Virtual Law Articles

I’m currently writing a book about law and virtual worlds, and in the course of that I’ve been collecting what I hope is a comprehensive list of published law review articles and student notes that focus primarily on the intersection of law and virtual worlds.

The current version is attached below in case folks are interested. If you see I’m missing something, please let me know in the comments or by email.


  • 1. Jennifer L. Mnookin, Virtual(ly) Law: The Emergence of Law in LambdaMOO, J. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMM. 2 (1996).


  • 2. Molly Stephens, Note: Sales of In-Game Assets: An Illustration of the Continuing Failure of Intellectual Property Law to Protect Digital-Content Creators, 80 TEX. L. REV. 1513 (2002)


  • 3. Daniel C. Miller, Note: Determining Ownership in Virtual Worlds: Copyright and License Agreements, 22 REV. LITIG. 435 (2003)


  • 4. Jack M. Balkin, Virtual Liberty: Freedom to Design and Freedom to Play in Virtual Worlds, 90 VA. L. REV. 2043 (2004)
  • 5. Peter S. Jenkins, The Virtual World as a Company Town – Freedom of Speech in Massively Multiple Online Role Playing Games, 8 J. INTERNET L. (2004)
  • 6. F. Gregory Lastowka & Dan Hunter, The Laws of the Virtual Worlds, 92 CAL. L. REV. 1 (2004)
  • 7. David Nelmark, Virtual Property: The Challenges of Regulating Intangible, Exclusionary Property Interests Such as Domain Names, 3 NW. J. TECH. & INTELL. PROP. 1 (2004)

2004/2005 (State of Play Symposium Essays)

  • 8. Jack M. Balkin, Law and Liberty in Virtual Worlds, 49 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 63 (2004)
  • 9. Richard A. Bartle, Virtual Worldliness: What the Imaginary Asks of the Real, 49 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 19 (2004)
  • 10. Caroline Bradley and A. Michael Froomkin, Virtual Worlds, Real Rules, 1 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 103 (2004)
  • 11. Edward Castronova, The Right To Play, 49 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 185 (2004)
  • 12. Susan P. Crawford, Who’s In Charge Of Who I Am?: Identity And Law Online, 49 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 211 (2004).
  • 13. James Grimmelmann, Virtual Worlds as Comparative Law, 47 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 147 (2004)
  • 14. Ethan Katsh, Bringing Online Dispute Resolution to Virtual Worlds: Creating Processes Through Code, 1 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 271 (2004)
  • 15. F. Gregory Lastowka & Dan Hunter, Virtual Crimes, 49 N.Y.L.S. L. REV. 293 (2004)
  • 16. Cory Ondrejka, Escaping The Gilded Cage: User Created Content And Building The Metaverse, 49 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 81 (2004)
  • 17. Tal Z. Zarsky, Information Privacy in Virtual Worlds: Identifying Unique Concerns Beyond the Online and Offline Worlds, 1 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 231 (2004)


  • 18. Robert Bullis & Andrew Schwarz, Rivalrous Consumption and the Boundaries of Copyright Law: Intellectual Property Lessons form Online Games, INTELL. PROP. L. BULL. (2005)
  • 19. Joshua Fairfield, Virtual Property, 85 B.U.L. REV. 1047 (2005)
  • 20. Mia Garlick, Player, Pirate Or Conducer? A Consideration Of The Rights Of Online Gamers, 7 YALE J. L. & TECH. 422 (2005)
  • 21. Eric Goldman, Speech Showdowns at the Virtual Corral, 21 SANTA CLARA COMPUTER & HIGH TECH. L.J. 845 (2005)
  • 22. Andrew Jankowich, Property and Democracy in Virtual Worlds, 11 B.U. J. SCI. & TECH. L. 173 (2005)
  • 23. Beth Simone Noveck, Trademark Law and the Social Construction of Trust: Creating The Legal Framework for Online Identity, 83 WASH. U. L. REV. 1733 (2005)


