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ten interesting places to visit in second life
by Benajamin duranske
Many attorneys are staking out territory on the emerging 3D internet in "Second Life" – the first virtual world to offer unfettered user content creation, real money transactions, and user retention of most intellectual property rights. Many experts believe that Second Life is a harbinger of the 3D internet, and that 3D networked interaction will soon become the dominant mode of online communication.
If you want to explore this new world, you’ll need to download the software from www.secondlife.com. Once you’ve set up a Second Life "avatar" (a digital representation of yourself) you'll want to start exploring the nearly limitless landscape of user-created content.
You will find everything from underwater business parks to zero-gravity hockey rinks – anything that residents imagine can be built. Be aware that there is some adult content in Second Life, but it is easy to avoid if you use common sense. If you get lost, just ask someone for help. Most Second Life users are more than willing to help new users find their way around.
There are a number of places where lawyers will feel right at home in Second Life. Here are a few good starting points. The Second Life "Region" and map coordinates for each location follow the description.
Justice Center - The Justice Center is a huge complex modeled on the Federal Courthouse in Miami. Many attorneys and a number of the Second Life legal groups highlighted below call the complex home. Free space set aside for real life nonprofits and Second Life legal groups, and attorneys can rent office space here as well. (Malfelonius - 148, 98, 24.)
SL Bar Association - The SL Bar Association is an informal professional organization that helps attorney and scholar members navigate the Second Life legal landscape. Meetings and social events are held regularly. I founded the SL Bar Association in late 2006. It has since grown to over 150 members. Attorneys, legal scholars, and other legal professionals are encouraged to join. Annual dues are L$500, about US $2.00. (Malfelonius - 212, 66, 61.)
Pro Bono Second Life - Pro Bono Second Life supports and encourages a commitment to pro bono across the legal profession. The group is a forum for lawyers who undertake or wish to undertake pro bono work in Second Life and in real life. The group's headquarters is in a lighthouse on a small, private island. (Depo Park 1 - 70, 67, 23)
SL Lawspot - SL Lawspot is an in-world library offering links to legal resources, with a focus on law and virtual worlds. It's a great starting point for learning about the various legal issues that are emerging from these spaces. The first chapter of my book, Virtual Law, Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds (ABA, 2008) is available at SL Lawspot. (Malfelonius - 208, 63, 37.)
Virtual Intellectual Property Organization - The Virtual Intellectual Property Organization was created in June 2007 to support and assist residents in the protection of virtual property. VIPO members have assisted Second Life users with trademark disputes and presented seminars on in-world intellectual property issues. (Malfelonius - 211, 64, 33.)
Confederation of Democratic Simulators – The CDS is one of the oldest Second Life self-governance projects, consisting of four Second Life regions, each of which is governed by a covenant dictating the appearance of buildings and various rules of resident interaction. Representatives are elected from among the citizens of the CDS every six months. (Neufreistadt – 160, 172, 182.)
Capitol Hill – The Second Life mockup of real life Capitol Hill was created by content creation and marketing company Clear Ink as a nonpartisan meeting place for discussions of politics and government. Many groups use the area for meetings. The virtual seasons change in accordance with real life Washington D.C., making for some beautiful settings depending on the time of year you visit. (Capitol Hill 1 - 172, 17, 30.)
The Independent State of Extropia – An ambitious Second Life microgovernment identifying itself as an “independent technocratic city-state” that stands as an “exemplar of the future we want, today, where technology is used exuberantly in the service of beauty and fun.” Picture Star Trek’s San Francisco of the future. It’s a beautiful build and Extropia residents are among the most interesting avatars on the grid.
eJustice Centre –Portugal’s Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the University of Aveiro and the Faculty of Law of the Lisbon New University, provides mediation and arbitration services for all avatars in Second Life including resolution of disputes resulting from consumer relations or any other contract-based relations signed between parties. All mediation and arbitration processes are overseen by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Laboratory of the Faculty of Law of the Lisbon New University. (eJustice Centre – 42, 142, 27.)
Metaverse Republic – The Metaverse Republic is a non-profit organization attempting to respond to the increasing need for self-regulation in Second Life and similar platforms. It hopes to eventually provide a functioning, professional justice system with real powers of enforcement backed by an elected Parliament. (Tabula Rasa – 142, 167, 27.)
Benjamin Duranske is the author of Virtual Law: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds (ABA, 2008). He recently joined the Silicon Valley office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, where he is helping to found and build Pillsbury’s new Virtual Worlds and Video Games practice.