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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Concept of Property in Virtual Worlds and Online Spaces

As I subscribe to Singapore Law Watch Daily Update, I was alerted to the following seminar and just attended it this afternoon.

Seminar on "The Concept of Property in Virtual Worlds and Online Spaces"

Date: Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Time: 12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Venue: Conference Room, Level 1

Oei Tiong Ham Building
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772


The rise of virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games has brought with it an understanding of how people treat property in online spaces.

This, coupled with the rise of social media games, has seen the emergence of a billion dollar market for assets that don't exist.

This presentation maps out what we know about virtual property, and present some theories about what this means for the nature of online markets, intellectual property systems in Asia and the rest of the world, and the way that humans will live in a computer-mediated future.


Dan Hunter is an expert in internet law, intellectual property, and artificial intelligence & cognitive science models of law. He holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University on the nature of legal reasoning, as well as computer science and law degrees from Monash University (Australia) and a Master in Laws from the University of Melbourne.

Before joining New York Law School, he held a chair in law at the University of Melbourne, was a tenured professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and taught on the law faculty at Cambridge University...

Source of the above information:

I find the topic relevant to information and library world, yet I am the only Library Professional at the seminar.

I learnt about the orginal of private property law:

* Ownership of property is not just about control and security for individaul, but is also for better management of property for the country and society.

* If property are all common property, everyone will exploit it without caring for it.

* Private property is the transfer of right: common right to private right

* All ownership come with responsibility, and private property owner have the responsiblilty to take care of what is being possessed.

If we look at virtual property (all the objects/elements in Second life, World War Craft or Games in Facebook etc...) as a record in database, or an entry in the computer, it is created by someone, and maybe common or private in ownership depending of the intention of the creator.

In the library world, MARC record is created by cataloguer and have the same nature. Some are free for downloading, yet some are owned by database vendors.

I find it enlightening to look at the database vendor from this perspective. It is the ownership that make records accessible. It is the care of the record owner that create systematic and searchable field that increase the accessibility.

With that mindset, I search on the net and find some good read on "Property", here are two that I would like to recommend:

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