Saturday, May 5, 2007

Rape in Second Life

From Volokh (via Wired):

"The Brussels Public Prosecutor’s Office has asked investigators of the Federal Computer Crime Unit to patrol in Second Life.

In the virtual world of the computer game[*] a personality was recently “raped.” Following the virtual rape the Brussels police opened a file. “It is the intent to determine whether punishable acts have been committed,” according to the federal police. The Public Prosecutor’s Office was also alarmed. At the vice section acting officer Verlinden opened an informational investigation into the details."

I agree with Volokh's core assessment that forced sex between avatars should not be interpreted as a criminal violation. But Second Life is a ripe ground for the growth of new criminal laws proscribing internet conduct. How long before we see U.S. anti-pornography laws reach into games like Second Life?

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