According to Dick Wolf, the creator of the popular television police department of Law and Order, known for the sound of the dun-dun, “[i]In the criminal justice system, there are two separate but equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the… Coincidentally, these two groups have recently expanded their metaverse footprint.
These two institutions aren’t the only ones investing in metaverse assets. Currently, billions of dollars have been invested in collecting digital assets in the metaverse. Despite the recent bad press, banks and investment houses remain optimistic about the future of this technology platform.
So, even though Meta continues to invest billions and lose millions, some among the hundreds of thousands of monthly active users are still looking for ways to make money, even as mainstream companies struggle to value search.
As the metaverse matures over the next decade, with technologies and infrastructure planned, designed, and built by many of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, come online, There are many business opportunities including advertising, event hosting, gaming, and education. But until then, one of the primary reasons holding the big corporations back now is the lack of regulation of their metaverse operations.
In addition to another iteration of the internet, the metaverse, and the technologies used to access it, it will create a host of new legal concerns that need to be addressed sooner rather than later if we want to. to many companies to invest in this area.
Consider the basic issue of jurisdiction, the power given to a court and their legal system to make decisions and make laws. When a lawsuit or crime is committed, the courts in the place of the incident usually handle the case, using their local law. But, like the internet that brings together people from around the world, conflicts that may arise in the metaverse involve multiple jurisdictions.
In assessing which legal system affects a problem in the metaverse, we can look at the law of the place where the metaverse players are located, or where the platform company is incorporated, to or the law of the different jurisdictions where the body is located. each person will be independent, or the choice of legal terms in the terms of service will be accepted by the users of metaverse or something else. In fact, depending on the project, there are many worlds in the metaverse that exist within their control; run as a quasi-democracy where the wishes of the shareholders are executed automatically by smart contracts. This results in a lack of stability and possible logic for those terms of service, and their selection of legal terms.
Uncertainty in legal authority is not new, many companies have dealt with similar concerns arising from outer space, Antarctica and the deep sea. However, one of the characteristics of the metaverse – that is, its ability to allow collaboration, fluidity, and interdependence – makes matters more complicated because there are many groups in different countries. in a virtual space. Different corporate metaverse platforms simultaneously engage in legal kerfuffle.
While we can see the jurisdictional issues, it is not clear that all actions that are considered crimes in the real world are considered crimes in the metaverse. This is especially the case when a ‘crime’ in the metaverse is considered by the system to be a breach of contract with the rules of conduct of the governing body of the metaverse, rather than a violation of the penal code. In addition to the terminology, there are significant differences in the law as to whether an act is a criminal violation or a civil violation. For example, in a civil tort, the victim can waive liability or consent to the tort, unlike in a crime where consent and waiver are not always a defense. .
Another difference in language is a significant legal difference regarding property leases in the metaverse. In the real world, a tenant is often afforded legal protection from wrongdoing by their landlords. In the metaverse where property ownership usually comes in the form of an NFT, the lease of an asset is considered an intellectual property license for that NFT, not a lease agreement and all his protections.
In addition to these legal concerns regarding property in the metaverse, virtual reality devices used to access certain parts of the metaverse, such as Meta’s new Oculus Quest Pro, may arise more privacy concerns. The new technology is said to be able to read and recreate small facial movements, apparently to make avatars look better in their virtual worlds. However, this collected biometric data is often more protected than standard information collected by standard internet connections. In addition to this biometric data, many interactions can all be recorded, including where a person is looking in the metaverse, which raises another privacy concern.
It’s not the Wild West in the metaverse, however. To varying degrees, many legal concerns related to things like intellectual property are dealt with by the Open Metaverse Alliance (OMA3) consortium, a private independent organization (DAO) and the Metaverse Standards Forum (MSF). These actions can have the potential to improve the concerns of large businesses.
Professor Dov Greenbaum is the director of the Zvi Meitar Institute for the Legal Aspects of Emerging Technologies at the Harry Radzyner School of Law, Reichman University.