we are getting graded on how we type in these areas

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