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New York Times on Gold Farming
Posted By Greg Lastowka On December 9, 2005 @ 8:25 am In Technology | 4 Comments
The New York Times  carries a story today on gold farming activities in virtual worlds. “Gold farming” is the term used for acquiring virtual wealth within multi-player games like World of Warcraft  and then selling it to other players for real cash. As the Times notes, it is a growing industry, despite the fact that the sales are usually in violation of the software contract of the games.
I mention this because exploring the legal issues raised by these environments has been a pet project of mine, and it has been interesting to see the popular media attention increasingly given to multi-player games as their demographics expand. In many ways, the predecessors of World of Warcraft were part of the impetus for the debates in the 1990′s over the growing importance of cyberlaw as a field for legal inquiry. For instance, William Mitchell’s City of Bits , about the construction of digital social spaces, is a book from 1994 that is well worth reading today.
If you want a crash course on the economics and society of virtual worlds, I’d recommend Virtual Worlds  by Ted Castronova, Unreal Estate  by Julian Dibbell, and this blog . For some thoughts on the legal dimensions, Dan Hunter and I have published two articles on point: The Laws of the Virtual Worlds  and Virtual Crime . Among other writings on the topic are Virtual Property  by Josh Fairfield and Virtual Liberty  by Jack Balkin.
Even Judge Posner  thinks this stuff is cool.
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URL to article: http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2005/12/new_york_times.html
URLs in this post:
 The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/09/technology/09gaming.html?hp&ex=1134190800&en=d5d225932e8ebecb&ei=5094&partner=homepage
 World of Warcraft: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/
 City of Bits: http://mitpress2.mit.edu/e-books/City_of_Bits/
 Virtual Worlds: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=294828
 Unreal Estate: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.01/gaming.html
 this blog: http://terranova.blogs.com/
 The Laws of the Virtual Worlds: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=402860
 Virtual Crime: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=564801
 Virtual Property: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=807966
 Virtual Liberty: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=555683
 Judge Posner: http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/002124.shtml
 : http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/jbalkin/syllabi/theinformationsocietysyllabusfall2005.htm
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