  • 24. Woodrow Barfield, Intellectual Property Rights in Virtual Environments: Considering the Rights of Owners, Programmers and Virtual Avatars, 39 AKRON L. REV. 649 (2006)
  • 25. Charles Blazer, The Five Indicia of Virtual Property, 5 PIERCE L. REV. 137 (2006)
  • 26. Allen Chein, Note: A Practical Look At Virtual Property, 80 ST. JOHN’S L. REV. 1059 (2006)
  • 27. Andrew Jankowich, Eulaw: The Complex Web Of Corporate Rule-Making In Virtual Worlds, 8 TUL. J. TECH. & INTELL. PROP. (2006)
  • 28. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Napster’s Second Life?: The Regulatory Challenges of Virtual Worlds, 100 NW. U. L. REV. 1775 (2006)
  • 29. Michael Meehan, Virtual Property: Protecting Bits in Context, RICH. J. GLOBAL L. & BUS. (2006)
  • 30. Theodore J. Westbrook, Owned: Finding a Place for Virtual World Property Rights, 2006 MICH. ST. L. REV. 779 (2006)


  • 31. Farnaz Alemi, An Avatar’s Day in Court: A Proposal for Obtaining Relief and Resolving Disputes in Virtual World Games, 2007 UCLA J.L. & TECH. 6 (2007)
  • 32. Jason A. Archinaco, Virtual Worlds, Real Damages: The Odd Case of American Hero, the Greatest Horse that May Have Lived, 11 GAMING L. REV. 21 (2007)
  • 33. John Baldrica, Mod as Heck: Frameworks for Examining Ownership Rights in User-Contributed Content to Videogames, and a More Principled Evaluation of Expressive Appropriation in User-Modified Videogame Projects, 8 MINN. J.L. SCI. & TECH. 681 (2007)
  • 34. Mark Bartholomew, Advertising in the Garden of Eden, 55 BUFFALO L. REV. 737 (2007)
  • 35. Bryan Camp, The Play’s the Thing: A Theory of Taxing Virtual Worlds, 59 HASTINGS L. J. 1 (2007)
  • 36. Bettina M. Chin, Regulating Your Second Life: Defamation in Virtual Worlds, 72 BROOK. L. REV. 1303 (2007)
  • 37. Bobby Glushko, Tales of the (Virtual) City: Governing Property Disputes in Virtual Worlds, 22 BERKELEY TECH. L.J. 507 (2007)
  • 38. Steven J. Horowitz, Competing Lockean Claims to Virtual Property, 20 HARV. J. LAW & TECH. 443 (2007)
  • 39. Kurt Hunt, Note: This Land Is Not Your Land: Second Life, CopyBot, and the Looming Question of Virtual Property Rights, 9 TEX. REV. ENT. & SPORTS L. 141 (2007)
  • 40. Jamie J. Kayser, The New New-World: Virtual Property and the End User License Agreement, 27 LOY. L.A. ENT. L. REV. 59 (2007)
  • 41. Leandra Lederman, Stranger Than Fiction: Taxing Virtual Worlds, 82 N.Y.U. L. REV. 1620 (2007)
  • 42. Todd David Marcus, Note: Fostering Creativity in Virtual Worlds: Easing the Restrictiveness of Copyright for User-Created Content, 52 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 67 (2007)
  • 43. Juliet M. Moringiello, False Categories in Commercial Law: The (Ir)relevance of (In)tangibility, 35 FLA. ST. U.L. REV. 119 (2007)
  • 44. Juliet M. Moringiello, Towards a System of Estates in Virtual Property, in CYBERLAW SECURITY & PRIVACY (Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard, ed. 2007), available at
  • 45. David Naylor & Andrew Jaworski, Virtual Worlds, Real Challenges, 18 ENTERTAINMENT LAW REVIEW __ (2007)
  • 46. David Naylor & Andrew Jaworski, The Tangled Web of Virtual Marks, Trademark World ___ (June 2007), available at:
  • 47. W. Joss Nichols, Painting Through Pixels: The Case for a Copyright in Videogame Play, 30 COLUM. J.L. & ARTS 101 (2007)
  • 48. Cory R.. Ondrejka, Collapsing Geography Second Life, Innovation, and the Future of National Power, 2 INNOVATIONS: TECHNOLOGY, GOVERNANCE, GLOBALIZATION, 27-54 (2007), available at:
  • 49. Erez Reuveni, On Virtual Worlds: Copyright and Contract Law at the Dawn of the Virtual Age, 82 IND. L.J. 261 (2007)
  • 50. Erez Reuveni, Authorship in the Age of the Conducer, 54 J. COPYRIGHT SOC’Y U.S.A. 285 (2007)
  • 51. Kevin W. Saunders, Virtual Worlds-Real Courts, 52 VILL. L. REV. 187 (2007)
  • 52. David P. Sheldon, Claiming Ownership, but Getting Owned: Contractual Limitations on Asserting Property Interests in Virtual Goods, 54 UCLA L. REV. 751 (2007)
  • 53. David S. Wall & Matthew L. Williams, Policing Diversity in the Digital Age: Maintaining Order in Virtual Communities, 7 Criminology & Crim. Justice 391 (2007), available at:
  • 54. Jason S. Zack, The Ultimate Company Town: Wading in the Digital Marsh of Second Life, 10 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 225 (2007)

