If Gambling In Virtual Worlds Is Illegal, Does The Avatar Get Arrested?

from the the-mind-boggles dept

In the past year or so, establishing a presence in Second Life has become a popular way for companies to get some media attention and establish their Web 2.0 cred. The latest to enter the virtual world isn’t a company, but the FBI, which, on the invitation of Linden Lab, is looking around to see if anything untoward is going on in there. Of particular interest to the FBI are the in-game casinos, where people gamble Linden Dollars that can be exchanged for real money. At the moment, this is something of a end run around the laws aimed at blocking online gambling. With so many arrests of online gambling executives, Linden Lab seems concerned about the legality of its own operations, and has smartly sought an opinion from the government on whether it’s breaking any laws. Of course, this question just opens up a huge can of worms about the relationship between real world law and in-game play. Meanwhile, now that the government has entered the virtual world, it’s comforting to know that Reuters has a full-time reporter there, just to keep it in check.

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Comments on “If Gambling In Virtual Worlds Is Illegal, Does The Avatar Get Arrested?”

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Bob says:

Gambling's not the ONLY issue....

It’s amazing that Linden Lab invited the FBI to the world so they could give their “opinion” on whether gambling inside SL is legal or illegal.

What’s to become of the rest of the “unscrupulous” businesses inside the Second Life world?

Businesses such as those that RENT DVD MOVIES, or sell whole songs, or clothing that clearly is marked with logo’s of those companies that DO NOT sell merchandise inside the Second Life world.

I actually raised my concern last year about MOVIE RENTAL businesses, as they are renting DVD’s, the same you would find at NETFLIX or BLOCKBUSTERS, yet you know they haven’t signed any sort of licensing agreement with the industry giants. I was told, by the same “lawyer” mentioned aboved, that NO LAWS were being broken by these businesses, even though, if I were to go buy copies of movies, then opened a store and rented those copies that I purchased, then I would be held liable for breaking copyrights.

If I were Philip Rosedale, I wouldn’t put much faith in what his “lawyer” has told him, because what he told me was FAR from what the law says, and in doing so, when the powers that be come calling about these “Movie Rental Businesses”, Linden Lab will not be able to say, “We had no idea this was happening”, since I raised the concern with them and still have those emails.

I think Second Life needs to take a long hard look at what they allow as businesses inside the world of Second Life, to sit by and act as if they don’t know what’s going on, is only going to get them in more trouble in the long run, not to mention make the look damn foolish when they say just that as an excuse!

Silicon Shaman says:

just a thought...

So, if we apply real world laws to the virtual world, and if virtual gambling is illegal, then what about virtual murder?

Other online Games had better watch out, they could be next.

Personally, I say if linden labs, & the other game companies are smart, they’ll relocate their servers to some friendly country and tell the luddites in congress to get lost.

Lets keep the virtual frontier free!

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