The Metaverse represents the online universe created by combining various virtual spaces. The concept of the Metaverse represents the future of the internet. It will enable users to work, meet, socialize, and play in the virtual space.
As the virtual world evolves, legal issues are becoming more frequent and increasingly complex and diverse. Many of the legal issues that exist in the real world also manifest in the virtual space, while some legal problems are unique to virtual activities.
One legal issue in the virtual space concerns crimes against individuals, particularly crimes against life or bodily integrity. Bodily integrity and life are attributes of physical persons and not attributes of avatars (virtual representations). It is likely that new offenses will be regulated to sanction actions directed against avatars (virtual representations).
Another issue in the Metaverse that requires a different legal approach is the trading of virtual goods. Companies are starting to earn and spend millions of dollars in “virtual asset” transactions.
The Metaverse is also becoming a new framework for labor and employment issues. Employment relationships in the Metaverse will generate not only the common problems seen in physical workplaces but also specific issues related to the mode of concluding employment contracts, the place and time of performing activities, pregnancy at work, workplace harassment, etc.
Marriages originating from the virtual Metaverse space raise new questions about contract law and the functioning of corresponding virtual institutions (the connection between real life and virtual space).
Additionally, there have been reports of sexual harassment in virtual spaces. Similar to real-world situations, acts of sexual harassment can exist in virtual environments.
The Metaverse will also impact brands. As the virtual universe develops, branding and advertising opportunities will increase. The best way to protect a brand used in the Metaverse to promote virtual products and services is through trademark registration. Registering trademarks for virtual products or services serves as legal proof of ownership.
Another controversial issue that may arise from legal relationships in the Metaverse is jurisdiction. Since people from different states can meet and participate in legal relationships within the Metaverse, it is essential to identify the applicable laws and determine the competent court in case of disputes.
This is just a small portion of the legal implications that will arise as the virtual universe continues to develop, and the list will gradually expand with newly encountered situations.
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