Haven't talked about the research and simulation potential for corrections sentencing in Second Life lately, mainly because I haven't run across much in my non-techhie tours of the web. But here's a new article on a lawsuit that's been launched in first life because of copyright infringements, raising questions similar to those that hit when an avatar got raped. Basically, what rules apply here? And here are a couple of quotes that hit on what I see as signposts for the route that using Second Life as a field for experimentation and testing of theories that we could never control and pull off in first life:
"Virtually every aspect of real life is getting duplicated, and all the laws that can be applied to the real world are being applied in 'Second Life,'" said Jorge Contreras Jr., an intellectual-property attorney in Washington, D.C.
Last year, "Second Life" was rocked by a scandal over users who had modified their avatars to look like children and simulated pedophilia. Last month, Linden Lab shut down gambling in "Second Life" after concerns arose that virtual games of chance might violate U.S. gambling laws when members cashed in Lindens for real money.
In recognition of the growing legal issues "Second Life" is likely to generate, the country of Portugal recently set up an arbitration center in the virtual world, though it has no power to enforce its decisions.
The legal issues may be similar offline and online, but von Lohmann said the trials could be a lot more interesting.
"In a virtual world, you have the ability to gather evidence you don't have in the real world," he said. "Everything that happens in 'Second Life' is reflected on computer servers. Depending on how long they keep the records, you could actually replay the event as it happens."
Now we just need someone much, much smarter than me to start taking these things to the next level. Anyone listening?