17 May 2007

Exporting Jurisdictions - the Other Way

We're used to seeing the US exporting its own ideas of what consitututes illegality when it comes to copyright and patents - notably through its free trade agreements - but here's a useful reminder that in today's interconnected world, things can flow the other way too:

As Second Life grows, the European market becomes a larger and larger part of its user base. ComScore estimates as a much as 61% of Second Life's residents are based in Europe (including 16% in Germany). While ComScore's likely overestimated the number of active European residents, there is no doubt that European users have made up a substantial percentage of Second Life's rapid growth over the last eighteen months. Enough growth, that Linden Lab is rumored to be looking for European collocation space. And with servers in Europe, the Second Life content on those servers would unequivocally fall under the laws of the nation(s) those servers are based in.

And since you cannot usefully carve up the metaverse based on the physical geography of its users, this means that European laws - notably on virtual child pornography - are likely to be applied to the whole of Second Life.

No comments: