This month, together with our friends at Zannes Law, a Canadian law firm, we presented on the legal implications of doing business in the metaverse, held IN THE METAVERSE!
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a digital reality that incorporates elements of social media, digital assets, gaming, virtual reality and cryptocurrency allowing people to come together and interact, no matter where they are around the world.
What can you do in the metaverse?
The options seem endless. You can explore, game, meet, build, trade and purchase digital assets including land, avatars and cryptocurrency.
How is the metaverse regulated?
Presently each platform regulates their own platform, outside of this there is no overarching regulation of the metaverse.
We touched on aspects of intellectual property, copyright and trademarks as well as the ability for avatars to form legally binding contracts in the metaverse.
In relation to trademarks, many large business’ such as Nike, the UFC and Penfolds have extended their trademarks to include “virtual goods” meaning that, for example, the UFC may be able to sell tickets which would allow a user to attend a streaming of a fight in the metaverse and purchase digital merchandise.
On forming a contract in the metaverse, we discussed the comparability between clicking accept and electronic signing of documents (which is generally accepted now) to directing your avatar to accept terms of a contract in the metaverse.
However, this brings about a number of questions which are yet to be determined, such as:
- Are avatars separate legal entities – not dissimilar to a company?
- Can an avatar go bankrupt?
- To what extent can you be held responsible for the actions of your avatar (for example breach of a contract formed in the metaverse)?
- Also, if avatars in the future become smart (through AI) and begin operating in their own right, can a person be held liable for the actions of an avatar if it did not directly instruct the avatar to make a certain action and how could you prove this?
Legislation is very much behind in these respects, but we look forward to presenting further on these topics and monitoring the growth of this area.