About Me

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Welcome! I am teaching law at St. Petersburg State University and engaged in legal practice with the international law firm Dentons. Major part of my research is connected to virtual worlds and massive multiplayer online games (a broad field which includes Internet law, video game law, virtual law and game studies). My legal practice is focused on providing support to computer game companies. This interest derives from my passion for computer games which I consider as one of the most important cultural artifacts ever created. Please note that this blog conveys my private opinion which is not necessarily shared by any organisations I am associated with. For more formal and detailed introduction please visit my website arkhipov.info which serves more as a 'business card'.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Injustice In Open Virtual Worlds

If you feel pain, you are alive as a natural being; if you face injustice, you are alive as a social being. A pleasure of open virtual worlds is that they create a feeling of virtual social reality. One of the main bricks of this reality may find short expression in "virtual world, real feelings" phrase.
  
 
Yesterday night, after a hard working day, I logged in Wurm Online to improve some skills of my avatar. I tried to open a community (village) chat window to say 'Hello!' to my new friends, but the system told me that I am not a citizen. Usually I do not take virtual things seriously enough, but this time I took it quite emotionally.

What might be the reason for removing a 4-hours-of-play newbie from a virtual community? I am not aware of any wrongs of my side. Maybe the community thought that I committed an infringement. But to be aware of this, I should have known rules in advance.

All of this raises some good questions of virtual law (2), and serves as an argument for considering virtual worlds as models of social reality. The relevant legal principles are morality of law and due process. Would you agree with the idea that such principles can be applied in a virtual world?