2008 & forthcoming

  • 55. Andrea Vanina Arias, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Swords and Armor: Regulating the Theft of Virtual Goods, forthcoming EMORY LAW JOURNAL, available at::
  • 56. Caroline M. Bradley, Gaming the System: Virtual Worlds and the Securities Markets, available at
  • 57. Candidus Dougherty & Greg Lastowka, Virtual Trademarks, forthcoming SANTA CLARA COMPUTER AND HIGH TECHNOLOGY LAW JOURNAL, available at:
  • 58. Joshua Fairfield, Anti-Social Contracts: The Contractual Governance of Online Communities, available at:
  • 59. Steven J. Horowitz, Note: Bragg v. Linden’s Second Life: A Primer in Virtual World Justice, 34 OHIO N.U.L. REV. 223 (2008)
  • 60. Orin S. Kerr, Criminal Law in Virtual Worlds, forthcoming UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LEGAL FORUM, available at:
  • 61. Greg Lastowka, User-Generated Content & Virtual Worlds, forthcoming VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF ENTERTAINMENT AND TECHNOLOGY LAW, available at:
  • 62. Albert C. Lin, Virtual Consumption: A Second Life for Earth?, 2008 B.Y.U.L. Rev. 47
  • 63. David Naylor & Andrew Jaworksi, Virtual Worlds: Children and Virtual Worlds, 10 ECOMMERCE LAW & POLICY (2008).
  • 64. Michael H. Passman, Transactions of Virtual Items in Virtual Worlds, 18 ALB. L. J. SCI. & TECH __ (2007)
  • 65. Jacob Rogers, Note: A Passive Approach to Regulation of Virtual Worlds, 76 GEO. WASH. L. REV. 405 (2008)
  • 66. Ryan G. Vacca, Viewing Virtual Property Ownership Through the Lens of Innovation, available at:

p.s. Note that this list seeks to be comprehensive only with regard to published articles in law journals specifically on the topic of virtual worlds (though I have thrown in one or two published pieces from other places that seem to have a legal focus).  General cyberlaw articles, short magazine articles, books, Web self-publishing, and important articles on virtual worlds from science/game studies/business/humanities/etc. are not included in this list.

5 thoughts on “Virtual Law Articles

  1. Its a great list. In the first time search on Westlaw (using key terms virtual world) i was not able to get all the articles that you have listed.

    By the way, I think you have left below mentioned two articles:

    * Beth Simone Noveck, The State Of Play1 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 1 (2004-2005)

    * Matthew Lee, Online Role Play Games: The Legal Response, Hertfordshire Law Journal 4(2), 72-80, available at

  2. An excellent recent article on IP issues in virtual worlds:

    * Scott Holdaway, I don’t know the name, but the avatar sure rings a bell…An analysis of the law relevant to the appearance of representations of personality in cyberspace, The Canterbury Law Review, vol. 13 (2007) (1-30)

  3. Great list.

    My own work, Transactions of Virtual Items in Virtual Worlds, is a little delayed but is published this month.

    Assuming the publisher keeps the same pagination as the proof they sent me, the new correct citation will be:

    Michael H. Passman, Transactions of Virtual Items in Virtual Worlds, 18 ALB. L. J. SCI. & TECH 101 (2008)

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