- - - Policy Themes

White Paper: Virtual Items and Public Policy

7 February 2011. Today the Virtual Policy Network has released a White Paper on Virtual Items and Public Policy. The Paper provides an overview of virtual items and virtual currency are – covering the spectrum from Xbox points to MMO characters. The paper defines what the key public policy interests are in virtual items, and provides a survey of the legal responses to issues involving virtual ‘goods’ from jurisdictions as diverse as China, Korea, Finland the US, citing a number of cases of virtual ‘theft’.

Released today as a .pdf under Creative Commons, the white paper will also be a living document held as part of the Virtual Policy Network’s database of resources. See the new Global Policy section of the site for details.

the Virtual Policy Network is looking for people to support this work, extend the number of countries covered and keep our database up to date with legislative changes impacting convergent media – if you would like to become an associate of tVPN or support our work in other ways please contact us at: info AT virtualpolicy DOT net.

Download Virtual Items and Public Policy (.pdf)

UK Consumer Protection & games

In July 2009 the UK’s department of Business Innovations and Skills (BIS) issued a White Paper titled: A Better Deal for Consumers – Delivering Real Help and and Change for the Future. While this paper was introduced by the previous UK administration the current coalition administration has not indicated any willingness to halt the modernisation of consumer protection .

In light of this tVPNs wishes to draw attention to Chapter 4 of the White Paper: Modernising Consumer Law, which deals with ‘new “digital” products’ and explicitly mentions computer games. the Virtual Policy Network suggests that the online games industry and other online industries consider their positions in respect products and services as a whole and elements such as digital download, episodic updates, digital artifacts and digitally currency in the light of the principles outlined in the paper.

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DISE:10 Games, Media Law

DISE:10 Games, Media Law


Digital Interactive Symposium: Edinburgh

27 August 2010 (10:00 – 16:00)

John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls, the University of Edinburgh.

Overview

The Digital Interactive Symposium: Edinburgh (DIS:E) is an annual event organized by the Virtual Policy Network in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh.

The Digital Interactive Symposium: Edinburgh 2010 focuses on the legal issues of computer games, virtual worlds and the issues that arise from the convergence of new and traditional media. Speakers include both academics and practicing lawyers.

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Net Neutrality consultations: EU and UK

A number of bodies around the world are conducting various forms of action in respect of so-called Network Neutrality. While the United States’ FCC (Federal Communications Commission) public consultation phase (see FCC News Release) has just closed the EU and UK are currently in consultation phases that end in September 2010.

the Virtual Policy Network encourages the online games, social media, location based and augmented reality industries, interested academics and policy makers to respond to these request for comments.

Specifically tVPN draws actors’ attention to some of the unique aspects of these technologies that might not be highlighted from the digital elements of traditional media industries. Such specific may include:

  • Importance of ping times to some types of gaming
  • Equal access a range data sources in populating augmented reality layers

Further details on the European consultations, including background documents, consultation question, reply dates and response details follow.

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Economics, Research and Virtual Worlds

One area of interest in virtual worlds is the study of their economies. Such studies tend to have two approaches: study of virtual economies for their own sake, and study of virtual economies as a method for illuminating external / hard currency economies.

This is a short guide to resources for those interested in either aspect of virtual world economics.

Contents

  1. Edward Castronova
  2. VERN
  3. Economics – questions and meta-questions
  4. The nature of virtual goods

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Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2009

November 2009 in Sharm el Sheikh marked the 5th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) – a meeting convened under the auspices of the United Nations with the purpose of bringing together a wide range of groups to discuss matters of internet governance.

Quick Links:

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Internet Governance – A Brief Timeline

In this context the term ‘Internet Governance’ or IG as it is often termed denotes the on-going global discussion about how various aspects of the internet should be run and buy whom. There is no agreed scope of Internet Governance. Narrow interpretations suggest that it is confined to matters such as IP addresses, whereas wide interpretations suggest it should be a multi-stakeholder process and encompasses issues such as free speech and other Human Rights.

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UN IGF: Public Diplomacy in the Digital Age

The UK Government’s Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has proposed a workshop on virtual worlds and public diplomacy to be held as part of the 2009 United Nations’ Internet Governance Forum meeting being held between 15 and 18 of November 2009 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Wednesday 18th (Day 4) 15:30 – 17:00 Room 9 – Siwa Room.

tVPN / UK Government 2009 IGF workshop on virtual worlds – Official Workshop Summary (.pdf)(.doc)

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Tax breaks, Game Ratings & the UK Game Dev

24 September 2009 LSE: tVPN in conjunction with the IGDA (Independent Game Developers Association) hosted a policy evening at the London School of Economics.

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UN IGF 2008 Workshop Proposal: Virtual Worlds for Delivering Public Service & Innovation

For the 2008 UN Internet Governance Forum meeting in Hyderabad India the UK Government proposed the workshop detailed here. The workshop did not occur due to the disturbances in India at the time.

The official workshop proposal can be found in the IGF site here: http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/workshops_08/showmelist.php?mem=46

A summary of the workshop is as follows:

The workshop will showcase Virtual Worlds as a way of providing an innovative and effective way of delivering public services, engaging with citizens and society, inclusively discussing the fact that there may be a number of possible legal/investment barriers to the achievement of the benefits of Virtual Worlds. The aim will be to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, making full use of the academic, scientific and technical communities; showing how stakeholders have helped to find solutions and have used virtual worlds as an effective way of delivering public services.

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