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Virtual World Feudalism
Yale Law Journal Pocket Part (2009)
  • James Grimmelmann, New York Law School
Abstract

Second Life is a feudal society. No, not metaphorically. Literally.

Two problems have preoccupied scholars of virtual world law: "What is the political relationship between developers and users?" And: "Should we treat in-world objects as property?" We can make progress on both questions by recognizing that virtual politics and property are inextricably linked, in the same way that feudal politics and property were. It is the tenant/user’s relationship with his lord/developer that both creates the property interest and enforces it. The similarity between ownership of land in feudal England and in Second Life suggests that offline courts should protect user interests in virtual items, gradually, without treating them as full-blown modern "property."

Keywords
  • virtual worlds,
  • property,
  • feudalism,
  • virtual property,
  • second life
Disciplines
Publication Date
2009
Citation Information
James Grimmelmann. "Virtual World Feudalism" Yale Law Journal Pocket Part Vol. 118 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_grimmelmann/21/