The Metaverse is said to be the future of the Internet. Although its development remains in its early stages, established companies and start-ups have spent millions of dollars developing Metaverse technology. While the parallel universes of virtual reality that we saw with the traditional Internet are probably years away, a whole new field of law is being developed to deal with the online world. Class action lawsuits for cyberattacks and data breaches have become commonplace. Whatever form the Metaverse ultimately takes, the law will evolve accordingly.
This security bulletin is the first in a two-part series that examines unique legal issues that the metaverse may pose. Here we focus on the litigation challenges brought by the Metaverse, with a focus on potential privacy and product liability lawsuits. In our next bulletin, we will explore key regulatory privacy considerations for organizations looking to launch in the metaverse.
What is the Metaverse?
The term “metaverse” is used in various ways. Used here to mean the 3D version of the Internet. It is an immersive digital world that exists parallel to the physical world that we interact with using virtual reality headsets. Imagine a parallel digital life where your avatar exists in a digital world and can meet other people’s avatars within a single digital space. You may own virtual real estate in the metaverse. You can visit a store and buy virtual goods, or visit a virtual office where you participate in virtual meetings with real coworker avatars.
In the most ideal vision of the future, the metaverse will be fully interoperable. You and your virtual possessions can seamlessly move from one platform-maintained digital space to another. Perhaps a future where the metaverse exists as a series of “walled gardens”, where each platform’s virtual space is likely a closed system incompatible with the other.
Privacy Litigation in the Metaverse
If the metaverse develops as expected, it will require the collection of an unprecedented amount of data about our users. Platforms can (as they do today) collect data about what users have purchased in the metaverse, what they have seen, and conversations with other users. However, since user access to the Metaverse is via a headset, more data may be collected, for example data related to user movements, physiological responses, and even brain waves. This allows the platform to better understand the thought patterns of its users. and action.
The majority of traditional internet-related privacy lawsuits in common law states focus on the tort of quarantine intrusion and deal with snooping scenarios. reasonable person. In addition to data breach scenarios, other metaverse cases of isolation intrusion can be envisioned. For example, if virtual real estate can be purchased in the metaverse, the defendant may be held liable for snooping on the plaintiff’s virtual home. Or imagine a scenario in which the defendant could compromise the plaintiff’s headset to track the plaintiff’s movements, speech, and even thoughts. Given the sensitivity of the data the metaverse can collect, the risks are high.
While existing privacy causes of action may apply to the Metaverse, courts and legislatures may seek to create new causes of action. Could a metaverse operator be held liable for its inadvertent failure to prevent a cyber-attack that led to a breach of user data? time will tell how the law evolves in response to these challenges.
The Metaverse is projected to bring a huge market of virtual and physical products that customers can buy and use. Software, virtual intangible items, and hardware such as headsets and glasses are just a few examples. Therefore, industry developers, manufacturers, licensors, vendors, etc. may be exposed to Metaverse-related product liability claims brought by Metaverse participants and users of these products.
In the future, there may be several types of potential product liability claims related to the Metaverse. As an example, a product liability claim may arise from a scenario in which an individual sustains personal injury while immersed in the virtual or augmented reality of the Metaverse world. In addition, if participation in the Metaverse or use of related hardware causes an incident of property destruction, claims for property damage or economic loss may arise. Metaverse Her users can also be sued by other users because their actions in the Metaverse relate to another person or avatar.
Complex and novel arguments will almost certainly arise in this emerging area in the context of product liability claims. If these include questions about who may be liable for Metaverse-related claims, choice of law and venue, and where to file claims in the event of loss or injury in the Metaverse there is. Given the various product liability claims that may be made in connection with the Metaverse, industry participants should seek legal advice, consider ways to limit liability, draft contracts, use We wish to seek other protections through our conditions and warnings and instructions for use. .
The Metaverse, however it develops, will undoubtedly raise new legal questions and issues. summarized. The following article on this topic will explore important regulatory privacy considerations for organizations looking to launch in the metaverse.
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