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Twitter Joke Trial

On 27 June 2012, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales ruled on the case that has come to be know as the Twitter joke trial.
Paul Chambers had been convicted for sending a tweet that jokingly threatened to blow up an airport. In overturning the decision the High Court concluded that a tweet that [...]

UK Consumer Rights in Digital Content

On the 13th July 2012 the UK Government’s Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) launched a consultation titled “Consultation on enhancing consumer confidence by clarifying consumer law” *. The consultation proposes a range of options that seek to harmonise UK consumer law. What marks this out for digital industries such as social media, cloud [...]

Virtually Policy #6: Transmedia story telling and the crisis of authorship

Virtually Policy #6: Transmedia story telling and the crisis of authorship

In Episode 6 of Virtually Policy, Burcu Bakioglu (Postdoctoral Fellow in New Media at Lawrence University) talks to Michael Andersen, senior editor of the Alternate Realty Gaming Network (, about transmedia fiction and games.
In the show, they explore how transmedia storytelling and multiple authorships are challenging the ‘romantic’ notion of author as solitary creator and [...]

Virtually Policy #3: Virtual Currencies & Roach Motels

Virtually Policy #3: Virtual Currencies & Roach Motels

This episode of Virtually Policy is part one of a two-part interview with virtual currency expert Jon Matonis. Jon is editor of The Monetary Future, an economics blog that examines the intersection of free banking, cryptography, and digital currency. His work on digital cash has been published by Dow Jones and the London School of [...]

Virtually Policy #1: Dutch Supreme Court on Virtual Theft

Virtually Policy #1: Dutch Supreme Court on Virtual Theft

In the first Virtually Policy podcast, Arno Lodder, professor of internet governance and regulation at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam talks to Ren Reynolds about the Dutch RuneScape trial.
This case, which made it to the Dutch Supreme Court, centred on the issue of whether or not virtual items can be stolen. The Court concluded that they could, and two [...]

RuneScape Theft – Dutch Supreme Court Decision

On the 31st of January 2012, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands found that items in the online game RuneScape had been stolen from a player. This is a ground-breaking case as it is the highest national court in the West to rule that taking virtual objects in this way is theft under national criminal [...]

Li Hongchen v. Beijing Arctic Ice

Li Hongchen v. Beijing Arctic Ice Technology Development Co. Ltd.,
This is generally is regarded as the first instance of ‘virtual theft’ being recognised by a court.  The case concerns virtual items taken from a player’s account through some form of account hacking. The case was brought by the victim of the theft against the game [...]

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 [...]

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.
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 [...]

CoE: Guidelines Protecting Human Rights on the Internet

In 2008 The Council of Europe released Guidelines for protecting human rights on the Internet. These comprised two documents:

Human Rights Guidelines for Online Games Providers
Human Rights Guidelines for Internet Service Providers

The Guidelines seek to outline how these two industries can promote rights as defined in the “Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental [...]