Virtual Worlds Paper

I have posted the published version of my virtual worlds paper, Speech Showdowns at the Virtual Corral, to SSRN. The abstract:

“This Essay considers the rights of virtual world providers to terminate their customers or otherwise control their worlds. The Essay argues that virtual worlds are not meaningfully different from other online environments and therefore do not warrant virtual world-specific legal rules. The Essay also explains why society benefits by letting virtual world providers decide how much control they want to exercise over their environments.”

The first draft of this paper already sparked some conversation in the virtual world community, a fair amount of it critical. See Terra Nova and Second Life Herald. I’m grateful to the commenters for their feedback; I made a number of changes directly in response to the comments.