February 26, 2013

Every grid has to comply with the Law. So does every person. Normally, this is very straight forward. But the Metaverse is an international place, and so different laws apply to different grids. This where jurisdiction comes in, something I’ve written about before. The laws that apply to a grid are those that apply to the Real World location of the grid.

Second Life has its headquarters in California, so the laws of the State of California and the Laws of the US apply. InWorldz has its headquarters in New York, so that state’s laws and the federal laws of the US apply. It should be noted that it is not where the servers are located, but their place of business.

For Excelsior Station, its place of business is Canada. I’ll be making all the Real World info available, on a new site. I’m not giving up this blog, just going to setup a small site for the Station itself for information and account registration.

So, it is Canadian Law that applies, and the laws of the Province of British Columbia, as well. For the most part, there’s nothing of any significance to note between the way the US and Canada do things. But there is one area that matters to all of us.

The protection of our intellectual property.

When it comes to copyright enforcement, we are best acquainted with the DMCA. That is due to a few factors. The largest and best known grid, Second Life, is US based and has suffered a bad reputation regarding enforcement of the DMCA. The second factor is simply that there are significantly more US based grids out there. There are apparently more websites that have information regarding the DMCA than that of any other country.

The most important thing to understand is that the DMCA is American law. It is not German law. Or British. Or Canadian law.

I went looking for information about how we handle copyright infringement cases in Canada. Including emails to one of the top professors of law. As it turns out, Canada has a Notice-and-Notice system enacted as law. Which means, if I receive a Notice of alleged copyright infringement, I am to Notify the accused of the matter. There’s a problem, though.

Regulations have yet to be enacted. So, I don’t know if I am to remove the content or not. There’s nothing specified about what information should be included in the Notices or in what form those Notices have to be. That was when I was reminded about Common Practice.

Common Practice gives a person something of a precedent to work from when the law is unclear. Common Practice in Canada is to honour DMCA Notices and to act in accordance with the DMCA. The reason is to prevent liability as a secondary offender.

Excelsior Station will do the same. It will honour DMCA Notices and will act in accordance with Common Practice by removing any allegedly infringing content. Excelsior Station will also treat a DMCA Notice as a Notice of Infringement under Canadian Law and will act in accordance with Canadian Law by forwarding a copy of the Notice to the alleged infringer.

There’s some other legalities to go over, as well. Excelsior Station will operate on a not-for-profit basis, though it is not a registered non-profit. If you choose to donate any money, you will not receive a tax exemption receipt.

Excelsior Station will be renting parcels of land, with payments being made via PayPal for now. Inworld currency is not available. Whether one is developed or not will depend on the community of registered users and the laws that pertain to the handling of virtual currency.

Otherwise, we’re still on track for March 1st.

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