Friday, May 16, 2008

Employment law issues

Virtual world enthusiasts from businesses to individuals love virtual worlds for their immersive quality. In virtual worlds, you tend to feel like you’re ‘with’ others in a ‘place’ rather than communicating over a network with a tool. That’s what’s magical about them and why they will, over time, largely eliminate the challenges of physical distance. That said, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that real life laws do not apply to virtual worlds. We would never question whether working over the telephone counts as work. The same applies to virtual worlds technology.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service issued a ruling that the Electric Sheep Company’s Second Life greeters for its CSI:NY promotion are “employees” rather than independent contractors.

Full interview regarding the ruling with an employment lawyer Dave Elchoness on Virtually Blind


Enforceability of EULAs

"In Europe, terms of service can't always be changed when they need to because you have to tell the users up front in what situations you may change the the terms of service," said Lober. "It's hard to function in practicality -- how can you know all the situations that might come up in the future? You'd need a crystal ball!"

"In the US the kind of notice you have to give changes by state, and there are gambling laws to take into account sometimes. So you try to balance something that works in most of the states, and sometimes you can balance it based on where you know you'll be getting your customers from," said Augustino. "If you know most of your customers will be coming from California, you know you have to comply with California law. "

full text available here



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