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Hello! I am teaching law at St. Petersburg State University. 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). This interest derives from my passion for computer games which I consider as one of the most important cultural artifacts ever created. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Poll Opened: Do We Need Positive Virtual Law?

Dear readers, my late congratulations on winter holidays! Thanks to everyone who occasionally visits this blog. Please be informed that I am still alive and well, just focused on the research of Internet and virtual law with a hope of publication in the end.

During this research I stumbled upon a couple of Russian court decisions which clearly fall within the scope of virtual law. A player sued major Russian MMORPG company asking for a compensation of money spent for two weeks of server downtime, money spent on a temporary virtual item which effectively lasted three days less than declared and, as usual, moral damages.

The first instance court (and higher courts as well) dismissed the claim on the grounds that such kind of relations in general are not governed by law, as they relate to rules of game. Note that there is a clause in the Russian Civil Code which states that relations deriving from a game are not enforceable unless the person participated in the game under coercion, fraud etc. or it was a kind of lottery with declared prizes. The reference to one of the cases for those Russian-speaking readers who are interested in the topic: Определение Басманного районного суда г. Москвы от 01.06.2011 г. по делу № 11-43/11 и делу № 11-115/09. You may find it via www.sudrf.ru.

Meanwhile, I welcome everyone to participate in a new simple poll on the right hand side of your screen. If there are at least two votes cast (unlike one during previous poll), I would be as happy as a clam at high tide.