For those of you with a taste for virtual law, an upcoming teleconference on "Why Virtual Worlds Matter for Lawyers." Panelists include:
- Benjamin Duranske (Moderator), Author, Virtual Law: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds, Boise, ID
- David Elchoness, Executive Director, Association of Virtual Worlds; Founder and CEO, VRWorkplace.com, Boulder, CO
- Lauren Gelman, Executive Director, Stanford Law Center for Internet and Society; Lecturer in Law, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
- Steve Mortinger, VP & Associate General Counsel, IBM Systems & Technology Group, Somers, NY
- Francis Taney, Chair, Technology Litigation Practice Group; Shareholder, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC, Philadelphia, PA
The week before last I spent some time at the 2008 Virtual Worlds and Virtual Law Conference here in New York. (A warm thanks to Ben Duranske, author of the Virtually Blind blog and a new book on virtual law, for making it possible.) I attended a few different sessions, ranging from an interesting discussion on intellectual property issues (yes, you can trademark your avatar, complete with "TM" bling) to a panel on bringing your organization into virtual worlds, which provided tips on getting started (know your virtual audience) and prompted a candid discussion of ROI (stickiness is a big metric).
It was really interesting to see the range of audiences that are being targeted, from the preschool set to older adults, as well as the range of companies that are making the jump. And while the driving force behind virtual worlds seems very entertainment focused, there is also a good deal of energy being put into creating virtual worlds (or projects within virtual worlds) that focus on more worthy pursuits, like education and advocacy.
In fact, one project that should be of interest to our community is the work that former statewide website coordinator Gene Koo (blog) is doing with the Berkman Center and CALI to create virtual environments that facilitate legal instruction and collaboration among law school professors. For more on the intersection of law and virtual worlds, check out the excellent book, The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds, and the State of Play conference website, which includes podcasts and webcasts of past conferences (also available on iTunes U). -M
On March 20th, Global Kids (a non-profit that focuses on virtual world education) is launching the International Justice Center in Second Life. The event will include a presentation and discussion by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at 3 pm EST, and a simulcast of an address by Kofi Annan at 9 p.m EST.
Virtual worlds have the potential to provide an exciting educational tool for our community, give rise to a host of interesting legal questions, and present rich opportunities to re-imagine legal systems, including questions of access to justice. In early April I will be attending the Virtual Law Conference, which coincides with this year's Virtual Worlds Conference here in New York. I'm looking forward to blogging about it, as well as engaging with folks on issues of importance to our community while I'm there. -M