[p2p-research] request for comments: What property rights in virtual resources might look like

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 21 09:22:01 CEST 2009

thanks Kevin, posted at

On Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 1:28 AM, Kevin Carson <
free.market.anticapitalist at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 8/14/09, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > http://p2pfoundation.net/Virtual_Property_Problem
> > it would be nice if this entry could have extra comments, publishable in
> our
> blog
> > Article: John W. Nelson. 2009. "The Virtual Property Problem: What
> property
> > rights in virtual resources might look like, how they might work, and why
> > they are a bad idea"
> >
> > Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_nelson/3
> Sorry for the delay, Michel.
> I confess I had trouble getting into the issue because I'm not a gamer
> and the idea of resources in virtual worlds seems of limited relevance
> to me.  But it strikes me that Nelson, at least for the sake of
> argument, accepts the legal doctrines and jurisprudence attached to
> current copyright law, and then simply evaluates whether they're
> applicable to virtual property.  Since I consider all the moral
> justifications of copyright to be invalid, the invalidity of extending
> it to virtual property would seem to follow as a matter of course.
> I also didn't see the point, in particular, of extending real-world
> law to cover acts of in-game theft, since the rules of any game are to
> some extent arbitrary and accepted by the players for the sake of the
> game itself.  For the sake of simulating the world in some chosen
> particulars, all sorts of rules like gravity and various forms of
> artificial scarcity are imposed which do not by the nature of the case
> obtain in the virtual world.  Strictly speaking, the virtual world
> could be the ultimate gnostic realm of unlimited potential and
> abundance--no gravity, the possibility of achieving unlimited
> character traits and wealth with no effort, the availability of an
> infinite stock of resources for all players, etc.  By the nature of
> things, all scarcities in the virtual world are artificial.  And by
> the very act of playing a game, the players tacitly submit to the
> artificial scarcities created by the game for the sake of
> verisimilitude.
> --
> Kevin Carson
> Center for a Stateless Society http://c4ss.org
> Mutualist Blog:  Free Market Anti-Capitalism
> http://mutualist.blogspot.com
> Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
> http://www.mutualist.org/id47.html
> Organization Theory:  A Libertarian Perspective
> http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/12/studies-in-anarchist-theory-of.html
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