Avatar Acts; July 2009; Scientific American Magazine; by Micheal Tennesen; 2 Page(s)
How much legal weight should actions in the virtual world carry back in the real one? For most people, the answer might be "none," but as online communities conduct actual financial transactions and draw in more participants, some legal experts think that it may be time to extend brick-and-mortar jurisprudence into the virtual realm.
By some estimates, about 100 million users worldwide populate online communities. Second Life, the creation of Linden Lab in San Francisco, provides its active-user base of one million with a real-time experience on their personal computer, in which they use digital characters called avatars to wander around castles, deserted islands and other fantastic 3-D environments. Through their avatars, they can meet and talk to thousands of online participants, even cuddle on couches and have simulated sex with them.