The role of the rule of law in virtual communities

This article comes from a core chapter of my PhD and will be published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. You can view the pre-print here: The Role of the Rule of Law in Virtual Communities (forthcoming BTLJ 2011) (PDF). There is a severe tendency in cyberlaw theory to delegitimize state intervention in the governance Read more about The role of the rule of law in virtual communities[…]

Ninth Circuit reverses MDY v Blizzard (WoW Glider) on Copyright grounds (not DMCA)

The 9th Circuit has reversed the MDY v Blizzard (WoW Glider) case on the secondary copyright infringement grounds (but not one of the DMCA claims). This is important; the district court had held that players infringe Blizzard’s copyright in WoW by playing the game in breach of the rules, primarily because the prohibition on botting Read more about Ninth Circuit reverses MDY v Blizzard (WoW Glider) on Copyright grounds (not DMCA)[…]

PhD thesis: digital constitutionalism and the role of the rule of law in the governance of virtual communities

My PhD thesis is available here: Digital constitutionalism and the role of the rule of law in virtual communities.

Abstract:

This thesis considers one main question: how should we regulate the exercise of private governance power in virtual communities? This question centres on the legitimacy of governance in the way that community norms are created and enforced. This is the project of digital constitutionalism, which seeks to articulate a set of limits on private power that will best encourage innovation and autonomy and simultaneously protect the legitimate interests of participants in these increasingly important spaces. In answering this question, I provide a normative framework based upon the broad ideals of the rule of law through which to conceptualise the tensions about governance that arise in virtual communities.

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PhD final seminar: Digital Constitutionalism and the Role of the Rule of Law in the Governance of Virtual Communities

[edit: now with more slides! PDF (3MB)¬†ODP (5MB)] My final seminar for my PhD is this Tuesday. All are welcome; let me know if you’re interested in coming along! Date: Tuesday 16 February 2010 Time: 11:00am -12:00pm Venue: Z Block Room 1124, QUT Gardens Point campus Panel Chairperson/Principal Supervisor: Prof Brian Fitzgerald, Faculty of Law Read more about PhD final seminar: Digital Constitutionalism and the Role of the Rule of Law in the Governance of Virtual Communities[…]

State of Play VI Governance, legitimacy, and the rule of law

I've just given a 15 minute version of my rule of law argument at the State of Play VI conference in New York. The basic point was that we are still stuck in a false dichotomy between regulation and liberty for virtual communities. I argue that we need to take a closer look at the Read more about State of Play VI Governance, legitimacy, and the rule of law[…]

The rule of law and digital constitutionalism

Participation in virtual communities is said to be governed by the contractual documents written by the proprietors and 'agreed' to by the participants. In a system where governance is controlled by contract, then the limits of contract are essentially constitutional principles. Where, then, can we find the limits that we will impose on contractual governance? Read more about The rule of law and digital constitutionalism[…]

Digital constitutionalism the governance of virtual communities, part 2: contract

digital constitutionalism, virtual communities, governance, contract, consent, social contract This post provides a brief outline of the contractual chapter of my PhD thesis. Comments appreciated. See Part 1 for the introductory and theoretical outline. The term 'digital constitutionalism' is used here to denote the essential values which underpin the development of legal principle as it Read more about Digital constitutionalism the governance of virtual communities, part 2: contract[…]

Digital constitutionalism: the governance of virtual communities, part 3: principles of …

digital constitutionalism, governance, virtual communities, interpretation, public interest, common law This is an outline of the third part of my thesis. Comments appreciated. See Part 1 and Part 2 for more background. Contract law may be the most prominent area of law which affects the governance of virtual communities, but it is by no means Read more about Digital constitutionalism: the governance of virtual communities, part 3: principles of …[…]

Digital constitutionalism: the governance of virtual communities, part 1

digital constitutionalism, participant rights, virtual communities, virtual worlds, governance, thesis I am finally beginning to write up my thesis. What follows is the first half of the argument I plan to present. This will hopefully provide the structure for identifying the problem and the context of the argument. Comments welcome – what have I missed Read more about Digital constitutionalism: the governance of virtual communities, part 1[…]

Estoppel by failing to enforce the rules

End User Licence Agreements, tos, virtual worlds, virtual communities, estoppel, enforce, rules Where the proprietor of a virtual community generally fails to enforce the rules, could it be estopped from doing so in any particular instance? Despite a clear contractual right to terminate, a provider may be estopped from terminating in circumstances where it would Read more about Estoppel by failing to enforce the rules[…]