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Intellectual Property Law and Interactive Media

Free for a Fee

Series:

Edward Lee Lamoureux, Steven L. Baron and Claire Stewart

Now in its second edition, this book offers a comprehensive treatment of intellectual property law and interactive media. Having been thoroughly updated, this edition captures emerging trends and issues in a shifting landscape (including international contexts and games/virtual worlds), legislative and judicial history, and the efforts to balance public and private interests. It explains the details relating to procedural issues in connection with each of the varied and unique forms of intellectual property management (copyright, patent, open source/open publishing, trademark, trade secrets, personal torts – right of publicity, privacy, defamation – and digital rights management) and registration.
Each chapter now includes a section that clearly introduces the fundamentals of the IP law aspect highlighted in the chapter. Each chapter also includes a new section dedicated to emerging Issues.
Case coverage is revised in two important ways: the bulk of the case analyses have been moved to a second volume, Case Analyses for Intellectual Property Law and New Media (Baron, Lamoureux, and Stewart); and references to cases in the primary text direct readers to pertinent sections in the new book.
The coverage allows this second edition to serve as an excellent resource for undergraduates studying interactive media, as well as being a primer for first year IP law students, a handbook for entrepreneurs, a guidebook for general lawyers to assist in referrals, and an interesting read for those simply curious about the field.
The books are supplemented by freeforafee.com, a blog providing textual updates, online links to bibliographic materials, and extensive resource aggregation. Learning objectives for each chapter and a glossary of key terms is provided within the texts.
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Chapter Nine: Toward Tomorrow, Today: IP Law in Virtual Worlds

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CHAPTER NINE

Toward Tomorrow, Today

IP Law in Virtual Worlds

Reflecting on IP issues in virtual worlds can be directed by two broad considerations. In some ways, virtual worlds present a very challenging “frontier” for intellectual property law in the new media environment. Both this volume and everyday life remind us that the law lags behind innovation. There is currently no legislation specific to virtual worlds, yet globally large numbers of people regularly “inhabit” or “visit” virtual worlds. All of the IP issues so far presented apply in virtual worlds, overlaid by all of the issues raised by the global/international/networked environments in which virtual worlds are arrayed. While one would not expect an entire body of new law dedicated exclusively to virtual worlds, the total lack of legislation in this area points to how very difficult new media environments can be for both courts and citizens.

From a second perspective, the multiplicity of activities in virtual worlds raises direct legal issues in the present. As we’ll demonstrate, people (and lawyers) are currently involved in disagreements founded in virtual world activities. Courts hear cases on questions for which they have little preparedness, using laws that are fully designed for the “real world” (RL) rather than for “virtual worlds.” Many RL citizens (including most elected officials and judges) ← 235 | 236 → give no thought to the ways that laws should apply in virtual worlds. To the uninitiated, activities in virtual worlds either seem so “game-like...

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