Virtual Borders: The Interdependence of Law and Virtual Worlds
The flourishing trade of virtual items for real-life money suggests that virtual worlds will sometimes welcome the intervention of real-life law. At first glance, this possibility seems to undermine the Law and Borders thesis that online spaces should enjoy independence from real-life law. These ideas are compatible, however, because they start from a common premise: that these new communities are developing their own distinctive values. The lesson of the real-money trade is that preserving those values requires recognizing the interdependence of virtual worlds and the real world.
James Grimmelmann, Virtual Borders: The Interdependence of Law and Virtual Worlds, First Monday (Feb. 2006), http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_2/grimmelmann/