Youth Forum

Virtual Law: Legal Regulation of Relations in Virtual Universes and Computer Games

Congress Centre, conference hall D1
International Youth Legal Forum
Over the past few decades, a new field of research has emerged which has generated a good deal of interest in terms of legal theory and practice. Specifically, it relates to computer games, and primarily, multiplayer games. This field and the issues stemming from it are of importance for three reasons. Firstly, computer games themselves are now an integral part of popular culture today. They are immensely popular – indeed, they make up one of the most commercially successful forms of interactive media. At the same time, they are often used to convey social, political, cultural, and other ideas. Secondly, legal challenges to do with computer games are at the forefront of the discourse on legal regulation of digital technologies. This ranges from issues related to virtual property, to digital identity. As a result, these legal challenges can serve to help develop new legal approaches. These could include approaches which employ theoretical modelling, which has long held importance among the Russian and international academic communities. Thirdly, the very subject lends itself to gaining a greater understanding of certain aspects of law, whether or not they relate directly to computer games or the gaming industry. In that way, it resembles how proposals were made back in the 1990s to evaluate studies pertaining to internet regulation, or cyberlaw. This area is also relevant when examining a related phenomenon – that of virtual worlds beyond gaming. This technology has continuously developed alongside the multiplayer gaming industry. And sometimes, the boundaries between the two have been blurred. This has been true since the inception of the internet and the emergence of genres such as MUD and MUSH. Today’s metaverses can be said to represent the next step in the development of technologies related to virtual worlds. The graphical component was already in place in the 1990s (VRML), and certainly in the 2000s (Second Life and others). However, today we are witnessing the development and introduction of end-to-end digital technologies, including blockchain. As society undergoes the digital transformation, it has become essential to develop the legal field in such a way as to be able to address issues of concern in virtual universes and computer games. Where do the limits of law lie in relation to interactions in virtual universes and multiplayer computer games? What specific aspects are inherent in the legal regime governing virtual platforms that deal with real money? How might virtual representations of users be subject to personal non-property rights and come under the concept of personal data? What legal models governing interaction between service/platform owners and users currently exist?


Vladislav Arkhipov
Head of the Department of Theory and History of State and Law, Director, Center for Research on Information Security and Digital Transformation, St. Petersburg State University


Nikolay Andreev
Head of Tax Practice, Zartsyn & Partners Law Company; Head of the Center for Practical Jurisprudence and Digital Competences of the Faculty of Law, The State Academic University for the Humanities
Galina Grishchenko
Associate Professor of the Department of Information Law and Digital Technologies, O.E. Kutafin Moscow State Law University
Kirill Evsikov
Associate Professor of the Department of Information Law and Digital Technologies, O.E. Kutafin Moscow State Law University
Alexander Zhuravlev
Chairman of the Commission for Legal Regulation of Ensuring the Digital Economy, Association of Lawyers of Russia; Managing Partner, EBR Law Company
Evgeniya Kryukova
Director of the Scientific and Educational Center, Associate Professor of the Department of Criminalistics, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Sergey Kukuev
Chairman of the Council of Young Scientists, All-Russian State University of Justice (RPA of the Ministry of Justice of Russia)
Vladimir Nikishin
Associate Professor of the Department of Information Law and Digital Technologies, Director of the Change Management Center, O.E. Kutafin Moscow State Law University; Chief of Staff, Innovative Jurisprudence Consortium
Alexander Saveliev
Academic Supervisor of the "Digital Law" Educational Program, National Research University Higher School of Economics
Alexander Yukhno
Acting Head of the Department of State Studies, Associate Professor of the Department of State Studies of the Institute of Public Administration and Management, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation (RANEPA)