Mason Korea Distinguished Lecture Series

"What Does it Mean to Own Virtual Things?: Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Video Games, and the Metaverse" by Professor Sean O'connor

Monday, October 17, 2022 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM KST
Mason Korea (119 Songdomunhwa-ro, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea), G101 & Zoom

Many companies are interested in Metaverse, which is already approaching a trillion-dollar market, globally. Different places have different laws.  What laws govern the Metaverse as a virtual place? In particular, who owns “things” that can be purchased in the Metaverse? While “virtual property” has been around for years in massively multiplayer online (MMO) game worlds like The Sims and Minecraft, the money and the stakes have become dramatically higher with NFTs and the Metaverse. But what, if anything, is truly owned by purchasers? A digital artifact or file? Intellectual property (IP) rights? Simply a deed to property analogues in the virtual world?

When the objects were owned in only one world, the programming and rules of that world dictated its terms. But NFTs operate subject only to a particular blockchain contract and thus are not beholden to only one world. And the Metaverse by definition is a construct allowing users to move their avatars and objects across virtual worlds. What rules govern property in such a world-hopping environment? Professor O’Connor will explain the core concepts and legal issues in this special lecture for the Mason Korea community.

You can join us in G101 or on Zoom.

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