Stop, wait a minute. Are we just winging this whole Metaverse thing?
I read an article today by Nitin Kumar for Forbes: Six Unaddressed Legal Concerns for the Metaverse. Of course, a zillion questions about the metaverse immediately flooded my mind. What other issues are we not addressing?
I have so many questions, like:
Do digital products purchased in virtual stores have any substance in the real world?
Will purchases like clothing and furniture come with a digital version for the buyer’s avatar?
How does virtual real estate factor into a person’s real assets and net worth?
Do I own my avatar or could someone pose as me, even steal (or buy) my digital identity?
Crimes and social problems like assault, racism, and bullying are possible in the metaverse, so who is policing it? Please, don’t say Facebook.
What are the consequences of committing a crime in the metaverse? Could someone go to “real” jail for a virtual act?
Are the people who still can’t wrap their heads around crypto and NFTs at a disadvantage?
Will some jobs only exist in the metaverse? What rights do I have as an employee in the metaverse?
Will there be avatar lawyers?
How do state or international laws apply to the metaverse? Does my avatar have U.S. Citizenship?
Are there taxes in the metaverse?
And on, and on.
(^My tenses are atrocious, I know.)
I’m laughing over the idea of a virtual jail as I write this and wondering if I’m overthinking. Maybe you‘re totally “Team Metaverse” and don’t have any questions or concerns. Maybe none of the above issues will come up as metaverses proliferate. Still, it’s worth asking. As our personal identities and aspects of society like socialization, commerce, and work go beyond the web and social media, we/you/everyone should be asking the tough questions. Until then, it’s the Wild, Wild West — a virtual society with no oversight.
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Image source: VentureBeat