Last month when everyone was making a big deal over the news that the online game Second Life had decided that players own any intellectual property they create in the game, I said it was a bad idea, since it basically took all of the problems of our intellectual property system and moved them into the virtual world - where it was likely to get more confusing. Over at LawMeme, James Grimmelmann, has been thinking a lot about that very idea and has written an insanely long - but absolutely worth reading - discussion about intellectual property issues as it relates to games. It's impossible to summarize his points, but he explores many of the issues in-depth and appears to have thought about these issues in much more detail than the designers of the various games. What it really seems to come down to is the question of whether or not in-game actions are simply covered by the End User License Agreement (which basically becomes the Constitution for that game) or if real laws in the real world should apply.
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